A Year of Israel Coverage at the “New York Times”

March 7 2019

Highlighting some of the most egregious examples of the New York Times’s dishonest and misleading reporting on the Jewish state and its conflict with the Palestinians, Gilead Ini identifies several patterns. These include covering up the extreme positions of anti-Israel groups and public figures, to the extent that Omar Barghouti—founder of the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel (BDS)—wrote a letter clarifying that BDS’s goal was not to protest settlements in the West Bank, as the Times had it, but to destroy the Jewish state. In another case, a reporter selectively quoted an anti-Israel statement, along with objections to it, so that the latter came across as nonsensical. And then there are things the Times does not consider fit to print:

On March 20, the Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas called David Friedman, the U.S. ambassador to Israel, the “son of a dog.” The New York Times ignored the story, leaving readers in the dark about a dramatic diplomatic incident. You might ask whether the newspaper would likewise look away if an Israeli prime minister denounced an American ambassador.

The record gives a clear answer. A couple of years earlier, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu criticized a statement by then-U.S. ambassador Dan Shapiro as being “unacceptable and incorrect.” At the time, the Times shined the spotlight on Netanyahu’s incomparably milder statement, covering it in a news story and again in an editorial that slammed Netanyahu’s critique as “unusually personal and unfair.” Apparently “son of a dog” is neither of those. . . .

Mahmoud Abbas was far from the only beneficiary last year of the newspaper’s selectively gentle touch. Consider this headline, published during the wave of Palestinian riots along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel: “Battle Weary, Hamas Gives Peaceful Protests a Chance.” . . . Only a day before the Times headline [was published], Israel had uncovered a Hamas attack tunnel leading from Gaza into Israel. A few days before that, Hamas’s leader Yahya Sinwar declared to Palestinians gathered at the Israeli frontier, “We will take down the border, and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies”—a chilling and illuminating threat that Times reporters opted not to report.

That tunnel and those words are not peaceful. Nor were the rocks, firebombs, and explosives hurled at Israeli targets during what another article . . . nonetheless insisted was Gaza’s “experiment with nonviolent protest.”

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More about: BDS, Israel & Zionism, Mahmoud Abbas, Media, New York Times

Despite What the UN Says, the Violence at the Gaza Border Is Military, Not Civilian, in Nature

March 22 2019

On Monday, a UN Human Rights Council commission of inquiry issued its final report on last spring’s disturbances at the Gaza border. Geoffrey Corn and Peter Margulies explain why the report is fatally flawed:

The commission framed the events [in Gaza] as a series of demonstrations that were “civilian in nature.” Israel and its Supreme Court, [which has investigated some of the killings that occurred], framed the same events quite differently: as a new evolution in Israel’s ongoing armed conflict with the terrorist organization Hamas. Consistency and common sense suggest that the Israeli High Court of Justice’s framing is a more rational explanation of what occurred at the Israel-Gaza border in spring 2018.

Kites, [for instance], played a telltale role [in the violence]. When most people think of kites, they think of a child’s plaything or a hobbyist’s harmless passion. In the Gaza confrontation, kites [became] a new and effective, albeit low-tech, tactic for attacking Israel. As the report conceded, senior Gaza leaders, including from Hamas, “encouraged” the unleashing of waves of incendiary kites that during and since the spring 2018 confrontations have burned thousands of acres of arable land within Israel. The resulting destruction included fires that damaged the Kerem Shalom border crossing, which conveys goods and gasoline from Israel to Gaza. . . .

Moreover, the incendiary-kite offensive was an effective diversion from the efforts encouraged and coordinated by Hamas last spring to pierce the border with Israel and attack both IDF personnel and the civilian residents of the beleaguered Israeli towns a short distance from the border fence. . . .

The commission also failed to acknowledge that Hamas sought to use civilians as an operational cover to move members of its armed wing into position along the fence. For IDF commanders, this increased the importance of preventing a breach [in the fence]. Large crowds directly along the fence would simplify breakthrough attempts by intermingled Hamas and other belligerent operatives. The crowds themselves also could attempt to pour through any breach. Unfortunately, the commission seems to have completely omitted any credible assessment of the potential casualties on all sides that would have resulted from IDF action to seal a breach once it was achieved. . . .

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More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security, Laws of war, UNHRC, United Nations