The “New York Times” Finds New Ways to Distort the History of the Israel-Palestinian Conflict

Earlier this month, the New York Times Magazine published a long article, titled “The Road to 1948,” drawn from a conversation among six professors, three Arab and three Jewish. But even the composition of the panel fits what Benny Morris terms the article’s “misleading attempt to project even-handedness,” as two of the Jewish participants betray a sharply critical attitude toward Zionism, while the three Arab scholars “almost uniformly toe the PLO (or Hamas) line, which is indistinguishable from propaganda.” Morris also notes:

Five of the six people involved can hardly be deemed experts on either the Arab-Israeli conflict or the 1948 war. Only one—Itamar Rabinovich, a former Israeli ambassador to Washington—has published works of some relevance.

Morris dissects the article’s numerous errors, half-truths, and omissions. For instance:

Emily Bazelon, [the piece’s moderator and editor], informs readers that the first bout of violence took place when the 1920 Muslim Nebi Musa festivities in Jerusalem “turned into a deadly riot,” in which “five Jews and four Arabs [were] killed.” Neither she nor any of the panelists mention that an Arab mob attacked, murdered, and wounded Jews or that the crowd of perpetrators chanted “nashrab dam al-yahud” (“we will drink the blood of the Jews”). Nor does she tell us that the crowd shouted, “Mohammad’s religion was born with the sword,” according to the eyewitness Khalil al-Sakakini, a Christian Arab educator.

The other errors are more severe still, but I found this point about the Bir Zeit University sociologist Salim Tamari especially noteworthy:

Tamari blithely dismisses the [1948] war by saying that the Palestinians and the Arab states were weak and that “the Arab defeat was almost a foregone conclusion.” But this only seems true in retrospect. In May 1948, the American and British intelligence services predicted an Arab victory.

Tamari and the others thus seem to go beyond the standard academic argument that Israel independence was built on the terrible and inhuman mass-dispossession of Palestinians. They also want to defend the collective honor of the four Arab armies that lost to a group of Jews they outnumbered and outgunned.

Read more at Quillette

More about: Israeli War of Independence, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, New York Times

How America Sowed the Seeds of the Current Middle East Crisis in 2015

Analyzing the recent direct Iranian attack on Israel, and Israel’s security situation more generally, Michael Oren looks to the 2015 agreement to restrain Iran’s nuclear program. That, and President Biden’s efforts to resurrect the deal after Donald Trump left it, are in his view the source of the current crisis:

Of the original motivations for the deal—blocking Iran’s path to the bomb and transforming Iran into a peaceful nation—neither remained. All Biden was left with was the ability to kick the can down the road and to uphold Barack Obama’s singular foreign-policy achievement.

In order to achieve that result, the administration has repeatedly refused to punish Iran for its malign actions:

Historians will survey this inexplicable record and wonder how the United States not only allowed Iran repeatedly to assault its citizens, soldiers, and allies but consistently rewarded it for doing so. They may well conclude that in a desperate effort to avoid getting dragged into a regional Middle Eastern war, the U.S. might well have precipitated one.

While America’s friends in the Middle East, especially Israel, have every reason to feel grateful for the vital assistance they received in intercepting Iran’s missile and drone onslaught, they might also ask what the U.S. can now do differently to deter Iran from further aggression. . . . Tehran will see this weekend’s direct attack on Israel as a victory—their own—for their ability to continue threatening Israel and destabilizing the Middle East with impunity.

Israel, of course, must respond differently. Our target cannot simply be the Iranian proxies that surround our country and that have waged war on us since October 7, but, as the Saudis call it, “the head of the snake.”

Read more at Free Press

More about: Barack Obama, Gaza War 2023, Iran, Iran nuclear deal, U.S. Foreign policy