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TC Jewfolk: TIME magazine cover story is insulting to Jews

TIME Magazine hits the stands today with its weekly issue – and with one explosive cover. I happen to be quite a fan of TIME – it is hands down one of my favorite publications – and I have been a regular reader for well over a decade. But I have only one word for its brand-new cover – it is nothing less than vile. No, I take that back. I actually have two words. It is vile and antisemitic.

TIME’cover story is boldly titled ”Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace.” The cover presents this outrageous title wrapped in a daisy-chain Star of David. How nice.

Personally, I find it rather incredible that after Israel had made peace with longtime bitter enemies Egypt and Jordan – giving up tremendous amounts of territory and oil reserves, and evacuating a large number of settlements in the process; after Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip – evacuating more settlements – to give the Palestinians a chance to start building a peaceful state of their own; after Israel offered an unprecedented amount of territory, including East Jerusalem for their capital, to the Palestinians in 2000; and after all this has been answered by nothing but decades of violence, bombs, and rockets against its civilians from Palestinians who still refuse to even put Israel on a map – after all this, the one thing TIME can manage to write at the start of another peace process is that Israelis do not care enough about peace?

Really? That is the one notable thought that comes to mind?


And even if that truly is the only thought that TIME feels is worth commenting on at this junction in history – they could have used an Israeli flag on the cover, no? And this is where this cover morphs from just offensive, into straight antisemitism. A story on Israeli attitudes about peace – presented with a Star of David? The most-recognized, universal symbol for Jews? Forget those uncaring Israelis – it’s those war-mongering, uncaring Jews we all need to worry about, of course.

We hear time and time again these days how we should not lump the attitudes of one subgroup of a religion with the entire religion. But of course, that doesn’t apply to the Jews. Let’s make them all seem responsible for anything Israel does. Hey, Israel’s actions (and now apparently thoughts)  justify violence against Jews in France all of the time, right? Why should we here be any better?

But I’ve said enough about the cover itself – let me now tell you a little bit about the story.

Like I said, I’m a longtime dedicated reader of TIME. And normally, their cover stories are major, multi-page, elaborate, well-sourced affairs. For instance, late July’s cover: a 4-page, elaborate investigation of what will happen to Afghan women if the U.S. withdraws and the Taliban returns to power. Or last week’s cover: another 4-page investigation into why homeownership may no longer be economically viable. Next week will cover what measures are being taken by states to improve America’s schools. Impressive, right?

But this story? As far as I can tell from the preview version, the author interviews precisely 2 real estate agents. Who conveniently work in one office – probably to save himself walking time. He offers no statistics or hard numbers – aside from a single poll back in March (we are not told who was polled, or by whom) – which tells us that Israelis are worried about things like crime and national security, too, and not only the bombs. Well, gee.

I guess if these real-estate agents sold 12 apartments last week that must really mean something. Is 12 a lot, or a little? Nevermind that yes, they are selling, but for half what they are worth in Tel Aviv – because Ashdod (the city in question) is within rocket range of Gaza! And these agents dare talkabout interest rates in a real-estate office! How non-socially conscious of them!

I bet if I went around the U.S. and interviewed 2 random real estate agents, I could write just about any article I wanted, too. For instance, that the U.S. is turning to communism. Or Islamic fascism. Or alternatively, is about to start arresting and shooting immigrants on sight. Can I get a job like that for Time?

But the lack of any actual evidence doesn’t stop this author from making the big pronouncements. Like:

Israelis are no longer preoccupied with the matter. They’re otherwise engaged; they’re making money; they’re enjoying the rays of late summer.

What does that even mean? How could you possibly back up whether Israelis are preoccupied with something or not? Are you just saying so? They are making money and enjoying the sunshine? What kind of reporting is that? How many of them? Are they really enjoying the sunshine? Or suffering from the heat? And does that mean you can’t be in danger when it’s sunny?

And shame on them for daring to actually, you know, still have jobs, and enjoy the weather (which I hear has actually been extremely hot and unpleasant lately), while there is no peace. I guess a caring people would just sit around at home all day, unemployed and miserable. (I suppose nobody told this guy that Gaza’s beaches have recently been reported to be full, as well. I guess they, too, do not care).

The story ends with another brilliant contribution from those prolific real-estate agents.

The people, Heli says, don’t believe. … People in Israel are indifferent. … They live in the day.

Of course Israelis “live in the day.” They all know they might die the next day. But I guess that would land you with a different conclusion that this author cares to draw. See how easily you can make 2 people’s quotes mean anything you like? Or perhaps nothing at all? And this they call a cover story?

Funny how journalistic standards seem to go right out the window the minute Israel enters the picture. Amazing how TIME manages to write about charter schools, or Afghan women, by doing more than just interviewing 2 New Jersey moms, or 2 women on the street in Afghanistan. But I guess Israel is just so different that any random, poorly-sourced trash can land on the TIME Magazine cover, with a big Jewish star attached.

I don’t normally like to write about my family, since that’s personal, but just this once, I’ll make an exception. My mother has been a dedicated reader of TIME Magazine for many, many years. She told me last week that she is now canceling her subscription. No publication (no matter how good generally) that places a giant Jewish symbol on its cover, with a basically-made up story about how Israelis are getting rich, and don’t care about peace, is getting her money any longer. I sincerely hope she’s not the only one.

Note: I read the preview story online last week. If you would like to read it for yourself (which I do not necessarily recommend), may I suggest you do the same, and read it for free online, instead of paying for an issue of TIME at the news stand? No magazine should get even $5 of your money for this kind of outrageous excuse for “reporting.” The story is available for free online here.

This post was written by Jenna Mitelman and originally published on TC Jewfolk. Follow TC Jewfolk on Twitter:@tcjewfolk.


Comments (4)

  1. Submitted by Reuben Saltzman on 09/14/2010 - 06:55 am.

    Normally when I read a title like yours, my first thought is to play the devil’s advocate, because I feel like so many people are way to sensitive… but you’re right on.

    I read the Time magazine article, and I’m thoroughly disgusted.

  2. Submitted by Pearl Vork-Zambory on 09/14/2010 - 08:29 am.

    I have to agree with Reuben, above. I came into this article looking for the “yes, but…” and didn’t find it.

    Well written. Really enjoyed this piece.


  3. Submitted by Kate Mohler on 09/14/2010 - 11:34 am.

    I enjoyed reading this article, which provides yet another point of view on the topic. Well-written and passionate–excellent read.

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 09/15/2010 - 10:46 am.

    The writer has failed to go beyond the AIPAC and fundamentalist Zionist view (absolutely not the same as regular Zionism) of Israel and its neighbors.

    Israel didn’t exactly “withdraw” from Gaza. It just turned it into a prison for a million and a half people and refusing to allow materials for reconstruction to enter; for reducing the supply of fuel needed to run their electric power plant enough to assure electrical service; for making Gazans spend hours waiting to get to medical care in Israel at their checkpoints and be subjected to humiliating strip searchers. All in all, Israel cannot pretend that Gaza is anything but a hell hole, and it’s certainly not the fault of its inhabitants.

    East Jerusalem as its capital? This area, I believe, is the one where illegal settlers (in defiance right now of the Israeli government) claims centuries-old Palestinian farms and homes as “rightfully” theirs — bulldozes all buildings and agricultural crops on “their” site and turns Palestinians out on the streets without their belongings or their means of livelihood.

    TIME Magazine may offend some Jewish Americans, but not those who DO pay attention, who are NOT ignorant of the truth, and who are members of the peace movement gaining strength here and in Israel.

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