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‘The media consensus on Israel is collapsing’

Over at Salon, Jordan Michael Smith compiles a lot of evidence to back up his headline that “The Media Consensus on Israel is collapsing.

Exhibit A was a Tom Friedman column that included this paragraph:

“I sure hope that Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, understands that the standing ovation he got in Congress this year was not for his politics. That ovation was bought and paid for by the Israel lobby. The real test is what would happen if Bibi tried to speak at, let’s say, the University of Wisconsin. My guess is that many students would boycott him and many Jewish students would stay away, not because they are hostile but because they are confused.”

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Comments (21)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/21/2011 - 08:41 pm.

    Sounds more like a media consensus on Bibi, who is NOT the state even if he may think so.
    One can dislike (or loathe, as do many Israelis) Bibi without opposing the state of Israel.

  2. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/21/2011 - 08:54 pm.

    When Americans change their mind about Israel, their representatives will too, and all the lobbying in the world won’t change that.

  3. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 12/21/2011 - 09:44 pm.

    The consensus has been unraveling since the second Intifada. The numbers and images just don’t add up for the Israeli leadership narrative anymore. It’s a good thing because is will move the two state solution forward and bring stability to the region. If anyone is interested in going back and looking at how the consensus was manufactured and maintained, read Chomsky.

  4. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/21/2011 - 09:49 pm.

    Tom Friedman is typical of American liberal Jews. They’re leftists first, Americans second and Jews third.

    Benjamin Netanyahu’s standing ovation was from congressional republicans who are the best friends Israel ever had and he knows it.

    And the reason Jewish college students would be “confused” is because they’ve been told their entire lives by their liberal parents that republicans are hateful nazis to be scorned, when in fact they see nothing but leftists at the pro-palestinian rallies and hear shouts of antisemitic slurs at the “occupy wall street” camps while the only ones willing to fight and die for Israel are the mostly christian soldiers of the American military.

  5. Submitted by Richard Schulze on 12/22/2011 - 06:53 am.

    Dennis, Have you ever physically set foot in Israel?

    Most Americans don’t know about how Israelis treat the people of the West Bank, slowly colonizing through settlements while carrying on a policy similar to Apartheid in the land they control. Most Americans have never met an Arab, and only recently became aware of the desire of Arabs to live in modern democracies, too. It will be a long, slow, change, but a successful democracy in Egypt could help Americans gain a little more perspective.

  6. Submitted by Peder DeFor on 12/22/2011 - 08:28 am.

    I’ve never set foot in Israel and am far from an expert on the West Bank. But I’m still very wary of casual accusations that Jews can only have supporters if they’re ‘bought and paid for’. Good grief.

  7. Submitted by Thomas Swift on 12/22/2011 - 09:06 am.

    I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news for leftists, but news of Israel’s demise are greatly exaggerated.

  8. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/22/2011 - 10:22 am.

    I find it amusing that Mr. Tester not only has the time to be the judge of who is a “real Republican” but also is now branching out to being the judge of who are “real Jews”.

    The consensus on Israel IS changing, not only in the US, but in the rest of the world and in Israel itself.

    There is an internal political battle in Israel where the extremely conservative Zionist factions are pushing the entire Israeli government into a untenable corner of unlimited expansion of territory to accommodate “natural growth”. It’s never worked anywhere in the world, it won’t work there.

    It’s an internationally indefensible position which sabotages any forward movement in any peace agreement. Regardless of the tireless work of AIPAC, the mood is changing.

    It is a very strange system where the vital interests of Israel depend upon the favor of American politicians who hold the view that the state of Israel must be preserved to allow its destruction in the end-times.

  9. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/22/2011 - 11:57 am.

    “… the view that the state of Israel must be preserved to allow its destruction in the end-times.”

    That is the fairy tale they tell you people, isn’t it.

  10. Submitted by Jon Kingstad on 12/22/2011 - 11:58 am.

    I wonder if Thomas Friedman means “Jewish students would stay away . . . because they are confused” in the sense they are opposed to Netanyahu but mixed up and wrong or because they just don’t know what to think. No doubt there are many who fall in the latter category but I know personally many Jews who reject Netanyahu’s politics and policies. But how is that any different than in Israel. The Likkud party is not supported by everyone. The Likkud stays in power only by forming coalitions with other parties.

