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‘Focus is on Palestinians,’ says New York Times, but it quotes only one

We keep close tabs on how often Palestinians get quoted in the New York Times because it’s a good measure of the power differential inside the American establishment between Israelis and Palestinians. And since last Friday’s historic UN Security Council resolution against settlements in occupied territories, the Times has been doing a particularly lousy job of finding Palestinians to quote.

Like this story two days ago: “U.S. Transition Puts Israeli Focus Back on Palestinians.” The headline promises that you’re gonna be hearing from Palestinians. Not to worry. Peter Baker quoted Benjamin Netanyahu, Isaac Herzog, Avigdor Lieberman, Zalman Shoval, Dore Gold, and Ehud Yaari, as well as American warhorses Tamara Cofman Wittes, Robert Satloff and Daniel Kurtzer. Nine Israelis and Americans (and all Jewish, it would appear).

How many Palestinians in an article focused on Palestinians? One: Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian negotiator, who

said in a conference call sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars this past week that an embassy move would prompt the Palestine Liberation Organization to withdraw recognition of Israel that was granted as part of the Oslo peace accords.

And by the way, a liberal Zionist was used to voice “Arab” opinion:

While many Arab leaders have tired of the Palestinian leadership, they may have to respond if their citizens are stirred to outrage. “If the street’s reactions get too heated, it will be easier for these Arabs to jettison the Israeli relationship than to stand in the way of their own people’s anger,” Mr. Kurtzer said.

Must be hard to find Arabs on the telephone. . .

Peter Baker’s first take on the UN resolution a day earlier quoted Zero Palestinians, while quoting: an unnamed Israeli official, Tzipi Livni, Michael Oren, Ben Rhodes and Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL.

Back when the story broke on Friday, the first Times article on the resolution broke the quote boycott and cited two Palestinians, but mostly others: Danny Danon, Benjamin Netanyahu, Donald J. Trump, Chuck Schumer, Ronald Lauder, Lindsey Graham, the American Jewish Committee, the World Jewish Congress, J Street, Samantha Power —  and then, as an afterthought, Riyad Mansour of the Palestinian mission to the U.N. and Hazem Kassem of Hamas.

And this article by Peter Baker today shows the quota is back in effect. The one Palestinian quoted is Riad Malki, the foreign minister, saying that Palestinians will be going to international fora backed by the new resolution. But after that it’s back to business: Mitchell Barak, Ron Dermer, Oded Revivi, Anat Ben Nun, Betty Herschman, Deputy Mayor Meir Turgeman, Donald Trump, Benjamin Netanyahu. Non-Jewish experts on the conflict also don’t count in the Times.

By the way, this story, about fresh Israeli defiance in building new settlements, is the lead article in today’s Times, and it follows standard NYT policy in another respect — it doesn’t point out that the “settlements” are illegal under international law, because the Geneva convention says you cannot transfer a civilian population into occupied territory.

Here is the Times‘s weasel equivocation:

By declaring Israeli settlements illegal, [Israelis said], the United Nations essentially took away the one chip that Israel had to trade, meaning land.

The article is insinuating that the settlements weren’t illegal for the last 40 years, ever since this has been an issue. Maybe the Times thinks that international law is not fair. Maybe the newspaper think an exception should be made for Israel. They’re entitled to their opinions and should express them on the editorial page, but the facts are that the settlements are illegal under international law. You put facts in an article, you put opinions on the editorial page.

The latest BBC report offered the boilerplate language that the Times could use:

The settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Thanks to Donald Johnson for this story.



James North and Philip Weiss

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19 Responses

  1. just on December 27, 2016, 1:00 pm

    MSNBC has had Bill Kristol and Eliot Engel on this morning~ they’re ‘talking’ about settlements and the newest UN resolution with all the usual zionists.

    Haven’t seen any Palestinian nor heard any alternative voices for justice and the rule of law yet.

    The 4th estate is proceeding as usual.

