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September 4, 2017 1:41 pm

New York Times Review Hails Book Accusing US of ‘Blind,’ ‘Fanatical’ Support of Israel

avatar by Ira Stoll


The headquarters of The New York Times. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The latest issue of the New York Times Book Review devotes its entire front page (and most of a second page inside) to a glowing review of Suzy Hansen’s new book, Notes On A Foreign Country: An American Abroad In A Post-American World.

The Times-picked reviewer gushes that the book is “rare and necessary…admirable.” It also claims that the book “is spoken softly rather than screamed.” The book’s author, Hansen, “is a contributing writer for the Times magazine.”

And then we get this strange and glancing mention of the Jewish state. The review explains that Hansen “asks why, given the extent to which America has shaped the modern Middle East — the lives it ended, the countries it fractured, the demons it created, its frantic and fanatical support of Israel — it ‘did not feel or care to explore what that influence meant.’”

“Frantic and fanatical support of Israel”? Is this the same America that for decades, under administrations of both political parties, has refused to move its embassy to Israel’s capital in Jerusalem? The same America that, under President Obama, agreed to an Iran nuclear deal that the Israeli government vociferously opposed, a deal that President Trump has so far not undone? The same America that, also during the Obama administration, declined to veto a UN Security Council resolution declaring Israeli settlements a violation of international law?

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The Times doesn’t quibble with this characterization of “frantic and fanatical support of Israel” or with its implicit suggestion that America’s support for Israel is excessive. Nor does the Times review probe further on the topic.

It would be a fine topic for some intelligent criticism. A search for the word “Israel” in the book turned up a sentence criticizing Americans for wrongly dismissing “grievances against the West that are completely genuine: its blind support for Israel….”

Another passage in the book claims “the Arabs who admired America so much saw American support for the Jews as ‘bigotry.’….the ultimate test of the Western-Arab relationship was whether the West would force Palestinians from their land so that the Jewish people who suffered during the Holocaust might have a refuge.”

The German-owned publisher of Notes On A Foreign Country — Farrar, Straus and Giroux — is the same firm that brought out John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s infamous The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. If America is as blindly and fanatically loyal to Israel as Hansen claims — well, at least, fortunately for her, Farrar, Straus and Giroux and the New York Times Book Review don’t appear to suffer from that problem.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.



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