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Adam Bronstone,Winnipegger living in Jacksonville

 
BRONSTONE RESPONDS TO LEVEN: TIME Magazine – NOT ANTI-SEMETIC,JUST OUT TO LUNCH….

EDITOR: LEVEN SHOULD MAKE TIME FOR LUNCH IN SDEROT

By Dr. Adam Bronstone, December 13, 2010 and further response by Rhonda Spivak

Editor's note: Adam Bronstone  who is a Winnipegger now working in the United States  who wrote following response to  Elliot Leven's piece  regarding Time  Magazine's  article "Why Israel Doesn't Want Peace". Leven's piec can be read by clicking here:

 

 

Bronstone is a graduate of Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate and the University of Manitoba, and holds a doctorate in Political Science from the University of Hull (United Kingdom), with a specialization in International Politics. Adam has worked for many years in the Jewish communal field, with a specific interest and expertise in Israel advocacy work. And, he still calls Winnipeg his ‘home’

 

Dear Elliot,
 
I have known and listened to you for many years, and always with the highest regard. Having said this, when I read your column with respect to the ADL and Time magazine, I felt compelled to say that you are as equally right, as you are equally wrong.
 
I used to subscribe to Time magazine but decided not to continue subscribing.

And let me be very clear on this point – I did it before and not because Abe Foxman of the ADL started calling the magazine anti-Semitic, and I did it not only because of the Israel article, but because of what I see as a growing and disturbing trend by the magazine when tackling serious issues such as the Middle East and Islam in the United States.
 
First let me state that I too at times find Abe Foxman disturbing. During the time of the release of the Mel Gibson movie Passion of the Christ, I spent much time with church groups, and in specific the Catholic Church, speaking about, listening to and understanding much about passion plays, the traditionalist perspective of Mel Gibson, the Gospels and what young adult Catholics (and the Catholic Church, for that matter) thought about the movie and the topic. And in a very interesting, educational and informative session with 40 young adult Catholics, one person did ask if I thought that Abe Foxman’s rants were justified and acceptable. My personal answer was that they were not acceptable, and I wish that Mr. Foxman had not made such a large issue over what became a non-issue. Having said that, I also explained that Foxman is the son of two survivors, and given his background, it might have been almost impossible for him to not say what he said about the movie and its director.

So, as you can see, Elliot, while I respect and work closely with professionals from the ADL, I am not always in agreement with what they say. And this is also one of those instances, since I do not believe that Time, as an institution, is anti-Semitic. There would have to be, for me, a long and systemic pattern of behavior by the editorial board of Time for me to agree with that statement. As far as I know, there is no such pattern, so I wish to agree with you and disagree with Foxman with respect to Time being anti-Semitic.
 
However (and yes, there is almost always such a word), the issue is not so clear. A few weeks prior to the article on Israel, the cover of the magazine was ‘Is America Islamophobic?’, with the muslim crescent in the colors of the US flag, with a smaller ‘star’ representing the US flag inside the crescent. Of course, the article concluded, that given the number of mosques around the country that the United States is NOT islamophobic, and that the uproar over the expansion of the existing mosque near Ground Zero is in some ways specific to New York, and not widespread across the country. So, the article was very good, but here is the rub – many people out shopping at the local grocery store do not read the article; the only see the cover. And the cover was designed to be highly provocative.
 
The same is true of the article on Israel. The article IS very good, interesting and shows a growing complexity in Israeli society – an attempt to live in a bubble where the politics of the Middle East do not interfere with the high-tech boom and daily life. However, the Israelis interviewed agreed that it is impossible to live in such a bubble, because the politics of the region always intrudes, and usually not in a good way. (in fact, to best understand this ‘bubble’, there is a brilliant Israeli film entitled ‘The Bubble’ which is worth watching.)
 
But the article is held hostage to the cover. And the cover – Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace – is not only provocative, but highly inflammatory, and worse, contradicts the article. If you are, again, one of those people who glances at the cover of Time as you are in the checkout line and do not buy the magazine (and there are far more people who do this rather than those who buy the magazine and read the article), then you could easily take from this authoritative magazine that Israel and Israelis do not care about peace, do not care about making peace, and go so far as to believe that Israelis are quite happy as they are now, occupying the land of another people in a brutal fashion with no interest in a better tomorrow.

Of course we (Jews who care and know about Israel) know better; right-minded people ought to know better, and will when they open the magazine and read the article. But in all honesty, in an environment where the myth of the ‘Israel Lobby’ exists and the BDS (Boycott, Divest, Sanctions) campaign is taking roots in college campuses across the country (where at Princeton the student union might ban the sale of Israeli hummus because it is from Israel), the cover of Time magazine was just another brick in the wall. And, like the previous cover that I mentioned about Islam and America, it is sensationalist journalism at its worst. Maybe I could live with this if I was looking at the NY Post which thrives on such titles and pictures or The Sun newspaper in Britain, but this is Time magazine.

Of course every company has the right to say what it wants to say, and sell as many magazines in order to stay in business that it can sell, but between bashing Islam and Israel in such blatant and careless manners (and especially since these covers are always well thought out in advance, leaving nothing to chance), Time appears to have ‘jumped the shark’ in the area of journalistic credibility.
 
Most of President Jimmy Carter’s book ‘Peace not Apartheid’ is fairly tame, innocuous and meaningless in terms of moving the Middle East dialogue forward. And the former president will tell anyone who listens that the title of the book means nothing, and it is not what he believes. But by saying this, President Carter either misses the point, or he gets it, and simply refuses to acknowledge it. Most people will never read his book; but because of who he is, they will see the title, and possibly begin to equate in their minds the awful racial policies of the old South Africa with modern-day Israel.

Again, we know this is not true, but tell that to someone who says that if a past president who helped bring about Israel’s agreement with Egypt and won the Nobel Peace Prize for this (and has done great work for Habitat and monitored elections) can say that Israel is sliding into apartheid, it must surely be true, or have some degree of credibility.

 
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