Monday, March 16, 2009

I Protest

NPR - The Diane Rehm Show. 

Dear Diane,  

I am a long-time listener. Although I frequently find myself in disagreement with your guests, and also with your implicit and sometimes explicit, presumptions, I respect the quality of your program and your own particular dedication as a radio-journalist-editorialist.  

I am writing to register my strong protest against the un-rebutted slurs and misstatements made recently on your program - in the two morning shows, one after the other. The subject concerned the withdrawal of the nomination of Charles Freedman as President Obama's chairman of the National Intelligence Council. The statement was made, a few times, that his withdrawal was simply another instance of the power of the Israel Lobby that has produced a reluctance on the part of the media in general to have an open discussion of the Israel-Palestinian situation. Reference was even made to the scurrilous and largely discredit article by Melshheimer and Walt. 

Space considerations prohibit my providing a complete response to these remarks. However, I urge you please to consider doing some in-depth research on these issues. You might start with two of Alan Dershowitz's recent books - The Case for Israel and The Case Against Israel's Enemies (I wonder if you have ever had Professor Dershowitz on your show). The truth is the exact opposite of what was asserted. The media (excepting the shrill right-wing radio talk shows, and Fox in general) is actually constitutionally biased against Israel. It has been well documented that the media coverage during the latest Gaza action was scandalously distorted - to the point of reporting as news what later turned out to be outright lies (as in the case of the UN school that was never bombed). There has never been an honest, open accounting of the activities and finances of Hamas who steals American taxpayer money donated to the UN. Israel's enemies are all dictatorships. They lie with impunity and refuse open investigation by the media. Israel is a democracy with a critical internal press. Israel's actions are routinely and openly examined and criticized in spite of the power of AIPAC or any other pro-Israel lobby.  

On the other hand, there are numerous, effective pro-Arab-anti-Israel lobby groups. Billions of dollars of Saudi money is being used to fund "Islamic Studies" departments in this nation's universities in which hatred of Israel (and America) is being taught. Numerous "panels" are being organized in which pro-Israel proponents are denied a voice. I have personally witnessed one of them at Binghamton University - (see for yourself here). There is absolutely no shortage of analysis of Israel's actions.

Charles Freedman's views need to be examined. When they are you will find him unfit to fill the position for which he was nominated. Both in regards to the far-east and the middle-east his position is quite extreme and very idiosyncratic. To attribute his withdrawal to the actions of the "Israel Lobby" was quite unjustified. The rush-to-judgment of your guests, without so much as a mild protest from you, was most unfortunate.  

I will continue listening to your show and hope never to encounter this type of event again.  

Best wishes, 
Peter Lewin 
Clinical Professor, Economics 
University of Texas at Dallas 
School of Management

No comments: