Trending Topics:

Palestinian leader Marwan Barghouti’s op-ed calling Israel ‘moral and political failure’ is buried in int’l edition of ‘NYT’

and on 24 Comments

The New York Times has run a stirring piece by Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian leader who has been imprisoned for 15 years, in its international edition today. Titled, “Why We Are on Hunger Strike,” the article describes Israel as a “moral and political failure” whose record of imprisoning 40 percent of Palestinian males is typical of occupying, colonial regimes. Barghouti several times refers to Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment and declares, “Our chains will be broken before we are, because it is human nature to heed the call for freedom regardless of the cost.”

Meanwhile, Barghouti is leading an increasingly successful hunger strike among imprisoned Palestinians.  The strike started with 700 taking part, and has already expanded to several thousand.

Sadly, Barghouti’s article only appears in the International edition of the Times, not the domestic edition. Why does someone in Paris need to see this more than someone in New York? Think of the logic. This is an American issue. The Times‘s decision is clearly an effort, possibly subconsciously, to demote Barghouti’s eloquent cry for freedom to secondary status.

But nothing can diminish Barghouti’s importance. He was moved on Monday to solitary confinement. “The Israel Prison Service said it was trying to break up the hunger strike,” Haaretz reported.

In his op-ed, Barghouti relates “an unbelievable state of affairs” in Israeli prisons:

Over the past five decades, according to the human rights group Addameer, more than 800,000 Palestinians have been imprisoned or detained by Israel — equivalent to about 40 percent of the Palestinian territory’s male population. Today, about 6,500 are still imprisoned, among them some who have the dismal distinction of holding world records for the longest periods in detention of political prisoners. There is hardly a single family in Palestine that has not endured the suffering caused by the imprisonment of one or several of its members.

Barghouti describes Israel’s dual legal processes for Palestinians and Israelis in occupied territories as “a form of judicial apartheid,” and notes that imprisonment has failed because prisoners are fostering resistance:

Israel’s prisons have become the cradle of a lasting movement for Palestinian self-determination. This new hunger strike will demonstrate once more that the prisoners’ movement is the compass that guides our struggle, the struggle for Freedom and Dignity, the name we have chosen for this new step in our long walk to freedom [a reference to Nelson Mandela’s book].

Barghouti notes the burgeoning global support for Palestinians:

Their solidarity exposes Israel’s moral and political failure. Rights are not bestowed by an oppressor. Freedom and dignity are universal rights that are inherent in humanity, to be enjoyed by every nation and all human beings. Palestinians will not be an exception.

If this article were about the internal politics of the European Union  — sure, someone in Paris will be more interested than an American. But Israel/Palestine is among the most important domestic U.S. foreign policy issues. Printing this piece in New York would surely have angered a lot of the newspaper’s base. There was no doubt a struggle at the Times; many are afraid of Barghouti’s political potential, as the most logical heir to Yasser Arafat, popular among Palestinians of all political persuasions.

Ian Fisher, New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief, from his twitter feed, @fisheri

Meantime, kudos to the Times‘s Jerusalem correspondent Ian Fisher for actually covering the prisoners’ hunger strike: “Over 1,000 Palestinian Prisoners in Israel Stage Hunger Strike.”  Barghouti is front and center in this article, and Palestinians are quoted very high up.

More than a thousand Palestinians in Israeli prisons took part in a hunger strike on Monday, demanding better conditions in a protest that was unusual for its large size and for the fact that it was led by Marwan Barghouti, the most prominent detainee and a figure often seen as a future Palestinian leader. . .

Israel is taking it seriously simply because of the possible consequences,” said Ghassan Khatib, a professor at Birzeit University and a former Palestinian official. “The issue of prisoners is very emotional.”

Too many times we have read in the western press, Why do Palestinians go straight to violence? Where is the Gandhi or Mandela of Palestine? Right before your eyes, is the answer. Nothing could be more peaceful than this hunger strike. Good for the Times for covering it in the news columns.

Thanks to Allison Deger.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

Other posts by .

James North
About James North

Other posts by .

Posted In:

24 Responses

  1. Jackdaw
    Jackdaw on April 17, 2017, 3:38 pm

    @Phil @ James (((Jews don’t need your help fighting anti-Semites))) North.

    Barghouti may be the Messiah of your echo chamber, but outside, in the rest of the world, no one cares about him.

    I know that’s a little hard for you to accept.

