Monday, January 10, 2011

The Economist Predicts ME War [again]

Elliot Jager rips The Economist for their recent cover story warning of the possibility of war in the Middle East.

Economist editorials and feature articles are published anonymously—though the newspaper's Israel correspondent, former Haaretz editor David Landau, would likely have contributed to the latest barrage. Landau is on record as asserting that Israel is begging for "more vigorous U.S. intervention" and in fact "wants to be raped" by Washington. In the Economist report, an unappreciative Israel is now pocketing billions in American aid even as it rebuffs pleas to "pause in its building of illegal Jewish settlements." The reasons for this supposed obstinacy are Israel's "thriving economy" and "America's pro-Israel lobby"—hence the need for muscular and determined action by the White House.

One despairs of rehearsing the fatal flaws with this argument, to the extent that it is an argument at all rather than an unsubstantiated rant. Suffice it to say that Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, has latched onto any pretext not to negotiate with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government. But it is hardly any wonder that relative moderates like him are fearful. Coddled by the international community, Hamas is solidifying its grip on Gaza, and with Syria's support Hizballah has for all intents and purposes usurped Lebanese sovereignty. Iran may soon provide the rejectionists with a nuclear umbrella. In this geopolitical climate, Abbas would be pilloried if he negotiated in earnest with Netanyahu.

The implication is clear: unless the international community first tackles the jihadists and rejectionists, moderates will be afraid to make the compromises necessary for a settlement. But don't tell that to the Economist. Indeed, in its survey of the entire Middle East, from Afghanistan to Iran to Iraq, the "biggest headache" the editors can find to name is not the metastasizing evil that, in its latest incarnation, inspired the terror bombing of a New Year's eve mass at a Coptic church in Egypt but rather "Jewish colonization in the West Bank." Swept aside as evidently beneath consideration is the possibility that disputed territory captured in a war of self-defense, of immense strategic value to Israel's survival, and deeply rooted in Jewish civilization ought at least to be the subject of direct negotiations between the parties.

All this is par for the course. Reading the Economist, one learns that Israel perpetually, and lethally, magnifies and then bungles even legitimate security threats; that it obdurately "colonizes" the "Palestinian side of the 1967 border"; that its harassment of Arabs extends to setting traffic lights in Palestinian areas to flicker green only briefly. Such "reporting," which falls somewhere on the grid between the false, the farcical, and the fabricated, lends a sobering relevance to the words of billionaire CEO Larry Ellison, quoted in one of the magazine's canny ad campaigns: "I used to think. Now, I just read the Economist."

One trembles to imagine how many among its 1.6 million readers let the Economist do their thinking for them.

As we've already seen, there are apparently a lot of readers who let the Economist do their thinking for them.

What could go wrong?

Labels: anti-Semitism, The Economist

posted by Carl in Jerusalem @ 2:29 AM

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