Friday, August 06, 2004

Gosh, Goldberg

The Jeffrey Goldberg saga, continuing (expect more postings soon)

Dear Jeffrey,

I just managed to get over being dumped from your New Yorker piece after spending
a good deal of time with you at my office at the Begin Center and on the phone (and after waiting a long time between your first approach to me and then finally sitting down to talk) and now your NYTimes op-ed.

You had me fooled, I'll admit. I took you for a serious, open-minded individual,
knowledgeable of the circumstances, the instricacies and at times, the covoluted narratives of Israeli officialdom, Arabs, and the Jewish revenants who reside in portions of the historic land of Israel not yet under sovereign Jewish rule. But reading carefully through you two last products, I'm stumped.I presumed that I did not make it into your New Yorker opus because I was not extremist enough or, to be self-conglaturatory, that I was too cogent, rational and logical and had a good enough answer for every question you raised. I was under the impression that you were objective and wanted to tell the story as it is, a simplistic but very fundamental journalistic credo, one they teach or sort of mention in passing in
Journalism 101.

Of all the figures you included there, I was chagrined that I didn't even merit a small two sentence paragraph. After all, I've been in Yesha, in my community of Shiloh, since 1981, managing to participate in the first settling attempt at Sebastia in 1975 and serving as part of the English-language information & PR team of Gush Emunim for three decades.

I was even at the Yesha delegation that shadowed Yitzhak Shamir at the 1991 Madrid
Conference and during 1983-1988, served as editor of Counterpoint, the Gush Emunim
periodical, was founding editor of The Yesha Report in 1990 and sat on the Yesha Council and the Nekuda editorial board. As a second-echelon person, I think my opnions could have counted for some literary value.Then comes your latest in this week's New York Times.

If you go to my blog web site, - - you'll see that I wrote these comments, pithy and concise(with a few newly added notes):-

a) Why dateline "Ofra"? Nothing in the story relates to Ofra. Why not Jerusalem?(I now know you were at Amona. But if so, why dateline it Ofra?)

b) Okay, we have a Kachnik, one. Does that reflect on 250,000 other Jews?
c) The last political assassin was not a "settler". Why emphasize the "settlers" in this if the issue is the future assassination of Sharon?

d) If Dichter believes 200 potentials are out there, and he believes in administrative detention (=A.D.), how come no one is in A.D.? After all, they put Noam Federman in (and had to release him as, we suppose, they had no real proof), why not Haim, Yankel or even Mrs. Ayelet?

e) He misquotes Rav Neventzahl.(the Rabbi said that while he cannot erase the Halachic principle from our books, it should not be part of "hashkafa" - sort of philosophical outlook).

f) Meir Kahane was assassinated by a Muslim fanatacist - according to Goldberg's logic, should we start then assassinating muslim fanaticists (or are we already doing that and now Goldberg says its okay)?

g) Wilder claims he didn't exactly quote him in proper context.(I spoke with him yesterday)

h) Sharon himself could be doing a lot more to prevent, heavens forbid, his future assassination if he acted at least within democratic parameters, no? Wouldn't a liberal like Goldberg support that position?(could it be that this is a form of "liberal projection"? That the liberals are set on uprooting people from their homes and so need a counter-criminality from the Right?).

In addition, the spokeswoman of Ofra, Ruchie Avital, wrote this:

Although Jeffrey Goldberg datelined his article, "Protect Sharon From the Right," Ofra, West Bank, nowhere in the article is Ofra mentioned and none of the people referred to or quoted live in Ofra. I fail to understand the reason for this - did Mr. Goldberg stop off on his way and write the story on his laptop in the Ofra bus stop or local restaurant? The dateline could just have well have been Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. He seems to imply that Ofra is somehow part of the alleged threats and violence he discusses in the article, while this is not at all the case. Goldberg, I would think, has violated basic journalistic ethics in this case.

and this, too, she penned:

From the description, I had no way of understanding from the article itself where the
"outpost" Mr. Goldberg mentions is. He mentions it being "in the radical settler heartland near Nablus." Ofra is 15 minutes north of Jerusalem and 10 minutes from Ramallah - Nablus, on the otherhand, is a good 50-60 minutes to the North. Amona itself, the "outpost" Goldberg visited, is only about 8 miles north of Jerusalem,
as the crowflies, as I'm sure he could clearly see from the synagogue where the Brit was held. Being a very small country, these distances are verysignificant. Additionally, he mentions "rough trek through Arab villages to get to this hill." To reach Amona, one travels a well-paved highway to Ofra - both from north and south - a large community of about 550 families, and then drives up a paved road.

In addition, Goldberg's screed against settlers and Orthodox Jews is filled with inaccuracies and selective facts; to mention just a few: Rabin was not assassinated by a settler, the vast majority of Jews living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, including among the younger generation, do NOT support Kahane or his extremist followers, and Kahane himself was murdered by a Muslim fanatic in New York.

But the most important fact of all is that besides their strongly felt moral repugnance towards the idea of murder, political or otherwise, the Jews of Judea, Samaria and Gaza are well aware that nothing could bemore disastrous for the entire settlement movement than an attempt or even hint of an attempt to harm Ariel Sharon. Goldberg claims to have heard 14 people express a desire to murder the prime minister. I must admit, I have never heard even one.

And now back to me, Yisrael Medad:

I was contacted by Ayelet's father-in-law who claims that she denies the circumstances and narrative of her meeting with you that you included in your story. Gosh, Jeff, have we a problem with you or have you a problem with yourself?

The conflict between us Israelis and us revenants is bad enough without fabrications
and muddling interference from either clumsy ignoramuses or high-minded "save-Israel-from-itself" crusaders. Jeff, decide, are you an op-ed writer, a journalist and a media person or are you a Peace Now activist in disguise?

Please, you have your right to be either, but don't disguise your purpose in life.

Yisrael Medad

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