Why Time Magazine’s Karl Vick Doesn’t Care About Details

Why TIME Magazine’s Karl Vick Doesn’t Care about Details
Why Israelis Shouldn’t Care About Karl Vick

There they are, the villainous Israelis sucking back ‘nargilum’ (a flavoured smoke) on a Tel Aviv beach, detached from the plight of the Palestinians and letting the world go to hell while they soak in the rays.  While Middle East Peace is a crucial issue to the rest of the world, these hoodlums could care less so long as they can make money and laze on the beach.

This is the life of an Israeli as portrayed in Karl Vick’s Sept 13, 2010 Time Magazine article:

“Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace”

Vick has spun this distasteful tale using three main threads, a picture of beach bums, the testimony of two real estate agents, and a poll of critical issues.

Two Israeli real estate agents, Heli and Eli, it would seem, are sufficient witnesses to the moral state of a nation.  They claim proudly that even while the bombs were falling in Ashdod, real estate was still moving.  Eli claims Israelis are indifferent:

"They don’t care if there’s going to be war. They don’t care if there’s going to be peace. They don’t care. They live in the day."

In 1977 the Voyager Probe, launched by NASA, carried a ‘Golden Record’ containing images and sounds of the Earth.  Great deliberations went into the contents of this record to make sure that all races and peoples were equally represented.  Karl Vick would likely be quite surprised to learn that while composers from Beethoven to Chuck Berry are included, there are no real estate agents mentioned. 

If that was too delicate allow me to be blunt.  If God lived on Earth, a real estate agent would sell him a house with a leaky basement marketing it as “… with luxurious indoor swimming”.

Now on to Vick’s damming picture of beach bums.  If a picture is worth 1000 words then the scenery beyond the picture is worth a book; in this case the book is a tragedy.  Those ‘gluttonous’ beach bums are around 18 years old and likely on their way shortly to the army.  Israel has mandatory military service between high school and university for 3 years for males and females alike.  What Vick portrays as “Spring Break in the Middle East” is in fact a last dance before a tour of duty.  I’d say that deserves a toke or two.

Finally let’s deal with Vick’s appeal to statistics and polls.  Vick cites an Israeli poll asking participants to name the most urgent problem facing Israel.  Vick notes that

“just 8% of Israeli Jews cited the conflict with Palestinians, putting it fifth behind education, crime, national security and poverty.”

He the draws the conclusion that:

“…among Jews here, the issue that President Obama calls "critical for the world" just doesn’t seem — critical.”

First, ‘National Security’ likely subsumes the Palestinian conflict for many Israelis.  Next, Turnabout is fair play so let’s use the same logic on a recent US Poll.
When asked “what is the most important problem facing America?” Americans volunteered:
The Economy 49%
Health Care 8%  (Israelis cite the Palestinian conflict as their 8% issue)
Budget Deficit 4%
Wars: Afghanistan and Iraq 4%
Big Government 2%
Immigration 1%

(Apr 27, 2010: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20003551-503544.html)

So applying Vick’s logic symmetrically to this poll, it would seem Americans are callous war mongers who care about their own jobs and health well above the wars they’re actively involved in which have killed hundreds of thousands. 

I don’t support this conclusion, nor likely would Vick.  My point is that Vick uses polls, “as a drunken man uses lamp posts… for support rather than illumination”.  Israelis, by Vicks own admission, cite peace at 8% in their poll which carries equal weight to Health Care for Americans; Americans are anything but indifferent to Health Care.

I take exception with Vick’s swift and cobbled inference that Israelis are indifferent to peace.    Further I refuse to believe that a country with compulsory military service could possibly be indifferent to Foreign Relations.  Vick’s journalism is charlatanic at best.  In the nadir of the printed press, one would think attention to detail and quality would be paramount.  Perhaps Time Magazine need not ask why they are in their eleventh hour?



The TIME Magazine Cover:


The daisies are likely an allusion to the popular inspirational poem: “I’d Pick More Daisies” which is a poem extolling the virtue of living a carefree – ‘in the moment’ lifestyle.

