February 27, 2002
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The New York Times this morning escalates its relentless campaign to hype the Friedman-Abdullah plan for Israel to surrender its capital and retreat to indefensible borders in exchange for nebulous promises of "normalization" from the surrounding third-world Arab dictatorships.
It's the lead, front-page news article in today's New York Times. The Times news article quotes unchallenged a "senior" Bush administration official who claims, "This is the first time we've heard any nation in the region talk about full normalization between Arab nations and Israel at the end of the peace process."
First time? Israel and the Arabs have been talking about this for almost 25 years, since the Camp David agreement with Egypt. The New York Times itself reported on January 16, 1998 that "The diplomats said that Mr. Assad told a visiting American Congressional delegation last week that next week's meeting should serve as an occasion for Mr. Clinton to urge Mr. Netanyahu to be more open to the prospect of resuming talks with the Syrians in a way consistent with the conditional assurance provided by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin as early as July 1994. It was at that time, American and Israeli officials have said, that Mr. Rabin told Secretary of State Warren Christopher that Israel would be willing to withdraw from the Golan Heights to the lines that were in place before the 1967 war in return for security assurances and the full normalization of relations between the two countries. That assurance was the basis of talks between Syria and Israel that reached their peak at the Wye Plantation, a conference center in Maryland, in early 1996. The talks were halted after a series of bombings in Israel."
So according to the Times itself, Israel and Syria have been talking about "full normalization" since at least July 1994. Talking is the operative word, because most of the Arab tyrants are not interested in normalizing relations with Israel. They are interesting in "talking" about it, because it reaps them the public relations benefit of changing the subject away from their own repressive human rights practices and their support for terrorist attacks against Americans.
Then there is the case of Jordan. The Israel-Jordan peace treaty signed on October 26, 1994, states, "The Parties agree to establish full diplomatic and consular relations and to exchange resident ambassadors within one month of the exchange of the instruments of ratification of this Treaty. The Parties agree that the normal relationship between them will further include economic and cultural relations." Maybe the "senior" Bush administration official hasn't read that treaty. If he had, he wouldn't be hyperventilating about the "first time."
One reason that these "senior" Bush administration officials seek to be identified as such in the Times is that when they say surpassingly stupid things, they are not held accountable by name. The Times lets this "first time" quote pass unchallenged, as if it were true.
The same Times article goes on to say that the Friedman-Abdullah plan "revived demands for an Israeli withdrawal far greater than the Israeli right could agree to." It is not only a withdrawal far greater than the Israeli right could agree to; as Dore Gold points out in an op-ed piece in today's Times, it is a withdrawal greater than that required by U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, which has been the basis for the Israeli-Arab negotiations, and it is a withdrawal beyond "the most conciliatory Israeli positions advanced by the Barak government." But rather than using Mr. Gold's description, the Times news article invokes the bogeyman of "the Israeli right."
Thinly Veiled: A dispatch from Washington in the national section of today's New York Times reports that the free-speech restriction legislation under consideration by the Senate -- the Times calls it "legislation to overhaul the campaign-finance law" -- "puts new restraints on thinly veiled campaign advertising by outside groups." As Smartertimes.com noted earlier this month, this description is not-so-thinly veiled bias by the New York Times. The legislation in fact applies not only to "thinly veiled campaign advertising" but to, as the bill text puts it, "any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication which refers to a clearly identified candidate for Federal office." In other words, the bill prohibits within the designated period not just thinly veiled campaign advertising but also thickly veiled campaign advertising and even advertising that has no relation, thickly or thinly veiled, to campaigns, but that merely happens to mention the name of or show the image of a congressman or president who is running for reelection. It's a thinly veiled effort by Congress to abridge the First Amendment right of the press, the First Amendment right of speech and the First Amendment right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
Group Rights: A dispatch from Washington in the national section of today's New York Times reports on a hearing about the nomination of Gerald Reynolds to head the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Education. "As assistant secretary of education for civil rights, Mr. Reynolds would oversee laws to protect the rights of minorities, female students, children with learning disabilities and disabled people," the Times reports. "His nomination is opposed by a number of organizations that represent the people whose rights he would be in charge of upholding, including the N.A.A.C.P., the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the American Association of People With Disabilities and the American Association of University Women." This is a strange definition of what Mr. Reynolds would do as assistant secretary of education for civil rights. A less politicized definition would say that he would enforce the five federal laws that prohibit discrimination in education programs and activities that receive federal financial assistance. These laws outlaw discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, disability and age; that's a different thing from saying they "protect the rights of minorities" and "female students." The same laws protect the rights of majorities and of male students. The Times defines Mr. Reynolds's job as to defend the rights of only some Americans, not the rights of all Americans. So it's no wonder that the Times only mentions the groups that oppose his nomination, not the groups that support it -- groups that also represents people whose rights Mr. Reynolds would be in charge of upholding.
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