A tale of two prejudices: the tides of time (and TIME)

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” – Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Back in the day – before I’d ever heard of the “climate bible” – I spent many an hour wading through the oft-recycled drivel that constituted the tenets of the “revisionist bible”. The newsgroup, alt.revisionism was (and perhaps still is … my mouse and I haven’t been there for many a year), the favourite posting ground of Holocaust deniers and other assorted anti-semites.

As I had observed in a post, on the Ides of March, 2004:

The cancer of anti-Semitism

“discussion of the tenets of the “revisionist bible” was merely a pretext for giving vent to noxious “views” on Jews, Judaism and/or the State of Israel.


“Those who wrap themselves in the flag of ‘freedom of speech’ for yet another recycling of all the gambits known to “denierdom”, have become fewer and further between here in alt.revisionism. Nowadays, this same flag is increasingly the cover for the recycling of pure, unadulterated anti-Semitism – although, as in the real world, it is often masked as an expression of ‘anti-Zionism’.”

It is somewhat ironic that some of the most ardent adherents to the tenets of the climate bible, in addition to adopting the denigration and delegitimization “debating” techniques of the Holocaust deniers, will sometimes (not unlike David <I see you, I sue you> Irving) wrap themselves in the “free speech for me, but not for thee” flag.

There are some other ironic parallels: the United Nations is very much a “parent” of much anti-Israel propaganda (viz. the disgraceful “Zionism = racism” resolution of some years ago – although you’d never know that it was actually rescinded – not to mention the more recent Durban conferences on “human rights”) and (thanks to the IPCC) AGW alarmist rhetoric.

The “must act now” mantra of the AGW alarmists could be considered a parallel to the [Israel] “must do more now” mantra that the media mavens invoke at every prospective revival of the so-called “peace process” – or the equally loud mantra that [Israel] “must stop now” whenever she has had the temerity to exercise her sovereign right to defend her citizens against attack.

Both the situation in Israel (and the disputed territories) and global warming are complex issues that, for the most part, the mainstream media have – for far too many years – given such shallow and one-sided coverage that they can no longer be believed. Just as good news from Israel is invariably “no news”, good news on the climate change front is rarely (if ever) considered “fit to print”.

Time magazine is a perfect example. Notwithstanding the above, and the many disturbing echoes from alt.revisionism that I’ve heard in the MSM during the last 6 years, I don’t think I ever envisaged the day that a so-called respectable magazine, such as Time, would abandon all journalistic ethics so that “good news” from Israel has, in effect, been obscenely warped into, well, “bad news” about Jews.

Daniel Gordis is one of my favourite commentators. His article today is a must read. Some excerpts:

Acceptable in Polite Society

The German word Salonfähig doesn’t have a precise English translation. The closest English can do is something along the lines of “acceptable in polite society.” Salonfähig came to mind when I got my first look at the outrageous cover of this week’s Time magazine. Against a light blue background is a Star of David composed of white daisies. “Blue and white” brought to you by Time. But in the middle of the star, in stark black letters, lies the title of this week’s cover story: “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.”

Here we are in the middle of peace negotiations that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, insisted upon, and to which the president of the Palestinian Authority, Abu Mazen, had to be dragged, and Time writes about “why Israel doesn’t care about peace.” Is there no limit to the Israel-bashing that now passes for serious convers[at]ion in polite society?


[Time’s] claim is that Israelis don’t discuss the peace process much (true), that they have low expectations (true), and that they don’t care (also true). And why do Israelis not care?

Ah, here comes the rub. Part of the answer that Time offers is that Israelis have despaired of peace (though why that might be is never explicitly stated – Palestinian recalcitrance is never actually mentioned, like a dark family secret that everyone knows but that everyone hopes will go away if it doesn’t surface). Israelis have learned to build decent lives even in the face of the conflict, and the Palestinians are now a nuisance, not a strategic threat. That’s true, and a fair point.

