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The New York Times fails to fact-check Clinton’s propaganda on Gaza

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Donald Johnson sent a version of the following letter to the New York Times’s public editor. He gave us permission to publish it. –Editor

The NYT has from time to time done fact checking on various claims made by the candidates.  I want to point to a rather glaring instance where it hasn’t done this.

On Thursday, Bernie Sanders criticized the Israeli war in Gaza as disproportionate.  Every mainstream human rights organization that I know about agrees that Israel’s actions in Gaza were either illegal or appear to have been so– and human rights groups tend to be cautious when condemning Western governments.   They are also critical of Hamas. Hillary Clinton used the standard excuse employed by Israel that the problem was that Hamas hides among civilians.  This simply doesn’t explain why Israel targeted homes, killing hundreds of civilians this way, including children.  It doesn’t explain the killings at Rafah described in the Amnesty International report below.

From Clinton’s remarks:

I can tell you right now I have been there with Israeli officials going back more than 25 years that they do not seek this kind of attacks. They do not invite the rockets raining down on their towns and villages. They do not believe that there should be a constant incitement by Hamas aided and abetted by Iran against Israel. And, so when it came time after they had taken the incoming rockets, taken the assaults and ambushes on their soldiers and they called and told me, I was in Cambodia, that they were getting ready to have to invade Gaza again because they couldn’t find anybody to talk to tell them to stop it, I flew all night, I got there, I negotiated that.

So, I don’t know how you run a country when you are under constant threat, terrorist tact, rockets coming at you. You have a right to defend yourself….

It also does not mean that we should not continue to do everything we can to try to reach a two-state solution, which would give the Palestinians… the rights and the autonomy that they deserve. And, let me say this, if Yasser Arafat had agreed with my husband at Camp David in the Late 1990s to the offer then Prime Minister Barat put on the table, we would have had a Palestinian state for 15 years.

Clinton is frequently praised for her command of detail, yet the details she puts forward regarding Israel-Palestine are hotly contested (including her claims about the Camp David talks) by mainstream commenters and her claims about Gaza flatly contradict what human rights organizations have found.  And so far you haven’t reported on this.

I would bet every dollar I have that if Sanders had given a pro-Palestinian slant on Gaza that contradicted what human rights groups said there would have been a storm of outrage and the NYT would have gone into some detail about the differences between what this imaginary Sanders had said and what the human rights organizations have said.  But Secretary of State Clinton, wonkish master of detail, makes claims that side with Israeli apologists against the work of HRW, Amnesty International, and B’Tselem and absolutely nothing is said about it.  Reporting on the conflict within the Jewish community regarding Sanders’s comments is fine (“Criticizing Israel, Bernie Sanders highlights split among Jewish Democrats“), but not adequate.  If Clinton is supposed to be the better candidate because of her mastery of facts, then the claims she puts forward as facts should be checked.

Relevant Human Rights Reports

Donald Johnson

Donald Johnson is a regular commenter on this site, as "Donald."

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7 Responses

  1. Bandolero on April 18, 2016, 2:02 pm

    There is one more recent event I’ld be looking a statement of US media and politicians: Netanyahu just held a cabinet meeting in the occupied Golan.

    CNN reports: Israel will never return the Golan Heights to Syria, says Benjamin Netanyahu

    Netanyahu contradicts hereby longstanding positions of the UN security council, the US and the EU.

    Germany has just rejected Netanyahu’s claim, but where is the reaction from the US? Obama, Clinton, Sanders anyone?

    People of the Golan seem not all that happy with the Israeli occupation:

    In my oppinion, Israel’s desire to finally get the Golan forever was and is a major driver for the support of Israel & the Israel lobby for regime change in Syria.

  2. Andreas Schlueter on April 18, 2016, 6:05 pm

    Hillary Clinton is the real danger not only for the US, but for the whole world. Clinton is the spearhead of the Neocons in the democratic party. She brought Victoria Nuland (quote: “fuck the EU”) into the Obama administration. Nuland is the wife of Robert Kagan. Kagan is co-founder of the neoconservative “Project for the New American Century“. The neocons are more and more in control of the democratic party and of the US administration. If one wants to know what is in the Neocon „pipe“, one should read their think tank papers. In September 2000 the US Think Tank “Project for the New American Century” issued the paper “Rebuilding America´s Defenses”. On page 60 you find the announcement of Fascist atrocities! It reads:
    „And advanced forms of biological warfare that can “target” specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.“
    Surely it should not target white Anglo Saxon Protestants (WASPs)! About the possible consequences and background: “US Power Elite Declared War on the Southern Hemisphere, East Asia and all Non-Western Countries in September 2000”:
    Andreas Schlüter
    Berlin, Germany

    • lysias on April 18, 2016, 7:15 pm

      Since you’re a sociologist in Berlin, permit me to ask you if you know Andrej Holm, a specialist in urban planning, also in Berlin. I was shocked when he was arrested on terrorism charges, in large part because he didn’t take his cellphone to a meeting, back in 2007. It was pretty clear evidence that the German authorities were using cellphones at least to track people’s movements, and very like to eavesdrop on what people were saying. I wonder what has happened to him since then.

