The 2014 Duranty Award, Second Runner-Up: John B. Judis

In another column on October l, Judis condemned Benjamin Netanyahu for saying in his UN speech something “shockingly bad,” when he argued that Hassan Rouhani was a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” And Netanyahu also dared to say that Iran had “fanatic” leaders who voted to “wipe Israel off the map.” Judis then proceeded to inform readers how many sincere times Iran made overtures to the U.S. that were rejected. And, he added, Rouhani even tweeted to wish Jews a happy Rosh Hoshanah. I don’t recall an addendum when Iran denied having done so -- but Judis had already made his point, showing his eternal trust in Iran’s leaders and distrust of those who govern Israel. Finally, he condemned Israel’s prime minister for making conditions for negotiations “that the Palestinians are not ready to accept.” How dare Netanyahu defend his country’s interests against those who threaten to send it into the sea? I wait for Judis to write a column urging the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish state. Why do I think that is never coming?

The question is why anyone would take Judis’ writings on these issues seriously. He believes, as he makes clear in his book, that Israel was created by Zionists who, conspiring with the British, decided to “screw the Arabs out of a country that by the prevailing standards of self-determination would have been theirs.” His analysis is to be matched only by that of the late Helen Thomas, the one journalist with whom Judis bares comparison.

Finally, Judis was not wise enough to take his own advice given at the end of his book. He did not offer policy solutions, he wrote, because he said he was “not thoroughly acquainted with the current actors.” At the time he wrote that, however, he was not one bit shy of attacking Netanyahu, especially for insisting that Palestinians should recognize a Jewish state.

Having chastised Israel for getting the UN in 1947 to accept partition and creation of two states, Judis finally wrote last April 14 in praise of John Kerry and the Obama administration for blaming Israel for the breakdown in talks, and arguing that the best hope is for letting Palestinians take the issue to the UN. It was only the Israelis, of course, who were responsible for the end of the peace process. So Judis offers the solution: “supporting Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority’s attempt to bring the United Nations and other international organizations into the negotiations.”

So we offer this Duranty Award to John B. Judis, who proves time and time again that his concept of journalism is to simply condemn Israel and to back the Palestinians, whose propaganda and word he accepts at face value.