Text of “I’d Pick More Daisies”: http://www.unshod.org/ebbfhike/brj01.htm

24 thoughts on “Why Time Magazine’s Karl Vick Doesn’t Care About Details

  1. I will keep this short. Karl Vick the so called writer from Time magazine is a RACIST. His Hitlerian comments about non caring Israelis is purely that and nothing else.This man would love to see all the Jews murdered.He is a hater. He is also the worst kind of hater.

  2. I cannot comprehend what Vick is talking about. Is he really in Israel, has he gone outside the hotel and actually spoken with Israelis and visited various sections and cities. He sounds like a real nazi who always claimed that Jews like money more than anything else. Why did Time take him on as their bureau chief? Something smells. Do Saudis also own the Time?
    I am utterly disgusted.
    Paul Tenenbaum

  3. I also read the article with great interest. I agree Vick is a racist and I think by his article he is attempting to fan hatred between the Israelis and Palestinians. In fact, most journalists are. This is because they will all be out of jobs when there is peace as there will be nothing else for them to write on. Goodbye TIME!

  4. Israelis love life, that is true. Are they to be hated for that? They truly do try to live , really LIVE instead of whining and making an industry of whining like the Arabs have done. Does that mean they don’t care for peace? I suppose this same Karl would have watched the movie Life is Beautiful and erroneously concluded that “Jews don’t mind being killed in death camps.”

  5. This is yet another example of a journalist who twists facts to get his opinion across. Some Israelis believe that it’s HOPELESS to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians but this doesn’t mean that they don’t care. In addition, I don’t see how it’s a bad thing that Israelis can go on living their lives while this absurdity goes on around. I think Vick needs to find a new profession.

  6. I think many of the reviews of this article result from the fact that a lot of people are only reading the abridged version of it online at Time.com (the full version is, apparently, only available in print or on the iPad). I am an American, a Jew, *and* I’m an Israeli citizen. I react very strongly and forcefully to acts, articles or words that I perceive to be anti-Semitic, and quite frankly, this article didn’t strike me as such.

    Being in South Korea, I do not have easy access to print versions of Time, but I have an iPad and the full version of the issue and the article in it is available on the Time app…I bought the issue and read the article, and I wasn’t offended at all, really. The most anti-Semitic thing about the article is the title. Which, when combined with the abridged (the article isn’t that short) version on Time.com, leads to intense emotions.

    I’ve read worse – *far* less flattering – articles about Israel in Haaretz, the Israeli daily.

  7. What in the full article mitigates the offense?
    Did he interview more than just two real estate agents?
    Did he clarify his use of a poll which marks ‘national security’ quite highly and yet he still claims Israeli’s indifferent?
    Did he clarify that the Israelis on the beach were on their way into the army?

    I fear that the media is constructing a death of 1000 cuts for the Israeli image. One such article may go unnoticed, but it seems that Israel is at the constant butt of such shoddy smear campaigns.

  8. Israel is *undoubtedly* the subject of a perpetual smear campaign. I experienced it on my college campus, where I founded – along with my fraternity Big Brother – a pro-Israel activism club, partly in response to veiled anti-Semitic criticisms of Israel in the campus newspaper. Living in Israel for several years after college (resided in Jerusalem from July ’04 to November ’06, commuted to a job in Tel Aviv from June ’05 till November ’06) as a citizen, I noticed it during the Second Lebanon War, when watching coverage of stuff happening a couple hours’ drive away was portrayed differently on FOX News than it was on CNN, MSNBC and the BBC (Al-Jazeera goes without saying). It’s obvious; one look at the NY Times and NY Post, you see it.

    Having said that…the full article itself mitigates the perceived offense. There’s a quote from Tzipi Livni, who notes that “During the elections, a lot of people told me there is no partner on the other side.” Speaking about a video recorded by Palestinian leaders, meant to be seen by Israelis, she says, “This is good.” One such video features Saeb Erekat looking into the camera and saying, “Shalom to you in Israel. I know we have disappointed you.”

    See, the thing is…he *didn’t* just interview real estate agents. He interviewed real people. You’re judging an article of – by my count – 24 paragraphs by the 5 available to be read on Time.com (and one of the paragraphs is actually placed earlier on Time.com than it appears in the article itself).

