“Heroic Act of Journalism” by Bob Simon

I was hoping that someone who saw last night’s 60 Minutes would blog about Bob Simon’s extraordinary segment on the lives of West Bank Palestinians under Israeli occupation. I am glad to report that Ethan Brown has, in a guest post at TalkLeft:

If you have not seen Sixty Minutes correspondent Bob Simon’s piece “Time Running out for a Two-State Solution” stop everything you are doing and watch it now.

It is that good. And it is that heroic. …

Why is it heroic? Because it portrays, with unflinching honesty, the truth and the reality of what Palestinians experience on a daily basis, and have done since 1967. This is the first time in my memory that any mainstream media outlet has ever done this. And all the more impressive given that Bob Simon is Jewish:

Our mail is pouring in on “60 Minutes.” Viewers have never seen ANYTHING like this on mainstream television before. They are grateful. We are too. We must honor Bob Simon/CBS for a heroic piece of journalism. Myself I loved seeing his Jewish face trembling with outrage outside the house the Israeli soldiers had occupied. At last here was the outraged moral Jewish face I grew up with and that went away for 20 years. A privileged Jew who has done his part to advance Israel’s image in the United States is regarding the horror of Zionism, and not holding back but sharing it with his American audience. Again, too late for the two-state solution, but not too late for the interaction of sober Jews and Arabs in the holy land.

Complete transcript and video are at the 60 Minutes website. I ask that everyone who reads this post go over there and either watch the video or read the transcript, or both. It’s that important.

28 Responses to ““Heroic Act of Journalism” by Bob Simon”

  1. Bob Della Valle says:

    I too was shocked to see the 60 Minutes piece on the end of the two state solution. It was so refreshing to have our mainstream media devote even 13 minutes to telling the truth about what Israel is doing in Gaza and the West Bank. I can only hope that CBS does not water the piece down with “balance” after all the protests start coming in.

  2. tas says:

    I’m interested to see how the wingers react to the other side of the story being aired — finally — in the mainstream media. Will they come up with any good counterpoints or just use this as an opportunity to spew more needless, deadly invective?

  3. tas says:

    Another note: I remember talking with my Dad about the Palestinian situation recently and telling him about all the stuff Simon’s story mentioned: the checkpoint system restricting Palestinian access, the private highways for Israeli citizens only, the dividing wall, the restrictions on Palestinian use of water, and most importantly the settlements. All of this fragments any potential Palestinian state, therefore they have absolutely no way to build their own economy. None. At all. This leaves terrorism as the only option for Palestinians — it emboldens not only Hamas, but Iran, Hezbollah, and anybody else wishing to exploit the Palestinian apartheid.

    This is essentially what we offered the Palestinians at Olso. For some Israelis though, even that was too much because they assassinated then Prime Minster Rabin for daring to come close to a peace agreement.

    My Father was surprised. It’s not that the Palestinian side of the story hardly ever gets fairly mentioned in our media, but it’s actively repressed. Years back, I remember one fringe candidate for Congress in RI wanted to run a pro-Palestinian rights commercial that showed (as much as could be shown in 30 seconds) what Israelis were doing, with video clips of Palestinian homes being bulldozed, etc. Local TV stations rejected the commercial for being too controversial. And I have no doubt that 60 Minutes is in for some shit with this story.

    I have to wonder what explains the anti-Palestinian reaction. Is it religious? Based off anti-terrorist sentiments?

  4. Chief says:

    Tip o’ the ol’ Hat to Bob Simon. I knew it was bad on the West Bank, just didn’t realize how bad it is.

    Kind of reminds me of reading about how it was in the south of the United States when people of colour had no rights and the whites could do anything they wanted to.

    Apartheid describes it well.

  5. Chief says:

    And a big Tip o’ the Hat to you, too, Kathy, for shedding more light on this.

