What Do Gaza and Ferguson Have in Common

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29 Responses

  1. Lawrence M. Reisman says:

    RJR writes that “The mere name Israeli-Palestinian, rather than the Israeli-Arab or Israeli-Muslim conflict, is a distortion.” But is it a distortion at this time? RJR also writes that “the media has largely ignored the emerging Israel-Egpyt-Saudi alliance to combat some of the most volatile forms of Islamic fanaticism, and the extent to which Egypt was a silent partner with Israel in fighting Hamas.” It would appear that for once, a good part of the Arab world is lining up with the Israelis. By the way, the anti-Israel New York Times has given quite a bit of play to how Egypt and Saudi Arabia have been tacitly supporting Israel in the fight against Hamas.

  2. Bob Miller says:

    “Buyer beware” applies to information as it does to products. Don’t buy into a big story without checking the track record of the source, and other important details.

    We should also learn another lesson: Members of one’s community who have a bad encounter with police, or with the government in general, are not automatically innocent victims. Some are and some aren’t.

  3. New Yorker says:

    Mr. Rosenblum’s commentary on Israel issues is always insightful and welcome, but I question whether he helps his cause among anyone other than those who already agree with him by tying Israel’s moral justification to that of the Ferguson police, or by stretching to compare the media treatment of Israel to that of the Ferguson police. He is careful not to opine on whether the shooting was justified, or whether he thinks having marijuana in one’s system justifies being shot to death. Like most of us, he has no first-hand facts or observations, just an internet connection that likely feeds him sources that reflect his take on things. In that he is no different than the rest of us, whose media habits are far more likely a search for confirmation than information. One just wonders why he devotes an article to these musings, or why he drags Israel into a shooting of a black teen in Missouri.

  4. Steve Brizel says:

    There is an equally important survey of the press coverage in Forbes that concludes that the “mainstream media” acted as Hamas’ press agents during the war, and in many cases, are openly sympathetic to Hamas & Co.

  5. Baal Hachalomos says:

    The assumption behind the comprehensive and well-presented article above is that media outlets are the source for unbiased information. The truth is that these companies are indeed profit-seeking businesses, who have the same incentive structure as a regular company. The incentive structure they face is to increase viewers and discussion about the coverage, thus generating advertising revenue. In order to achieve this, the media needs to keep coverage of various events to a limited time slot and to emotionally charge the news to boost retention in viewers’ minds. Social psychology research shows that memory is improved for emotionally charged material. Thus, the news outlets input moral undertones to many stories to improve memory. News outlets will also appeal to the public’s support for the underdog to improve viewership. Media outlets do seek to improve viewership by providing accurate and verified information, but that is not the sole objective, even if many mission statements of media outlets state that as their goal.
    So where does this leave us? On the one hand we want objective information. On the other hand, the trade-off of time commitment that we must undertake to get this information prohibits our own discovery of the knowledge. So we end up picking a news outlet whose slant and emotional charge support our opinion. For a conservative, this would be Fox News. When asked, the conservative will claim that Fox News is the bastion of objectivity in a sea of liberal views. But a liberal will be offended by the openly conservative comments by the correspondents and anchors. What this shows is that for convenience, we just pick the news outlet that generates the least friction to our views.
    In this world of instant international information, is there any way (for those who have the motivation) to get objective news information?

  6. Steve Brizel says:

    New Yorker-the mainstream press coverage of Israel is animated by viewing Israel unfairly as a colonialist and imperialist power with an unrealistic view of foreign policy viewed as an exercise in karoake or the lyrics to Hohn Lennon’s “Imagine” in the same way that it has viewed American foreign policy since the Vietnam war. Domestically, the “mainstream press” views all and any news that can be remotely classified as race related as a search for a white racist of the day instead of exploring the social pathologies that are responsible for inner city minorities acting in a criminal manner on fellow minority members. The equation IMO between Gaza and Ferguson IMO, is an eminently logical connection.

  7. Shua Cohen says:

    > “…the autopsy was fully consistent with another witness’s testimony that Brown was charging head down at Wilson when he was shot…Unless one believes that Officer Wilson would have acted differently if a 6’4″, 300 pound white man had been barreling at him…”

    >> This is probably the most troubling assertion in RJR’s essay, and it set me off on an internet search to try to discover if this assertion is true. Unfortunately, I can find zero substantiation from any reliable news source. I will quote from and article by Judy Melinek, MD — a forensic pathologist who served in the Manhattan office of the Chief Medical Examiner — whose view is representative of almost every forensics expert who has been connected with this case:

    “Whether a forward-leaning position is a posture of attack or of surrender, however, is a matter of perspective. From the perspective of a witness, it could appear that the leaning person is complying with the officer and getting down. From the perspective of the officer, he may appear to be coming at him. Partial evidence yields partial answers, and a rush to conclusions based on one isolated set of data…only raises more questions.”

