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Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Roger Cohen, "Start With Gaza": The Master of Moral Equivalence

Roger Cohen's journalistic ethics? Perhaps you recall how Cohen, in 2009, was busy visiting Tehran and seeking to convince us that Iran is "not totalitarian." You might also recall how Cohen paid $150 a day for a translator, who was reporting back to the Iranian authorities ( I don't recall that he ever mentioned these payments to his New York Times readers.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "Start With Gaza" (, Cohen again begins by telling us:

"In Gaza, an open-air prison for 1.8 million people, more than 300 children are dead, killed in the almost month-long Israeli bombardment. Each of those children has a name, a family. Several were killed in the recent shelling of a United Nations school, an act that the United States called 'disgraceful.' The many civilian casualties in Gaza cannot be waved away as the 'human shields' of Hamas. They were not human shields; they were human beings. When the guns die down, Israel will begin a difficult accounting."

Cohen then says that Hamas is "criminal." Or in other words, Israel is bad and so is Hamas.

Gaza is an "open-air prison for 1.8 million people"? Cohen again (see: fails to mention that Gaza's current population of 1.8 million was some 300,000 in 1967 after Israel occupied Gaza during the Six Day War (Israel unilaterally evacuated Gaza in 2005). Needless to say, the main reason Gaza is so crowded is that Gazans have been very busy having children. Then, too, life expectancy in Gaza of 74.64 years, according to the CIA World Factbook, is considerably higher than life expectancy in Turkey amounting to 73.29 years.

Cohen doesn't tell us about Gaza's eight universities and colleges, or its gourmet restaurants (e.g., "Roots"), or its 5-star hotel ("The al-Mashtal"). And then there was also the "Crazy Water Park," which was burned down by Hamas, because Hamas didn't want men and women intermingling.

Cohen also fails to note that the border between Israel and Gaza was not always closed. It was shut down after suicide bombers, sent into Israel from Gaza and the West Bank, killed more than 1,000 Israeli civilians. By the same token, Cohen ignores the more than 10,000 rockets and mortar rounds that were fired from Gaza at Israeli towns and cities prior to the current war.

Have a look at a video filmed a few days ago by an Indian television news crew from NDTV of this horrifying "open-air prison":

Does the residential area surrounding the rocket launching site look like an "open-air prison" to you? But why should that bother Cohen? The facts only get in the way of his fanciful story.

The recent shelling near (not "of") a United Nations school was deemed by the United States "disgraceful"? Cohen doesn't mention that three Islamic Jihad operatives were killed in the attack. He also doesn't tell us anything about civilian casualties resulting from US drone attacks. As observed in a May 2014 Huffington Post article entitled "The Toll Of 5 Years Of Drone Strikes: 2,400 Dead" ( by Matt Sledge:

"Obama recently told The New Yorker that he 'wrestle[s]' with civilian casualties. But, he said, he has 'a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans -- killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes.'

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a pair of reports in October fiercely criticizing the secrecy that shrouds the administration's drone program, and calling for investigations into the deaths of drone victims with no apparent connection to terrorism. In Pakistan alone, TBIJ estimates, between 416 and 951 civilians, including 168 to 200 children, have been killed."

Am I to understand that the Israeli government does not have a "solemn duty and responsibility" to keep the Israeli people safe?

Yes, Cohen is revolting.

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