18 thoughts on “The Perils of the Press”

  1. I have no doubt that there are millions of decent Jews in Israel and the US but unfortunately just like the millions of decent Americans, they are either in the minority or allow the barbarians like the rabbi shout them down. We see it in the US Congress, on Fox shows with Billo Reilly, Hannity, and CNN shows with Beck, Grace. That is why I spend time on blogs like this where Dr. Turley allows comments from those that can’t express there opinion on most media. And even though Fox, CNN and the like give a monopoly to whackjobs like Rove, Coulter, Crowley etc, Dr. Turley still lets whackjobs like that post here. I couldn’t even post on Huffigton.

    Keep up the much needed good work.

  2. The problem is that MANY Israelis feel the same way as that “rabbi” who thinks that as God’s “Chosen People” he was given the ability to place a value on human life. I’m only surprised that he picked such a small number, surely one Jew is worth tens of thousands perhaps millions of Arab lives. Unfortunately, as I have been forsaken by God for the sin of not having a Jewish mother, I can’t be as accurate as the rabbi.

    Many Israeli leaders have admitted, after they have left office that they had no intention of ever making peace with the Palestinians. And why should they, the conflict justifies the billions of dollars in US welfare payments and weapons every year and the suffering and blockading of the Palestinians gives Israel an endless supply of cheap labor that make migrant Mexicans in the US look like Wall Street brokers.

  3. Commoner,
    Your apology was an obviously insincere attempt to take back malicious and dismissive commentary on your part. Both your posts were patronizing, rude and dripped with nasty sarcasm.

    “misguided jewish (sic) person”
    “How 90’s”

    Are you really that callow to think that I haven’t read Prof. Dershowitz’s book, or indeed many, many others. By your rather pointless aside, previously, where you mused whether you were going to Prof. Turley’s law school, it would seem that you are relatively young. It that case I would somewhat excuse the discourtesy of your behavior since one of the lessons we all need to learn in our youth is that our opinions sometimes are tempered by the lessons of our experience.

    Our point of agreement is that we both don’t have time for this dialog. From my perspective you have proven yourself to be someone not capable of having a discussion without recourse to name calling.
    It is a much more interesting and profitable experience to enter into a give and take of ideas. You on the other hand decline to defend your ideas, dare I say misconceptions, and prefer the joy of attack because it is so much easier than thinking.

    Lastly, you dismiss my being Jewish, on at least two occasions in your posts and it leads me to assume that you would rather limit your derision to the opinions of non-Jews, who then become easier targets because they lack information, or in Prof. Turley’s case because it leaves you open to claim prejudice.

  4. Wait a second-that first comment about no time, although true, is mean and rude. I take it back. I am however a little ummmm….bored by Michael’s statements. Please, left v.s. right? How 90’s! Arguing about the states right to existence, faulting peaces failure on X factor etc, is just not very interesting right now to me, as I’ve heard both sides and whatnot, read Dennis Ross’s apologies ZZZZzzzzzzzzz. I will say that now it is a two state solution for the Palestinians themselves, Hammas and whatever Abbas calls his shady coalition. Hamas are the baddies, and abbas is our knight in shining armor. i will happily discuss the current state of Israel though.

  5. Michael, it was not my intention in my criticsm of JT’s post to get into a long arguement with a misguided jewish person. I just don’t have time or patience. I advise you and anyone else interested in a little truth to read Professor Dershowitz’s excellent book “The Case For Israel”. It addresses most of your misguided points. I might add that during my recent sabbatical in Israel I was greatly impressed by the security they have managed to build post-Arafat. Israel and Abbas or any other rational arab who may be interested in peace need the strong support of our country. I do not think that the Israeli Right (uhhh…many of whom are completely irreligous. Do you think that only religous boys die in the IDF?) is so violently opposed to a two state solution, now that there may be some possibility of peace.

  6. MichaelSpindell & commoner:

    I am interrupting only to say I am enjoying this dialog tremendously. I truly have learned much about this situation, and I am the first to confess that I have less than a novice’s understanding. Please continue to discuss.

  7. Commoner,
    by your posts it is obvious that you are intelligent and fair minded. That it indicated by your willingness to acknowledge that you might be responding to Prof. Turley in a hypercritical manner fueled by your emotions. As I tried to convey to you earlier I too am very emotional when it comes to Israel and to its’ safety. My being a Jew is of course very critical to this because my emotional attachment stems from that fact, even though I believe I can defend Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish State, with logic and reason. By acknowledging the first proposition I must also acknowledge that others by means of logical argument can present a good case for Israel’s non-existence, especially if they are not Jewish and therefore lack an emotional connection to its continued existence.

