Nicholas Kristof of the New York Times doesn’t much care for Israel or its way of conducting itself. He recently had some unpleasant experiences in Jerusalem: “‘New York Times’ writer Nicholas Kristoff [sic] lost sight of facts, nuance – opinion,” by Barbara Sofer, Jerusalem Post, November
Kristof describes going somewhere in Jerusalem, probably to find an authentic Gaza news source. He makes an appointment with “some Gazans who were temporarily allowed to visit Israel and became stuck in east Jerusalem.” He doesn’t explain why they were in Jerusalem in the first place and how they “got stuck.” They’re certainly not hostages.
Perhaps the Gazans were receiving medical treatment not available in Gaza’s hospitals located above those billion-dollar tunnels. Each tunnel costs as much as a high-end MRI machine. The gravel imported for the simplest tunnel could pay for a lot of ketamine and propofol, common anesthetics.
Kristof is remarkably incurious about what those Gazans are doing in Jerusalem. As the writer of this article notes, they might well be in Jerusalem to receive treatment from Israeli medical personnel that is not available at home. Among those Palestinians who have sought treatment from Israeli doctors in Israeli hospitals have been the head of Hamas, Yahya Sinwar (whose life was saved by Jewish doctors) and his daughter, the late PA propagandist Saeb Erekat, as well as Mahmoud Abbas, his wife, his brother, and his brother-in-law.
And there is another possible explanation. These Gazans he met in Jerusalem might have been among the 20,000 Gazans who have been granted Israeli work permits; which allows them to earn, working in Israel, between three to five times what they would earn if they remained in Gaza. It may be that the Gazans Kristof met in Jerusalem had been working in Israel on October 7 and have been prevented from returning because of the heavy fighting that has been going on ever since.
To reach his source in east Jerusalem, Kristof reports that his Israeli taxi driver refused to take him the whole way and abandoned him “on the side of the road to get a Palestinian taxi.” As a Jerusalemite and head-covering religious woman whose professional work frequently takes her into Arab homes in Jerusalem and elsewhere, I have to wonder why he didn’t arrange to travel with one of the many Arab taxi drivers who are familiar and comfortable with the streets and byways in the Arab neighborhoods, as well as the Jewish ones.
Kristof apparently thinks his Israeli cab driver “abandoned him,” as he querulously puts it, leaving him “on the side of he road to get a Palestinian taxi.” No, he was actually looking out for the well-being both of himself and of Kristof. A Jewish cab driver would be nervous about driving into certain parts of east Jerusalem. Of course he was worried, quite understandably, about his own safety, the same way a French cab driver would be unlikely to drive all the way into the No-Go Muslim-inhabited suburb of Paris, Seine-Saint-Denis, to drop off or pick up, a fare. And if the Israeli’s cab were to be attacked, say, by the “shebaab” (boys) throwing rocks in east Jerusalem, Nicholas Kristof, too, might be hurt. None of that occurs to Kristof; he’s intent on complaining about the “Israeli taxi driver” who, he says, left him “on the side of the road.” All Kristof had to do was add a few truthful words to his account: “The Israeli cab driver, quite understandably, left me off so that I could get an Arab cab driver to take me the rest of the way to certain ‘hot spots’ in east Jerusalem.”
Once safely there (whew), Kristof’s unnamed source was a “sweet” (his description) 57-year-old Gazan woman who approved of the Hamas act on October 7. Kristof doesn’t mention if she was specifically satisfied with the beheadings, rapes, burning babies, but his “sweet” source did think it was okay to murder five-year-olds because “they are all Jews and Zionists.”
No shared humanity here.
This, to use his own words, “ breaks his heart” because her bigotry was, in his opinion, nurtured “not only by Hamas propaganda but also by Israeli bombing.”
This “sweet” Palestinian lady — who approves of rape, torture, and murder of Israelis — wins Kristof’s affection nonetheless. Besides, her views, according to Kristof, don’t come from the texts and teachings of Islam, or from a lifetime of being schooled in hatred of Jews, but are an understandable reaction to Israeli mistreatment. He does want to make clear this lady’s “bigotry” — a mild word for her murderous race-hatred — is due not just to Hamas propaganda (based on verses in the Qur’an), but also, more importantly, to Israeli bombing. But the Hamas attack had been in the works for almost two years. It was not prompted by any bombing from Israel, of which there was very little during that time. And there had been no Israeli bombing in the run-up to the October 7 attack. But Kristof wants to make sure that Hamas’ atrocities are blamed at least partly on…Israel. Kristof does not differ from those who insist that the 9/11 attacks were an understandable reaction to American foreign policy. Apparently our rescuing the Bosnian Muslims and the Kosovars from Serbian attacks made no impression on bin Laden. And Israel’s attempts to lighten the burden on Gazans, by employing so many in Israel, and by supplying Gaza with water, fuel, and electricity, made no impression on Hamas.
To balance his op-ed, Kristof points out that Israelis have bigots and extremists, too. He quotes an unnamed “far-right” rabbi saying, “You may think you’re being merciful, but you’re being vicious to the ultimate victim whom this child will grow up and kill.”
I don’t know which rabbi made this alleged statement, but we did have Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu say that a military option would include nuking Gaza. No sooner were the words out of his mouth when they were widely condemned, including by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and mocked and disparaged on national Israeli news channels.
There are a tiny handful of wild-eyed Jewish extremists in Israel, who talk of pushing the Palestinians out of Judea and Samaria, or out of Gaza, but the point is that they have almost no following. Anyone who speaks that way is immediately condemned by the Israeli media, and by the leaders of all the parties. They become toxic. When Amichai Eliyahu made his remark about “nuking Gaza” — a statement that he did not mean literally but simply as a way to suggest support for a response to the Hamas murderers of unprecedented ferocity — he was denounced by everyone of consequence in Israel, including Yair Lapid, who condemned his “horrifying and insane remark.”
But when a Palestinian terrorist talks of wiping out “the Jews,” and means it, he is not denounced, but universally praised for his bloodcurdling sentiments, by the same people who cheered Hamas after learning of its heroic deeds on October 7.