Is He or Isn’t He?
In “The Playwright’s Politics,” Tony Kushner says that I and others who have described him as hostile to Israel “work very hard, by taking things out of context, to make you sound nuts.” Really?
Kushner has called Israel’s establishment a “mistake” (Haaretz, April 7, 2004) and stated plainly, “I’ve never been a Zionist. I have a problem with the idea of a Jewish state. It would have been better if it never happened” (New York Sun, October 14, 2002). He alleged that Israel was involved in “a deliberate destruction of Palestinian culture and a systematic attempt to destroy the identity of the Palestinian people” (New York Sun, April 4, 2002), and accused the [Israeli government] of “ethnic cleansing” (Yale Israel Review, Winter 2005).
Perhaps Kushner can explain how these words and deeds are not hostile to Israel.
Morton A. Klein
National President, Zionist Organization of America
New York, NY
Gershom Gorenberg’s intemperate “Uncandid CAMERA” in the October/November isue serves only to underscore his own biased agenda and slippery way with facts. Gorenberg launched his attack because he was a key source for CNN’s God’s Jewish Warriors, which we criticized for its extreme anti-Israel tilt. The documentary series established a false equivalence between Jewish and Christian “warriors,” who with rare exceptions are merely devout, and Muslim “warriors,” whose ranks include jihadists responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.
In our criticism, we pointed out numerous material errors. For example, the series claimed that after the Six-Day War, “the Israeli government was divided—trade the captured land for peace or keep it and build Jewish settlements.” Israel faced no such choice, because less than three months after the war the Arab League Summit passed the infamous “three no’s resolution”—no negotiations with Israel, no peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel.
Gorenberg also makes much of a 1960s-era memo in the Israeli state archives, written by the legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, which argued that settlements would violate the 4th Geneva Convention. We pointed out that the legal adviser, Theodor Meron, was hardly the senior or most respected expert on international law in Israel. Every ministry in Israel has a legal adviser, meaning Meron was just one of many such advisers.
Gorenberg, who praises himself as “a responsible member of Israel’s fourth estate,” ignores most of the serious errors we pointed out, and instead charges CAMERA with being “cavalier with facts.” So it must be embarrassing to Gorenberg that a recent rebroadcast corrected many of the errors we had pointed out to CNN. Will Gorenberg now charge his friends at CNN with being “cavalier with the facts?”
It is a pity that, rather than dealing with the facts, Gorenberg instead stoops to name-calling. He also charged, again with absolutely no evidence, that we are “not really interested in accuracy,” and are “the embodiment of some American Jews’ discomfort with any media coverage that fails to portray Israel with a halo.” On the contrary, the evidence shows Gorenberg’s own discomfort with any coverage that accurately portrays Israel or its self-declared adversaries.
Associate Director, CAMERA
Gershom Gorenberg Responds
Truly, I am dumbfounded anew at CAMERA’s willingness to quote out of context, misuse information and misrepresent the past. Since space is limited, I’ll stick to key points:
In the wake of the Six-Day War, the Israeli cabinet was indeed divided about the future of the occupied territories. Intensive cabinet debate of the issue began within days of the war, as documentary evidence shows. The Khartoum summit did not end the dispute at the highest level of Israeli government about the wisdom or legality of settlement.
As legal adviser to the Foreign Ministry, Theodor Meron was the Israeli government’s in-house authority on international law in September 1967—which is precisely why the Prime Minister’s Office asked him to evaluate the legality of civilian settlement in the occupied territories. Meron answered that the Fourth Geneva Convention barred such settlement. Meron’s qualifications included a doctorate from Harvard Law School and advanced studies in international law at Cambridge University. Justice Minister Yaakov Shimshon Shapira separately told Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that civilian settlement violated the Geneva Convention.