    Most politicians, like many non-Jewish Americans, do not support the Likkudnik policies, but are fearful of criticizing Netanyahu and his party, like AIPAC, for fear of being branded anti-Semitic. The “media consensus” for quite a few years now has been a sort of self-imposed censorship on dissenting views on US policies toward one of its closest allies. If it’s falling apart, I say, it’s about time. Let’s start hearing some truth and be treated at least as well as Israelis are treated.

  11. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/22/2011 - 01:27 pm.

    Tom Friedman may have been a liberal when he was growing up in St. Louis Park — he is far from it now.
    As usual, anyone to the left of Genghis Khan gets labeled ‘liberal’ by some people.

  12. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/22/2011 - 03:40 pm.

    Mr. Tester (#4) says of students that they are confused because they “see nothing but leftists at the pro-palestinian rallies and hear shouts of antisemitic slurs at the ‘occupy wall street’ camps while the only ones willing to fight and die for Israel are the mostly Christian soldiers of the American military.”

    American soldiers, like those of any country, have to fight and die whenever they’re told to. Why should anyone not a member of the military be willing to do so for Israel or any other country?

    Pro-Palestinian rallies are held in protest of Israel’s continued theft of West Bank land that belongs to Palestinian residents and farmers who have lived for centuries on property that Israel now thinks belongs to it. You will naturally see left-leaning Americans there.

    You will NOT hear “anti-Semitic slurs” at any Occupy camp or demonstration because there is no hatred of Jews or any other ethnic or religious group, but there is honest and heart-felt disapproval of Israel’s actions toward its Arab citizens and neighbors. AIPAC uses the technique of labeling these objections anti-Semitic, but the rest of us should not.

  13. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 12/22/2011 - 04:24 pm.

    “You will NOT hear “anti-Semitic slurs” at any Occupy camp or demonstration because there is no hatred of Jews”

    Bernice, if you’re not easily offended by street language, watch the clip below.

  14. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/22/2011 - 06:58 pm.

    YouTube’s record for spoofs and outright lies is impressive. Anyone can post anything until someone calls it out.

    To quote from your link:
    “Uploaded by NROVideos on Oct 4, 2011

    Occupy Wall Street protester greets questioner with anti-Semitic remarks, tells National Review Online he is a “provocateur.” ”

    Sounds like a setup.

    And the National Review (the poster to YouTube) has its own agenda.

  15. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/23/2011 - 10:46 am.

    Dennis– Yesterday afternoon and again this morning, the video you recommended was “not available” at YouTube.

    Re: Comment #9 — The view that Israel “must survive until the end times” is held not by “you people” but by such as the Reverend Hagee (John McCain’s friend) and other Christian Zionist fundamentalists, Many of whom serve in the U.S. Congress.

  16. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/24/2011 - 07:18 pm.

    It’s baaaack….
    Still shows two obnoxious people.

  17. Submitted by Chuck Johnson on 12/26/2011 - 04:14 pm.

    Israel is an Apartheid regime. Their days are numbered and deservedly so.

    I’m still trying to figure out how so many Jews can manage to support all the liberal causes here in the USA, for instance they founded the NAACP, but continue to support unabated racist settlers practicing their pogroms against Palestinians on the West Bank.

    Maybe MinnPost can interview some local Rabbis and get to the bottom of this hypocrisy?

  18. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/27/2011 - 05:39 pm.

    A rather blatant overstatement.
    Yes, the current government of Israel is doing some bad things to Palestinians, but equating it with pogrom and apartheid shows either ignorance or deliberate malice. I’d say ignorance, since you are unaware that while Jews aided in the formation of the NAACP, they were not the founders, most of whom were Christian whites. And have you not heard of W. E. B. Du Bois?

    Many of us liberal Jews both in Israel and the United States are doing more to counter the situation in the Middle East than you are (check out J Street).

  19. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/27/2011 - 05:52 pm.