    I’m sorry Reb Rosenblum, but I cannot agree at all with your assertion that Mr. Brown was “barreling” at the police officer. Your boldness in suggesting that this is the definitive truth is troubling.

  8. dr. bill says:

    The Israel/Gaza war and the Ferguson shooting have little in common. Gaza is ruled by terrorists. The IDF follows a detailed engagement manual written by Prof. Moshe Halbertal, that is unmatched anywhere. Violations of the manual, whether the result of poor judgment, inadequate or mistaken information, or premeditated or poor training, etc. are thoroughly investigated. Little is not known. In Ferguson, little is known, as yet.

  9. L. Oberstein says:

    This is one of the most revealing articles about Israel and the media that I have ever read. Since Jonathan is the person chosen by the Gedolim to interface with the media, I wonder if he can tell us how to develope better coverage of Israel . The article exposes a prejudice that can turn off the next generation of Jews as well as gentiles. We may be a “People that dwells alone” but we are certainly not “ignored by the nations”. I fear the ill winds that are blowing.

  10. Crazy Kanoiy says:

    This piece might end up being really silly and foolish considering that new testimony and evidence has shown that Michael Brown had his hands in the air at the time he was shot. The analogy might still fit, though not in the way the author of this piece intended. The Israeli government has just found enough evidence to warrant a criminal investigation into the acts of some soldiers in Gaza. So the connection between Ferguson and Gaza might be: don’t always jump to the conclusion that the media is biased and that use of force is warranted.

    I actually believe that the real common denominator between these two incidents is that rules of war and engagement written in offices and legislators that are removed from the heat of battle do not adequately recognize the fact that Humans are not machines. Battle and heated conflict cause tempers to rise, passions to flare and anger to boil. In such scenarios cold and stiff laws will inevitably be violated. I believe that the parsha of Yifas To’ar lends credence to this approach,

  11. lawrence kaplan says:

    I was not aware that Jonathan Rosenblum had become the public relations advocate for the Ferguson Police Department. His account of the Michael Brown shooting is not only one-sided, but also inaccurate. It would take too long to list all the distortions. Just two. First, the reports of Officer Wilson suffering a broken occipital bone (not orbital bone) have proven to be false and were retracted. All we have now is the police claim that Wilson suffered swelling of his cheek. The Police Department, of course, has not released the hospital report confirming and describing this injury. They have only released reports harmful to Brown, allegedly in response to overwhelming public demand- a clear out and out lie– and in accordance with FOIA requirements, complete nonsense.

    Also, ALL the witnesses who have come forward and given public statements– and two more have just come forward (supported by an audio recording taken just 40 seconds after the shooting) — have stated that Brown was trying to surrender. This is not dispositive, and the facts of the shooting are still unclear, but, as someone who has been carefully following this story from the beginning, I can say that the Police Department’s handling of this matter has been biased, prejudicial, and unprofessional. Even worse, is that, as New Yorker noted, Rosenblum for some strange reason took it into his head to link the media’s coverage of the Ferguson story with the media’s truly disgraceful coverage of Israel.

  12. Yisrael Asper says:

    Lawrence Kaplan you haven’t been following closely enough. Witnesses have said Michael Brown was not trying to surrender but coming towards this officer who has had a good record amongst the people and even was awarded. Michael Brown was coming from a robbing a store and abusing harshly the one behind the counter. The charge that he was shot in the back has been disproved. You are making everything one sided. There was a White kid shot by a Black officer and no big deal was made. You are almost completely rushing to judgement.

  13. Yisrael Asper says:

    Further the reports of injuries are going to be examined. There was an xray. You are taking Jonathan Rosenblum’s statements as if they are unsupported police department claims. Google: washington post eye fracture wilson

  14. lawrence kaplan says:

    Yisroel Aspler: It is you who have not been following closely. I googled as you suggested. The report was from August 21st! Speak about being up-to-date. The informant was a “family friend.” Later reports have undermined this one and it has been retracted. Note that we don’t even have an unsupported police department claim that Wilson had his eye socket broken. The Police chief just spoke about a swelling of Wilson’s cheek. There have not been any pictures of Wilson made available, nor has any hospital report been provided. Moreover, videos after the shooting do not seem to indicate that Wilson had any visible injuries. Remember, it was Jonathan Rosenblum who on the basis of an unsubstantiated and dubious report stated as a fact the Wilson had his eye socket broken.

