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‘NY Times’ publishes op-ed writer’s blatant falsehood about Palestinians without blinking an eye

Middle East
on 42 Comments

The recent wide-ranging debate on Zionism appearing in the New York Times was a welcome sign, no doubt.  While it’s long overdue, the movement to a more open discussion on the very nature of Zionism is undeniable; an actual discussion on whether the Jewish State is a good or bad thing is no longer taboo in mainstream media.  This would never have happened even a few years ago.

Oddly, though, a blatant falsehood appearing in one of the five op-eds shows how colossal ignorance has unfortunate staying power.  Ben Gladstone, a sophomore at Brown University, raises the specter of mass expulsion of six million Jews should the one-state solution become a reality:

Anti-Zionists propose, at best, a “one-state solution,” knowing full well that even moderate Palestinian leaders have promised to expel all six million Jews from a Palestinian state.

Wait – what?  Gladstone claims that those who favor transformation of a Jewish State into a state that guarantees equal rights for all “know full well” that “moderate Palestinian leaders” want to expel all Jews from the entire area?  Seriously?  Where does he get this from?

Gladstone obligingly provides a link.  Who are the “moderate Palestinian leaders” identified in the article who are “promising to expel all six million Jews” from Palestine?  It turns out there is only one Palestinian mentioned, and of course he says nothing of the sort.

Gladstone’s linked article is about a statement made by Maen Erekat, also Areikat, the PLO Ambassador to the U.S. Areikat was discussing a future two-state (!) solution, and was asked about the legal status of a Jewish minority in a Palestinian state that lives alongside Israel.  He responded: “I still believe that as a first step we need to be totally separated. . . I think we can contemplate these issues in the future.”

So Areikat was saying that Jews should reside only in Israel proper and not in the Palestinian State he envisioned, but did not even remotely suggest that the Jewish State itself should cease to exist or that a single Jew should be expelled from Israel.

Even if one completely excuses Gladstone’s pluralization of this one man into multiple “leaders,” his interpretation of Areikat’s remark as promising to expel six million Jews from a single state is about as wrong as it is humanly possible to be.

Of course, first blame must go to Gladstone himself.  Whether his claim was the product of deliberate dishonesty or inexcusable ignorance is of no importance; either is equally damning.  However, the fact that a certain Brown sophomore spouts outrageous misinformation is of relatively little importance.

Far worse, how did this gibberish make it into the Times?  I can’t imagine the Times printed these five op-eds without the slightest editorial oversight.  Even the most minimal effort would have uncovered that Gladstone was saying something entirely untrue.  Checking Gladstone’s link would have exposed the lie in less than 60 seconds.  This was not a viable interpretation of Areikat’s actual statement that one could chalk up to an opinion.  Any fact-checker with even the most rudimentary understanding of the issues involved and a fourth-grade ability to read and comprehend would have identified the falsehood immediately.

And this was not merely a tangential part of Gladstone’s analysis, but was absolutely essential to his argument.  His real debating opponents are those who believe in equality for all as a non-viable principle.  Instead, he fantasizes that his opponents favor expulsion of every last Jew from the Holy Land.  That’s a lot easier to argue against.

Suppose that one of the more pro-Palestinian op-eds in this Times debate had declared that 67% of the Israeli public expressed support for the IDF medic who recently was caught on video executing an incapacitated Palestinian, and this op-ed linked to an article stating the actual figure was “only” 57%.  Would such inaccuracy have survived the Times vetting process? Highly doubtful, and it really should be corrected. (And bear in mind, after Sarah Schulman managed to publish her landmark essay on “pinkwashing” in the Times in 2011, she later related that it took three months to get the piece approved, during which it was subject to endless pettifogging questions from pro-Israel editors, to the point that she had to provide 300 pages of documentation.)

But Gladstone’s falsehood is so much worse than this hypothetical 57/67 error.  It is akin to claiming that 92% of Israelis approve of the execution of Palestinian six-year-olds, and citing the same article about 57% support for the medic/executioner.

