TIME Magazine Clearly is Anti-Israel

A friend of mine posted to her Facebook wall that she was disgusted and “deeply offended” by the September 13, 2010 TIME magazine cover story entitled “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace” (which inside was titled “The Good Life and its Dangers”)  A few of her friends responded with similar disgust and then they admitted they had not read the article.  Now while they are free to be disguised or offended by anything, it might be worth asking the question, do Israelis care about the peace process?
Well according to an unnamed poll used in the TIME article, they do not. Just 8% of Jewish Israelis cite the conflict with the Palestinians as Israel’s most urgent problem, ranking fifth behind education, crime, national security (assume Iran on that one) and poverty.
As someone who grew up believing that Israel was always on the path towards peace, I was hopeful that Oslo would work, perhaps event the last ditch effort at Camp David and even today I hold out a little flicker of my youthful (yeah I know I am still young) hopefulness, but the numbers and the actions don’t lie.  There is a very limited strategic advantage to peace right now.  Sure a peaceful solution to the continued occupation would be fantastic, but at what cost and for what benefit?
That is the point of this article that has caused so much discomfort in the immature pro-Israel camp in the United States.  While the article misses so many important aspects of Israeli culture and political life, it does capture the point that so many North American Jews don’t seem to understand about Israel: It is normal there.  People live their lives, eat their meals (that are not always falafel and hummus) and go on their vacations and they deal with what comes…just like us.
There is a strong sense of national pride, but there isn’t an expectation that Israel is this utopian enclave that always needs to be paying attention to the ebbs and flows of the geo-political fray.  Everyone does serve the state in some way, but not everyone is sporting an Uzi and sun-stroked biceps.  Israeli Jews just want to live their lives and not have to deal with threats of being killed by idiots strapped with explosives, ball bearings and nails on the bus.
Israel tried and did not do everything it could to support peace, but at some point you must ask if that is really what they want.  Peace is great if it is sustainable and beneficial to both sides.  However, after years of dealing with irreverent rocket fire and a lack of suicide bombers, what would be the difference between the status quo and a long-term yet not so believable peace?  To the average man or woman on the street, not so much.
So for those of you calling up TIME to cancel you subscriptions, perhaps you should read the article and talk to an Israeli.

12 thoughts on “TIME Magazine Clearly is Anti-Israel

  1. The article was fine- it made the case, accurately it would seem, that the majority of Israelis do not have peace as their number 1 priority. But that they don’t care at all? Come on. What was offensive wasn’t the article (although comparing Jerusalem to a mausoleum isn’t my favorite), it was the cover. Had the cover said “Israel cares less about peace” or something, that would have been fine- it would have accurately reflected the article. But the cover makes a case that the article doesn’t, and does it in front of a big star of David. Are Jews who just saw the cover and didn’t read the article being ignorant? Sure, why not. But that cover was offensive, and everyone, everyone I know, from left to right, thought so.

  2. The unnamed poll didn’t ask do you care about the peace process-it asked what you view as Israel’s most urgent problem. That question does not justify a claim that Israeli’s don’t care about the peace process!
    DCC’s post on the issue is as nonsensical as Time Magazine’s article. DCC argues that “Iraeli Jews just want to live their lives and not have to deal with threats of being killed by idiots strapped with explosives, ball bearings and nails on the bus.” Not having to deal with the threat of being killed? I hate to break it to you, DCC, but another word for that is PEACE.
    “what would be the difference between the status quo and a long-term yet not so believable peace? To the average man or woman on the street, not so much.” That might hit the nail on the head more-the prospect of peace might not be the most urgent problem on people’s mind because it seems so farfetched and unlikely. It doesn’t mean that Israelis don’t want peace.