    Contrary to your claim, there are NO witnesses who have come forward and said that Brown was rushing toward Wilson. ALL the witnesses who have come forward publicly have said, for whatever it is worth, that Brown was trying to surrender to Wilson. As Shua Cohen noted, the autopsy reports are inconclusive and ambiguous. I did not rush to judgment but said that the facts of the shooting are still unclear. I strongly criticized the Police Department’s handling of the case, and see no reason to change my mind. Cross-currents is not the proper forum to debate this case, but it was Jonathan Rosenblum who made it into an issue here by bringing it up in a context in which it did not belong.

    Your next to last sentence is completely irrelevant.

  15. Steve Brizel says:

    So far, all that we have heard about Ferguson are allegations and calls for mob justice if there is nothing less than a conviction ala a famous Western starring Henry Fonda-as opposed to evidence admissible in a court of law-and nothing at all about the social pathologies that are the source of crime in inner cities and in whoch members of minority groups perpetrate criminal acts on their brethren.

  16. Steve Brizel says:

    obviously, the liberal left handwringing over Ferguson has been replaced by the latest news cycle-the NFL is a harbor for abusers of women and children-as Jonathan Tobin pointed out in yesterday’s Commentrary, such vile acts preceded the founding and evolution of the game of football in the US by centuries.

  17. Yisrael Asper says:

    Lawrence Kaplan,

    It is going to be ridiculous if every time a White policeman shoots a Black it will be called uncalled for. News stations to the political left were biased in that direction. There has been so much bias against the police without first seeing what actually happened. There has been bias on Brown’s side all around. Nothing I wrote was irrelevant. You try being a policeman trying to save your life and have to be ready to be condemned just for your race versus the one you shot. Further there were witnesses who said Brown gave a struggle first. I don’t know what happened, neither do you, but the police department is being smart in wanting the evidence to be weighed in court. There were indeed witnesses who said Brown rushed Wilson. Nothing has been retracted. All that is said is in the court they will see his Xrays and judge what happened.

  18. lawrence kaplan says:

    Yisrael Asper: Name one witness who said that Brown rushed Wilson.

    It’s very nice to say that the Police Department is wanting the evidence to be weighed in court. It’s also nonsense. The Department released or leaked material prejudicial to Brown: the video of him robbing the store, the fact that there were traces of marijuana in his blood, and the shifting and entirely unconfirmed reports about Wilson’s alleged face injuries. Meanwhile there has been no mention of the toxicology report, which should have been ready by now, and no proper incident report appears to have been filed, much less released.

    Policemen are not even in the top 10 of the most dangerous professions.

    And– this goes for you too Steve Brizel,– one does not have to be a leftist to be concerned about the exceptionally high number of people in the US killed each year by the police, the fact that the US has, by far, the highest rate of incarceration in the world, the disastrous effects of the war on drugs, the licensed robbery of civil forfeiture, the militarization of the police, Swat teams carrying out military style no-knock raids on apartments, based on unreliable anonymous tips, terrorizing its inhabitants and at times injuring or even killing them, and finally, yes, the fact that policemen disproportionately single out minorities to stop, search, harass, abuse, and then falsely charge. Google Marcus Jeter, or, even better, Santiago Hernandez.

    But again in the context of this post my main point remains that, as I said and as you and Steve Brizel have conceded, we still do not know what happened in Ferguson, contrary to Rosenblum’s definitive sounding and one sided account.

  19. Yisrael Asper says:

    Lawrence Kaplan, If you had looked at the news reports beyond the more limited circle you saw (that allows its bias against Israel for instance to limit its reporting) you would have seen it reported on that there were witnesses saying that Brown charged at him and even that there was a struggle. The police department has a right to defend itself from people like you who jump to defame it while not having a word of criticism for all the shifting and overturned charges made on behalf of Brown and the jumping to conclusions on his behalf and the violence on his behalf. If the police are so into harassing minorities why don’t they harass Jews and Asians. Yes there is profiling for who is looked for. The fact is the police department feels it has a case. Further the police man had Xrays. You are making yourself susceptible to having egg on your face for claiming essentially there is no one backing the police story beyond the police. If he is innocent it is going in all likelihood be based on witnesses and Xrays. So you are just being selective.