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz on April 17, 2017, 7:46 pm

      Marwan Barghouti is an internationally recognised figure, capable of reconciling Fatah, Hamas and Palestinian refugees.
      He is very person able to reconcile all Palestinian factions.
      Of course he is known to anyone who has midiocum of knowledge and understanding of Palestine.

    • Brewer
      Brewer on April 18, 2017, 4:43 am

      Jackdaw. Know this. Take it to your heart and consider it deeply. Know that I and many of my fellows despise you and your ilk and our numbers are growing as awareness of what has transpired in Palestine (yes, Palestine has been the name of that land for many more years than it has been known as Israel) during these past 60 years.
      Know also that the reason I and my fellows oppose you has nothing to do with that silly concept “antisemitism”. In fact it is you and your fellows who espouse a racist ideology – hidden in plain sight – a “Jewish” state – what is that if it is not a racist concept?
      Ah, you insist, “Jewish” is not a racial term. What is it then? A religious denomination?
      Ignoring the implication that a “Jewish State” would then qualify as theocratic (an equally despicable concept) does this not mean that the State is designed to favour one class of human beings over another? How could it not?
      Yours is a silly argument. Particularly so when that state is founded on victory in a war against the indigenous people who were expelled because they had adopted a different religion.
      Barghouti is not a Messiah. Neither were Gandhi, King, Jesus, Castro and a whole host of activists about whom many silly people remarked “no one cares about him” (in Gandhi’s case, that includes Winston Churchill). Do I really need to remind you that History judges, not contemporaries – especially contemporaries whose awareness is obviously dimmed by an outmoded colonialist ideology ?
      Try to make your arguments free of that silly concept “antisemitism” (feel free to use “racism” in its stead). You might gain a more interested audience.

    • eljay
      eljay on April 18, 2017, 8:22 am

      || Jackdaw: … Barghouti may be the Messiah of your echo chamber, but outside, in the rest of the world, no one cares about him. I know that’s a little hard for you to accept. ||

      Despite the blatant obviousness of it, for some reason it’s incredibly hard for you Zionists to accept that your oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist “Jewish State” project has been a moral failure from the moment it was conceived.

      • genesto
        genesto on April 18, 2017, 11:57 am

        — and Zionists have managed to create their own echo chamber, increasingly detached from the rest of the world, with their false narrative. Pathetic!

    • chocopie
      chocopie on April 18, 2017, 11:48 am

      No one? You must care about him. Couldn’t stop yourself from commenting about him, right? Go ahead, keep sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting “nyah nyah nyah.”

    • festus
      festus on April 18, 2017, 12:59 pm

      Is it possible to either defend Israeli practices or critique those critical of Israel without referring to “anti-semites”. It seems the answer is no. I’ve never seen it done..Jackdaw gets right to it in his first sentence.

  2. pabelmont
    pabelmont on April 17, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Question: Why, if NYT-USA refused to print this, did NYT-Europe print it? why not deny it space everywhere? Is NYT secretly promoting Palestinian rights (if not BDS), but only in Europe?

    • Eva Smagacz
      Eva Smagacz on April 17, 2017, 7:41 pm


      This double face is not new – International version of NYTimes has frequently shown itself more liberal and more equal handed than domestic version, much to frustration of those of us who are aware of real and long standing editorial difference.

      I believe this is so as not to antagonise European market, readers and advertisers both.

      • John O
        John O on April 18, 2017, 12:24 pm

        I didn’t know that about the NYT, but it sounds uncomfortably like the way in which certain right-wing newspapers here in the UK tone down their opinions for their Scottish editions.

      • hophmi
        hophmi on April 20, 2017, 8:34 am

        It was right there on their website, so I think if Americans wanted to see it, they did. Most people read the Times online, not in print.

        Barghouti was convicted in a civilian court of five counts of murder. His trial was open and fair. It was Barghouti’s choice to become a terrorist.

        To the extent that people around the world care about him, I doubt that they know that he is not a political prisoner; he’s a convicted serial killer, and he was convicted in a civil trial. As always, the BDS movement relies on ignorance, not reality, and promote terrorists.

      • oldgeezer
        oldgeezer on April 20, 2017, 10:28 am


        It was a show trial worthy of the old USSR where even the presiding judge was making prejudicial statements in court.
        It was a farce. It was a violation of international law and the geneva conventions.