Gladstone is just as wildly off base in claiming the widely-known, publicly promised expulsion of six million Jews. It is truly shocking (yet paradoxically not surprising at all) that such statement ascribed to “moderate Palestinian leaders’” somehow passed muster in the self-declared “newspaper of record.”  Entirely fabricated “facts” have become so entrenched in mainstream discourse that presumably multiple editors at the Times read this garbage and thought:  “Sounds right to me.  I don’t even have to click on the link.”

The Times debate may be a giant step in the right direction, but there still is a long, long way to go.

DaveS
About David Samel

David Samel is an attorney in New York City.

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42 Responses

  1. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    April 16, 2016, 11:09 am

    I think Phil should make this a regular feature: This Week in New York Times Outrages.

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      April 17, 2016, 9:40 am

      True! It does seem to be an unofficial regular feature and a quite necessary one. The Times is subject to incessant complaints and pressure from the other side about anti-Israel (!!) bias, and I think these pushbacks from our side do at least a small part in counter-balancing that effort.

      • Donald
        Donald
        April 17, 2016, 10:35 pm

        I third that suggestion. And we should also write polite letters to the public editor on the subject. Let them know people are watching.

  2. Dutch
    Dutch
    April 16, 2016, 11:52 am

    Excellent post, David, thanks. Maybe the Times should publish it.

  3. chocopie
    chocopie
    April 16, 2016, 1:48 pm

    Gladstone is an American Zionist who thinks equality in the US is wonderful, but equality in Israel is terrifying. The link (to the statement by Erekat) is proof enough that Gladstone is being deliberately deceptive. Another Ivy Leaguer committed to stealing from refugees.

  4. HarryLaw
    HarryLaw
    April 16, 2016, 2:39 pm

    Should The Times Be a Truth Vigilante? A rather silly question to ask of the leading US news paper, maybe if Margaret Sullivan was asked this question on these easily proven lies by Ben Gladstone in the NYT we may get an apology. http://publiceditor.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/12/should-the-times-be-a-truth-vigilante/?_r=0

  5. pabelmont
    pabelmont
    April 16, 2016, 3:06 pm

    There is, of course a web-site to damn NYT misreporting on I/P, https://timeswarp.org/.

    My guess about this “they will expel 6 million Jews” claim is that the writer “learned” this fact (and his link in support, from some tendentious AIPAC-like website and never himself checked.

    The better question is why NYT decided to publish this guy (his “creds”?) and failed to check his facts. Maybe they never do for explicitly “opinion” pieces.

    I myself have regularly called for the expulsion of all Israelis from OPTs (OPTs-67) as a preliminary to a peace-deal, but I always mean (and often remember to say) they should return to Israel, be repatriated, etc. I don’t mean expulsion from Israel-48, even if I (also) believe that to be part of OPT (OPT-48). I suppose my “logic” is that since the world recognizes Israel-48 as a state and in many cases says (from time to time) that the boundaries of Israel-48 are Israel’s boundaries (even if Israel itself does not say so), I should go along with the world.

    Isn’t it wonderful, or a splendid coincidence, that there are 6 million Jewish Israelis so that the magic number “6,000,000” can once again be used by Zionists in emotional argumentation!

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      April 16, 2016, 4:30 pm

      I suppose my “logic” is that since the world recognizes Israel-48 as a state and in many cases says (from time to time) that the boundaries of Israel-48 are Israel’s boundaries (even if Israel itself does not say so), I should go along with the world.

      Your logic is leaking a little. The “world” that “recognizes Israel-48” is not the owner of sovereignty over the territory of Palestine. The Palestinians are.

      • MHughes976
        MHughes976
        April 16, 2016, 5:35 pm

        This is the logic of 2-statism, which Mr.Areikat – a diplomat speaking on instructions – also follows. He is not calling for expulsion but for agreed withdrawal to Israel-48 as part of an agreement, not because the people concerned are Jewish but because they are what are commonly called illegal settlers. Even then he is spoken of in terms – ‘6 million’ and all that as Peter says – treating him as the new Hitler. This is the way in which massive efforts by many Palestinians to be moderate and constructive are received and abused.
        These efforts to be constructive have amounted to abandoning Palestinian rights on a scale that some, such as echino and me, might consider more than excessive. Still, these NYT responses are hatefully unfair.

