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Blogger Survey: The Media Battle Over Jerusalem, Part 2
More bloggers responded to my pre-Jerusalem Day survey, which asked, "Is Israel winning the media battle over Jerusalem?" (In Part One, Yisrael Medad, Elder of Ziyon and A Soldier's Mother shared their take.)
Many recent big polls on American attitudes show Americans solidly behind Israel by significant majorities. I think this reflects a number of things: 1. The American mainstream media is fairer to Israel than it used to be (if you look at the coverage of the second intifada as the high watermark of biased reporting.) 2. The American people, for reasons not related to Israel, continue their rejection of mainstream outlets like CNN, the New York Times and NBC and 3. The American people are not at all sure they trust the Obama administration.
In short, vis a vis building in Jerusalem, outlets like the Associated Press have done their best to present the old narrative of a grasping, hegemonic Israel versus helpless Palestinians but on the whole Americans aren't buying it. Events have been on our side, as well. Jerusalem news has been drowned out by a tsunami of other news of more immediate concern to Americans like the passage of the health care bill, the growing deficit, and domestic terrorism.
There are a number of factors that need to be made in considering Israel's case for maintaining its hold on Jerusalem. Are there historical ties between the Palestinians and Jerusalem? As Daniel Pipes writes, there are none, but it's a major issue politically. Is Israel required to cede "East" Jerusalem according to the dictates of Resolution 242? Dore Gold answers that 242 was intended to specify temporary ceasefire lines not permanent borders. Is division of the city even viable? Yaacov Lozowick shows from a number of examples that previous attempts to divide cities have been unsuccessful or aren't comparable to the situation prevailing in Jerusalem. Is Jewish construction an attempt to change the facts on the ground? Israel Matzav argues that it is the Palestinians, with no restrictions on their building in Jerusalem who are attempting to change the nature of the city.
Now read Janine Zacharia's account of building in Jerusalem from last week's Washington Post. Does she address any of these issues? Clearly the governments of Israel, going back quite some time have failed to make an effective case for Jerusalem.
Unfortunately, the Obama administration has successfully managed to move the center in the debate over Israel's sovereignty over Jerusalem. After months of journalists pushing anti-Israel talking points in the guise of objective reporting - and with the help of anti-Israel foreign policy experts who "evaluated" US/Israeli tensions - the conventional wisdom is now that Jerusalem is just another settlement over which Israel is expected to negotiate. It was occasionally a subtle dynamic, but the thousands of articles blandly describing the dust up over Ramat Shlomo as a disagreement over "settlements" altered the diplomatic playing field in a way that was deeply damaging to Israel.
The Israeli government's inability to influence the framing of the White's House's manufactured crises - to emphasize not just the substantive incoherence of a strategy premised on hardening Palestinian positions, but also its essential dishonesty - represents another failure in Israeli public diplomacy. In the context of Jerusalem, it's a failure that threatens the security of Israeli citizens and the identity of the Jewish State.
UPDATE May 12: See more responses at parts Three and Four.
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We are losing because Netanyahu can't stand up to pressure, he gives in. He's so afraid of being criticised by the Left-wing media & pleasing his loser coalition partner, Ehud Barak, that he caves on everything & then starts the political double-talk to cover up his weakness. Like the vast majority of Israeli politicians, Netanyahu is a political hack, not a leader.