Ben White posts a critique of a Times story:
The New York Times publishes a report on education in East Jerusalem (by a contributor called Kate Shuttleworth). How many times is East Jerusalem described as occupied? Zero. Or illegally annexed? Zero. So how *is* it described then? Like this: “East Jerusalem, a predominantly Arab neighborhood…”
Donald Johnson sends this critique of two other Times pieces:
NYT Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren writes another piece entirely on the “Israel needs to feel secure” theme (“Region Boiling, Israel Takes Up Castle Strategy”). Not a word about Palestinian needs, or the possibility that one way Israel could enhance its security would be with attempts at treating Palestinians as human beings with rights. This isn’t snark–it’s common sense. If Israel is so concerned about external threats, why add to the danger by treating the people under their rule like dirt?
Serge Schmemann writes a love ode to Sharon. (“The security of the Jews was Mr. Sharon’s guiding principle.”) The only redeeming feature is that he quotes Avnery using the term “war criminal”. Schmemann uses the term “ruthless”, which is Timespeak for “war crimes and terrorism” when the acts are committed by Israelis or other favored Westerners. He’s an epic hero to old Serge, beyond good and evil. If he were a Palestinian terrorist–well, it’s the NYT. The rules are different for Palestinians.
Ilene Cohen also offers a critique of Rudoren’s “castle” article.
It did not cross reporter Rudoren’s mind to make clear that Israel’s “castle strategy” involves someone else’s “castle”– occupying and illegally colonizing someone else’s land. If from 1967 on, the Israelis had been interested strictly in security, they would not have engaged in the colonial Greater Israel project that illegally moved Israeli civilians in to the occupied Palestinian territory. That is, they would have maintained the military occupation until such time as they could sort out their security issues. And that would have been legal according the the Fourth Geneva Convention, though they still would have been bound by the convention’s terms for protecting the occupied people. Of course, that isn’t what Israel opted to do: it colonized and it did not protect the rights guaranteed an occupied people by international law.
It would not have taken much for the Times to tell the colonial story against at least a paragraph of context, just as many others in the MSM, when writing about settlements, have gotten into the habit of including a sentence indicating that the rest of the world considers the settlements illegal according to international law.
See, for one example, the AP report of Netanyahu’s fulminations about how criticisms of the settlements as an obstacle to peace are “bogus,” in his annual address to the international press corps the other day.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday dismissed international critics of Jewish settlements, calling them hypocrites and saying claims that the construction on occupied lands poses an obstacle to peace were ‘bogus.'”
The article reports and quotes Netanyahu’s ravings at length but also reminds readers:
“Israelis and Palestinians began peace talks in July after years of stalemate and the Israeli government has come under heavy criticism for continuing its construction plans throughout talks. More than 500,000 Israelis live in settlements in the West Bank and east Jerusalem…
“The Palestinians, and the international community, view the settlements as illegal or illegitimate. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry recently said the construction raises questions about Israel’s commitment to peace.”
It’s time for the Times to get with that program.
[Editor’s note: Here is former Times reporter Judith Miller’s remembrance of the “lion,” Sharon, in which she slights his role in the Beirut refugee camp massacres as an allegation. Miller now works at Fox; but it’s not like the Times has turned the page on these pro-Israel attitudes.]