    * One excerpt: “Sixty-three years and eight wars later, Divan and Balosher-Orovan have seen enough to know that for all the surf breaks, the palms and the coffee, the conflict is never truly done, never far away; that it shadows the good life like the soldier – in civilian clothes but with an M-16 slung across the back – who trails schoolchildren chattering down the sidewalk on a field trip.”

    *A quote, from a guy in an Ashdod law office looking at a surfing website: “People here now concentrate on improving their lives, in the sense that they don’t think too far ahead. Me, myself, I don’t believe in this era we’ll achieve peace with our neighbors. So now we concentrate on what we can do, how we can improve our lives.”

    Side note: My friends in Jerusalem and I would talk often about this…is it better to live and plan for the future, or live in the now? We had many arguments about it. Friendly arguments. Never settled, never agreed with each other on this. It’s a very real sense, and for the most part, they were in favor of not thinking too far ahead.

    * Then there is the comment from Hadas Ragolsky, a news producer at Israel’s Channel 2, that is telling: “The rise in real estate prices is more interesting to the public than future talks…that no one knows will lead to something.”

    * From the article, verbatim: “It’s not just real estate that serves as a measure of economic success. Israel avoided the debt traps that dragged the U.S. and Europe into recession. Its renown as a start-up nation – second only to the U.S. in companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange – is deserved. A restless culture of innovation coupled with the number of braniacs among the 1 million immigrants who arrived from the Soviet Union in the 1990s has made Israel a locus for high-tech research and development, its whiz kids leapfrogging the difficult geography to thrive in virtual community with Silicon Valley.”

    * Also verbatim from the article: “‘There is no sense of urgency,’ about the peace process, says Tamar Hermann, a political scientist who has measured the Israeli public’s appetite for a negotiated settlement every month since 1994, the year after the Oslo accords seemed to bring peace so close, Israelis thought they could touch it. They couldn’t. It flew farther away in 2000, when Yasser Arafat turned down a striking package of Israeli concessions at Camp David. What came next was the second intifadeh, a watershed of terror for an Israeli majority who, watching and suffering waves of suicide bombings, saw no reason to keep hope alive.”

    * Furthermore, from the article: ” ‘They watch less and less news,’ Hermann says of her compatriots. ‘They read political sections of the newspaper less. They say, “It spoils my day, so I don’t want to see it.'”

    Side note: When I went back home to Arizona for a three-week visit in May-June ’06, I avoided Middle East book sections at Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc. like the plague. And I avoided reading the news online from Israel. I couldn’t take it anymore. I avoided the news successfully for about a month after my return to Israel, too…but then Hamas attacked from the Gaza Strip and kidnapped Gilad Shalit, and then less than a month later Hizballah attacked and started a war…couldn’t avoid it all, then. I don’t now, generally.

    Again, these are just a few more excerpts than what can be seen on Time.com, but they stand in stark contrast to the portrait of the article being painted by people who’ve only read the abridged version. Like I said before, the title of the article on the cover is unfortunate, ill-conceived and maybe was a deliberate attempt to paint Israel in a negative light. But, I steeled myself for an anti-Semitic blow that never came.

    The article itself wasn’t a “Go, Israel!” cheer, nor did it have much in common with the sort of self-flagellation regularly seen in articles, features and commentaries in Haaretz. Just a fairly balanced peek into life and attitudes. Even the article itself, in the magazine, has a different title on the first page it appears than the one seen accompanying the abridged piece on the website. On Time.com, it’s (as you know), “Why Israel Doesn’t Care About Peace”. But the article itself in the magazine is, “The Good Life and Its Dangers”.

    People ask me often what it was like living in Israel. Most of the time, I basically tell them what appears in both the abridged version and unabridged version of the article…that is, what Heli Itach says: “What the people see on the TV there is not true here.”

  9. It’s a journalistic ‘checked swing’. To those unfamiliar with baseball, a batter who swings at a pitch he knows he is about to miss will check (reverse) his swing to avoid crossing the plate and being called a ‘swinging strike’.

