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Why doesn’t ‘NYT’ pay more attention to B’Tselem, the leading Israeli human rights org?

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B’Tselem field research Salma a-Deb’i coaching Nadra Qadus, 46 years old.
B’Tselem field research Salma a-Deb’i coaching Nadra Qadus, on use of video equipment to document human rights abuses. From B’Tselem

B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, made an unusual appearance in Jodi Rudoren’s New York Times article the other day about the killings of two Palestinian teenagers.  The organization conducted its own investigation, which it said raised “grave suspicion that the killing was willful.”

B’Tselem’s surprise mention in the NYT prompted a quick search through the paper’s online archives. In the past two years, it has been mentioned only 20 times — and 9 of those appearances were in “The Lede,” a blog by Robert Mackey that is not part of the printed newspaper.

The Times‘s actual correspondents in Israel have only quoted B’Tselem five times over the past two years — even though human rights in occupied Palestine is nearly a daily story, and the organization publishes regular reports.

The absence of B’Tselem from the American newspaper of record is a serious omission.  It is an Israeli group, not connected to any political movement, and its accuracy has never been successfully challenged over the more than two decades since it was founded.  It relies on hundreds of supporters and volunteers to monitor human rights violations in occupied Palestine.

What’s more, Times readers might well be interested in profiles of the Israelis and Palestinians who work together in this remarkable organization.

Here, from the group’s website, is the explanation for its name:

B’Tselem in Hebrew literally means “in the image of,” and is also used as a synonym for human dignity.  The word is taken from Genesis 1:27 “And God created humans in his image.  In the image of God did He create him.”  It is in this spirit that the first article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that “All human beings are born equal in dignity and rights.”

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Quite obviously, it doesn’t fit the zionist narrative that the NYT espouses.

B’Tselem is living proof that Palestinians and Israelis can effectively work together for justice and truth. It is dedicated to the premise that Israel must abide by international law in the OPT and provides evidence that it does not. That makes too many uncomfortable as they read their NYT in the safety of their own homes……..

That’s a great question, James. The Times of course quotes Israeli government and military officials virtually every article, and that’s fine, but they grant anonymity on the flimsiest of pretexts – e.g. not authorized to speak, etc. – and I have never seen an analysis of the frequency with which these official pronouncements are later shown to be false. Wouldn’t it be nice to see an article recounting such false statements? Yet here is a… Read more »

Not only NYT but almost every other US news media and source, hardly quotes, or refers to, the reports or investigations, by B’Tselem, a very credible organization. It is B’Tselem that should be interviewed during coverage of this conflict, instead of the zionist officials, who lie unchallenged, speak of the suffering caused by the Palestinians, who defend violence, and spew propaganda. The US media is totally protecting Israel, and doing their bidding. B’Tselem has done… Read more »

Most news outlets give little attention to groups that falsify and manipulate the truth.

The NYT pays little attention to the other commonly cited human rights groups, Amnesty International and HRW, when it involves Israel. HRW is, if anything, almost a branch of the US foreign policy elite and is sometimes criticized (a little too harshly, IMO) by people on the left for that reason, but they write reports that are critical of Hamas, the PA, and Israel. And I almost never see them cited on the subject of… Read more »