Fight the Good Fight

Fight the Good Fight If critics of Israel's security fence needed a reminder of why the Jewish state is going to such trouble to separate itself from the Palestinians, Tuesday's terrorist bombing in Netanya should serve as yet another wake-up call.

The completion of the security barrier in the Jerusalem area has set off a predictable wave of outrage from Arab sources as those who live in the vicinity of the fence complain of the inconvenience. But those who are still asking why there needs to be a fence are forgetting that the real responsibility for it rests with a Palestinian leadership that preferred war to peace, terror to negotiation.

The fence is by no means foolproof, but this week's terrorist outrage doesn't illustrate its futility. Israeli media reports that there were dozens of recent attempts to cross the line into Israel by would-be Palestinian bombers. One did get through, but compared to the pre-fence period, when many more were successful, the fence has helped keep the cost in innocent lives to a minimum.

The news media, which rediscover the use of the word "terrorist" only when an incident such as last week's horrific bombings in London happens, need to draw the same conclusions about Netanya as they have when a non-Israeli target is chosen. The current leadership of the Palestinian Authority, which has been let off the hook for its failure to end terror by both Washington and Europe, must be held accountable.

Rather than claiming, as some do, that Western support for Israel's fight for survival is the cause for the 9/11 and 7/7 atrocities, the international community needs to unite around a common fight against Islamist terror – all the time and against all people.


Don't Ignore Real Bias!

Discussions of editorial balance at the Corporation for Public Broadcasting inevitably descend into political mud-wrestling matches. That's why the recent efforts of the Bush administration to counter what it thinks is a liberal bias at PBS television and NPR radio have been met by howls of protest from those who think Bush's people are the ones who are biased.

Such debates generally divide along ideological lines, so there's little chance that either side will wind up satisfied. It's also not surprising that a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the issue ended inconclusively. The hearing, chaired by Sen. Arlen Specter, wound up with Pennsylvania's moderate senior senator declaring that he saw no major problems with the system.

But amid the political backbiting and orchestrated campaigns to save the system from budget cuts – in which PBS children's television programs that are themselves profitable serve as the standard-bearers for the public networks – one issue is being missed again by congressional watchdogs of the federally-funded system: an ongoing pattern of bias against Israel in its news coverage.

Media-monitoring organizations such as Camera – the Committee on Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in North America – have repeatedly documented the history of slanted coverage of Israel on PBS programs and NPR. And in recent years, some in Congress have joined many in the Jewish community who've called for NPR, in particular, to reassess its practices.

Though the brouhaha over attempts to alter the PBS program lineup to accommodate Republicans is a political dead-end, we need to remind our legislators that the question of bias against Israel rises above petty partisanship. The only thing that will work to change the current situation at the public networks is pressure from Congress itself.



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