  6. Paul Schnee says:

    Below is my letter to CBS’ “60 Minutes”:

    Dear Sirs,

    Last night Bob Simon’s report ignored not only the historical context of the problems in Israel, a country that has been under constant attack since its creation in 1948 and is surrounded by arab countries that seek its ruin, but also the recent 4000 plus rockets fired by Hamas, a terrorist organisation, into Israel during the last two years. These attacks went unanswered by Israel until recently and when finally Israel did respond it did all that it could to avoid civilian casualties in spite of Hamas’s cowardly policy of using their own civilian population as human shields. It seems the only thing Hamas likes better than jewish casualties is palestinian ones so they can arouse & influence the sympathy of the so-called international community, an increasingly spineless group seemingly intent on legitimizing a completely fabricated cause.

    The accusation that Israel is an apartheid state is entirely scurrilous. Is Mr. Simon aware of the countless and constant palestinian acts of terror against Israel? Does Israel not have the right to defend herself? Did he not notice how the palestinians and much of the muslim world rejoiced in the streets when we were attacked on 9/11? Why does Mr. Simon not ask what Hamas is doing with the over $200 million in aid we have sent them in the last 12 months? “Why are we sending it?”, he should ask. Better still, why does he not broadcast a segment inquiring what has happened to all the aid money that the disgraceful pedophile, Yasser Arafat, embezzled during his tenure as chairman of the PLO? Mr. Simon, it seems, is unable to distinguish between the attacker and the attacked. To paraphrase the late William F. Buckley, to attempt to establish a moral equivalency between those who wish to destroy Israel and Israel herself is to say that the man who pushes an old lady in front of an approaching bus and the man who pushes an old lady out of the way of an approaching bus are just two men who like pushing old ladies around!

    Mr. Simon did himself and us a disservice when he abandoned his journalistic ethics, if indeed they exist any more, by acting as such an obvious and supine apologist for Hamas and the so-called Palestinian Authority which, by the way, is just the terrorist PLO masquerading as a government in case he hasn’t noticed. Instead of informing us he sought to prejudice us against the state of Israel that longs to live in peace. After all this time Mr. Simon fails to grasp that if tomorrow the terrorists put down their weapons, the next day there would be no more fighting. However, if tomorrow Israel put down her weapons, the next day there would be no more Israel. The inability to distinguish between the fire and the fire department is one of the first signs of an appeaser. Shame on you Bob. MSNBC awaits or perhaps you should hand in your credentials and join the Obama administration.

    Sincerely,

    Paul Schnee

  7. Chief says:

    Shame on you, Mr. Schnee, for keeping your eyes closed. You have done yourself a disservice.

  8. tas says:

    Shorter Schnee: “Palestinians aren’t people.”

  9. Paul Schnee says:

    Tas,

    People they are indeed, but never, never mind you, ones that held possession of any geographical area let alone a legitimate state. Where were their cries for their own state when the Ottoman Empire held dominion over the entire region for over 300 years prior to the end of World War I?

    Only after the state of Israel was created in 1948 and the jews returned to their ancestral homeland where they had lived for over 2000 years, prior to the birth of Christ, and started growing oranges the size of cocconuts did you hear anything about the so-called palestinians and late in the day at that.. Theirs is an entirely trumped up cause celebre with not the slimest piece of worn out thread to connect it to any sort of legitimacy. They simply have no case. At best they are squatters trying to lay claim to property which, historically, they never controlled, scarcely inhabited, and did nothing to improve during centuries of sporadic occupancy.

    Their muslim brothers cynically but cleverly formed the palestinians as a ragtag group of malcontents to be used and manipulated to destroy Israel through the back door something they had been unable to accomplish through the front door i.e. on the field of battle. Peace is not their ultimate objective any more than aquiring their own state is an objective. If these were real goals then Arafat would have signed the agreement at Camp David when Clinton was president and Ehud Barak was prime minister of Israel.

