A note from Allissa Wickham, first run in The Rogovoy Report on Friday, July 11, 2014, commenting on my selection of stories reporting on the battle between Hamas and Israel – reprinted below – elicited several responses from other readers. They immediately follow Wickham’s original message:
I’m sure you’re going to get a lot of notes as this battle between Gaza and Israel wages on, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in anyway, and request that the Rogovoy Report‘s headlines and coverage be a little less skewed towards Israel. Hamas is obviously very much to blame in all of this, but Israel’s response has been indiscriminate and over the top. I believe the death count for Palestinians is now around 50 or 60, whereas no Israelis have been killed. Again, fault lies on both sides, but I think there’s a journalistic and moral imperative not to underplay the suffering of Palestinians in Gaza. OK, rant over! That said, know that I read your newsletter everyday, and really do think it’s great.
I’m so pleased that you included the article “The Gaza Rules” (Slate). I only wish that the press, in general, was more responsible in presenting what Israel is doing and the reason why. Most of the reporting makes my blood boil. Anyway, I continue to appreciate the way you put together your report. Thank you so much.
— Judy Friedman
Regarding Ms. Wickham’s “two cents” on the Israel/Hamas war, I would ask what she would consider a proportional response to daily government-sanctioned rockets from Gaza on Israel population centers. As one can see from the huge number of long-range rockets fired at Israel, Hamas has created a complex military structure in Gaza committed to Israel’s annihilation. Israel’s war is a true defensive war that was thrust on them by Hamas. I share Ms. Wickham’s concern for Palestinian civilians, but unfortunately, I really can’t think of more gentle ways for Israel to deal with its terrorist neighbor bent on its destruction. Giving the Palestinians a state as their government is now constituted is a satisfying thought but would obviously make the problem worse and much more dangerous for Israel (and Jordan and Egypt and Lebanon). Seth, I love reading the Rogovoy Report daily, and your editorial instincts have been excellent. Ms. Wickham can get her longed for “balance” in plenty of other online and print publications.
— Steven Winter, Dalton, Mass.
So Allisa Wickham wishes your coverage of Gaza be less “skewed” towards Israel because “no Israelis have been killed,” but about 50 or 60 Palestinians have. So in Ms. Wickham’s skewed opinion, if 50 to 60 Israelis had also been killed, that would balance the tragic situation?
Let me remind the writer of this letter that this episode of violence started with the kidnapping and execution of three Israeli teens by Hamas terrorists, followed by the abhorrent murder of a Palestinian teen as an act of revenge by a group of fanatical, ultra-religious Jews. The difference being that the former was enacted by a government as official policy, the latter as a sick crime condemned by 99.99% of Israelis, including a public statement by the Prime Minister.
In a conflict between two sides where one (Hamas) chooses and encourages the glory of death over life versus the other (Israel, and the Jewish people as a whole, as they are targeted not just in Israel itself) on the sanctity of life, there is no basis for real comparison. Hamas is a poisonous cancer, exploiting Palestinian suffering for its own agenda, and should be eradicated. Their biggest fear is the creation of a Palestinian state alongside Israel which would cause them to lose their reason for existence. Their goal is the destruction of the Jewish state at any cost.
The fact that only 50-60 people have died is an accomplishment of Israeli targeting policy. Most of the deceased are terrorists, or were harboring terrorists. The fact that no Israelis have been killed in the barrage of rocket attacks all over the tiny country is either an accomplishment of technological feats that no other country in the world has achieved, or as some would believe, a divinely orchestrated miracle.
I for one, with deep roots in Israel, with family and friends living there, proudly serving in the IDF, believe that the only way this will end is a surgical operation to remove the cancer, so that all the people in the region can have a long and happy life. Since there is no peace movement in Gaza to make this happen, the task falls on Israel.
— Eiran Gazit, Lenox, Mass.
I think most people have no sense of how tiny Israel is. There is a perception that it is some large, aggressive country, when it is about the same size as New Jersey and just wants to live and let live. I know I am preaching to the choir. It is a huge PR issue, with so much misinformation being repeated often enough that people believe what they hear. Thanks for your RESPONSIBLE reporting.
— Hinda Bodinger