Media Disgrace America, Israel and Themselves

Thursday May 15, 2008, American media hit a new low. To paraphrase Michelle Obama, I have never been less proud of my country.

On the occasion of Israel's 60th anniversary, President George W. Bush gave one of the greatest speeches of his career.

Yet, America's media could only see this event through the tiny prism of the upcoming presidential election, and thereby totally ignored virtually everything that was said by the most powerful man in the world to one of our nation's greatest allies.

From a speech that lasted over 20 minutes -- interrupted eight times by applause from Israeli Knesset members -- America's media exclusively reported 83 words they felt insulted the candidate for president they have been unashamedly supporting for over a year.

Everything else in the President's stirring and emotional address went completely ignored, so much so that the other 2,400 words were totally irrelevant, as was the signficance of the day and the moment.

The President spoke of the founding of Israel, and America being the first nation to recognize her independence.

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of the history of the Holy Land, and the miracle that was the creation of a democracy in the center of a region violently opposed to such a political structure.

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of "the matchless value of every man, woman, and child," how "democracy is the only way to ensure human rights," and the sad reality that "the United Nations routinely passes more human rights resolutions against the freest democracy in the Middle East than any other nation in the world."

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of religious liberty being "fundamental to a civilized society" while condemning anti-Semitism.

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of nations having "a right to defend themselves," "that no nation should ever be forced to negotiate with killers pledged to its destruction," and "that targeting innocent lives to achieve political objectives is always and everywhere wrong."

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of the fight against terror and extremism as being "the defining challenge of our time...a clash of visions, a great ideological struggle."

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of folks that "suggest if the United States would just break ties with Israel, all our problems in the Middle East would go away. This is a tired argument that buys into the propaganda of the enemies of peace, and America utterly rejects it."

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of freedom yielding peace, and how we "must stand with the reformers working to break the old patterns of tyranny and despair...give voice to millions of ordinary people who dream of a better life in a free society," and above all, "have faith in our values and ourselves and confidently pursue the expansion of liberty as the path to a peaceful future."

American media didn't care.

The President spoke of the Middle East 60 years in the future:

Israel will be celebrating the 120th anniversary as one of the world's great democracies, a secure and flourishing homeland for the Jewish people. The Palestinian people will have the homeland they have long dreamed of and deserved -- a democratic state that is governed by law, and respects human rights, and rejects terror. From Cairo to Riyadh to Baghdad and Beirut, people will live in free and independent societies, where a desire for peace is reinforced by ties of diplomacy and tourism and trade. Iran and Syria will be peaceful nations, with today's oppression a distant memory and where people are free to speak their minds and develop their God-given talents. Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and Hamas will be defeated, as Muslims across the region recognize the emptiness of the terrorists' vision and the injustice of their cause.

Overall, the Middle East will be characterized by a new period of tolerance and integration. And this doesn't mean that Israel and its neighbors will be best of friends. But when leaders across the region answer to their people, they will focus their energies on schools and jobs, not on rocket attacks and suicide bombings. With this change, Israel will open a new hopeful chapter in which its people can live a normal life, and the dream of Herzl and the founders of 1948 can be fully and finally realized.

This is a bold vision, and some will say it can never be achieved. But think about what we have witnessed in our own time. When Europe was destroying itself through total war and genocide, it was difficult to envision a continent that six decades later would be free and at peace. When Japanese pilots were flying suicide missions into American battleships, it seemed impossible that six decades later Japan would be a democracy, a lynchpin of security in Asia, and one of America's closest friends. And when waves of refugees arrived here in the desert with nothing, surrounded by hostile armies, it was almost unimaginable that Israel would grow into one of the freest and most successful nations on the earth.

Yet each one of these transformations took place. And a future of transformation is possible in the Middle East, so long as a new generation of leaders has the courage to defeat the enemies of freedom, to make the hard choices necessary for peace, and stand firm on the solid rock of universal values.

American media didn't care.

No, none of this was important to Obama-loving press members, who in an effort to frame the President's 2,500 words into a soundbite that would embarrass him while giving the junior senator from Illinois and fellow Democrats fodder to elucidate their foreign policy vision, ended up stealing this marvelous speech from the American people.

In so doing, our press disgraced our nation, our one true ally in the Middle East, and themselves.

As you ponder whether this is too harsh, consider how Agence France Presse reported this speech to its readers in an article entitled "Bush Basks in Israel's Love" (emphasis added):

Facing dismally low approval ratings at home, US President George W. Bush basked for three days in near-adulation as he joined Israel's 60th anniversary festivities.

Bush, who was to head on to Saudi Arabia on Friday, returned the favour, hailing the close US ally as a mighty democracy where liberty and justice thrive.

Just about every moment appeared to be devoted to mutual expressions of admiration and friendship, which also offered Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert a respite from the latest police graft investigation against him.

His speech to the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, drew him standing ovations and earned him ecstatic praise from right-wing parties.

The Jerusalem Post published a piece entitled "If Only Israel's Leaders Would Speak as Bush Did" (emphasis added):

Sometimes, when you're knee-deep in the day-to-day, when you're just struggling to get by, when you're facing forces that seem so much bigger than you, there is a need for someone from the outside - someone bigger and more powerful - to come by, pat you on the back, tell you that you are not alone, and remind you both of your inherent worth and that it is all inherently worth it.

That is what the Bush did Thursday in the Knesset. [...]

Were that Israel's own leaders would speak in similar terms; were that Israel would believe as much in itself. [...]

When, during our current bout of self-doubt and fear, was the last time an Israeli leader stood up and with a conviction that made you believe he meant it, not that he was just mouthing tired phrases, said - as Bush did Thursday - "Masada shall never fall again."

And then, even more importantly, Bush added, "Citizens of Israel: Masada shall never fall again, and America will always stand with you."

Words? Maybe. But they are important words, because if ever this country is again to take another calculated risk for peace, it will have to know that the US stands completely behind it.

Words? Maybe. But if ever the Arab world will ever come around to accepting Israel's existence, it will have to know that it cannot drive a wedge between Jerusalem and Washington.

The speech, at parts elegantly phrased, also echoed sentiments many of us feel, but rarely hear aired outside the shtetl. [...]

Remember, Bush didn't have to utter these thoughts: his political carrier is over, he no longer needs the Jewish vote or campaign support - further proof he actually meant what he said.

Sadly, American media didn't hear any of that. Instead, this is all that got through their bias filters:

Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

The rest they stole from us, and for this we are owed an apology that certainly will never come, for instead of Americans being proud of the job our President did representing our nation on this historic visit, this day will live in infamy rather than immortality.

How truly sad we've come to this.

Picture courtesy AFP.

*****Update: Marc Sheppard over at the American Thinker cleverly points out something else media have missed in this marvelous speech:

What the "outraged" Democrats and mainstream media are completely ignoring in Bush's "appeasement" words used in yesterday's Knesset speech is that they addressed concerns originally raised by Ariel Sharon.

Shortly after the 9/11 attacks, then Israeli Prime Minister Sharon warned the United States not to "appease the Arabs at [Israel's] expense." Sharon made reference to the catastrophic consequences of European democracies appeasing Hitler prior to World War II, specifically citing the Munich Pact of 1938 which ceded Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Germany:

''Don't repeat the terrible mistakes of 1938, when the enlightened democracies in Europe decided to sacrifice Czechoslovakia for a comfortable, temporary solution. [Israel] will not be Czechoslovakia.''
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.