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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Between Orwell and a hard place

Yesterday Lebanon introduced a draft resolution into the U.N. Security Council condemning Israeli settlement expansion on the West Bank. The New York Times' Neil MacFarquhar reported the event in a brief story, in which he made the following unattributed statement:

No vote is expected soon because the United States criticized the resolution, arguing that the Council should not be the forum for addressing knotty Arab-Israeli issues.


Of course, Israeli settlements on the West Bank are not a "knotty Arab-Israeli issue," but a clear violation of international law. Indeed, even the United States regards the settlements that way, as MacFarquhar implies himself in the next sentence of his story:


A veto would be awkward because the language used in the resolution, which attracted some 120 co-sponsors, echoes previous statements that Washington has endorsed condemning settlements, diplomats said.


I've now actually quoted two of the story's three sentences, which I still think falls within copyright fair use. But wouldn't it be nice if the Times would do some stories about the contradictions between U.S. acknowledgement that Israel's actions are illegal--thus making them very appropriate subjects for Security Council resolutions--and its continuing protection and financial support for those same illegal actions? Just because our government engages in double-speak doesn't mean our news media have to follow suit.

Update: An illustrious group of commentators, policymakers and former government officials are calling upon the U.S. to support the Security Council resolution. This is important reading.

Is Israel an apartheid state? A South African group issues a report saying yes.

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