< link rel="DCTERMS.isreplacedby" href="http://bokertov.typepad.com/ btb/" >

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

From: "Anne Lieberman"
To: "NPR Ombudsman Jeffrey Dvorkin" ombudsman@npr.org
Cc: mail@nprsucks.com
Subject: same letter, new version - bias against Israel, Israelis and Jews
Date: Tue, 27 Jan 2004 12:09:07 -0700

Dear Mr. Dvorkin,

I don't know what show it was on, but I believe it was a piece by Aron Shuster that I heard yesterday afternoon on NPR. It gave me chills. Palestinian Arab women were discussing whether or not the latest Hamas suicide bomber, a woman, should have blown herself up.

After some of the women clearly voiced their support, one of them said that she opposed mom bombs. I was hopeful for a second, and could understand why you might air such a discussion; there was actually going to be another point of view! Then that woman explained that mothers shouldn't blow themselves up because it's more important that they live... to bear and raise children who would then kill the Zionists.

The broadcast of this discussion in particular and NPR's focus on the terrorists in general, offend me deeply. All your listeners know this bomber's name, how many children she left, how old they are, what she looked like (your report referred to the photographs handed out by Hamas), her age, education level, etc. Meanwhile, her victims and their families remain nameless, faceless, ageless, lifeless numbers. Such bias reveals a bigotry that both frightens and angers me.

You see, I am a Jew and a supporter of Zionism. Were I one but not the other, the majority of Palestinians would still want me dead. You've heard the slogan, "Death to the Jews"? I take that personally. The fact that NPR conducts its broadcasts as though this were a reasonable and valid "point of view," chills my innermost soul. During this particular segment, a Palestinian Arab man voiced the "opinion" that it was okay that the woman blew herself up and left her young children motherless, since she had been so "successful" in murdering four Zionist occupiers (or was it aggressors?).

I have little hope that NPR will ever present my point of view - how it feels when people want to kill you for who you are, regardless of what you think or do, and moreover, how it feels to have this discussed on public radio with all the warmth and humanity of a commercial for laundry detergent. I cannot tell you what an odd sensation it is, how other-worldly, to hear people plotting the best way to accomplish my death and or the deaths of my children, my brothers and sisters, my friends - on the radio, on National Public Radio, funded by my own government. NPR has some nerve, some chutzpah if you will, to be so extraordinarily callous.

Just for the record, my "point of view" is that I want to live. G-d willing, I want to live as a Jew in the Land of Israel. I want to live to see my grandchildren under the huppah, the marriage canopy, in the Land of Israel. Those who were murdered by the woman you so diligently make famous, also wanted to live to see their grandchildren. And their families needed them to live. They also have a point of view. It is bitterly insulting that NPR ignores them while contributing so much attention to their murderer.

I don't suppose your new Ethics Guide for Public Radio addresses my concern. I doubt there is a chapter on how public radio might broadcast a discussion of murder tactics so as not to offend the targets. Perhaps that will appear in some future version; after all, you state that "an ethics guide is always a work in progress."

I find it interesting, albeit appalling, that you view ethics as evolving, not as fixed, as if somehow one has to keep their ethics up with the times. It is under this guise that NPR bends over backwards to explore and understand those who blow themselves up in order to murder the greatest number of Jews possible. As NPR's ethics evolve -or should I say, devolve- in this fashion, it allows for the congruent dehumanization of the victims, casually cheapening their blood by conveniently ignoring it.

I object to NPR's coverage of the Arab war on Israel in the strongest possible terms. I find it journalistically unethical, and humanly immoral. But then, my sense of ethics is not relative. It hasn't been updated or revised... for the last several thousand years.

Anne Lieberman
Boulder, CO