- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 17, 2003

Murdered by mullahs

A Western journalist is taken into custody by an authoritarian regime and suffers a brain hemorrhage which is subsequently described as the result of a police beating. She was covering anti-government demonstrations when she was attacked. She subsequently dies of her injuries and the authorities will not release the body for an autopsy in Canada. Eventually, a government official in Tehran conceded that Ms. Zahra Kazemi “died of a brain hemorrhage resulting from blows inflicted on her.” Don’t you think this is big news? No one else seems to. CNN’s coverage of the event led yesterday with Iranian hardliners’ claim that Ms. Kazemi had “fallen” and suffered the blow to the head. The New York Times ran some buried Reuters stories; The Washington Post did better — with an A-Section piece. But government-sponsored murders of journalists seem to me to merit far wider and deeper outrage. Is the lack of interest because such a murder is committed by a regime targeted by the Bush administration? Or is it because news organizations still need to cozy up to the Tehran authorities to keep their correspondents free from harassment?

Blaming the victims

Why is it important for left-wing columnist Eric Alterman that the extraordinary evidence of rising French anti-Semitism should be dismissed, and, if anything, blamed on the Jews? Here’s Mr. Alterman’s take on a bracing piece earlier this week in the Washington Post about anti-Semitism in France:

“Memo to Everyone: In discussing “French anti-Semitism,” take a moment to notice that it is almost entirely a phenomenon of that nation’s North African and Arab immigrant community, not of the traditional (mildly anti-Semitic) French. There is no surge in French anti-Semitism at all, and it is probably at a historical low ebb among French men and women. It is certainly not a phenomenon of the French Left. This piece points out: ‘Most of the perpetrators are not the ultra-rightists and neo-Nazis who once were responsible for anti-Semitic acts, but young North African Arabs of the banlieues, the distant blue-collar suburbs where Muslims and Jews live and work in close proximity.’ And if it’s a really big concern of yours, by the way, the best way to ameliorate it would be for Israel to withdraw from the West Bank. The occupation is obviously its primary source.”

Notice the bizarre Pat Buchanan-like refusal to call French citizens French. Notice also the attribution of today’s resurgent anti-Semitism to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank — as if the victims of such hatred are somehow responsible for it. Mr Alterman seems willfully blind to the growth of anti-Semitism among French elites, who have appeased and explained away anti-Semitic violence and literature. I guess we should be grateful he hasn’t yet blamed this reviving bigotry on President George W. Bush. But give him time.

The Raines plantation

Another little glimpse into how the left-liberal mind can work: The New York Post reports that “The Blair scandal led to criticism that [Former Executive editor Howell] Raines had protected [reporter Jayson] Blair despite a poor record because Blair is African-American and Raines was trying to improve diversity in the newsroom. [Reporter Lynette] Halloway’s problems could lead to similar questions, since she is also African-American. Like Mr. Blair, she had caught the attention of Mr. Raines, who put her in the media section of the paper, insiders said. ‘She was a Howell appointment,’ said one insider. ‘He wanted to increase coverage of hip-hop music.’ ” I guess I’m lucky I didn’t work for Raines. He’d have had me covering hairdressers and musical comedy. And he’d have expected me to be grateful.

Quote of the week

“I often feel the natural place for a gay person is on the right. Conservatives should be all about an individual’s right to his or her own life, his or her own business, without the interference of hypersensitive, offended others. And it follows that true conservatives ought to support gay marriage, particularly those partial to family values. It’s difficult to argue that society doesn’t benefit from stable relationships. And what better way to encourage stable relationships than to support gay marriage? It is hard not to snicker at the idea that same-sex marriages would threaten straight ones. We straight people in Canada and the US have done a good job of bringing the divorce rate close to 50 percent all on our own.” — Rondi Adamson, Christian Science Monitor.

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