  6. K Renner
    K Renner
    April 16, 2016, 3:31 pm

    A pro-Israel hasbara type engages in the dissemination of idiotic lies. What else is new?

    Just goes to show how pointless it is to “engage” or “dialogue” with these people, or even give them the time of day. But the fact that they whine and bleat “anti-Semitism” as though it constitutes some kind of argument ought to be proof enough of what I just said.

    • jackal
      jackal
      April 17, 2016, 11:56 pm

      If you have access to (and I would recommend this to all the commentators) a new Video called THE OCCUPATION OF THE AMERICAN MIND, it would give you a real insight as to how the Israelis are using a form of propaganda to influence Americans that their occupation of Palestinian Territory and their repeated invasions of the Gaza strip, that their transgressions against the captive Palestinians are necessary for the existence of a Jewish state

    • bryan
      bryan
      April 18, 2016, 9:34 am

      When I initially read your post, I accepted that, yes, these are idiotic lies that make engagement or dialogue impossible, and then I pondered for a moment and concluded that both these claims are wrong, and I must explain why, even if that will take an unforgivably long post.

      These are not idiotic lies (if they were, they would be easily and permanently refutable) but they are in fact very potent and therefore dangerous. The task of unravelling them is seemingly impossible: like a Russian doll you unpack one only to be faced by another and another and yet another. But there is no infinite Russian doll – eventually you will reach the core.

      Nor is the author simply duplicitous and manipulative: I’m sure in his heart of hearts he believes his own argument in a way that transcends rational argument. He will have visualised people like himself as the eternal victim of hatred (both religious and racial), and will in turn have incited hatred, by backing an enterprise that systematically conquered another land, acre by acre, stockade by stockade, all the while driving out the peasants who understandably feel aggrieved. Like an Old Testament prophet he will have heard voices in his head, not the voices of an imaginary God, but of imaginary Arabs and Moslems shouting “Drive the Jews into the Sea”, and “Wipe out the Zionist entity” (*) He will be aware that umpteen members of the UN have consistently criticized Israel’s crimes, and he will have drawn the obvious conclusion (for him): “They hate Us.”

      Here I must just digress. I have recently been watching wonderful extracts of Reza Aslan, explaining the thinking behind his book ‘Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth’ and attempting to combat, on right wing talk-shows, some of the slanders directed against Islam. (His lengthy interview with Cenk Uygur of The Young Turks was inspiring). He explains that there is a modern secular historical approach that examines the facts and draws conclusions from these and there is a biblical (or perhaps wider prophetic or theological) approach, which knows its conclusions, and simply presents stories (metaphors; allegories) to demonstrate the eternal truth of these conclusions. We should view Zionism in exactly this way (it may not be a religion, but it is a theology which transcends rational explanation). Some of its beliefs are even exactly on a par with biblical myths (e.g. the blooming of the desert is an attempt to recreate an idyllic Garden of Eden; the most moral army in the world hunting down terrorists in Gaza has parallels with the warrior King David rampaging through Gaza collecting foreskins; the evil Arab leaders ordering the Palestinians to leave their homes in order that the modern Israelites might be destroyed are the descendants of similar mythical leaders who refused to allow the ancient Israelites to escape slavery in order that they might achieve independent peoplehood.)

      So should we conclude that these ideas are simply too potent and widespread and debating with them is simply too frustrating and unproductive? No: they must be refuted, for the benefit of wider humanity, just as our ancestors dispelled the notions of a flat earth, the burning of witches, the divine ordination of slavery, the inherent inferiority of non-Caucasians, the necessity for children to clean chimneys, and for women to be denied the vote.

