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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Roger Cohen, "Hope in the Abattoir": Where Is Cohen's Apology?

Roger ("Iran is not totalitarian") Cohen has no credibility. He also has no journalistic integrity.

As recently reported by The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) (

"Days after a New York Times editorial completely distorted a Hebrew poem cited by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – the Chaim Nahman Bialik was a rejection of human revenge, not an endorsement of it – columnist Roger Cohen similarly distorts another Israeli source. Cohen writes ('Israel's bloody status quo'):

Sheldon Adelson’s right-wing Israel Hayom, the biggest-selling newspaper in Israel, has called for Gaza to be 'returned to the Stone Age.' During the last Israeli bombing campaign in Gaza, in 2012, a government minister called for Gaza to be consigned 'to the Middle Ages.' Before that, there was the Gaza War of 2008-2009, in which 1,166 Palestinians died and 13 Israelis, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

The story goes on and on. There is no denouement. Gaza, a small place jammed with 1.8 million people, does not recess to the Stone, Iron, Middle or other Ages. It does not get flattened, as Ariel Sharon’s son once proposed. The death toll is overwhelmingly skewed against Palestinians. Hamas, with its militia and arsenal of rockets, continues to run Gaza. The dead die for nothing.

Like the editorial writer who either ignored or did not comprehend the well-known, crucial lines of the Bialik poem rejecting the notion of human vengeance, Cohen has completely distorted an excerpt from Israel Hayom by removing it from its context. Here is what Israel Hayom's Amos Regev actually wrote:

The Gaza Strip must be returned to the Stone Age. Not in the sense of destroying every home and all the infrastructure, which would leave Gaza residents wandering among ruins. Rather, Israel should eliminate every rocket, bomb and gun in Gaza. In other words, get rid of the arsenal Hamas has accumulated over the past 10 years. The snake must be defanged, leaving Hamas without rockets. The most it would have left would be stones. . . .

Rather, Israel must return Hamas to a situation in which the most it can do is throw stones. This is how it was when Hamas was founded, in Gaza, during the First Intifada. But since then, particularly over the past 10 years, Hamas equipped itself with long-range rockets. It would take only 10 days to return Hamas to the Stone Age.

In other words, Regev is not talking about 'flattening' Gaza, as Cohen would have readers believe. Rather, Regev's reference to the 'Stone Age' refers to the demilitarization of Gaza, in which Hamas, stripped of its rocket arsenal, would be armed only with stones."

Does Cohen bother apologizing for this grotesque distortion in his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Hope in the Abattoir" ( No way.

Instead, Cohen concludes his op-ed today concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a vacuous conclusion:

"Nobody is going away. The peoples of the Holy Land are condemned to each other. Without that realization, any truce, even any demilitarization of Gaza, will only be a way station to the next round of slaughter."

Needless to say, Cohen makes certain not to mention that in 2008, when Israeli Prime Minister Olmert offered Palestinian Authority President Abbas an independent state along the 1967 lines with agreed upon land swaps and Palestinian control of east Jerusalem, Abbas refused. Cohen also ignores the fact that several years earlier, Israeli Prime Minister Barak similarly offered to withdraw from 97 percent of the West Bank and tear down 63 Israeli settlements. In exchange for the settlements that would remain part of Israel, Barak said he would increase the size of Gaza by a third. Barak also agreed to Palestinian control of much of East Jerusalem, which would become Palestine's capital, and Palestinian sovereignty over the Temple Mount. Arafat, however, also refused.

Also, no mention by Cohen of the recent results of a Washington Institute for Near East Policy poll ( which determined (my emphasis in red):

"Regarding the longer-term, fundamental issue of a two-state solution, Palestinian public opinion has clearly taken a maximalist turn. Other recent polls, even after the collapse of the latest peace talks, showed a majority or plurality still favoring the goal of an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza, alongside Israel (though the numbers were gradually declining). But now, a clear majority (60% overall, including 55% in the West Bank and 68% in Gaza) say that the five-year goal 'should be to work toward reclaiming all of historic Palestine, from the river to the sea.'"

Or in other words, Israelis are willing to accept a demilitarized Palestinian state. On the other hand, a clear majority of Palestinians refuse to accept Israel's right to exist. But why should Cohen mention this, given his need to "balance" the blame for the latest outbreak of fighting in Gaza?



  1. someone here should start learning arabic fast ... jews cannot remain the JimCrows of the middle east. sooner or later they'll have to mix with the palestinians who are going nowhere, definitely not to jordan ... after all: they are all semites ... they will have to learn to live together and intermingle ... whether some jews or some muslims like it or not.

  2. "Jews are the JimCrows of the Middle East"
    I am so glad that outside Israel, the Middle East is the place of paradise, justice, fairness, peace and love that I am ready to learn Arabic to go to live there.
    Now, if I only can decide on which country to choose - Iran? Iraq? Syria? Saudi Arabia (I am a woman and infidel), Qatar (I am still a woman and infidel). Or maybe I should choose another Arab/Muslim country? The same problem, the same problem. Should I go to Pakistan, Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria? So many choices. Hard choices.
    No wonder I'll postpone my study of Arabic. Sorry, JJ, I just can't do it fast.

  3. your comment uses satire to escape the issue. it is devoid of meaningful content.
    so the middle east is not the place of paradise ... agree but i would add including israel. you will of course disagree that israel like all other countries around it is in a mess of its own ... if you can't see this then i'd suggest that you go live in israel and learn arabic there ... you will surely need it when the m.e. shit hits the m.e. fan a few years or decades from today.
    your use of satire is a kind of escapism that weakens your argument.
    if you can, please give an rational agree/disagree answer to what i wrote:
    "after all: they are all semites ... they will have to learn to live together and intermingle ... whether some jews or some muslims like it or not."
    if you don't see this happening (by necessity) then i'd suggest you stay where you are (whether in Israel or perhaps New York), forget about language learning, take it easy, and be happy.
    it's a pity: if you were really serious, i could have taught you some arabic (online) ... consider it.

  4. I am not a satirist - I am an analyst and sorry, I don't function on your level
    dr anna