‘NYT’ bias amazes: long article about online incitement in Israel/Palestine only blames Palestinians

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I expected more from Peter Baker. The new New York Times Jerusalem correspondent today published an article about online incitement, headlined, “Facebook Struggles to Put Out Online Fires in Israeli-Palestinian Conflict,” and it’s so one-sided the only word for it is awful.

Baker starts by quoting Palestinians urging on the recent wildfires in Haifa:

On his Facebook page, [businessman Anas] Abudaabes wrote that “we should call our thugs to do what is necessary,” noting that “dry grass is faster to burn.” Arabs should pray for lightning and strong winds, he wrote. . .

Baker then suggests to readers that he is going to tell us about both Israel and Palestine.

Facebook has become the battleground in a global struggle between free speech and incitement, and in few places is that more pronounced than in Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Peter Baker
Peter Baker

But he baits and switches. The article turns out to be exclusively devoted to Palestinians inciting against Israel, even though there are plenty of examples of vicious online racism that Israelis in settlements and elsewhere direct against Palestinians.

The one-sidedness continues. Baker notes that:

Terrorism is an everyday reality, and the role that Facebook and other social media sites may play in inspiring it generates deep emotion.

Nowhere does he point out that occupation, blockade and repression — and 2 AM house raids, and house demolitions, as Jeremy Ben-Ami described Palestinian life under occupation to a New York synagogue last week — are also an everyday reality.

Baker’s bias is astonishingly revealed when he quotes Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s Justice Minister, who offers what looks to be a nuanced argument:

“I personally really believe in freedom of speech,” Ms. Shaked said in an interview. “But when you’re calling to kill someone or when you’re calling for terrorist attacks, it’s violence. I’m not going to try to remove the words ‘Free Palestine.’ But if they’re showing how to stab Jews, that should be removed.”

This would be a good time to remind New York Times readers that just two years ago, Shaked herself posted an article by an Israeli settler who called Palestinian children “snakes,” online, and Shaked endorsed this vicious characterization:

This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. . . the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. .  . including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.

And the morality of war knows that it is not possible to refrain from hurting enemy civilians. . . .

Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

The Times article is long, and I was sure I would eventually run into a few token paragraphs quoting incitement by Israelis. But nothing.

I hoped for better from Peter Baker. I suspect he may be trying to cajole Israeli officials who control his access and can make his job harder. But he should remember that Jodi Rudoren, his predecessor, spent years writing such suckup pieces hoping to get an interview with Benjamin Netanyahu. She never did.

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Nobody ever touches the Israeli education system which teaches young Jews to hate Palestinians as part of their identity. Palestinians are contînually presented as backward, primitive, subservient, criminal, deviant , un modern and useless with no positive role models. Jews are dynamic, positive, modern, productive. It is a dreadful mess. The NYT is left defending a system that is worse thanJim Crow. The fires were caused by climate change but Israeli identity cannot deal with… Read more »

Not only does the NYT article not quote articles of incitement by Israelis , it never even suggests that any such events ever happen.Baker perpetuates the myth that Israelis are the victims —always.

Thanks for the article James.

Sorry , OT . To our shame , today an Irish soccer team , Dundalk is hosting the racist soccer team from Israel,s capital —Tel Aviv maccabi .This is the team that is associated with , “La Familia ” a group with whom Israel,s Justice minister Ayaled Shaked has been seen sitting with as they hold up signs declaring , “Death To Arabs” and chanting the same. The Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign will hold a… Read more »

While there may be examples of online incitement by Palestinians it is impossible to not take notice of the constant vile incitement against Palestinians made by Israelis. The worst inciters are the leadership of the GoI itself. Foul mouthed racist barbarians not fit to lead a dog pack let alone anything else. Baker becomes another propogandist in a long line of them employed by the times and used by Israel. The only good thing is… Read more »

The NYT is hopelessly Zionist. Haaretz ran a promotion a while ago featuring all the NYT front pages for various events in Israel’s long history that goes back to the Middle Ages. But they only went back as far as 1948.
Even Sabra and Shatila got a fair wind.