New York Times silences Israel’s Palestinian citizens on Gaza war

Israel/Palestine
on 8 Comments
New York Times headquarters. (Photo: Wikipedia)

New York Times headquarters. (Photo: Wikipedia)

There are many significant and systematic problems with The New York Times reporting on Israel’s attack on the Gaza Strip. These include The Times’ willingness to grant legitimacy to the Israeli military’s incredible claims that first it did not shell an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun where 16 Palestinians were killed by a shell, and then todaythat it did actually shell the school, but that the school was empty. Credulously repeating and granting legitimacy to absurd Israeli military and government claims and denials is a persistent problem at The Times.  Another persistent failure, repeated Sunday, is The Times complicity with the Israeli government’s systematic marginalization and even silencing of Palestinian citizens of Israel, 20% of Israel’s population.

In an article in Sunday’s New York Times“Amid Outcry Abroad, a Wealth of Backing in Israel for Netanyahu,” New York Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Jodi Rudoren breathlessly reported on the “breadth of backing” for Prime Minister Netanyahu in Israel during Israel’s brutal military on the Gaza Strip. Rudoren quoted Yaakov Peri, “a centrist Minister,” saying, “I can only compliment him, unfortunately… It seems the steering is in the right hand in this conflict.” As further evidence Rudoren cited, “A poll of Israeli Jews conducted for Channel 2 News on Wednesdayshowed more than 8 in 10 were satisfied with Mr. Netanyahu, a 25 point jump from before the ground invasion began.”

The minor problem here is that the views of Israel’s Palestinian citizens on Netanyahu and the war on Gaza are never acknowledged. Can anyone imagine The New York Times viewing it as having been appropriate to report on Bush’s invasion of Iraq and citing a poll noting only his support among white Americans or Christian Americans, and entirely leaving out the views of non-white or non-Christian Americans? While it’s standard practice for the Israeli government and Israeli media to disregard the views of Israel’s non-Jewish population and to discriminate against them, it is very concerning that powerful mainstream US institutions like The New York Times collude with the Israeli government and silence them entirely in articles about Israeli public opinion.

Unfortunately, this was not an oversight in a single article. It’s standard practice at The Times. Times’ journalists only rarely report on the plight of 20% of Israel’s population, and thus they help to sustain the myth that Israel is a thriving democracy, where all enjoy equal rights regardless of race or religion. As only one example, searching The Times’website, I could find almost no reporting on Palestinian citizens of Israel’s perspectives on Israel’s attack on Gaza. An earlier Times article by Isabel Kershner noted that “unlike some previous wars that have divided the Israeli… this one has strong backing among Israelis.” Kershner included just two sentences saying, “In Nazareth, thousands of Israeli Arab demonstrators protested on Monday in solidarity with Gaza and clashed with the police. Fifteen protesters were arrested.” Additionally, I’ve noted previously that The Times generally avoids using the term Palestinian citizen of Israel, preferring “Arab” or “Bedouin,” and thus obscuring familial, cultural and historical ties and self-identification with Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

The Times did repeatedly note the death of a Palestinian Bedouin citizen of Israel from a rocket from Gaza, but you’ll have to search pretty carefully to find The Times’ video report explaining that Israel’s Supreme Court decided that Bedouins, unlike Jewish Israelis, must fend for themselves and do not require government protection from rockets from Gaza. While Rudoren wrote a June feature story on Bedouin Israeli soldiers helping to search for the kidnapped Israeli teens in the West Bank, there is no Times report on the Palestinian Bedouin doctors who have been indicted for refusing to serve in the current attack on Gaza.

While Palestinian citizens of Israel do have the right to vote they are otherwise second class citizens. They suffer from systematic discrimination on most every level. Over 50 Israeli laws discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel. They benefit from less public services than Jewish Israelis, experience discrimination in housing and employment, and the few elected Palestinian members of Israel’s Knesset are constantly under attack.

Understanding the status of Palestinian citizens in Israel is crucial to understanding that Israel is not simply involved in a territorial dispute, but that instead, Israel practices apartheid as defined by international law, by systematically discriminating against Palestinians, whether they live in the Occupied Territories, within Israel or as refugees in the diaspora. However, you would be hard pressed to learn about the status of Palestinian citizens of Israel in The Times, which, like many other mainstream US media outlets, effectively colludes with Israel’s Jewish establishment by reporting very infrequently at best on the difficulties experienced by Palestinian citizens of Israel, and even more frequently reporting as if Israel’s Palestinian citizens don’t exist at all.

About Patrick Connors

Patrick Connors is a member of Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

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8 Responses

  1. Qualtrough
    July 28, 2014, 12:14 pm

    The Israeli statements regarding the shelling of the school offer a textbook example of how they deal with these incidents. First it was we didn’t do it, then they admit to firing one shell but deny killing anyone, and finally they claim that all the dead and wounded came from somewhere else. The chutzpah and lack of any morality involved in coming up with that story is mind-boggling. I suspect a lot of people’s eyes have finally opened when they see that.

  2. tombishop
    July 28, 2014, 12:18 pm

    Not only the corporate media, but social media is being flooded with cynical postings from the IDF and its supporters. Ayman Mohyeldin and Max Blumenthal’s twitter accounts are being flooded with especially cynical, racist tweets. All are designed to obscure and justify what Israel is doing in Gaza. I’ve taken to only reading tweets from the owners of the twitter account.

  3. just
    July 28, 2014, 1:27 pm

    Seems that some Americans just love being lied to.

    Saves them from thinking.

    • Citizen
      July 29, 2014, 5:07 am

      Goys in America generally just don’t care. That’s why we have our present government which is a lackey to Israel.

  4. can of worms
    July 28, 2014, 1:58 pm

    “Over 50 Israeli laws discriminate against Palestinian citizens of Israel.”

    Note:
    –Military occupation is NOT absolutely necessary to ensure the “jewish state”.
    –Illegal settlements are NOT absolutely necessary to ensure the “jewish state”.
    –Massacres are NOT absolutely necessary to ensure the “jewish state”.

    The above are nonessential and ultimately removable bulwarks. HOWEVER:

    –Each of the 50+ discriminatory laws is absolutely necessary to secure the “jewish state”.
    –Institutional racism is absolutely necessary to ensure the “jewish state”.
    –Educational segregation is absolutely necessary to secure the “jewish state”.
    –Residential segregation is absolutely necessary to ensure the “jewish state”.
    –Law of Jewish Return is absolutely necessary to secure the “jewish state”.

    Mind the gap.

  5. Kathryn
    July 29, 2014, 12:13 am

    Cant the NYT be added, even if unofficially to BDS and publicize it by protesting outside their offices?????

  6. Citizen
    July 29, 2014, 5:10 am

    And one of the regular panel on Fox News show The Five just said Israel’s constitution protects Christians. This is what passes for information to rally informed consent in America. The well-paid fool does not know that Israel does not have a Constitution.

  7. eGuard
    July 29, 2014, 8:23 am

    Doing the maths for NYT.

    “8 of 10 Israeli Jews”: that’s 64% of the pop.

    “a 25 point jump from before the ground invasion began”. That’s 80-25=55% before then. Or 44% of the pop.

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