Forget About Media Bias: How We Can Really Support Israel

“Judea and Samaria” or “West Bank”?

— by Kenneth R. Myers, Esq.

In their article, “‘Occupied’ Territories? Anti-Israel Media Bias Starts With Language,” two stalwart supporters of Israel, Jerry Verlin and Lee Bender, attack the press for bias against the Jewish State in the words that are used to report on the Middle East.

But the authors then go on to build to a conclusion well beyond either the press or linguistics: They argue that “there is a deeper psychosis,” which views Israel as “ethnic cleansing Nazis.”

We are reassured, however, that “since the Oslo Accords, Israel has been trying to trade land for peace, only to have each offer of statehood for the Palestinian Arabs spurned.”

Comforting it may be to recite that we Jews are (still) victims, and that the Palestinians are a hateful bunch who are at fault for the situation.

But sixty-five years of retelling the same tale has not resolved the problem of achieving Middle East peace. At best, the repetition provides the appearance of a reason not to even try.

More after the jump.
We need to remind ourselves instead that in the world today, ruling over a subjugated multimillion-person population is an unstable and unsustainable situation.

We ought not to waste time decrying the press for use of the words “occupied” or “Palestinians.”  The authors propose substituting “Judea and Samaria” for the term “West Bank” — a facially neutral term (it is, after all, the west bank of the Jordan River) — but those names are taken from our Hebrew Bible.

And they signal to readers the concept of a Greater Israel, a one-state solution that does not help to resolve the situation of the Palestinians. Unless the unspoken goal is that Palestinians (pardon me, I meant non-Jewish Palestinians) will conveniently arrange to disappear.  

We U.S. Jews, having full regard for Israel’s long term security, need to take every opportunity to exercise all our influence with the Government of Israel, with Israelis, with our government, and to the extent we have any influence, with Palestinians, to move matters beyond this unstable status quo.  

The design of the solution is not our choice to make, and arguing about it needlessly divides us and wastes our effort. But we should be true to our own beliefs that we are all the Lord’s children, all equal, all deserving of peace and security, and all deserving of self-determination.



  1. Lee Bender says

    While it is nice to pontificate that we know better than Israel on what its security needs are, living as they do in such a hostile neighborhood with groups whose charters call for its destruction and genocide (ie Hamas, Palestinian Authority, Fatah, PLO), it is just not reality. The onus must be on the Palestinian Arabs to demonstrate in word and deed that they recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish People and are willing to compromise and live in peace and end the conflict. They have never said anything of the sort, and in fact continue to profess the opposite. Right now, the status quo is the best peace that Israel has and can get. Is it sustainable?  Better than the alternative.  Also, Mr. Myers is incorrect in stating that “West Bank” is neutral; it is not. It implies that the Arabs have a greater right to the land than Israel does, and that is simply not true according to international law. Moreover, the UN in its partition plan in 1947 called the area the Hill Country of Judea: “West Bank” is an invented term by Jordan in early 1950s, after they illegally annexed the land in 1949. In fact, out of the original Palestine Mandate, Jordan is actually the “East Bank.” Does Mr. Myers want Jerusalem to be re-divided again? Does he trust the Palestinian Arabs to hold the high ground of the Judean Hills?  And the Jordan Valley?  Israel wants peace, but its security and rights are paramount, not a suicide pact. Wake up to the fact that the Palestinian Arabs still adhere to the phased destruction of Israel- their goal is to replace Israel, not live alongside it. If and when the demonstrate that they truly want peace, Israel will extend its hand. But don’t think you know better how to secure Israel. As President Shimon Peres once famously said, the most basic right Israel has is to breathe.
    – Lee Bender  

  2. siweni says

    I strongly disagree with the assertion that, “We ought not to waste time decrying the press for use of the words “occupied” or “Palestinians”, or any other agenda driven spin. As the saying goes, “The pen is mightier than the sword” and words are like actions, they never go without consequences.

    However I do agree that as the story of Adam and Eve teaches that, “we are all the Lord’s children, all equal, all deserve of peace and security, and all deserving of self- determination”, but unfortunately like the Biblical Esau some have abandoned their inherited rights in order to feed their ravenous misapplied appetites.

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