    Now Joel Rubin is on…

    Phil wrote on November 18th:

    “The Friedman nomination has the potential to finally expose the charade of the peace process to the American mainstream, and American politicians and journalists will get to report the truth: there is one state between the river and the sea. Palestinians who have witnessed to these facts for years will gain prestige; Chuck Todd and Jake Tapper will have them at the big table.”

    I don’t see it happening.

    • just on December 27, 2016, 1:46 pm

      At least we have Democracy Now! and Mondoweiss.

      Amy Goodman spoke with Yousef Munnayer this morning. It’s good. An excerpt:

      “U.N. Declares Israeli Settlements Illegal; Netanyahu Vows to Retaliate After U.S. Abstains from Vote

      … AMY GOODMAN: So that’s the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, explaining the reason the U.S. would be abstaining from this resolution that was passed by the U.N. Security Council. Yousef Munayyer, so, in fact, Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, is singling out Barack Obama and making it personal.

      YOUSEF MUNAYYER: Absolutely. What you’re seeing right now, and the reason why Samantha Power and the administration have felt the need to defend themselves by citing Ronald Reagan even though this has been long-standing U.S. policy, is because they’re being attacked by the right in an attempt right now—and we’re seeing Netanyahu do this, you know, in very hysterical fashion since the passing of this resolution—to intimidate any future American elected officials from even deviating the slightest bit from the every whim and demand of Israel’s right-wing government. And I think that is what you’re seeing take place today, not simply because they have an issue with the Obama administration, but because they have an issue with U.S. policy, and they don’t want to see the United States ever supporting the idea that there should be pressure on Israel for its illegal settlements. …”

      • Citizen on December 27, 2016, 5:28 pm

        All day today Fox News has been displaying Zionists to tell the public about this subject. It is relentless, as if Netanyahu himself dictated what to say to the US public.

  2. AddictionMyth on December 27, 2016, 2:28 pm

    I predict that Russia will switch to Israel’s side. Why? One word: TrumPutin. (Of course, it will be seen as opportunistic and craven. But their options are quickly narrowing.)

    • Mooser on December 27, 2016, 5:02 pm

      “I predict that Russia will switch to Israel’s side.”

      Earlier on in its life, if I remember aright, Israel looked to the Soviet Union for support and alliance, and Zionism had some pretensions of socialism.

    • Misterioso on January 1, 2017, 12:49 pm

      Setting aside his growing relationship with Syria and Iran, I find it hard to believe that Putin will be stupid enough to pick up America’s leavings and alienate what in 20-25 years will be 3 billion Muslims worldwide, 600 million Arabs, including 10-12 million Palestinians between the River and the Sea, as well as 150 million Iranians and 150 million Turks.

      It is now evident that virtually the entire world increasingly and correctly views Israel as the victimizer and Palestinians (along with other Arabs) as its victims. For the sake of the region and the world, including Jews everywhere, Zionism’s illegal occupations and horror’s must end.

      Also, Israel’s love affair with Trump will anger thinking Americans and significantly contribute to its downfall. “Lie down with dogs and you’ll get fleas.”

      • Sibiriak on January 1, 2017, 3:03 pm

        Misterioso: Setting aside his growing relationship with Syria and Iran, I find it hard to believe that Putin will be stupid enough to pick up America’s leavings and alienate what in 20-25 years will be 3 billion Muslims worldwide…


        Russia’s policy toward Israel/Palestine is clear: support the international two-state consensus while developing stronger economic and military ties with Israel.

        And don’t forget, Russia is in a deadly war against radical Islamism, with multiple terrorist attacks on Russian soil. And consider: Russia’s concern not to alienate 3 billion Muslims didn’t stop it from leveling Grozny.


        “Russian PM Medvedev in Israel to boost trade ties”

        “Over the last years, we did not develop our economic cooperation as well as we could have hoped. The current state of affairs – trade turnover between Russia and Israel stands at around $2 billion,” Medvedev told Israeli TV station Channel 2.

        “That’s not much and we used to have a trade turnover some 30 percent bigger than that but it shrank because of the global economic crisis and the devaluation of the ruble, as well as because of the decrease of imports into Russia,” he said.