    You can show all the carnage on television you want and interview people on both side of the conflict whose family members have been killed and whose lives are inconvenienced by the constant hostilities. This is why they say war is hell, but the real roots of the conflict can not be defined by these gut wrenching images and stories nor by the global palestinian public relations campaign seeking to justify a spurious cause. If you can grasp the salient fact that these people are engaged in an unrelenting jihad based on the urgings of the Quran where intolerance, cruelty, and barbarism are enshrined in its title deeds, then you have grasped the very heart of the matter. Israel is our first line of defense in the middle east. As goes Israel so will go the rest of us, eventually, if we are not very careful. Subordinating the rights of the jewish people to the delusions of the so-called palestinians and their muslim brothers and pressing for a two-state solution because we wish to have an uninterrupted flow of oil is not statecraft but it is suicidal.

  10. tas says:

    Shorter Schnee: “OK, Palestinians aren’t the RIGHT people.” I stopped reading your crappy comment here: “Only after the state of Israel was created in 1948 and the jews returned to their ancestral homeland where they had lived for over 2000 years, prior to the birth of Christ, and started growing oranges the size of cocconuts did you hear anything about the so-called palestinians and late in the day at that..”

    You’re so ignorant of history that you just shouldn’t speak anymore, lest you make a larger fool of yourself. Your bias combined with lack of knowledge makes you unworthy of debating since I can’t possibly learn anything from you. And if you think I’m playing high and mighty, turning up my nose at you… Well, you’re right, actually! If you said anything new or factually correct, perhaps I wouldn’t act this way… But I’m sick of discussing the same old crap.

    Now do us all a favor and go troll someplace else.

  11. Kathy says:

    Subordinating the rights of the jewish people to the delusions of the so-called palestinians and their muslim brothers and pressing for a two-state solution because we wish to have an uninterrupted flow of oil is not statecraft but it is suicidal.

    Earth to Schnee:

    The West Bank and Gaza don’t have oil.

    Israel does not have oil.

  12. Paul Schnee says:

    Tas,

    I’m afraid you’ll have to do a little better. For example, try pointing out where I am factually incorrect. The age of an argument does not necessarily alter it’s validity. Facts, as you’ve clearly discovered are inconvenient things.

  13. Paul Schnee says:

    Earth to Kathy:

    The point I was making was that the United States and most of Europe are allowing themselves to be intimidated into supporting the spurious claims of the so-called palestinians because they fear that their muslim brothers in the oil producing states will start to turn off the tap or crank up the price which they have been doing sporadically since OPEC was formed. I apologise for making this so difficult for you to understand.

    Over & Out.

  14. tas says:

    For example, try pointing out where I am factually incorrect.

    Why the hell should I waste my time? You trolls are all the same: you think you’re entitled to a debate. And if I don’t amuse you, then I suppose you’ll call me a coward or something. Pshaw. I care less.

    There’s a difference between meaningful debate and having to scold a child. I’m in no mood to participate in the latter. Good day.

  15. Paul Schnee says:

    Tas,

    Abuse is not an argument and unlike left-wing, liberal, pitty-me, poltroons, I don’t think I’m entitled to anything. You seem to have been very loosely educated and taking out your frustrations on me because you are unable, so far, to produce anything that resembles a cogent argument is not a solution.

    Blake once wrote that:: “He must ever believe a lie, who sees with and not through the eye.” Once you no longer accept, without investigation, the biased reporting of the mass media that is fed by the public relations apparatus of the palestinians, bought and paid for with large amounts of petro-dollars from their muslim brothers, you will at last be seeing “through” the eye. At that point your ignorance will cease to be invincible. Time is of the essence.

  16. tas says:

    Like I said Paul, I’m not wasting my time with the likes of you.

  17. Paul Schnee says:

    This,Tas, comes as something of a relief since your argument has no visible means of support and your opinion is no opinion at all but merely ill informed prejudice.

  18. Valentino says:

    Well funny to come across you, Mr. Schnee!

    I have carefully listened to both sides of the argument and, as an objective spectator in this regard, I must say with wholehearted confidence that Tas’s credibility had incinerated itself the moment he stooped to calling you a troll.