  20. Yisrael Asper says:

    Lawrence Kaplan, Further Rosenblum did not say he knows Brown is guilty. You have been piously saying you don’t know what happened and then removing all defense for the police.

  21. Yisrael Asper says:

    You’re waiting for the toxicology report. Are we judging the case? The court will not be the court of public opinion which it was becoming because of all the corruption that was being done trying to pressure and prejudge the case so that the policeman would be prosecuted. To even have had any report given to the media is to have received something we are not entitled to have at this stage but were given anyhow. They have the toxicology report and that is important. We are not having every piece of evidence to be paraded before us so that we decide the case. Lawyers will keep information for the right time for their clients.

    You make the police department to be a corrupt institution. You dismiss the policeman’s evidence in his favor as police lies and manipulations. Meanwhile all the proved corruption on the part of people taking advantage of the Brown case for racial manipulation is not mentioned by you. If the policeman has defenders they are being prejudicial to Brown you say, but Brown is having defenders is not being called releasing prejudicial information by you. Furthermore the police department hasn’t been making so many if any statements. Individuals have been in order to defend the policeman or is Brown the only one entitled to defense? If the police were constantly making false charges or planting evidence it would be big enough that it would be headline news and the ACLU, NAACP and ADL would be swooping down on it. Black policemen also are not an uncommon site in this country. Has this had no effect? Also if police can beat up on those of the same race and be charged it shows that police abusing power doesn’t have to be racial just because it may involve a policeman of one race and a victim of another. During this same period. A Black policeman shot a White teenager. There was no public issue made. If it happens to be the other way around like in this case with a policeman the community was not complaining about and yet awarded him in a public ceremony for his police work, then we have a rush to judgement. You have become the witness for the prosecution. If one reads and watches the news it becomes clear that we don’t know what happened but the evidence doesn’t point in one direction only. You have condemned any direction that leads to Brown so far and then piously proclaim yourself ready to see evidence exonerating the policeman.

    You further personalized it against Jonathan Rosenblum. If you had made it your view that he is wrong it is one thing but you made it personal. That was unwarranted. He could be wrong on all the facts and he will be man enough to admit he was wrong if it turns out the other way. I hope the same can be said for you. He is going according to what he read and his points on Israel which is the focus of what he was saying, will stand. If you don’t admit to bias in the media holding back information except concerning Israel you are helping the media perpetuate such behavior. You encourage this type of media reporting and it will not spare Israel.

  22. lawrence kaplan says:

    Yisrael Aspler: There are, indeed, “unofficial” “off-the record,” “inside” reports of witnesses supporting Wilson’s story. You have been able to supply me, however, with any such witnesses who have actually come forward because there are none. But note the video released about a week ago taken about a minute after the shooting where two white construction workers who do not live in in Ferguson and have no contact with the Brown family are shown describing the shooting holding their hands up, one of them saying “he had his ****ing hands up.”

    The Ferguson Police Department has been in the news before the Brown shooting. Four thugs–oops, I mean Ferguson police officers– beat up a wrongly identified black suspect, and then charged him for bleeding on their uniforms! Then then proceeded to perjure themselves. It’s all on the court transcript. I kid you not.

    I googled the outdated Washington Post article you suggested. Have you googled Marcus Jeter and Santiago Hernandez, particularly the latter, as I you suggested? You will see policemen arresting and beating individuals in a completely lawless, vicious, and violent fashion and then charging them with disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, assault, etc. Fortunately, in these cases there were videos to show they were lying. I am surprised that you, Yisrael Aspler, are not concerned about the serious problem of police lawlessness, as well as the other very serious problems with the current American criminal justice system which I pointed out in a previous post. Incidentally, if you think that “anshei shelomeynu” are not wrongfully harmed by this, you are very wrong.

  23. lawrence kaplan says:

    I meant to write “you have not been able”

  24. Yisrael Asper says:

    It’s amazing how you are being as if you are an expert investigator here. All you do is select the reports you believe. There are witnesses who have come forward on

    Wilson’s behalf who will be used for the trial and will be reported to be giving testimony.

    Lawrence Kaplan said:” But note the video released about a week ago taken about a minute after the shooting where two white

    construction workers who do not live in in Ferguson and have no contact with the Brown family are shown describing the

    shooting holding their hands up, one of them saying “he had his ****ing hands up.””