    I’ve tried to get past my own emotions when viewing those who may perceive Israel as an extension of European Imperialism and therefore an instrument of oppression towards Arabs. This understanding is necessary I believe because by comprehending the logic of those who
    oppose Israeli validity, I can begin to contextually perceive the entirety of the dilemma and perhaps glimpse a viable solution. Too often we supporters of Israel frame the discussion as one of good versus evil, a position which is mirrored by many of its opponents.
    The truth is that the dynamics of Mid-East politics are such that it is not easy see beyond the death and vituperation, into the cause and effects of the conflict. Yet we will only end the conflict by getting to the basis of the contentions.

    Although I haven’t seen it, it is possible that Prof. Turley has been critical of some Israeli actions. I may, or may not agree with his criticism of Israel, but in the end I understand that he is a man of integrity and humanity. In that sense I would hope that I have much common cause with him. Although I would guess that you and I strongly agree as to Israel’s absolute right to freely exist as a Jewish State
    I see that as in your quote below, we share some dissimilarities in viewpoint.

    “2. The Israeli government is not run by any rabbi or rabbinate. It is almost entirely secular, as is the majority of Israeli society.”

    You state this to contrast Israel with its’ Arab neighbors where religious fanaticism is institutionalized and religious extremism
    drives dastardly deeds. While your statement is true on its surface, surely you are aware that in reality a great deal of Israel’s side of this conflict is also driven by religious extremism. The minority Orthodox Religious parties were the enabler’s in Likud’s drive to power and still wield enormous influence. Likud’s leadership, i.e. Begin, were follower’s of Jabotinsky and they were past masters in the use of terrorism. King David Hotel, for instance.

    Likud and the Orthodox minority drove the settlement movement on the West Bank in an effort to tie the hands of future Israeli governments to use this territory as a bargaining chip for peace. As far as effective religious extremism what do you think Meir Kahane and his followers were doing? Why was Rabin murdered? We have our share of religious extremism in Israel as lately personified by Rabbi Eliyahu.

    While I believe that Israel has a right to the West Bank territories by dint of the 1967 war and by the Balfour Declaration, they must give them up. They cannot expel the Arab population living there, they cannot grant them full citizenship and they cannot continue to exist as an apartheid state. The two state solution is the only way to peace. The greatest opponents of the two state solution in Israel are the Orthodox(fundamentalist) minority. While I hate to admit it, they are just as unreasonable as the Mullahs who urge their people to violence and martyrdom. They share with the Mullahs the conviction of their own righteousness, while completely missing the essence of their own religion and in the end bear responsibility for inflicting pain and discord.

  8. I agree with you on both of these statements, and I think that the rabbi’s comments are hateful and driven by deep emotion rather than reason over the murder of 8 students peacefully studying in a library by a Palestinian Islamic Fundamentalist. I also agree that perhaps I am being hypercritical of JT for my own emotional reasons. These 2 facts remain however:

    1. JT did not say a word about the slayings of college students in Israel. Instead he chose to criticize a bereived rabbi’s emotional staements on the event after the fact.

    2. The Israeli government is not run by any rabbi or rabbinate. It is almost entirely secular, as is the majority of Israeli society. This is in marked contrast to the Arab countries where the Mullahs and Imams rule with an iron fist. These same Mullahs incite violence across the world, from England to Malaysia, by their faithful. Hence a VERY significant difference between the harmless (in a practical sense) sad reactions of various rabbis to a given event and the psychotic constant preachings of violent clergy to the violent faithful.

  9. Michael,

    I loved your first post on this thread. I just finished reading Jeffrey Goldberg’s article in this month’s issue of the Atlantic. What an agonizing situation. I hope for a two-state solution, but who knows what will happen.

  10. Hello Commoner,

    I notice that on other threads, JT is being criticized for posting articles critical of Hamas. He is getting it from both sides. Have you noticed how many topics he posts on the shocking-to-the-conscious side of Islamic law? Far more than any critical of Israel.

    My take on it is presumptious, but I think Jonathan Turley is a profoundly humane intelligence and devoted to the cause of human rights and human dignity. The rabbi’s statements offend against those notions.