      Even more intractable battles are in fact being won. Possibly even more powerful lobbies have nixed the idea of human induced climate change, but relentless activism and research by principled scientists and even a few politicians (e.g. Gore), backed by the weight of numbers of ordinary people, who value the viability and quality of life of themselves and their children over the dividend cheques accruing to the 1%, are winning that battle. For decades, fundamentalists and powerful voices within conservatism have preached biblical inerrancy, creative design and the denigration of the scientific, rational method, with contingent beliefs of homophobia and misogyny, and hostility to reproductive freedom, but again principled campaigners (e.g. Richard Dawkins) are revealing such ideas for the absurdity they are and their proponents for the laughing stocks that they are.

      Zionism of course has powerful lobbies and think-tanks, and exploits a host of venial politicians and compliant academics and media institutions, but it is also ranged against a host of principled, energetic and articulate opponents, in academia, in the media and across the internet (including on sites like this). Ignore the op-eds in the NYT, if you must, but see that change is in the air, via their readers comments. I am sure that when the tipping point is reached, like the Berlin Wall and the Iron Curtain, the Iron Wall of Zionism will crumble rapidly. The slur that anti-Zionism is anti-semiticism is collapsing, the state of occupation is rapidly being recognised as an Apartheid state, sanctions are becoming ever more acceptable, and most of all politicians are beginning to speak up, not as loudly or as prolifically as one would wish, but that will come when the audience is ready to applaud such remarks.

      So to end this little homily – do not dismiss these statements as idiotic lies when they are part of a carefully-crafted propaganda effort, and do not despair of counter-acting them, because peace and justice, the very survival of international law and the preservation of ordinary freedoms against the incursions of the military-industrial-security state depend upon them being counteracted and contradicted.

      (*) The deliberate misconstruing of the Iranian injunction is well-known, but I was struck by how difficult it was for even a pro-Zionist site to justify the former statement (see http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/02/20/did-arab-states-really-promise-to-push-jews-into-the-sea-yes/#)

  7. K Renner
    K Renner
    April 16, 2016, 3:37 pm

    He’s also got the definitive “shit-eating grin”, as an afterthought. He deserves a kick in the ass at best for writing up that drivel.

  8. Kay24
    Kay24
    April 16, 2016, 3:51 pm

    They are a bunch of exaggerators and liars, so we should not be surprised. They try to push their propaganda twisting words and exaggerating the dangers, to naive Americans. Shame on the NYT for having these hasbara like writers.

    I have heard Mr. Ereket speak at Princeton University. He was a great speaker, and made some brilliant points. He was very diplomatic in his attitude, and very clearly explained the position of the Palestinians and their plight.

  9. ritzl
    ritzl
    April 16, 2016, 6:22 pm

    What Ivy League degree track is Gladstone in? Pre-Med or something else where facts can save or kill?

    That comment should follow him for the rest of his professional life as an example/warning to his future patients (if med school it is) that his grasp of the stuff/abilities required to make life and death decisions completely escaped him from a very early age.

    On the other hand he could be in journalism school and this was a job interview with the NYT. Quite a future ahead of him if that’s the case.

    • DaBakr
      DaBakr
      April 17, 2016, 12:36 am

      @r

      certainly expect that you are boycotting all doctors, medical innovations, generic drugs and associated hospitals with pro-zionist , pro-israeli leanings. disgusting.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 17, 2016, 10:01 am

        @ DaBakr April 17, 2016, 12:36 am

        “certainly expect that you are boycotting all doctors, medical innovations, generic drugs and associated hospitals with pro-zionist , pro-israeli leanings. disgusting”

        What is disgusting? Your assumption? Certainly is! But it’s YOUR assumption and your assumption is nothing without evidence for which you supply no thing.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 17, 2016, 10:57 am

        @dabakr Yeah man. You guys, like Gladstone, just make stuff up and then accuse others of your fictitious offense. It really is a performance art form – and nothing more.

        Where did I say “boycott?” Didn’t think so. Not a bad idea though, now that you mention it.