    This is a common tactic, have an anti Israel title and summary and then put some padding into the longer text of the article. Most people read their articles by the title and first few paragraphs.

    Karl Vick is a seasoned journalist and I can’t believe that he simply confused apathy with nonchalance. There would be no contention if the title and substance of the article was “Israelis are disheartened with the Peace Process”. Any journalist worth his salt would understand the implications of saying an entire nation “Doesn’t Care About Peace”.

  10. Loaded statements/questions (as in the headline for Time’s cover story) can be loads of fun. Here are a few more:

    Has Karl Vick stopped beating his wife?
    Time Mag’s rapid decline is not the result of the falling standards of its cover stories
    Why Karl Vick’s bad style and low intelligence are not the issue.
    Why Israel bashing, while super cool, will not solve the bee colony collapse disorder or Time’s current credibility problem
    Why Israelis don’t despair despite having their most cherished hope–peace with their neighbors–repeatedly dashed (as their dangerously generous compromise offers are invariably answered with hatred, lies and eventually indiscriminate violence, and they get the blame).
    (a more honest, if unreasonably long, headline; but alas, hopelessly out of sync with the Zeitgeist, at least that of the “more enlightened than thou” classes in the West.)

  11. How do we write back to this Racist Moron, Karl Vick??? To let him and the world know about his stupid mistakes and for the TIME magazine to have the ill-judgement of publishing it???

  12. It’s time to take Karl Vick down. We need to petition Time to show him the door. Karl Vick has continued his anti semitism despite the controversy. In an article this month, nearly a year after his infamous article, titled “The Mysterious Raid on Eilat: Why No One Wants to Dig Deep” he has to mention that in the Israeli retaliation to the bus attack this year a two year old was killed along with the two terrorists. He mentions the perps individually. But what about the original victims? He simply says the “eight Israelis” were killed. What about the 40 israelis that were injured? He failed to mention anything about these victims. The pre school teacher. The soldier. The mother. The father. He simply leaves them as nameless casualties. He values terrorists more than Israelis. His reputation shows that this will continue. It is time for Mr. Vick to exit. It is time for the media to have some balance.

  13. A week ago (Feb 9, 2012), Karl Vick did a short item about a museum exhibit in Israel about Mossad’s capture of Adolf Eichmann. I was reading the article — and wondering if Karl Vick was going to find some way somehow to insert something that would antagonize Israelis (and most Jews, I suspect). And — sure enough — he delivered: “The reception that survivors found in Israel, which plays heavily on memories of the Holocaust for international sympathy…” What Vick doesn’t seem to get is that it’s not sympathy, it’s understanding, that they seek. Israelis are many decades past seeking sympathy for the Holocaust.


  14. I’m not quite sure what point Vick is trying to make there. I read the original. I think what he’s trying to say is that survivors were/are treated with a certain disdain because they run counter to the bravado of the ‘new jew’ or modern Israeli who is strong and tough. If that’s all he’s saying, I think the quote is ok. Thanks for letting me know though.

  15. The “checked swing” of Vick comes back in his latest Time blog about “infiltrators” in Israel. The guy is really sharp, and nasty.

  16. I read the blog. In this case he’s reporting on an Israeli immigration issue similar to the Mexico-USA issue. I find no evidence of bias in his reporting in this case unless you have further information to add.

  17. I think that what you posted was actually very logical.
    However, what about this? what if you were to write a killer headline?

    I ain’t saying your information isn’t good., however suppose you added a headline that grabbed a person’s attention? I mean Why Time Magazine’s Karl Vick Doesn’t Care About Details is kinda vanilla. You should look at Yahoo’s front page and note how
    they create post titles to grab viewers interested.
    You might add a related video or a related pic or two to get readers interested about everything’ve got to say. Just my opinion, it could make your website a little livelier.

  18. Generally, I’m pretty good at coming up with headlines, but in this case I was so anxious to respond to this guy… I went with a fast headline. As for catchy headlines, you’ll note that Vick and prick rhyme but I didn’t want to go into ad hominem attacks. :)

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