Glaring omission

Glaring omission

Pictured here is New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, with Cornell University President David Skorton and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie standing behind him, as he announces a “historic partnership” to build a new applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island.

A press release issued by Cornell proclaimed, “Cornell University-Technion-Israel Institute of Technology Consortium Selected to Build 11-Acre State-of-the-Art Tech Campus on Roosevelt Island.”

And so was it reported in many media outlets, but not all. An example of the latter is this transcript from Tuesday’s Marketplace Morning Report, an American Public Media syndicated program out of the University of Southern California, heard locally on public radio channels. The reporter was Stacey Vanek Smith. The report, however, began with a lead-in from the program’s co-host, Jeremy Hobson. Here is the transcript:

Hobson: Well, now to New York City, specifically a little sliver of it in the middle of the East River called Roosevelt Island. New York City officials offered land and a $100 million to universities who wanted to develop a new science school there, and Cornell University has snagged the brass ring. Marketplace’s Stacey Vanek Smith has more.

Smith: The 11-acre campus will serve a couple thousand students. At a press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said this project will redefine the city’s economic future.

Bloomberg: The campus is expected to spin off something like 600 new companies over the next three decades, which will create up to 30,000 permanent jobs. In a word, this project is going to be transformative.

Smith: A project like this could also help New York get a little economic distance from the financial sector, says Rolf Pendall with the Urban Institute.

Pendall: The dependence of the city and the state on Wall Street for its revenues is really pretty extreme.

Smith: But can dropping a building in the middle of a city really change its economic DNA? Pendall says if it’s done right, yes.

Pendall: Building a rich social, intellectual and entrepreneurial network that then becomes embedded into the city’s economic fabric.

Smith: The campus will reportedly be finished in 2017. In New York, I’m Stacey Vanek Smith for Marketplace.

Notice anything missing from that report?

What makes this glaring omission even more repugnant – and repugnant it surely is – is that the Technion is said to be the senior partner in the deal.

It is not as if Marketplace never mentions Israel; it does. This year, for example, it did a couple of pieces on the summer’s social protest movement. It also did a report on how Israel’s trading partners would be affected by a United Nations vote to recognize a Palestinian state. Those pieces, of course, at the very least remind listeners of the negative side of the Israel story.

Marketplace said nothing about Warren Buffet making his first overseas investment an Israeli one (although it did a piece recently on Buffet’s investment strategy), or Apple’s setting up an R&D operation in Israel, or its purchase this week of an Israeli company (it did a number of Apple stories this week).

Those would have been positive stories about Israel, as would have been the one about the New York project.

The so-called Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, or BDS, seeks to isolate Israel. By all accounts, it has not been very successful so far. Alas, in some corners of the media, the hateful effort appears to be doing too well.

Lest we forget, we congratulate Mayor Bloomberg on his choice, and we wish a hearty b’hatzlachah to Cornell and the Technion. New Jersey will benefit, as well, and that is good news for all of us.