      • Bandolero on April 18, 2016, 9:39 pm


        I can only answer a bandolero in Berlin.

        As a Chinese saying goes: Cherchez La Femme!

        Andrej Holm was released, and afterwards nothing happened. The woman with him is Anne Roth, co-founder of Indymedia Germany, where all criticism of Israel is forbidden.

        Disclaimer: I’ve met the couple besides online – in real life – only once in my life. But that – together with all the online – was quite sobering for me regarding Andre and Anne.

  3. Kris on April 18, 2016, 11:10 pm

    This is an excellent letter, which is why the NYT will probably not print it. Many thanks for this, Donald!

  4. Marnie on April 19, 2016, 8:51 am

    In December 2008, one month before inaugural of Barack Obama, Netanyahu started operation cast lead. Now at the end of pres. Obama’s 8 year run, he makes the remarkable statement that he has no intention of returning the Golan to Syria. And there was a bus bombing in Jerusalem: “There was uncertainty at first over whether the explosion was the result of a terror attack or a mechanical malfunction. After a preliminary investigation, Jerusalem Police Chief Yoram Halevy confirmed the blast was caused by a small explosive device, apparently placed in the back portion of the bus.

    “When a bomb explodes on a bus, it is a terror attack,” Halevy said, adding it was unclear if the bomber had been on the bus at the time of the blast.” From the Times of Israel

    Yes, a bomb exploding on a bus is terrorism, great detective work there Halevy, but I wonder if it was it an israeli operative or Hamas. Call me whatever you want, I just don’t believe is what it appears to be anymore. I think it’s interesting that there’s been so much local talk about the “quiet” lately and in the last couple days there’s been 2 bombs – the one dropped by prime minister blue rinse and the one on the Jerusalem bus. And in weird news, Danny Danon’s drama-rama at the UN, complete with props:

    “UN Security Council debate turned into a shouting match on Monday between the Israeli and Palestinian ambassadors, who exchanged cries of “Shame on you!” over ongoing violence.

    Israeli Ambassador Danny Danon broke away from his address to the council and demanded that the Palestinian representative condemn acts of terrorism.

    “Shame on you for glorifying terrorism!” Danon said.

    “Shame on you for killing Palestinian children!” Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour shot back.

    After being called to order by the council president, Danon once again turned to Mansour and hammered: “You cannot say it here. Palestinian children are looking at you right now.
    “‘I condemn all acts of terrorism’: one sentence you cannot say. Shame on you for that,” he pressed on.

    “Let my people be free! Shame on you! Shame on you! Shame on you! You are an occupier,” Mansour again retorted.

    Before the ruckus, Renana Meir, whose mother, Dafna, was stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist in January, addressed the council on behalf of the Israeli mission.

    “It is difficult to express in words the deep pain and unbearable longing. This sense of loss breaks our heart and our soul,” she said. “With broken hearts we ask the international community for help. We hear those who say that terror is a result of frustration, and we ask — is there anything more frustrating than what we have endured?”

    Dafna Meir, 38, was killed on January 17 when a Palestinian teen broke into her house in Otniel and stabbed her to death in front of her children. Seventeen-year-old Renana helped her mother fight off the terrorist, who fled after fatally wounding Dafna.”

    Shame on Danny Danon for this sideshow hucksterism! This family was a prop, just like Netanyahu’s cartoon boms except this one cried. I realize this girl witnessed her mother being stabbed, but for her to ask “is there anything more frustrating (?) than what we have endured?”, first off, don’t you mean hearbreaking or something other than “frustrating”? Whatever; well as a matter of fact, yes Renana, you’ve got no idea what others have endured and continue to endure so your parents could live in an area they are most definitely not welcome because it doesn’t belong to them, and then choose to raise their children in such a dangerous environment, which your own mother was apparently having mixed emotions about: “Meir shared her fears in a local news website, writing: “I have been thinking a great deal lately, thinking about why, what should be done or shouldn’t be or can’t be, how to behave, especially on the road, but not only. The fears, for my husband and children, my friends and family. The situation isn’t easy. I sometimes have a feeling of [being in a game of] Russian roulette. And I can’t sleep.” Times of Israel, January 2016.

    Over 200 young Palestinians, many your age and a little older, have been killed by IOF and fellow settlers. Can you begin to imagine the suffering of their families?

    Maybe Palestinian Ambassador Riyad Mansour should invite the surviving Dawabshe’s son and his grandfather to the UN so they can address an international audience with their tragedy? Or the children of “Israa Abed, a mother of three and a post-graduate genetic engineering student, who was shot by Israel soldiers in Afula’s central bus station on her way home from university. The footage of her cold-blooded shooting by several Israeli soldiers went viral, and the Arab community responded with shock.” +972.

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