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      World Media Wavers in Support of Israel

      American newspapers have almost unanimously backed Israel's retaliation against Hizbullah. Some say Israel is doing what Bush should have done, but Europe and Asia want a withdrawal.
      By Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu
      First Publish: 7/21/2006, 11:50 AM / Last Update: 7/21/2006, 12:22 PM

      Canadian and Australian dailies also have sided with Israel. Most British newspapers followed a tepid anti-Israel line, noting understanding of Israel's concerns. The Times of London expressed sympathy for Israel's reaction, but added, "It would not be in Israel’s interests to regard the moral high ground from which it set out nine days ago as a free hand to act without regard to the world around it....Now, easing the bombardment unilaterally rather than waiting for US pressure to do so would earn the Israeli Prime Minister wider respect."

      The Daily Telegraph refrained from criticizing Israel but concluded that only diplomacy and a surrender of all of Judea and Samaria will allow peace in the Middle East. Indonesian, Indian, and other Asian newspapers sided with the Arab claim that Israel is an aggressor and must retreat.

      Israel's only major forthright editorial support came from the United States, Canada and Australia.

      The ChicagoSun-Times wrote, "Israel must rigorously defend its right to exist," and the Detroit News News concluded, "Ultimately, Israel has the right do what’s necessary to protect its people."

      The Richmond, Virginia Times-Dispatch criticized those who denounced Israel's reaction as "disproportionate" and declared, "If anything, Israel has acted with remarkable restraint."

      The Augusta, Georgia Chronicle asked if the critics of "disproportionate" reaction would say the same thing "if the United States were responding to rocket attacks on its sovereign territory." It called the civilian toll in Lebanon "reasonable."

      Israel is "completely justified," according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel , and USA Today noted that it was difficult for Israel to calculate its response.

      The Washington Post, which traditionally leans to the left, backed Israel but expressed reservations concerning its stance "if the current rate of civilian casualties and damage continues."

      A major California newspaper took a swipe at the American president. The San Francisco Chronicle wrote that "the Bush administration’s response has been to stay out of Israel’s way, save for a few benign statements about a need for restraint. The world can’t afford to wait."

      In Canada, the Edmonton Sun reminded readers that Canadians were part of a United Nations peace-keeping force on the Israeli-Lebanese border and that "the problem, sadly, remains Lebanon's."

      The Toronto Globe & Mail praised Prime Minister's Stephen Harper's for "saying what he thought" in his forthright support for Israel.

      In Australia, support for Israel was also noted. "The outrage about the accidental wartime deaths of Lebanese children seems to far outweigh that felt for Israeli youth deliberately targeted by suicide bombers in calculated acts of murder. Likewise in the occupied territories," according to The Australian. However, it advised Israeli supporters "to calmly deploy an arsenal of facts" instead of relying on emotions to convince opponents.

      "The assumption of many in the media that there is something suspicious about a democracy that fights, rather than appeases its enemies, makes it easy for the ignorant and the anti-Semitic to paint Israel as an aggressor," it said in an editorial.

      The China Post hedged and simply wrote that all sides should seek a cease-fire while backing American demands that Hizbullah terrorists release two IDF soldiers they kidnapped last week.