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Roger Cohen is a curious sort. His weekly columns obsessively spew forth hateful anti-Israel rhetoric while professing accolades for those stalwarts of democracy in Iran and Turkey. In the make-believe world of Roger Cohen, the Jews of Iran are in Utopia, “living, working and worshiping in relative tranquility,” and Israel is obsessively paranoid over Iran’s nuclear program, which he dismisses as “the nuclear bogeyman obsession.” Cohen is so in tune with the party line that even Iran’s theocratic mullahs have taken a liking to him, republishing at least one of his articles in their propaganda apparatus, the Tehran Times. He has since backtracked somewhat on the Iranians, having witnessed their brutality following Ahmadinejad’s theft of the country’s fraudulent elections, but his vitriol against the Jewish state is ever increasing and is matched only by his propensity to engage in sensationalist, and often times misleading, rhetoric.
Take for example Cohen’s recent article, “Israel Isolates Itself,” in which he calls on Israel to apologize to Islamist Turkey for actions against the Mavi Marmara and bemoans the loss of Furkan Dogan, a “19-year old U.S. citizen” and “aspiring doctor” from “upstate New York.” Cohen’s misleading description of Dogan conjures up images of a freckled face, bespectacled Norman Rockwell archetype dressed in the requisite graduation cap and gown. What Cohen cleverly omits is Dogan’s journal entries where he professes to dream of martyrdom. Also omitted is the fact that though Dogan was fortuitously born in the U.S., he was born of Turkish parents and lived in Turkey for nearly his entire life, having moved there at the age of two. Dogan was a U.S. citizen on paper only. In every other respect, he was a radicalized Turkish Islamist who sought martyrdom. Dogan knew what he was getting into when he joined his fundamentalist IHH mercenary cohorts. If he was not among those who cheered when IHH and other assorted Islamist demagogues lectured on the evils of the “Zionist entity,” he was certainly within earshot of those lectures. Make no mistake, Dogan was neither freedom fighter nor humanitarian, and he was likely part of a well-organized group of thugs armed with machetes, daggers, metal bars and other assorted goodies that violently attacked a group of Israelis who boarded the Mavi Marmara with nothing more than paintball guns.
As with all Israel haters, Cohen is very adept at driving a wedge between Americans and their only stable, democratic ally in the Middle East — Israel. And there’s no better way to do that than by claiming (falsely) that Israelis kill innocent Americans. For over 40 years, the David Duke types have been pushing the asinine and fringe conspiracy theory that in 1967 the U.S.S. Liberty was deliberately set upon by Israeli forces with premeditation and intent to kill Americans. More recently, they’ve focused their efforts on the 9/11 attacks, claiming that Jews were warned to stay away from the World Trade Center by the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence service. Now, Cohen attempts to place a new spin on this age-worn anti-Semitic canard by claiming that Dogan was executed by Israeli soldiers, or in his own nebulous words: “something close” to being executed.
Cohen notes further that the panel set forth a recommendation that Israel issue “‘an appropriate statement of regret’” on the incident. He then takes a sudden leap, asserting, “Yes, Israel, increasingly isolated, should do just that. An apology is the right course and the smart course.” Did I miss something here? How did we jump from an “appropriate statement of regret” to an “apology”? The Palmer Report, which upheld the legality of Israel’s blockade and laid much of the blame for the debacle on Turkey and its affiliate, the IHH, called on Israel to offer a “statement of regret.” Israel has already accepted the report’s findings (with some reservations) and has issued such a statement along with an offer for compensation. The Turks, who rejected the UN-sanctioned report, also rejected Israel’s overtures and made clear that they would accept nothing short of a full apology, along with a lifting of the blockade. So much for compromise. But Cohen neglects to mention any of this and stubbornly clings to the party line of bashing Israel no matter the cause or circumstance.
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