NYT's Bronner Hits Israel's 'Disproportionate Force'; Times Also Botches Rachel Corrie Incident

June 2nd, 2010 5:33 PM
The subject of the Gaza-bound "Freedom Flotilla" organized by pro-Palestinian activists that attacked Israel Defense Forces as they boarded a cargo boat, was the subject of Charlie Rose's talk show Tuesday night.

Rose's roundtable included Ethan Bronner, Jerusalem bureau chief of the Times, who accused Israel of acting with "disproportionate force" and for causing "increasing disillusionment in the world." As if using superior force is somehow unfair to those who are attacking you.

Here's Bronner, 17 minutes into the show:

I think what's been very interesting over the last sort of six or eight years is that Israel has taken the view that military activity works and diplomacy has not actually worked all that well. And in the short term, you could argue that it has. It has stopped terrorism from the West Bank, it has stopped rockets from Gaza, stopped rockets from Hezbollah in Lebanon and so on. But the problem is, that every time it acts with this disproportionate force in order to carry out a military and security goal, what it gets is increasing disillusionment in the world. And the question is, where does the advantage of one stop and the disadvantage of the other grow so that it overwhelms it. And I think that what may be happening is that we are at that tipping point, even from an Israeli perspective.

Bronner also emphasized the "dark truth" about Israel's successful use of force in an October 2009 Times story:

As the Obama administration tries to broker a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, there is a dark truth lurking: force has produced clearer results in this dispute than talk....Meanwhile for many Israelis, the past decade looks like a model of the primacy of military action over diplomacy.

Bronner has lamented Israel's security blockade previously, in a January 2009 news analysis, when Israel was attacking Hamas positions in Gaza. He has also described Jewish settlers as being on an "angry rampage" against Israeli police -- insulting language that the Times rarely if ever applies to genuine violence on the part of Palestinians and anti-Israeli activists.

A related front-page story in Wednesday's Times by Sabrina Tavernise and Michael Slackman, profiling the anti-Israeli Turkish group that organized the flotilla, left out a lot about the 2003 Rachel Corrie incident in Gaza, a flashpoint in the Israel-Palestine propaganda wars:

In 2003, an Israeli Army bulldozer crushed to death an American woman, Rachel Corrie, who had kneeled in the dirt to prevent it from destroying a Palestinian home.

But the house demolitions done by Israel Defense Forces were being undertaken to destroy tunnels used to smuggle weapons and explosives from Egypt into Gaza. Why leave that out?