But what about the rest of the answer that Time offers? Why are Israelis not more interested in the peace process? Money.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Jews are more interested in money than in peace. In four pages of text, the Israeli (Jewish) pre-occupation with real estate, startups, and high rises on the Ashkelon beaches is repeated again and again and again, like the refrain of a bad country song. “Newspapers print fewer pages of politics … and more pages of business news.” That’s news? How is that different from dozens of other papers throughout the world? It seems that this is important because now we’re talking about Jewish newspapers, and those stubborn Jews who “don’t care about peace” just print more and more pages of business news.


The implication that Israelis are not overwhelmingly concerned about the peace process because we’re more interested in money is well … so stereotypical that it’s hard to believe that Time actually went that far. But that’s the world we live in. The line between Israel-bashing and Jew-baiting is so thin as to be nonexistent. And crossing the line is Salonfähig.


[O]n the first page of text, we’re offered a comparison of life in secular Tel Aviv versus largely religious Jerusalem: “On a Saturday, when Jerusalem turns into a mausoleum in observance of the Jewish Sabbath,” Karl Vick writes. A mausoleum? Would any decent publication dare describe the quiet that descends over Arab villages and neighborhoods as people enter their homes to eat the post-Ramadan-fast meal as a “mausoleum”? Can one imagine a sentence describing some New Hampshire town on a Christmas Eve as “quiet and still like a mausoleum”? It’s unthinkable. But it’s not unthinkable to describe the capital city of the Jewish state, at a moment of quietude in observance of a several-thousand-year-old tradition, as a “mausoleum.” Dead. Rotting. And Salonfähig again.


The worst, though, is still the cover. Across bookstore and airports this week, Time’s cover will scream to those who (wisely) do not read the story that it’s Israel, and Israelis, who simply don’t care about peace. It’s a setup, of course. Because these talks are likely to stall, and then to fail. And Time has already predicted whose fault that will be.

In today’s Jerusalem Post, there’s an article by the Arab-Israeli writer, Khaled Abu Toameh:

Analysis: The PA’s mixed messages about peace talks

A state on confusion: Different officials, sometimes the same officials, are issuing contradictory messages

It’s hard these days to tell exactly what the Palestinian Authority wants or thinks. For the past few days and weeks, it has been speaking with more than one voice, sometimes sending contradictory messages.


[…] Palestinians have become used to hearing such contradictory messages on an almost daily basis, sometimes from the same official.

Following last week’s ceremony in Washington, the chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat, gave a series of interviews to various media outlets.

In one interview, he was quoted as saying that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was not serious about reaching peace with the Palestinians and that his only goal was to waste time. Erekat later issued a denial, saying his words had been taken out of context.

In another interview, Erekat was quoted as saying that Israel and the Palestinians had agreed in Washington on the core issues that would be discussed during the direct talks. Later that day he was quoted by a different newspaper as saying that the two sides had yet to agree on the agenda of the negotiations.


Some PA officials sound more like their Hamas counterparts when they are interviewed in the Arab media.

Making statements and denying them, often within hours, has become almost a daily event in the politics of the PA. The latest example was that of Fatah’s Muhammad Dahlan, who, in an interview with an Arab newspaper on Sunday, denounced Netanyahu as a “swindler.”

After his remarks were published in Israel, the former security commander rushed to issue a denial, claiming that his words had been taken out of context.


Palestinian analysts said that the PA’s conflicting messages are a sign of the state [of] uncertainty among the top leaders in Ramallah.

Will Time ever do a cover story on the PA’s contribution to the failure of the peace process? Somehow I doubt it.

But speaking of “uncertainty” … on the climate change front, while reading the August 30 Inter Academy Council’s Climate Change Assessments, Review of the Processes & Procedures of the IPCC I was very encouraged to see that they appeared to give far more consideration to criticisms submitted than the previous post-climategate inquiries – in particular to the poor handling of “uncertainties”. And while there was no explicit criticism of the IPCC chair, Rajendra Pachauri, a recommendation that the term of office for his position be limited to the duration of one assessment (about which Time did report) certainly offers him the opportunity for a dignified, graceful exit.

Were Pachauri to take advantage of this opportunity, it would not fix the IPCC, but (to paraphrase Dickens):

It is a far, far better thing that he does, than he has ever done.

