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

War with Iran Isn’t on the Horizon. So Why All the Arguments against It?

As the U.S. has responded to Iranian provocations in the Persian Gulf, various observers in the press have argued that National Security Advisor John Bolton somehow seeks to drag President Trump into a war with Iran against his will. Matthew Continetti points out the absurdities of this argument, and its origins:

Never mind that President Trump, Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, and Bolton have not said a single word about a preemptive strike, much less a full-scale war, against Iran. Never mind that the president’s reluctance for overseas intervention is well known. The “anti-war” cries are not about context, and they are certainly not about deterring Iran. Their goal is saving President Obama’s nuclear deal by manipulating Trump into firing Bolton and extending a lifeline to the regime.

It’s a storyline that originated in Iran. Toward the end of April, Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif showed up in New York and gave an interview to Reuters where he said, “I don’t think [Trump] wants war,” but “that doesn’t exclude him basically being lured into one” by Bolton. . . . And now this regime talking point is everywhere. “It’s John Bolton’s world. Trump is just living in it,” write two former Obama officials in the Los Angeles Times. “John Bolton is Donald Trump’s war whisperer,” writes Peter Bergen on CNN.com. . . .

Recall Obama’s deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes’s admission to the New York Times Magazine in 2016 [that] “We created an echo chamber” to attack the Iran deal’s opponents through leaks and tips to the D.C. press. . . . Members of the echo chamber aren’t for attacking Iran, but they are all for slandering its American opponents. The latest target is Bolton. . . .

The Iranians are in a box. U.S. sanctions are crushing the economy, but if they leave the agreement with Europe they will be back to square one. To escape the box you try to punch your way out. That’s why Iran has assumed a threatening posture: provoking an American attack could bolster waning domestic support for the regime and divide the Western alliance.

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More about: Barack Obama, Iran, Javad Zarif, John Bolton, U.S. Foreign policy