Deborah Solomon, a longtime writer for the NYT Magazine, conducted the ‘Q&A’ piece published in today’s paper with Israel’s opposition leader, Kadima party head Tzipi Livni. The piece as edited and published carries this exchange:
- Q: Your parents were among the country’s founders.
A: They were the first couple to marry in Israel, the very first. Both of them were in the Irgun. They were freedom fighters, and they met while boarding a British train. When the British Mandate was here, they robbed a train to get the money in order to buy weapons.
Q: It was a more romantic era. Is your mom still alive?
A: No. She died two years ago…
Let me stress the fact that– as is made very clear in the print version of this article, as of all of Solomon’s weekly interviews– this one was ‘edited’ before publication.
In other words, it is not only Deborah Solomon who finds it quite acceptable to describe the Jewish terrorism perpetrated by Livni’s Irgun-affiliated parents as straightforwardly ‘romantic’. It was also the people who edited her interview.
The word ‘romantic’ is not even placed in quotation marks in either the print or the online version of the interview, which would have conveyed a sense it was being used with some ironic distance.
As Matt Duss notes over at Think Progress,
- While Livni may prefer to think that the Irgun weren’t terrorists, and Solomon would like to help, it’s worth noting that both the New York Times and the World Zionist Congress saw things very differently at the time. On December 24, 1946, the Times reported “The World Zionist Congress in its final session here strongly condemned by a vote early today terrorist activities in Palestine and ‘the shedding of innocent blood as a means of political warfare‘” by the groups Irgun and the Stern Gang.
I very much doubt that the civilians who were murdered by the Irgun at the King David Hotel, nor those massacred and ethnically cleansed at Deir Yassin and Jaffa, nor the hundreds killed in various other Irgun attacks look upon that era as particularly romantic. Their memories deserve far better.
Check out the rest of the great links Matt provides there, too.
But also– even more importantly– please join me in writing either a Letter to the Editor at the NYT, or a strong but politely worded protest to their “Public Editor” (Ombudsman), Arthur S. Brisbane to express your displeasure at the newspaper’s apparent whitewashing of the (decidedly un-‘romantic’) Jewish terrorism of the 1940s.
You can reach Mr. Brisbane by e-mail or by phone at (212) 556-7652. Letters to the Editor go here.
(Oops, sorry about the earlier HTML mistake on those email addresses, and thanks to the kind reader who pointed them out.)