4 thoughts on “A tale of two prejudices: the tides of time (and TIME)

  1. I have to say, the Time article sent a chill down my spine. I never imagined I would see such outright antisemitism in the mainstream North American media in my lifetime.

    It’s strange how the second intifada changed things. I remember one clip during the terror rampage where a reporter was asking something of a small group of Jewish Israelis – I don’t remember the question, and I don’t recall the specific circumstances but I think it was shortly after yet another suicide bombing. One of the Israelis was practically shouting at the reporter “What about the dead Jews? Don’t you care about the dead Jews?” The answer comes clearer and clearer as time goes on, doesn’t it. No, they don’t care about dead Jews.

    The separation fence is condemned even though it virtually stopped the suicide bombings. Operation Cast Lead was condemned even though it virtually stopped the constant rain of rockets on southern towns. Now the blockade is condemned even though it prevents Hamas from importing additional arms, including longer range rockets and missiles.

    One by one, Israel’s defenses are stripped away. The result will be more dead Jews. And they’ll never admit it, but that’s what they want.


  2. Reblogged this on The View From Here and commented:

    In light of developments on the “climate” front and on the anti-Israel front – both of which have been brought to you courtesy of the United Nations – I think it’s worth re-reading a post I wrote almost five [edit: s/b four] years ago. Needless to say, there have been no improvements on either front in the interim. And, as a bonus, for today, readers might also be interested in the July 2014 View from Geneva as seen by UN Watch.org – because the lamestream media are highly unlikely to point you in their direction:


  3. More often than not, the “must act now” and the [Israel] “must stop now” mantras are coming from exactly the same source. Just one example is Friends of the Earth, only last week on BBC radio here in the UK pooh-poohing the notion that they have anything of an ideological agenda – however, earlier this month in Venezuela engaging in a rather different sort of campaign to the ones people usually identify them with:

    “We, here at this gathering of global civil society, are working together to stop the climate crisis – and hold a belief in an equitable, sustainable and just world. As part of our belief that ‘another world is possible’ we know that we will not be free until Palestine is free.”

    The web page describes the reading of a letter full of such sentiments, “by activist Asad Rehman of Friends of the Earth International, at the final plenary session of the International Preparatory Meeting for the Social Pre-COP on Climate Change”.

    The Social Pre-COP was a bizarre event anyway (read the “Margarita Declaration” to get a flavour of it) but I’m still asking myself why environmental campaigners at a conference about climate change and under the umbrella (sort of) of the United Nations would think that this anti-Israel politicking is part of their remit.

    • Alex, that “Margarita Declaration” is something else, isn’t it?! Talk about a “word salad”, eh?! Although I suppose it’s possible that the Spanish version (which I presume – perhaps mistakenly – would have been the original) was somewhat more coherent … or at least slightly so!

      As for the cross-pollination (for want of a better phrase at this hour!) facilitated by Friends of the Earth … It makes about as much sense as former Olympics head honcho (2001-2013), Belgium’s Jacques Rogue’s “historic” (of course!) appearance with Ban Ki-Moon in April of this year:

      A former Olympian, Mr. Rogge, will help promote sport as an empowerment tool for youth from displaced and refugee communities towards peace, reconciliation, security, health, education, gender equality, and a more inclusive society, according to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.

      In conflict areas such as Syria, the Central African Republic and South Sudan, and in the neighbouring countries which host millions of refugees, “sport has a role to play in helping to restore at least some sense of normalcy,” Mr. Ban said.

      See: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47671#.U9d0x-NdV8E

      And see also https://hro001.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/unipcc-foundations-legacies-and-values-of-olympian-proportions/ for this “global dynamic duo” (Ki-Moon and Rogge) in action a few months earlier.

      I wonder if Rogge and his UN sports brigade will be able to do anything for the poor kids on the doorstep of the bright and shiny UNEP HQ in Nairobi …

      street children and people coming up to you in the streets with hard-luck tales. They may be pickpockets or part of an elaborate scam. The best thing to do is just to walk on and ignore them

      … as delegates to the UNEP’s new, improved “United Nations Environment Assembly of the United Nations Environment Programme” (UNEA) were officially advised to do in June of this year.

      Don’t know about you, but, for some strange reason, I have my doubts.

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