Jul 1 2011

Letters to the Editor

The Bigger Picture on West Bank Death

Alex Kane’s analysis of American media coverage of Jawaher Abu Rahmah’s killing by Israeli forces (Extra!, 4/11) was excellent, and I thank him for it. However, Mr. Kane did not point out a major logical flaw in the coverage: Even assuming IDF claims about a pre-existing illness were true, the IDF is still responsible for killing Ms. Abu Rahmah.

The point is obvious enough, but just to illustrate: Suppose I assault a man on the street so that I can steal his wallet, and in the course of that crime hit him over the head. Unknown to me, he has a pre-existing berry aneurysm. The aneurysm ruptures when I hit him, and he dies from a subarachnoid hemorrhage.

Even if I proved in court that he would not have died if he did not have this pre-existing medical condition, would the jury find me not guilty of murder? Of course not, because I chose to attack him without legitimate cause. The only way a jury would find me not guilty is if I showed that I was defending myself from him, i.e., that I had a right to use force in the first place.

Only if we assume that Israel has a right to fire tear gas at people who are nonviolently protesting international crimes and pose no physical threat to anyone (let alone to heavily armed soldiers from the fourth most powerful army in the world) does the coverage even begin to make sense. The fact that the New York Times and other media outlets gave equal space to claims supporting and denying the possibility that Ms. Abu Rahmah had a pre-existing medical condition, and that the supporting evidence consisted almost entirely of conjecture by anonymous Israeli soldiers, is entirely secondary.

Indeed, the same logical flaw is found in virtually all American media coverage of “violence in the Middle East”: Israel is assumed to have the right to use force against Palestinians, despite the fact that Israel is using force solely for the purpose of continuing its criminal activity in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Feroze Sidhwa

San Antonio, Texas

In Defense of Alex Jones

I was going to renew my membership with FAIR until I read your smear piece about Alex Jones (2/11). Jones is hardly the problem and I wonder about your motivation. And, of course, you made no mention of his claims about the U.S. government doing 9/11, being a taboo subject that even you don’t dare mention.

Gary Farland

Minneapolis, Minn.

Too bad Alex is right. You haven’t got a clue what’s going on in this country. I used to think you did, went to talks by Norman Solomon and Jeff Cohen, swallowed the left baloney, voted for the “lesser of two evils.” I have long since given up on the left as a quaint and useless compendium of failed issues, unended wars, ridiculous ideology. At least with the right you know what you’re getting, which is also horrible. Wake up!

Stephen Leiper

via Internet