        It is typical of the rogue and pariah state in it’s racist zeal to oppress the indigenous peoples of the land.

        You’re full of it as usual hophead.

      • Sibiriak
        Sibiriak on April 20, 2017, 10:28 am

        hophmi: Barghouti was convicted in a civilian court of five counts of murder. His trial was open and fair.

        Marwan Barghouti was convicted by three demonstrably biased Israeli judges in a highly politicized, grossly unfair trial involving numerous breaches of international law carried out in an illiberal, undemocratic apartheid state.

        The international Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) ( released a highly detailed report on Barghouti’s arrest and trial , based on extensive analysis of the events, including interviews with the prosecution and defense teams as well as international NGO trial observers. The report concludes unequivocally that Barghouti was not given a fair trial.

        Excerpts (emphasis added):

        In the opinion of the persons present at the debates in the Tel Aviv District Court, the hearings were conducted in a relatively impartial climate (apart from a few incidents which we will elaborate on). However, the overall conclusion is that the manner in which the phase leading up to the trial was conducted precluded any possibility of a fair trial.

        Owing to the fact that Mr. Barghouti was captured in Palestinian territory during a military operation, before being held incommunicado for several weeks, during which time accusations against President Yasser Arafat “leaked out”, the Israeli authorities not only ran the risk of holding a trial in which the political controversy almost inevitably overshadowed the legal debate, but also the risk of a trial based on an investigation using questionable methods and hence on flimsy evidence.

        The purpose of this report is not to judge the political interests that came into play during the trial, but to examine the how the Israeli authorities treated the person detained and prepared the trial against him, from an exclusively technical perspective, in the light of relevant international standards. These standards were often clearly disregarded.

        * * * *
        Lack of presumption of innocence

        An incident occurred during Mr. Barghouti’s first appearance, on 5 September 2002, before the panel presided over by Ms. Zerota.

        After Mr. Barghouti had described himself as a “fighter for peace for both peoples”, she interrupted him and said “one who fights for peace doesn’t turn people into bombs and kill children”.

        Such a statement was most surprising coming from a judge who has the responsibility of ruling on the guilt of the defendant, and who, from the very outset of the trial, expressed a categorical opinion on the case.

        Mr. Barghouti probably should have been entitled to ask his judge to withdraw from the case because of this failure of her duty to show impartiality.

        Another similar incident occurred outside the courtroom which necessarily upset the tranquillity of the proceedings: in July 2003, some newspapers announced that the Israeli Government was tempted to negotiate the release of Mr. Barghouti under a prisoner exchange scheme, and that the Israeli Attorney General, Mr. Elyakim Rubinstein, had written to the Prime Minister to oppose this, declaring, in a letter which was made public, that Mr. Barghouti was a “first-rate architect of terrorism”.

        Once again, this statement prejudged the outcome of a trial that was still ongoing, and demonstrated contempt for the presumption of innocence , which is surprising coming from a person in his position.

        * * * *

        The evidence adduced

        In support of the charges, the State Attorney’s Office filed above all the statements and declarations made by the accused and by a few other individuals.

        I have not been able to gain access to the material evidence adduced, which essentially comprises documents seized by the army in Mr. Barghouti’s office. Mr. Boulus explained to me that they were mainly letters addressed to Mr. Barghouti in his capacity as a parliamentarian, and that no document originated by Mr. Barghouti had implicated him in the acts of which he was being accused.

        The prosecution had called some 100 witnesses. The transcripts of the sessions, which were given to me in Hebrew and which I was able to consult with the assistance of a sworn translator, Mr. Bitar, stated that 96 prosecution witnesses had been heard.

        This figure should be seen in proportion, because 63 of these 96 people were investigators or individuals associated with the investigation into Mr. Barghouti, or investigations into the attacks that had been ascribed to him, and who were therefore unable to give a personal testimony regarding his involvement.

        Furthermore, 12 of these witnesses were victims or witnesses of bomb attacks and had given their account of them, but they had no information regarding the personal involvement of the accused.

        According to the prosecution, only 21 of the prosecution witnesses were actually in a position to testify directly regarding Mr. Barghouti’s role in these attacks. But none of these 21 individuals in fact accused him. About 12 of them explicitly told the court that he was not involved. Most of them quite simply refused to answer the questions of the court, generally on the ground that it had no jurisdiction to judge Mr. Barghouti.