        “Our two sides can reach a very fair level of trade relations,” he said. “I’m not even mentioning here the large energy and gas projects we’re considering at present.”


        Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference in Jerusalem with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Thursday afternoon during which the latter described how he felt at home every time visited Israel.

        During the conference, Medvedev spoke about the shared values between the two countries while highlighting his country’s obligation to combat anti-Semitism and as well as the mutual obligation to face common challenges.

        First and foremost it is terrorism that threatens the entire globe but here, in your area, it is felt particularly harshly. The Russian Federation also suffers from terror and it is part and parcel of the same thing.

        In light of this fact,” he said, “we have to fight terror together and that relates to security cooperation. With joint efforts we need to destroy the seed of terror which lies in the hands of ISIS.”,7340,L-4877405,00.html


        Russia and Israel are about to sign a free trade agreement in the very near future, Russian Deputy Agriculture Minister Sergey Levin told TASS on Friday after talks with his Israeli counterpart.

        “We’ve discussed the prospects of forming a free trade zone, which the government plans to put on paper within the shortest period of time,” Levin said, adding that the issue had also been discussed at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich.

        Israeli Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel confirmed his intention to go ahead with the plan very soon.

        The two sides agreed on reciprocal purchases of agricultural products, setting up joint ventures and the introduction of agricultural high-tech, Levin said. Russia would like to increase its sale of wheat, beef and eggs to Israel, while Israel, a world power in agricultural technology, is ready to share its expertise with its Russian trade partners. [emphasis added]

  3. Jasonius Maximus on December 27, 2016, 3:00 pm

    Exactly! US mainstream news has interviewed just about every popular Zionist, Israel Lobbyist and current and former Israeli Ambassador to the UN and US, yet has interviewed barely one single Palestinian and not a single US representative directly involved in this discussion, nor a single ambassador or official from any one of the 14 countries that voted “Yes”, including our greatest ACTUAL ally in the world, Great Britain. Who, as it turns out this morning, helped craft the wording of this resolution and pressured New Zealand to carry it forward to a vote!

    Apparently MSNBC, CNN, Fox News and the NYT have every past and present Israeli official (local and abroad) on speed dial yet can’t seem to find a single number or email address for our own US Ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, US Ambassador to Israel, Danial Shapiro, for ANY of our our friends and allies in London, Paris, Berlin, Wellington, or Tokyo. All of whom voted “yes” on this resolution.

  4. Talkback on December 27, 2016, 3:19 pm

    “By declaring Israeli settlements illegal, [Israelis said], the United Nations essentially took away the one chip that Israel had to trade, meaning land.”

    The settlements weren’t declared illegal. It was reaffirmed that they are illegal. And Israel cannot trade what it legally doesn’t posess. That’s only the logic of a hostage taker and extortionist.

    • oldgeezer on December 27, 2016, 4:14 pm


      There goes the whole illicit scheme of trading Palestinian land for Palestinian land.

      Crooks shouldn’t get over confident. Hopefully the criminal enterprise is starting to unravel.

    • Kay24 on December 28, 2016, 5:48 am

      The Israelis are sadly mistaken if they thought building illegal settlements by the thousands on stolen lands, is a “bargaining chip”. Imagine if Canada stole our lands, and said it would give it back (some of it) with conditions and a trade off for peace. Maybe the olive trees and water they have stolen are all bargaining chips too. These zionists have strange ways of “trading”, they seem to want to trade with possessions that belong to the other side.

      • Maghlawatan on December 28, 2016, 1:51 pm

        When they started the settlement project they decided the Palestinians were a defeated people who would fade into history. “Treat them like dogs. Those who want to can leave” said Moshe Dayan. 50 years later half of the people in greater Israel are Palestinian and John Kerry tells Yossi Israeli that Israel can be either Jewish or democratic but not both.

  5. Citizen on December 27, 2016, 5:37 pm

    “Hopefully the criminal enterprise is starting to unravel.”

    No thanks to all the cable tv news/infotainment shows, all of them promoting hasbara to the nines today. It’s just ridiculous, except it’s not a joke.

