When Defaming Israel, the “Washington Post” Doesn’t Bother Confirming the Facts

Last month, Robert Satloff analyzed a Washington Post article that took “a fundamentally good-news story about premature babies from Gaza cared for by compassionate people across enemy lines and turned it into a horror story” of Israel maliciously separating babies from their mothers. Satloff noted the poor sourcing of its claims and misleading framing. After looking into the report more closely, he realized it was even worse than he thought, and its allegations rely heavily on an unchecked report by an NGO. He presents a forensic dissection: 

What’s the bottom line? All the key elements of the story that appeared in print on November 17, occupying most of the front page above the fold, were either false, unsubstantiated or, at a bare minimum, rejected by statements by Israeli government officials who painted a very different picture from the one presented by the Post. The reporters appear to have taken on face-value claims and assertions made by the Palestinian mothers and the hospital administrators, without any independent verification. Their failure to seek comment from the relevant Israeli authorities violated the most fundamental rules of journalism.

At the very least, the Post would then have had a “he-said/she-said” story, presenting two contradictory views of the same situation. Why the Post’s editors did not insist that the reporters follow these rules may be the most inexplicable part of this tale.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Gaza War 2023, Media, NGO

Israel Can’t Stake Its Fate on “Ironclad” Promises from Allies

Israeli tanks reportedly reached the center of the Gazan city of Rafah yesterday, suggesting that the campaign there is progressing swiftly. And despite repeatedly warning Jerusalem not to undertake an operation in Rafah, Washington has not indicated any displeasure, nor is it following through on its threat to withhold arms. Even after an IDF airstrike led to the deaths of Gazan civilians on Sunday night, the White House refrained from outright condemnation.

What caused this apparent American change of heart is unclear. But the temporary suspension of arms shipments, the threat of a complete embargo if Israel continued the war, and comments like the president’s assertion in February that the Israeli military response has been “over the top” all call into question the reliability of Joe Biden’s earlier promises of an “ironclad” commitment to Israel’s security. Douglas Feith and Ze’ev Jabotinsky write:

There’s a lesson here: the promises of foreign officials are never entirely trustworthy. Moreover, those officials cannot always be counted on to protect even their own country’s interests, let alone those of others.

Israelis, like Americans, often have excessive faith in the trustworthiness of promises from abroad. This applies to arms-control and peacekeeping arrangements, diplomatic accords, mutual-defense agreements, and membership in multilateral organizations. There can be value in such things—and countries do have interests in their reputations for reliability—but one should be realistic. Commitments from foreign powers are never “ironclad.”

Israel should, of course, maintain and cultivate connections with the United States and other powers. But Zionism is, in essence, about the Jewish people taking responsibility for their own fate.

Read more at JNS

More about: Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S.-Israel relationship