        Faced with the refusal of most of the subpoenaed persons to testify, the court had to fall back on the written statements collected by the investigators. I have not had the opportunity to examine these documents but, according to the trial transcripts, some of the subpoenaed witnesses had signed statements when heard by the investigating services, declaring that Mr. Barghouti might have been informed of certain bomb attacks before they had taken place, or that he may have sent money to finance the attacks, or had ordered the purchase of weapons for the attacks. Several witnesses told the court that these statements had been obtained under duress.

        * * * *


        […] From the beginning of the investigations until the final day of the trial, the prosecution put almost as much effort into staging a media event as it did into working on the legal aspects:

        • by organising information leaks, claimed to have come from the interrogations of Mr. Barghouti, at a time when he had been held incommunicado, so that neither he nor his lawyer could possibly have answered any questions;
        • by deciding to organise a public trial before the Tel Aviv District Court, rather than a trial behind closed doors before military judges, as has generally been the case in the past for other individuals arrested by the Israeli army in the Occupied Territories;
        • by staging the trial as a major media event, selectively admitting and accompanying members of the public, and organising press contact points even in the precincts of the Court.

        It is true that of all the Palestinian prisoners currently being detained by Israel, Mr. Barghouti is the most senior member of the Palestinian Authority hierarchy, and is said to be close to Mr. Arafat.

        Nevertheless, this has also been the result of the Israeli Government’s decision to make his capture and subsequent trial, into a political as well as a judicial or security issue. It is therefore hardly surprising that this has led to excesses, such as the following:

        • the statement by the Israeli Deputy Minister of Homeland Security saying that Mr. Barghouti “thoroughly deserves death”;
        • the statement by the Attorney General calling him a terrorist;
        • the way in which his lawyers have been prevented from meeting him, and particularly the long interrogations to which his French lawyer, Ms. Halimi, was subjected on her arrival at the airport;
        • Israel’s refusal to allow in an observer from the International Federation for Human Rights.

        These incidents have quite obviously been facilitated by the climate that has made this trial increasingly more a political, rather than a judicial, matter, but also by a breakdown of Israeli law placing it in breach of international law, by authorising prisoner transfers (which is clearly prohibited by the Fourth Geneva Convention) or tolerating interrogation methods which should be prohibited, in addition to the laws making it possible to keep a prisoner incommunicado for excessively long periods.

        The Israeli authorities are right to point out that their country is up against blind terrorism posing serious security problems that they have to address. This report is not the right place to discuss the origins of this terrorism, or ways of putting an end to it, but it does illustrate that the methods chosen to deal with it have been inconsistent with the rule of law, and sight has been lost of such equally essential principles as the absolute priority that must under all circumstances be given to respect for the physical integrity of prisoners.

        The numerous breaches of international law recalled in this report make it impossible to conclude that Mr. Barghouti was given a fair trial.

        Most of the persons contacted are convinced that Mr. Barghouti will receive a severe sentence, but all are equally convinced that the verdict will have no legitimacy because it will have been dictated far more by intense media pressure and political interests than by any rigorous application of procedures respecting the integrity of the defendant and his right of defence.

        The Barghouti case has very clearly demonstrated that, far from bringing security, the breaches of international law have, above all, undermined the authority of Israeli justice by casting discredit on its conduct of investigations and the procedures used.

      • Talkback
        Talkback on April 20, 2017, 4:32 pm

        So hopmi was right. It was a “open and fair” trial by the standards of his beloved Apartheid Junta.

      • Mooser
        Mooser on April 20, 2017, 4:46 pm

        “Hophmi”, Israeli trials of this type are about as definitive as Israel’s borders on a map.

    • chocopie
      chocopie on April 18, 2017, 11:51 am

      The cat’s out of the bag in the rest of the world.

  3. gamal
    gamal on April 17, 2017, 5:56 pm

    “no one cares about him”

    not even an attempt to conceal your depravity, the people you claim a connection to preserved the 23rd psalm you utter fraud, he needs no one, its Marwan.

  4. JosephA
    JosephA on April 17, 2017, 8:25 pm

    The international community allowed the United States to bomb Iraq on the pretext of weapons of mass distraction. Yes, that was an intentional typo. We gave Iraq chemical weapons to fight Iran but they had since destroyed all of them. Hell, the CIA helped to put Saddam Hussein into power. But like all US puppet dictators, once they’re no longer useful to us, we eliminate them. I wonder how long it will be before the international community imposes economic sanctions on Israel and disposes of its rulers? White Christian bigots may think that the Jews control everything, but they are quite wrong. Follow the money of these white American Christian zionists, they are setting up the state of Israel for something terrible. I swear Zionism = Anti-Semitism, no truer statement was ever uttered.