  11. I respectfully disagree with you, Michael. The professor in the past has in my opinion shown bias against Israel. Even this isolated issue of his comments on the Mercaz massacre is enough to raise any thinking person’s eyebrows, although you of course are free to disagree. I do not dislike the Professor and he is kind enough to respond to my comments now and then. His sense of social justice is very strong as well. Who knows, I may even have the guy next year if I choose to go to GW Law, which I am kind of doubting now, for various reasons. He does freely criticize the Arab nations when one of their myriad institutionalized abuses against women, LGBTs, and minorities actually makes its sluggish way into the international press.


    The professor was kind enough to agree with me. It can be that I am a bit hypersensitive to criticism of Israel, and it may also be that Prof. Turley is pissed that I wrote the above criticism and has thus written another critical bit about yet another idiot rabbi. 🙂

  12. “my point is that Professor Turley’s coverage of Israel is severely biased and not at all balanced, as his treatment of the Mercaz massacre clearly shows.”

    I think that you present very thin evidence to back up your categorical statement. If you have seen a pattern of bias then perhaps a presentation of many more examples would “clearly” make the case. Absent more evidence your statements are just reduced to angry rants. I have no idea where Professor Turley stands on Israel and unfortunately your posts don’t enlighten me.

  13. I think that Rabbi Eliyahu is an idiot and his statement ridiculous. Also, I don’t give a damn if you are jewish or not, my point is that Professor Turley’s coverage of Israel is severely biased and not at all balanced, as his treatment of the Mercaz massacre clearly shows. Compassion for one side pretty much exclusively over the other is pretty suspect in my book, as it reveals a political motive rather than a humane one. Neither you nor he have addressed this glaring discrepancy. I did not at any time attempt to condone Rabbi Eliyahu’s statements as they are completely indefensible as is Prof. Turley’s attitude.

  14. Commoner,
    I’ll let John Turley defend himself on this because he is more than capable of doing it himself. The implications of your comment, though, do offend me. I say this by the way as a Jew who’s daughter and son-in-law have attended Yeshiva in Israel (Orthodox Yeshiva’s to boot) and since this was in the late 90’s they were in some danger just living in Jerusalem. Not a day passed of their sojourn there that my wife and I did not worry about them. Indeed a month after they left a bomb exploded down the block from where they lived, killing many. I write this so that you understand that the deaths at Yeshivas Mercaz Harev were disturbing to me on a personal level.

    Nevertheless, the Rabbi’s statement that the life of one Jew was worth more than that of 1,000 Arabs was of a magnitude of stupidity that is not justified by the horror and sadness of the situation. The Rabbi exposed himself in that no matter how learned he may be, he exhibited a woeful lack of
    understanding of what we are called to as Jews.

    I have supported Israel for my entire conscious life and as a supporter I want nothing more than for my co-religionists to live in peace, sovereign in their own country. I understand the frustrations that Israeli’s who have been in a continuous state of attack for 60 years feel. However, I am certain that sentiments like the Rabbi’s will not make Israel safe. They haven’t in the past. An accommodation must be reached and sentiments of revenge have been shown not to work. A majority of Israeli’s feel this way as illustrated by recent polls. but hardliners like the Rabbi frustrate the attempt and heap approbrium on the peacemakers.

    The Arab masses on the West Bank and Gaza truly suffer. They have been ill-used by their leaders, by their Arab brethren and unfortunately by Israeli’s with vengeance in their hearts. The only way to get past this and finally attain peace is by the realization that revenge begets revenge begets revenge and so on. An example of this is South Africa, where a man with ample reason for revenge Nelson Mandela, put his anger aside to begin a process of healing.
    This is what is needed on both sides in Israel and may come about some day if people like the Rabbi fell the Torah of Rabbi Hillel in their hearts.

  15. Do you consider yourself a reporter, Professor? If so, you are a very biased one. I noticed your comment on Eliyahu’s statement that the lives of 1000 arabs are not comparable to the life of one jew. This was your sole post on the tragedy that rocked Israel and the thinking, feeling world to its core, and one that an academic like yourself should have certainly recognized, as the massacre took place in a college. I am speaking of course of the tragedy at Yeshivas Mercaz Harav. This is in marked contrast to your coverage of the Virginia Tech massacre, which you rightfully described very poignantly in this USA today article, among others:


    Do the parents of the dead students in Yeshivas Mercaz Harav feel any less grieved than those of Virginia Tech? Why is your coverage of this event limited to some foolish comments by some rabbi, no matter how politically connected he is? I for one find this very disturbing.

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