        But I do believe that the ability to embrace, and publish, such an egregious misrepresentation of reality in one area DOES strongly reflect one’s ability to deal with reality and facts in other (potentially life and death) areas. To most normal people that’s a completely different concept than boycotting products for moral reasons. Consideration of the former is a self-preservation function. The latter is an advocacy option.

        What do you do for a living again? Air traffic controller?

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 17, 2016, 11:16 am

        And to put this in a personal context, if I still had my aerospace engineering business I would find some reason to NOT hire Mr. Gladstone (if he applied). His complete divorce from factual reality is not compatible with designing things that go boom if you get it wrong, imho.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        April 17, 2016, 11:20 am

        “certainly expect that you are boycotting all doctors, medical innovations, generic drugs and associated hospitals with pro-zionist , pro-israeli leanings. disgusting.”

        Why do we have to do your work for you? If “pro-zionist , pro-israeli leanings” are so important to them, why don’t you convince them to refuse service to antizionists, or anti-occupation folks?

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic
        April 17, 2016, 1:26 pm

        Many advances in obstetrics were made by a Southern slave-holding doctor, who used female black slaves as experimental animals.

        The German Nazis made advances in ecology, cancer-research, synthetic fuels, airplane design, rocketry and probably many other fields that don’t occur to me.

        Ethics and scientific achievement don’t correlate

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 17, 2016, 1:35 pm

        Yoni, Is that observation about ethics and science a response to me?

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic
        April 17, 2016, 2:23 pm

        I was responding to DaBakr.

      • K Renner
        K Renner
        April 17, 2016, 3:08 pm

        @Hasbara whiner:

        Yawn. Enough said.

        In reality, boycotting economic/commercial products from Israel is good enough. Not buying from rabidly pro-Israel, Palestinian-hating Jews amongst the “diaspora” is also a good idea.

        Poo-poo all you want. You cretins can’t stop BDS and that’s why you’re getting so bent out of shape over it.

      • ritzl
        ritzl
        April 17, 2016, 9:37 pm

        @YoniFalic Too bad. It was a great observation either way. A lot to unpack there.

      • YoniFalic
        YoniFalic
        April 18, 2016, 4:03 am

        BTW, the doctor was J. Marion Sims.

      • echinococcus
        echinococcus
        April 18, 2016, 6:25 am

        I hate to have to inform you that medicine is doing quite nicely without the Zionist entity. Also, it’s so badly screwed up in the US because of the for-profit aspect that it’s several years behind Europe. Both things severely limit the extent of Zionist influence, which I see you correctly call “disgusting”.

  10. Talkback
    Talkback
    April 17, 2016, 4:42 am

    The New York times now uses first year undergraduate Jewish students who call themselves “liberal Zionists” to spread blood libel against Palestinians.That’s its new standard.

  11. Ossinev
    Ossinev
    April 17, 2016, 8:30 am

    Leaving aside the blatant lie which he is propagating , par for the Zionist course , I am fascinated by the man`s name. Benjamin Gladstone – it sounds like a made up combination of Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone both great British Prime Ministers of the past and both in their different ways humanitarian liberals. Disraeli of course was Jewish which absolutely proves the point (not) that the British/English have rampant and rabid anti semitism firmly lodged in their DNA. I really do suspect ( at the risk of sounding rampantly and rabidly anti-semitic that Mr Gladstone`s family name was probably something like Bloemfeldinsky and that it was Anglified to make it more pronouncable and to enhance job prospects ?

    Happy to be corrected.

    • Henry Norr
      Henry Norr
      April 17, 2016, 2:58 pm

      More than likely, Ossinev, the original name of Benjamin Gladstone’s family was Goldstein – as was the case with Brooke Gladstone of NPR. (He’s apparently not her son, though – Wikipedia says she and husband Fred Kaplan have aduit twin daughters.)

  12. Henry Norr
    Henry Norr
    April 17, 2016, 1:47 pm

    Very good post, Among other things, I really appreciate the anecdote about what Sarah Schulman had to go through to get her piece about pinkwashing published, because it clearly disproves the argument that the Times doesn’t subject op-eds by non-staffers to editorial scrutiny.