    In the past thousand years or so, the Middle East was the only safe place for Jews, who thrived throughout the region. I have been to Iran and seen the Jewish community there. The Ottoman Empire was also extremely tolerant of Jews, and they lived in far better piece than in European Christian-majority nations.

  5. just
    just on April 18, 2017, 3:48 am

    Not only did the NYT bury this op-ed, but they also kowtowed to greater Israel, the hasbarists, and The Lobby et al:

    “New York Times Amends Marwan Barghouti’s Op-ed Noting Murder, Terror Conviction

    Initial text of the opinion piece referred to the initiator of the hunger strike as a ‘Palestinian leader and parliamentarian’

    … In the editorial published on Sunday, Barghouti, who is serving five life sentences for terrorism and murder in Israel, explained why he and hundreds of other Palestinian prisoners have gone on hunger strike. Barghouti accused Israel of “mass arbitrary arrests and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners.”

    In the piece, Barghouti relayed a number of personal stories about his run-ins with Israeli authorities and the subsequent imprisonments he has endured. He failed to mention the crimes for which he was convicted, claiming that “an Israeli court sentenced me to five life sentences and 40 years in prison in a political show trial that was denounced by international observers.”

    Yesh Atid Chairman Yair Lapid, in an op-ed in the Times of Israel, called the initial omission of Barghouti’s conviction “an intentional deception.” Lapid detailed the terror activities that led to Barghouti’s sentence and accused him of “inventing stories about those who imprison him” while blaming the New York Times because it “didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind.”

    Speaking to Army Radio on Monday, Deputy Minister for Diplomacy Michael Oren called the opinion piece a “journalistic terror attack.” The former ambassador to the U.S. said that Israel should consider action against the New York Times for publishing something “full of lies,” especially if it turns out the paper helped Barghouti smuggle his article out of prison.

    Around 1,200 security prisoners have joined the strike as of Monday. The number is expected to swell to over 2,000 participants.

    The prisoners are demanding improved conditions which deal with phone privileges and visitation policies, as well as the revoking of detention without trial and solitary confinement.

    Tens on thousands of Palestinians throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip marched in support of the striking prisoners on Monday, which also marks Palestinian Prisoners Day.

    Barghouti has since been moved to solitary confinement. The Israel Prison Service said it was trying to break up the hunger strike.”

    read more:

    Shame, shame, shame.

  6. Kay24
    Kay24 on April 18, 2017, 5:54 am

    From the land of the occupiers, a passionate voice, that makes sense. However, I doubt the majority will agree. Israeli talk show host tells it like it is.

  7. hophmi
    hophmi on April 20, 2017, 8:36 am

    The Times did not bury this at all. It was prominently featured on their website, which is how most people read the Times.

    • MHughes976
      MHughes976 on April 20, 2017, 9:31 am

      I agree that Internet publication is real publication. I also noticed, when looking around for information about ‘who cares’ about MB, another Times – LA – with an article by Joshua Mitnick a day or so ago headed ‘Behind bars a famed Palestinian leads his people on hunger strike’. This wording seems apt to me – and I don’t think Mitnick meant ‘famed on Mondoweiss’. The fact of the NYT publication is itself evidence in favour of that choice of words, with the absence from the American print edition an indication not that Americans couldn’t care less about him but that they don’t like him – have been much encouraged to think badly of him. Mitnick mentions that there are Israelis who don’t in fact think of him that badly, though he does not conceal that this is a minority view in Israel. I don’t pretend that MB is a household name in the West, since the whole Palestinian issue is occluded. But MW attention to MB is not just echo-chambering: he is objectively ‘famed’ enough for our interest to be rational.

  8. Ossinev
    Ossinev on April 20, 2017, 1:40 pm

    “he’s a convicted serial killer”

    I knew about the alleged “terrorist ” crimes but I didn`t know about his alleged “serial killer” crimes. Are you saying that he was a sort of Palestinian “Jack the Ripper ” as well ?

    • Talkback
      Talkback on April 20, 2017, 4:40 pm

      Barghouti was accused of doing what the Goverment of Israel does on an almost daily base.

Leave a Reply