  6. Citizen on December 27, 2016, 5:40 pm

    Israel says it’s going forward with lots more settlements. The entire US cable TV news media is doing Israeli propaganda non-stop. Kerry needs to come out and take the bully pulpit to defend the US abstention. Spell out Israel’s criminality to the US audience. Will he?

    • Kay24 on December 28, 2016, 3:00 am

      I am looking forward to hearing John Kerry’s speech, and I hope he will place the blame where it deserves to be placed – with Israel. How long can Israel fool the world into believing that it is ONLY the fault of the Palestinians (first time I have ever heard of occupied people preferring the status quo – being under occupation, having their lands stolen and children killed). They keep bringing up the fact that Arafaat turned down a peace deal but FAIL to mention that Israel turned down fighter jets (a bribe to get their behinds for peace talks) and did not want peace. Yes, it is always the Palestinians who turn down peace, Israel has been the perfect occupier.

      The world is realizing that ISRAEL IS THE PROBLEM NOT THE SOLUTION.

      Kerry will get demonized by the vicious zionist servants in the US, media, Congresspeople, and Israel firsters, but I think at this point he should not care.

  7. Sassy on December 28, 2016, 9:55 am

    Arab Peace Initiative

    This is the full text of an agreement reached at the Arab League summit in Beirut
    Thursday 28 March 2002

    The Council of the League of Arab States at the Summit Level, at its 14th Ordinary Session,

    · Reaffirms the resolution taken in June 1996 at the Cairo extraordinary Arab summit that a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East is the strategic option of the Arab countries, to be achieved in accordance with international legality, and which would require a comparable commitment on the part of the Israeli government.

    · Having listened to the statement made by his royal highness Prince Abdullah Bin Abdullaziz, the crown prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in which his highness presented his initiative, calling for full Israeli withdrawal from all the Arab territories occupied since June 1967, in implementation of Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, reaffirmed by the Madrid Conference of 1991 and the land for peace principle, and Israel’s acceptance of an independent Palestinian state, with East Jerusalem as its capital, in return for the establishment of normal relations in the context of a comprehensive peace with Israel.

    · Emanating from the conviction of the Arab countries that a military solution to the conflict will not achieve peace or provide security for the parties, the council:

    1. Requests Israel to reconsider its policies and declare that a just peace is its strategic option as well.

    2. Further calls upon Israel to affirm:

    a. Full Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied since 1967, including the Syrian Golan Heights to the lines of June 4, 1967 as well as the remaining occupied Lebanese territories in the south of Lebanon.

    b. Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194.

    c. The acceptance of the establishment of a Sovereign Independent Palestinian State on the Palestinian territories occupied since the 4th of June 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza strip, with east Jerusalem as its capital.

    3. Consequently, the Arab countries affirm the following:

    a. Consider the Arab-Israeli conflict ended, and enter into a peace agreement with Israel, and provide security for all the states of the region.

    b. Establish normal relations with Israel in the context of this comprehensive peace.

    4. Assures the rejection of all forms of Palestinian patriation which conflict with the special circumstances of the Arab host countries.

    5. Calls upon the government of Israel and all Israelis to accept this initiative in order to safeguard the prospects for peace and stop the further shedding of blood, enabling the Arab Countries and Israel to live in peace and good neighborliness and provide future generations with security, stability, and prosperity.

    6. Invites the international community and all countries and organizations to support this initiative.

    7. Requests the chairman of the summit to form a special committee composed of some of its concerned member states and the secretary general of the League of Arab States to pursue the necessary contacts to gain support for this initiative at all levels, particularly from the United Nations, the security council, the United States of America, the Russian Federation, the Muslim States and the European Union.

  8. Maghlawatan on December 28, 2016, 10:56 am

    Real big news in Israel. Bennett wants to ban breaking the Silence from Israeli schools. Israelis are educated to commit human rights abuses. The education system is the rotting heart of Zionism and the settlers control it.

    • Kay24 on December 28, 2016, 8:43 pm

      And in that shining example of democracy in the ME, apparently Kerry’s speech was not carried by news outlets…..just like in the land of Kim Jon Un.

      Home truths are hard to take.

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