    There is a difference between not wanting to waste time with an obvious troll vs. not wanting to meaningfully argue with someone who is masterful in use of speech and indubitable in use of specifics.

  19. Kathy says:

    Mars to Paul (because Paul is already many, many miles away from Earth):

    The point I was making was that the United States and most of Europe are allowing themselves to be intimidated into supporting the spurious claims of the so-called palestinians because they fear that their muslim brothers in the oil producing states will start to turn off the tap or crank up the price which they have been doing sporadically since OPEC was formed.

    First of all, the U.S. does not support Palestinians at all, regardless of how legitimate their grievances are or how appallingly illegal and brutal Israel’s policies are toward them. It never has.

    It’s Israel that the U.S. allows to intimidate the U.S. into supporting the most egregious violations of international law, the most blatant war crimes, and the most shameless land grabs. And one major reason why the U.S. gives Israel that blank check, both literally and figuratively, to do anything it wants to the Palestinians AND in the larger region with no adverse repercussions, is precisely the fact that the U.S. regards Israel as its bulwark against precisely that possibility — of Arab nations in the Middle East blocking off the oil supply.

    You’ve got the facts exactly backward.

  20. bryan says:

    I wonder how many people from the US (left or right) who comment on the Arab/Israeli conflict have ever been to Israel or seen the land? I wonder how many have spoken to an Arab or Israeli who live in Jerusalem and got their perspective first hand. Like an Arab who must go through a check point to get in and out of Bethlehem because Suicide bombers he has nothing to do with kept blowing themselves up in Israeli stores. Like a devout Jew who cant go on the temple mount to even offer a silent prayer because his very presence is feared to start a Muslim riot. I sure wish people who commented on things knew what they were talking about before they spouted. A “Secondhander” is a good word for them. These are people who are personally ignorant but take what others say as truth without personal investigation and then regurgitate it. Sure is a weak way to live, not to mention annoying.

  21. Paul Schnee says:

    Paul to Space Cadet, First Class, Kathy:

    1. If the U.S.A. does not support the palestinians why have we sent the PA over $200 million this year, let alone the over $3 billion we dish out to other arab countries many of whom are drowning in petro-dollars?

    2. As far as the “legitimacy of the palestinian grievances is concerned see my responses above.

    3. Sending the civilian population, that supports terrorist who are lobbing over 4000 rockets into your civilian population, notice that they should take cover and move out of certain areas because you are going to respond to unprovoked attacks hardly seems like a war crime. It’s unknown in the annals of war and not something the PLO, Hamas, or Hezbollah have ever done or would even contemplate doing.

    4. It’s not possible to “land grab” something that belonged to you in the first place.

    5. When , in the late 1940s, Gaza was controlled by Egypt and the West Bank by Jordan, no cry was heard from the so-called palestinians about claiming that land for themselves. Why was that so? Perhaps because no claim could possibly have been been substantiated then or now. Perhaps it was because the so-called palestinians were not really formed in any real sense until the mid 1960s. They have no case.

    6. Why is nothing heard about the over 1 million jews who were dispossessed, brutalised, and booted out of arab countries, where they had lived for centuries, all because of rising arab nationalism.

    7. Why is not more heard about the genocidal activities of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al Husseini, who met with Adolf Hitler to plan the extermination of the jews in the Middle East and who was responsible for the 1941 pogrom against the jews in Iraq that resulted in 300,000 jews being killed many of whom were pregnant women whose bellies were literally cut open, the fetus removed and discarded like so much garbage? If it is injustice that animates you then start with that.

    8. The United States does not need Israel as a “bulwark” to prevent the flow of oil from the OPEC countries, If she did then Israel would have been one of the participants in the first Gulf War in 1991. As it was she stood quietly by while Sadam Hussein attacked her with Scud missiles. In addition we have 10, count them, 10 nuclear powered Nimitz class aircraft carriers which can project our power to any part of the globe. On board are nuclear weapons, about 65 tactical war planes and another 17 support aircraft. They have the most sophisticated electronics on board that prevent enemy aircraft, ships or submarines from coming close. They can remain at sea for over a decade without the need to be refueled The last thing any country wants is to see one of those things on the horizon. In a military crisis one of the first questions the president should ask is: “Where are the carriers?”