    Well that’s interesting because the autopsy report shows Brown was not shot with his hands up. It is not considered definitive that this video shows the worker with his hands up as having said it. Brown was supposed to have been lunging at Wilson according to witnesses on Wilson’s behalf. First his hands may have been up and then he may have been lunging at him very fast to turn a seeming surrender into an attack. Witnesses have reported an altercation between the two before he was shot. I hardly think that witnesses for Wilson will not have their testimony taken into account. You may dismiss any witness on behalf of the officer but they will be used for the testimony on his behalf. I am supposed to buy your idea that no one is a witness willing to come forward officially on behalf of the officer. It sounds way too good for Brown’s side. Pardon my skepticism but someone has to be grounded in reality here. As for police lawlessness, yes you do have police lawlessness and that’s why if it were at the level you suggest it aught to be easy to make the case for the rampant level you are charging. Instead the police have to worry about being charged like everyone else in this country.

    Black people and white people need the police and the way you charging it aught to be that that is a dumb idea if you are Black at least as if yet Blacks and yes in Ferguson are not in the police force. I am concerned with lawlessness.

    One place we saw it was in Ferguson with outsiders for the most part being agitators and looting going on in

    an effort to condemn the officer without due process of the law. You first say there are no witnesses on his behalf and

    then you introduce the supposed element of unofficial witnesses, off the record witnesses and inside reports supposedly

    being the only thing to support Wilson and then you say that none have actually come forward. Well suppose you are right

    but then when their testimony will be official your qualifications for them now will look as worthless as they are.

    I did google concerning a bit of what you said about concerning, one of those two people you asked to google about. Whatever happened it doesn’t change the basic fact that our police force is what provides protection and it is looked forward to by people of all backgrounds in this country. It doesn’t change the fact that policemen and policewomen have to worry about the law like everyone else.

    People are sneaking into the United States. If America is so bad it would feel great to have no one allowed in. Who would have

    protested about Nazi Germany if Jews were not be allowed in. It would have been rather that we would feel thank G-d these

    Jews were spared. If you are the professor Lawrence Kaplan I thankfully see a dichotomy between your expertise in Jewish

    history and the conspiracy theorist nonsense I see displayed by you here. This just goes to show you cannot judge a person

    by just one error they make. Have a good and sweet new year with lots of nachas and bracha.

  25. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan wrote in relevant part:

    “And– this goes for you too Steve Brizel,– one does not have to be a leftist to be concerned about the exceptionally high number of people in the US killed each year by the police, the fact that the US has, by far, the highest rate of incarceration in the world, the disastrous effects of the war on drugs, the licensed robbery of civil forfeiture, the militarization of the police, Swat teams carrying out military style no-knock raids on apartments, based on unreliable anonymous tips, terrorizing its inhabitants and at times injuring or even killing them, and finally, yes, the fact that policemen disproportionately single out minorities to stop, search, harass, abuse, and then falsely charge. Google Marcus Jeter, or, even better, Santiago Hernandez.”

    Are you seriously defending the rationale of a certain Federal judge who was removed from a “stop and frisk” rooted case in New York because her views on the facts underlying the case, and her antipathy to the City and NYPD were deemed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals to be biased against the NYPD? Such comments without dealing with the root cause of crime-the breakdown of the family in minority communities and the view of governmental assistance as preferable to any kind of work raise generations where poverty and minority against minority crime are multigenerational facts of life.

  26. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-let’s see how the purported witnesses alleged “testimony” developes in the lense of the criminal justice system. AFAIK, statements made to reporters by eyewitnesses out of court do not constitute admissible evidence until they are authenticated as being admissible under the rules of evidence. Until then-the statements of the “witnesses” are just allegations.

  27. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-Perhaps the UK should think about incarcerating more persons in view of a scandal involving the refusal to press criminal charges in thousands of cases of what would be considered statutory rape therein out of concerns of PC towards a minority.

  28. Steve Brizel says:

    Larry Kaplan-liberals fantastize that legalizing drugs will reduce incarceration and crime-that notion is not supported by any view of who and where and against most violent crimes are perpetrated-by minority group members against fellow mniorities. Legalization of drugs is a small factor when compared with the breakdown of two head families , and the lack of incentive to work.

  29. lawrence kaplan says:

    Steve Brizel: Sticking to the issue of Ferguson, it was not I who first raised the matter of witnesses, but Jonathan Rosenblum.

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