After a hopeful improvement, the New York Times coverage of the Gaza protests is unfortunately back to its normal one-sided reporting — and intense pressure from Hasbara Central is surely a major reason. Take a look at this tweet yesterday, as the paper’s main reporter, David Halbfinger, jumps to respond to a pro-Israel critic:
Sure enough, Halbfinger promptly added the following sentence to his article: “At another point, an explosive was hung from a kite, but fell on the Palestinian side.”
Ever since Halbfinger’s first decent report a week ago, he has faced a barrage of attacks on Twitter and elsewhere from pro-Israel forces. Camera — the old Hasbara warhorse — takes credit for its “correspondence” with the Times, saying it led the paper to include the assertion in news coverage that the Palestinian right of return “would amount to the destruction of Israel by demographic means.” So it may be no surprise that Halbfinger is backing down.
A question: will the Times respond with the same speed to criticism from our side? Here goes:
- Why doesn’t today’s article point out again that not one single Israeli, soldier or civilian, has gotten even a scratch over the past 3 weeks, while Israelis have killed 34 Palestinians and wounded many hundreds more? (The latest article in the Guardian does report no Israeli casualties whatsoever.)
- Why does the article not include a single quotation from any human rights organizations? B’Tselem, the respected Israeli group, continues to call for Israeli soldiers to refuse to open fire, but you won’t learn that in today’s Times. (The Washington Post quotes Amnesty International.)
- Why won’t the Times note that not one single rocket has been fired from Gaza? If “Hamas” were truly intent on “invading” Israel, wouldn’t they already be firing away?
- Why won’t Halbfinger say that the United States helped block an independent investigation at the United Nations into Israel’s crimes against the Gazan demonstrators — a point made on the Times‘s own editorial page?
Finally, where was the open letter from five former Israeli army snipers, who said they were “filled with shame and sorrow”? The Guardian found room for them:
Instructing snipers to shoot to kill unarmed demonstrators who pose no danger to human life is another product of the occupation and military rule over millions of Palestinian people, as well as of our country’s callous leadership, and derailed moral path.
Maybe David Halbfinger and the New York Times need to have some of these questions raised on their Twitter accounts?