    9. In reality, the so-called palestinians are unwanted and actually actively disliked by their muslim brothers. However, as has been well demonstrated in the past, in the spirit of “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” they will make common cause with them if they think they have a shot at destroying Israel or killing a sufficiently large number of jews to make it worth their while.

    11. I suggest you read, once more, the last paragraph of my last reply to help you unscramble your misperceptions of reality in the Middle East.

  22. Paul Schnee says:

    CORRECTIONS:

    1. It was 300 jews that were killed in about a 2 day period in Iraq in 1941 not 300,000 as I mistakenly typed above in # 7.

    2. # 8 should have read: …….to prevent the flow of oil from the OPEC countries being stopped.

  23. tas says:

    Alrighty trolls,

    As far as my “credibility” goes, I think it shows your own credibility when you call mine into question after the only thing I’ve said is, essentially, I’m not going to argue with you. (Or, as I more aptly put it, I’m not in the mood to scold you children.) How am I not credible when I haven’t opened my mouth about the issues?

    Furthermore, I haven’t seen you people address the points made in Bob Simon’s actual story — you just repeat the same old platitudes of “Jews were there 2000 years beforehand, therefore anything the state of Israel does now is, by default, correct.”

    On that last point, if you’re going to use that excuse to justify everything that Israel does, don’t expect me to argue with you. There is no arguing with you. You’ve already closed off your minds to objectively viewing anybody else’s viewpoint, so — for the umpteenth friggen time — why should I bother wasting my time with you? Like I’ve said before, I’m in no mood to scold children — if you want an adult conversation, then become adults. Durrr.

    As for you Bryan, you seem obsessed with me. Two and a half years ago you pledged to investigate me, something you never followed through on — I guess you’re content to become a troll where ever I go. You’ve got issues. You should probably see a shrink before posting another comment.

    Toodles!

  24. Alex says:

    Why does Israel owe anything to the Palestinians. They could have had their own homeland in 1948, but they didn’t want to give up one inch to the Jews. That’s it, everything that has happened since is on the Palestinians. And Tas, you are a complete fucking idiot who can’t even argue a legitimate point, instead you start name calling like a child. I don’t understand why you are so passionate about your hatred of Israel. You’ve got to look at history because only then will you realize who is right and who is wrong in this conflict.

  25. tas says:

    They could have had their own homeland in 1948, but they didn’t want to give up one inch to the Jews.

    Wrong.

    I don’t understand why you are so passionate about your hatred of Israel.

    And wrong.

    And Tas, you are a complete fucking idiot who can’t even argue a legitimate point, instead you start name calling like a child.

    The real children are the ones who start out with childish points, and then regard those points as immovable objects in an endless game of “HE STARTED IT!” Save it for grade school recess — us adults have solutions to talk about here. Now if you want to take part in that discussion, grow up.

    As. I’ve. Said. For. The. Umpteenth. Time.

    And on that note, I’ll say what I should have made final a couple days ago: I’m through with this thread. As I’ve mentioned (umpteeenth time, etc.), you trolls are a waste of my friggen time.

  26. Alex says:

    You can’t just say somebody is wrong and not make a counterpoint, you expose yourself as a dumbass. A coward is somebody who instead of engaging in a legitimate debate with facts, decides to name call. You’re the one that needs to grow up.

  27. I agree with Alex. Tas your immaturity is present in your obvious trolling.

    Simply posting “wrong” without offering a valid counterpoint is, in itself, wrong.

    Now if you offered valid arguments and explanations, perhaps your ideas would be valued and your credibility be worth a grain of salt.

    As of now, I must use the internet phrase: “Obvious troll is obvious.”

  28. Danny says:

    How long did it take you to write this blog.

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