Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Does Israel Boost NY Times Online Traffic?

In just one 24-hour period the NY Times published three controversial pieces about Israel, accompanied by comment sections -- many with ever-ready anti-Zionist verging on anti-Semitic remarks -- which, if you allowed yourself to be suspicious, seem intended to drive the paper's online traffic. No other foreign affairs issue elicits as many readers’ opinions and emotions while preparing the ground for the Times’ other intention: to influence policy on the “peace process.”

Front and center crying out for comments.
Roger Cohen's Israel Isolates Itself  'analyses’ the deteriorating relations between Israel and Turkey by blaming Israel entirely for the fallout. It garnered183 comments including those that go right back to questioning Israel’s right to exist.

Then there was Leak Offers Efforts by US to Spy on Israel highlights the notorious blogger, Richard Silverstein, without ever mentioning his vicious anti-Israel diatribes. This article brought out 126 and counting, many of which question Jewish-Americans' double allegiance and the uncontrollable influence of the Jewish Lobby.

Then, there was Isabel Kershner's article, Elusive Line Defines Lives in Israel and the West Bank, published last night and, positioned right smack in the middle of the front page, virtually crying out for comments. If you squinted you would think its opening remarks came straight out of, say, Electronic Intifada:

“For decades Israel has tried to erase from public consciousness the Green Line, the pre-1967 boundary with the West Bank at the heart of stalled negotiations for a Palestinian state.
Israel has built on either side of the Green Line and deleted it from textbooks and weather maps. Israeli drivers plying the main Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway crisscross the unmarked line at the Latrun Interchange every second of the day, slicing through half a mile of West Bank territory and several more miles of no man’s land, oblivious to the area’s fraught history.
“In Jerusalem, where Israel annexed the eastern part of the city and its holy sites after the 1967 war, a new light rail system traverses a patchwork of Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods, gliding blithely across the invisible boundaries”.
"Erased from public consciousness…deleted from textbooks…gliding blightely across invisible boundaries…"  This is the language of delegitimization.

Luckily, several of this morning's commentors dismiss these preposterous distortions by reminding readers that the 1967 boundary is really 1949 Armistice lines:

OK, guys, don't you think it's time that you got your facts/terms right. There is no pre-67 boundary line, never was; it is the 1949 cease fire line that was the result of cease fire after the War of Independence. Enough is enough. If you want to be a journalist, write like a professional.

And, … had there not been a 1967 war, the Palestinian quest for a state would never have happened since the territories were part of Jordan and Egypt,” 

And, “Your article constantly refers to Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem and Palestinian neighborhoods in the city. There are no Palestinian neighborhoods in Jerusalem. There are Muslim areas, Christian areas, Armenian areas, Jewish areas and others.” 

At the time of this posting, there are 25 comments on Kershner’s article, but there are bound to be many more. The Times seems to have taken note of the Guardian’s renewal via its Israel bashing news and commentary. After all, Jews make news…and more Jews make more news. And right now the Times is busy shifting its resources to the online edition.

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