    I found one sentence puzzling, though: “His real debating opponents are those who believe in equality for all as a non-viable principle.” Can David or anyone else help me understand what that means? Perhaps “inviolable” was the intended concept, rather than “non-viable”?

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      April 17, 2016, 11:50 pm

      Yes, Henry, I did intend to write non-violable and perhaps should have used inviolable because I somehow got auto-corrected to non-viable, which is virtually the opposite of my meaning. I didn’t see the error until you pointed it out.

      As for your favorite part of the essay – the reference to Schulman – I quite agree on its importance. Unfortunately for me, that was the only sentence that Phil inserted!

      Gee, Henry, you really made my day. ;-)

  13. Sweetling
    Sweetling
    April 17, 2016, 3:22 pm

    This middle-aged Jewish mom sez:

    Why NOT expulsion?

    There’s plenty of government-owned land in the U.S., particularly in the Southwest, where routed Israelis can live alongside their cheering section of evangelical nutjobs. While we’ve got them there, let’s build them a nice protective wall, restrict their water and travel, and see how they like living in a parched no-man’s land for a few decades. It’s still better than living smack in the middle of all those Jew-hating Arabs…amirite?

  14. Patrick
    Patrick
    April 18, 2016, 12:32 am

    In contrast to Benjamin Gladstone, I distinctly recall that some Palestinian leaders stated that West Bank settlers were welcome to stay in a future Palestinian state, if they wanted to.

    Can someone confirm this? I think there was also some mention that they would be paying taxes to the new state rather than Israel.

  15. The Hasbara Buster
    The Hasbara Buster
    April 18, 2016, 2:28 am

    Excellent article, David.

    Blood libels such as Gladstone’s used to be peddled by Zionists far more frequently than they are nowadays. The reason is the Internet. When Google searches were not available, we had to rely on the writer’s word, and Zionists freely distorted the truth, knowing that anti-Zionists who dared confront them would have a very hard time finding a venue to publish their rebuttals.

    The web changed all that. Not only are we able to catch the liars with a click of the mouse; we also learn truths that had been carefully hidden from the larger public, such as the marketplace bombings perpetrated by Jews in Mandate Palestine. Yes — that’s how ungratefully we anti-Zionists use the Internet that an Israeli Jew created in Haifa.

    • Peter in SF
      Peter in SF
      April 18, 2016, 4:16 am

      This is a standard propaganda tactic: if your movement wants to spread outright lies that can easily be checked to be false (by any interpretation), then put them in the mouths of your most junior members. Their individual reputations won’t be harmed, because they don’t yet have any reputation to speak of. The worst thing that can happen is that this college sophomore gets older and becomes a grown-up spokesman for the movement, and gets asked about the falsehood he had published in his youth. At that stage, he can admit that he had written something that wasn’t true, but then he’ll ask for some slack because he was only a college sophomore at the time.

      • talknic
        talknic
        April 18, 2016, 5:22 am

        I doubt it’s even that complex. Propagandists simply don’t care that it’s a lie. As long as a corpse has been thrown over the wall or dropped int the well to seep into the soil or spoil the water

    • DaveS
      DaveS
      April 19, 2016, 10:44 am

      Thanks, HB. In fact, I’m munching on cherry tomatoes right now. I think you’re right that things are improving, though not as fast as we would hope. Even in the internet age, grossly false myths continue to get widespread acceptance.

  16. James Canning
    James Canning
    April 18, 2016, 12:49 pm

    What a load of cr*p from Ben Gladstone. All Arab countries have agreed to accept Israel within its “1967” borders. As have the Palestinians.

  17. Amar
    Amar
    April 18, 2016, 6:34 pm

    Gladstone probably knows the facts and may be relying on the general ignorance of a mostly American audience who will take him at his word and the NYT as a ‘paper of repute’. Not many will bother checking facts. This is what keeps the Zio enterprise in power.

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