Jeffrey Goldberg: Between jounalism and sycophancy

How is it that an astute journalist is struck dumb and has no challenging questions to ask Barack Obama?

Dr. Manfred Gerstenfeld

OpEds Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld
Manfred Gerstenfeld

When Jeffrey Goldberg interviews Obama he zigzags between journalism and sycophancy. It is indeed an honor to be the media confidant of an American president. However, unless one is extremely careful it compromises one’s journalistic integrity, as it is crucial to sharply question doubtful presidential statements.[1]

Recently Goldberg allowed some of Obama’s shaky statements to dominate the facts once again. This trend was already apparent in Goldberg's interview with the President last year, published in the Atlantic.[2] “The Palestinians are not an easy partner” said Obama then. Goldberg should have confronted this caricature of a statement. In 2006 the only Palestinian elections took place. The genocide promoting terrorist movement Hamas, received the majority of the parliamentary seats.

In light of such an extreme understatement, Goldberg should at least have challenged the President and demanded that he explain himself. He should have said; “Mr. President, this largest Palestinian party wants to murder all Jews, including myself. They say so in their charter, and repeat it regularly. Why do you believe Israel can reach an agreement with people ideologically committed to annihilating Israel and all Jews?”

The same occurred in Goldberg’s recent lengthy interview-cum-article about Obama’s doctrine, again published in the Atlantic.[3] One can see that best if one focuses on relatively few examples.

Besides some indirectly related remarks the Palestinians are mentioned directly only twice in the article, which runs to almost 70 pages. They first appear in Goldberg's description of the 2008 Cairo speech[4] when Obama “expressed great sympathy for the Palestinians," and “complicated his relations with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister—especially because Obama had also decided to bypass Jerusalem on his first presidential visit to the Middle East.”

If there were a Nobel prize for innovative terror and hate mongering the Palestinians would be prime candidates.
The second mention is when Obama explained his intentions in the Cairo speech about what he wanted to accomplish: “We want to work to help achieve statehood and dignity for the Palestinians.”

This remark should have raised a number of tough questions by Goldberg, which might be grouped together as follows: “Mr. President, if there were a Nobel prize for innovative terror and hate mongering the Palestinians would be prime candidates. Their criminal track record is impressive - including hi-jacking and blowing up of airplanes, murdering athletes at the Olympics, placing explosives in coffee cans on the shelves of a Jerusalem supermarket killing two students, booby-trapping a refrigerator and exploding it in a major Jerusalem square with 15 dead and 77 wounded and more. As you like to give a Passover "seder" for your Jewish employees. I would suggest you add seats round the table in memory of the 29 people killed and 65 wounded in the 2001 Palestinian suicide attack on a seder in Netanya.[5]

“Mr. President, you know that this is only a very small selection of the broad range and diversity of Palestinian terrorist activities and other crimes.  Before and especially since the 1993 Oslo agreements, the Palestinians have indoctrinated a new generation with hate. Their leaders, both Hamas, and Fatah promote a culture that glorifies martyrdom. Palestinian media and children’s textbooks are filled with extreme anti-Semitism. Psychologists say it can take decades to turn such an evil-permeated society around.[6]  Please explain how all this will be part of the dignity which will grace the Palestinians, when they have a state.”

As an aside: Obama is not the only one to mention the buzzword “dignity” in relation to the Palestinians. At this year’s AIPAC meeting Hillary Clinton said “Palestinians should be able to govern themselves in their own state, in peace and dignity.”[7] As she still has to campaign in a number of states this offers an excellent opportunity for journalists and others to ask her to explain how statehood will give dignity to a Palestinian leadership which prides itself on its glorification of murderers and other criminals, and to any future state under its helmsmanship.