    By the way, the NAACP was founded in 1909. Jews had plenty of problems of our own at that time; we were less likely to be involved in other people’s causes.
    You may be confusing the founding of the NAACP with the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, in which Jews -were- actively involved.

  20. Submitted by Chuck Johnson on 01/02/2012 - 10:08 am.

    I’m “ignorant”?

    Apparently Wikipedia shares my ignorance, so read this from the NCAAP entry on Wikipedia with regard to the founding of the organization:

    “The NAACP was incorporated…in 1911. The association’s charter delineated its mission:

    To promote equality of rights and to eradicate caste or race prejudice among the citizens of the United States; to advance the interest of colored citizens; to secure for them impartial suffrage; and to increase their opportunities for securing justice in the courts, education for the children, employment according to their ability and complete equality before law.

    The conference resulted in a more influential and diverse organization, where the leadership was predominantly white and heavily Jewish American. In fact, at its founding, the NAACP had only one African American on its executive board, Du Bois himself. It did not elect a black president until 1975, although executive directors had been African American. The Jewish community contributed greatly to the NAACP’s founding and continued financing. Jewish historian Howard Sachar writes in his book A History of Jews in America of how, “In 1914, Professor Emeritus Joel Spingarn of Columbia University became chairman of the NAACP and recruited for its board such Jewish leaders as Jacob Schiff, Jacob Billikopf, and Rabbi Stephen Wise.”[15] Early Jewish-American co-founders included Julius Rosenwald, Lillian Wald, Rabbi Emil G. Hirsch and Wise.”

    And I stand by my comment that Israel is an Apartheid regime which denies equality to Palestinians. Pogrom is a quite accurate description of what so called Settlers are doing to Palestinians on a daily basis. J Street is a joke; they are in fact active supporters of Zionism and silent with regard to the violence committed against Palestinians.

  21. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 01/02/2012 - 03:10 pm.


    See the NAACP’s own history at

    A more complete Wikepedia quote would include:

    “The Birth of the NAACP
    See also: African-American – Jewish relations #Early 20th Century

    The Race Riot of 1908 in Abraham Lincoln’s hometown of Springfield, Illinois had highlighted the urgent need for an effective civil rights organization in the U.S. This event is often cited as the catalyst for the formation of the NAACP. Mary White Ovington, journalist William English Walling and Henry Moskowitz met in New York City in January 1909 and the NAACP was born.[10] Solicitations for support went out to more than 60 prominent Americans, and a meeting date was set for February 12, 1909. This was intended to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the birth of President Abraham Lincoln, who emancipated enslaved African Americans. While the meeting did not take place until three months later, this date is often cited as the founding date of the organization.

    The NAACP was founded on February 12, 1909 by a diverse group composed of W.E.B. Du Bois, Ida B. Wells, Archibald Grimké, Henry Moscowitz, Mary White Ovington, Oswald Garrison Villard, William English Walling (the last son of a former slave-holding family),[10][11] Florence Kelley, a social reformer and friend of Du Bois,[12] and Charles Edward Russell, a renowned muckraker and close friend of Walling who helped plan the NAACP and served as acting chairman of the National Negro Committee (1909), a forerunner to the NAACP.[13]

    On May 30, 1909, the Niagara Movement conference took place at New York City’s Henry Street Settlement House, from which an organization of more than 40 individuals emerged, calling itself the National Negro Committee. Du Bois played a key role in organizing the event and presided over the proceedings. Also in attendance was African-American journalist and anti-lynching crusader Ida B. Wells-Barnett. At its second conference on May 30, 1910, members chose as the organization’s name the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and elected its first officers, who were:[14]
    National President, Moorfield Storey, Boston; Chairman of the Executive Committee, William English Walling; Treasurer, John E. Milholland (a Lincoln Republican and Presbyterian from New York City and Lewis, NY); Disbursing Treasurer, Oswald Garrison Villard; Executive Secretary, Frances Blascoer; Director of Publicity and Research, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois.”

    Jews became more involved in 1914 (again from Wikipedia), but hardly dominated the organization.

    I won’t dignify your other statements by replying to them any further.

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