  3. I’ll begin by saying that I read the abbreviated article posted by Time and not the whole thing. Then again, if that and the cover of the magazine is what’s catching the eye of the public, first impressions count.
    The whole contoversy to me has to do with the tone of the article which could have just as well been titled “How Israelis Thrive Despite Constant Threats”. I’ll bet that if that change alone were made, right-wingers (of which I am one) would have held the same exact article up, word for word, as a matter of pride.
    I also find it interesting that the poll quoted finds that national security is third on the list of Israeli concerns. Whether the perceived threat comes from from Iran, Hizbollah, or Turkish naval vessels, all it means is that at this moment in time, the Palestinians are not the biggest existential threat and therefore not the biggest concern, not that Israelis don’t care about peace.
    To me the magazine erred by failing to stress at least on the cover and in the abbreviated article that the magazine was attempting to report on attitudes about the specific conflict with the Palestinians.
    Finally, although the cover suggests that the Israelis’ lack of peace-loving will be explained by the article, all we get is that most Israelis are hanging out on the beach or revel in making money even when tragedy and misery surrounds them. No suggestion is made that the other concerns mentioned in the quoted poll such as education, crime, and even poverty are being tackled while the daily threat of attacks have diminished.
    Love the quote by Soloveitchik on the bottom by the way.

  4. Josh, that is a fair point. But the fact of the matter is that Israelis don’t care about the Peace Process…peace yes, but the failed process that has so little promise? Why bother? Yes hold out hope yippy JStreet and all but come on, does anyone really think that the politics of Israel, Palestine or the US could hold up a lasting peace?

    On the other side of it, the headline got everyone’s attention didn’t it? Headlines are meant to grab attention and push the message perhaps too far. I do agree it could be seen as offensive but not if you read the article.

  5. Jed, there is a huge difference but you know that. Peace in terms of this article is the process not the lack of violence. The fact that you point to my conclusion as the point kind of supports that.
    The article was weak for sure, but the response was over-done and pretty ridiculous.

  6. We can make all the excuses we want for the Time article, but it’s very important to maintain perspective: the average reader of Time magazine (a lowbrow borderline tabloid even at its best) is not really “up” on the Israel situation and will not examine the article with anything close to the critical eye with which Jewschool readers do.
    The very clear implication of the article (and I have admittedly only read the stub) is not that “Israelis are still committed to peace but are over the peace process” or even “Israelis want to get on with work, school, life and are willing to endure some uncertainty to do it.”
    Nope, the implication of the article — nay, the actual, overt message of it — is “Israelis care more about money than peace.” (The author drives this point home with a groundbreaking, incisive interview with some arse real estate agent in Ashdod.)
    If you’re not offended by this message being broadcast to millions of people worldwide (or at the least somewhat discomfited by it — and it’s obvious anti-Semitic counterpart) well then I don’t know what to tell you. But let’s at least be honest with ourselves about the message that the article conveys.

  7. I think Jed hit the nail on the head. The mood of the country is that the prospect of peace is just too farfetched. And given who’s running the place, that seems perfectly realistic. But ask us if we “want” it? You’ve GOT to be kidding!

  8. The very framing of the question is insulting. All nations make trade-offs. Where do they draw the line? How to find a balance btwn devoting a finite amount of time and energy to seeking peace and devoting it to material pursuits: all nations do it. South Korea could have “peace” if it allowed itself to be overrun by the N Korean army and submitted to its Stalinist system. I guess they prefer eating and selling flat screens.
    Israel has the misfortune of experienceing relative economic prosperity while in conflict with its neighbors. Hence lame-o pubs like Time write editorials on the subject and piss off a lot of well-meaning people. Small price to pay I guess.

  9. I was also appalled by the slant of this article, & felt is was very biased in the photos selected! It makes ALL Israelis look like beach bums, young, spoiled & carefree. This is why people all over the world go to the beach, to relax! I am considering writing a letter to the editor also for it’s lack of mentioning any groups, even those including both sides, who are working for Peace without any Govt support. Unfortunately, I bought the stupid issue before I realized how crappy the writing was. I went to Kent State, & was lured by the daisy Star of David cover….

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