The WaPo’s Israel Problem

Nov 14 2011 @ 12:51pm

Jennifer Rubin re-tweeted this vile post by Rachel Abrams, which regards the captors of Gilad Shalit as "animals":

Throw them not into your prisons, where they can bide until they’re traded by the thousands for another child of Israel, but into the sea, to float there, food for sharks, stargazers, and whatever other oceanic carnivores God has put there for the purpose.

Rubin's own version of the diatribe was as follows:

“gilad is free and home. now round up his death-worshiping captors and turn them into food for sharks"

The leaders of Hamas are indeed often despicable in their war crimes, but it's a mark of civilization that we do not descend to this kind of tribal, racist, fascistic bile. And notice that Rubin is endorsing the notion that God Almighty views the captors of Shalit (who, unlike many prisoners under Israeli and US control in the past, was not tortured) as inferior to the "children of Israel." He put sharks in the ocean to eat Arabs. Moreoever, given a chance by the Washington Post ombudsman to take back the endorsement of this sentiment, Rubin doubled down:

Rubin told me that she did agree with Abrams. Rubin said that she admires Abrams, has quoted her a lot, thinks she’s an excellent writer and endorsed the sentiment behind the Abrams blog post.

So we have a blogger at the WaPo endorsing throwing Arab prisoners into the sea to meet righteous divine punishment. Can you imagine a Arab writer pennng that about Israelis and surviving at the Post?

Of course you couldn't. This was pointed out by many readers, who

suggested that if a Post liberal blogger had retweeted an equivalent anti-Israel broadside, American pro-Israel groups would be screaming for his or her head. I think the critics are right: Rubin should not have retweeted Abrams’s tweet.

Three cheers for the ombudsman. And the matter should have ended there. But Ben Smith, one of sharpest (and most mischievous) observers of the Israel Lobby in Washington, put the head neocon enforcer at the WaPo, Fred Hiatt, on the spot. He asked him where he stood. And Hiatt, of course, did what a neocon always does. He closed ranks:

I think Jennifer is an excellent journalist and a relentless reporter. I think because she has strong views, and because she is as willing to take on her home team, as it were, as the visitors, she comes under more scrutiny than many and is often the target of unjustified criticism. I think she brings enormous value to the Post.

If you read through the whole contretemps, you will see that Rubin escaped what would have been automatic censure because she is not a reporter but an opinion writer. Yet here is Hiatt backing her precisely as a reporter and journalist (even though her entire oeuvre emanates solely from a pro-Israel fanaticism). Glenn Greenwald pounces:

Is there any doubt whatsoever that had Rubin promoted a rant spewing these sorts of ugly caricatures about Jewish children and Israelis with accompanying calls for savage violence — rather than directed at Palestinians — that she would have instantly been fired, then castigated and attacked by all Serious precincts?

No doubt. But Rubin was hired entirely because she is a Likudnik fanatic, just as Dan Froomkin was fired for opposing torture. The Washington Post editorial page is more pro-Israel than most papers in Irsael itself. It has every right to be in a free country. But it's worth knowing.