18 thoughts on “Bronner Sticks His Foot in It Again – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. a child in the IDF and married to an Israeli Oh im sure if Bronner was to do a honest report abt the peace movement Im sure his son would get some flack from the higher ups in the Idf! Bronner how do you sleep at night

    1. I don’t know for a fact what impact it has. But if my child was fighting in Israel’s army and I reported from Israel for a U.S. newspaper my reporting about the IDF and its various wars and operations might be colored in some way. I might be tempted to pull my punches rather than really take it to the IDF if that was required.

  2. Richard
    I enjoy your excellent comments, but I am slighly offended about being left out of the list of progressives in this column. I have bene fighting for years against the silly notion that Jews require their own homeland. San Francisco is my Jerusalem, and the Jerusalem of myth is just another dusty Middle Eastern city. I am a brave fighter of the occupation, and will only rest when Jews are scattered among the nations, freed from atavistic tribal rights that cause worldwide scorn and hostility

    1. My friend, if you’re slightly offended because I never mentioned yr name & have never heard of you before, then you take offense far too easily. And the notion of a Jewish homeland, whether you agree with it or not is not “silly.” Anyone who could say that doesn’t have a serious grasp of Jewish history.

      I’m with you on fighting the Occupation. But not much else.

  3. Richard, I am afraid you are off the deep end about Bronner. He wrote a perfectly good piece in today’s New York Times calling attention to this matter.

  4. I’m a little confused, Suzanne. I thought today’s piece is what Richard is writing about.

    The article is good in some ways, but as Richard says, it also trivializes the Israeli peace movement. I don’t think it’s an accident. The NYT is “balanced” on the I/P conflict in a way that doesn’t show in their coverage of repression elsewhere (like Iran). To steal a point made by a letter writer to the NYT public editor today, the NYT often seems to think “balanced journalism” means throwing a bone (or entire skeletons) to their rightwing critics, rather than simply reporting the facts as accurately as possible.

    And notice that phrase “since the Israeli left lost so much popular appeal after the violent Palestinian uprising of 2000 and the Hamas electoral victory in Gaza three years ago”, followed by the reference to the peace movement being composed largely of professors of medieval poetry. The underlying message here is that common-sensical Israelis quite rationally lost hope because of the violence and terrorist-supporting proclivities of the Palestinians and the only Israelis who were different were the ivory tower dreamers and now this idealistic gay plumber–in other words, people either too impractical or too good for this world. Bronner is channeling the viewpoint of those Israelis who stopped supporting the peace movement, making this attitude seem reasonable. The “violent Palestinian uprising” in its first several months had ten Palestinians dying for every Israeli death–the ratio dropped later once the terrible suicide bombings against Israeli civilians began, and even then it was still three or four Palestinians dead for every Israeli. If people knew this it might put a different perspective on Israelis who say they stopped supporting the peace movement because of Palestinian violence. But it’s the way people tend to talk in the US and in the NYT–the Palestinian uprising is violent, and if any Israeli violence is mentioned it always has to be balanced by mention of Palestinian violence. The rule doesn’t apply the other way.

    This is how you slant the news if you’re clever–you don’t have to lie, you just phrase things in certain ways, talk about “violent uprisings” and not about “war crimes” and make all the dissidents look like impractical saints, even while you praise them. We read this article and admire the man Bronner writes about (and we’re right to do so), while the article itself does little to challenge the assumptions of people who might say that Ezra Nawi means well, but that Israelis favored peace and it was Palestinian violence that got in the way.

    1. BTW, the equivalent bias on Iran would be what you find in some misguided lefty commentary (though less and less)–the idea that the opposition to the government comes mainly from pro-Western secularists totally out of touch with their own society. You’d also have to throw in the subtle implication that support for governmental repression was understandable under the circumstances.

      The analogy doesn’t entirely work, because the opposition in Iran might well be the majority of the people, whereas it’s really true that in Israel, the majority favored barbaric actions like the bombing of Gaza last January.

  5. Sorry Mr. Bronner, but the opinion of a journalist at an elitist paper is worth almost as little as that of a “translator of mediaeval poetry” (that would be me). Your high regard for the proletariat has been noted however, and will undoubtedly stand you in good stead at the manual labourers’ collective to which you will be assigned.

  6. Richard, one correction – roughly speaking there are two groupings of Israeli left, the so called “Zionist left” and the so called “Radical left”.
    It is the first group which has lost its political power and popular support, the second group never had either (and if anything, their number is growing.)

    As for the “Zionist left” – a brief look at their platform will show that they were never all that far off from the political right wing in Israel.

    Besides this – keep up the good work.

    1. Yes, you’re right. Meretz is commonly called the “Zionist left” & it is pretty much dead or on its deathbed. Labor used to be called such as well. But I don’t think they are “left.” If anything they are “liberal.” And liberalism in an Israeli context has been killed off.

      But yes, the true Israeli left composed of activists NGOs, political parties like Hadash, & brave individuals are a strong group because they live by their principles & don’t compromise them. They don’t have many Knesset seats. But they wield moral power of a sort since no one else stands up for these principles.

  7. Richard,

    I took the phrase about the left in Israel having lost its popular appeal as referring to the Zionist left. That is certainly correct. They have long outlived their usefulness to the State and they have never, except at the very margins, been part of the activist, anti-occupation left.

    Mapam, which took over Meretz, has a long history of subservience to the Israeli state, from establishing kibbutzim on confiscated Arab land to opposing giving support to refuseniks and Yesh Gvul. This type of militarist Zionist ‘left’ served no real purpose.

    The activists left never had any great popular appeal so you may be correct in saying that its numbers haven’t significantly declined.

  8. jewlicious@Jew4palestine @ibnezra is never going to make headway with Mondoweiss at his side. Not a palatable partner, that’s 4 sure.

    http://ibnezra.wordpress.com/ Mondoweiss not a good partner? WTF If not for these,and so many others enlightened jews It would have been even harder to get my family to see the light.

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