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A new ‘NY Times’ tactic to downplay Israel’s murderous assault in Gaza: dueling narratives

Media Analysis
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The New York Times is using a new tactic to downplay Israel’s March 31 murderous assault on Gazan demonstrators: dueling narratives. Today’s article can be summarized as: ‘Israel says “X.” Palestinians say “Y.” Who really knows the truth?”’

The article continues to ignore a central fact: Israel killed 15 Palestinians, and injured as many as 1000 more, but not a single Israeli soldier got as much as a scratch.

International law forbids lethal violence unless your own life is in danger, so whatever the Israeli army says it should be presumed guilty of crimes.

The article appears a day after the Times ignored the story entirely, and American cable news channels have also blacked out news from Gaza. The omission in the Times was particularly suspicious because its first story prompted 1013 comments, suggesting the public is interested.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post did publish a new report from Beit Lahia, Gaza, which included several interviews with Palestinian eyewitnesses to Israel’s murderous assault.

The Post also quoted Amit Galutz, a spokesman for B’Tselem, the respected Israeli human rights organization, (B’Tselem is missing in the latest Times article):

These are the predictable outcomes of a manifestly illegal command: Israeli soldiers shooting live ammunition at unarmed Palestinian protesters. What is predictable , too, is that no one — from the snipers on the ground to the top officials whose policies have turned Gaza into a giant prison — is likely to ever be held accountable.

The Times also fails to note that Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu is beleaguered by multiple corruption investigations, and may have wanted to attack Gaza as a distraction. If Donald Trump launched a U.S. assault somewhere to divert from his legal troubles, you can bet the Times would make the connection.

The closest the Times came to criticizing Israel’s attack was in quoting a retired Israeli general, Shlomo Brom, who described it as a “a failure” — not for moral reasons, but because

The Palestinian aim was to raise international consciousness and to put the Palestinian issue back on the international and Israeli agenda. It succeeded.

Contrast Brom with Gideon Levy, the courageous Israeli columnist in Haaretz:

Tanks and sharpshooters against unarmed civilians. That’s called a massacre. There’s no other word for it.  .  . You can’t even call it a war crime because there was no war there.

James North

James North is a Mondoweiss Editor-at-Large, and has reported from Africa, Latin America, and Asia for four decades. He lives in New York City.

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8 Responses

  1. Maximus Decimus Meridius on April 2, 2018, 11:04 am

    I don’t think this is a new tactic at all. Au contraire, it’s pretty much par for the course.

    Pro Israel propagandists know the facts are against them, so they have to turn it into a he said/she said battle of ‘narratives’. Look at the Tamimi case – Palestinians see her as a hero, Israelis see her as a terrorist. Who cares how Israelis ‘see’ her? She’s a kid who got put in prison for delivering the mildest of slaps to an occupation soldier. Could you imagine the Guardian or NYT offering a perspective on how militants might have ‘seen’ Malala? Yet it’s kind of the same thing.

    It’s a variation on the equally cowardly ‘both sides’ narrative, where we’re supposed to see occupier and occupied as the same. One of the most absurd examples I have seen was when, after the last Lebanon war, CNN did a ‘special’ on the environmental damage: on the one side we had massive destruction of infrastructure and the deliberate placing of landmines. On the other we had…. a fewvery minor forest fires. But because there is no way CNN could be seen to say that the damage was entirely one-sided, the ‘both sides’ nonsense had to be put into play.

    • gamal on April 2, 2018, 12:13 pm

      “militants might have ‘seen’ Malala? Yet it’s kind of the same thing”

      Malala was, leaving aside all other issues, the poster Child for the American demanded assault on Swat,

      have you ever seen Malalas mother?

      Have you ever heard the voice of the Taliban, are they ever allowed, in the spirit of free speech to put their case…

      my own feeling MDM is that you are unwise to accept any of the framing of issues offered by the MSM, they are not lying only sometimes, it’s a long con.

      Malala was exploited quite cynically and her attempted assassination was engineered by various actors including the CIA and elements of the Pakistani government, this child in a situation of open warfare was given a script to read that Pakistani government officials, behind their elaborate security would not have made for fear of retaliation.

      America is driving a war between the Pakistani state and parts of their own population, not invaders not colonists, just people who have been up in those hills forever,

      I would like to hear their perspective, wouldn’t you or do already know how they see things? or not think their view is relevant?

      anyway i don’t have any arguments just a sense that westerners have gone blind, crazy horse said little big horn was because we had no ears, what’s going to happen to us without eyes?

  2. on April 2, 2018, 6:20 pm

    Go Washington Post go

    I wonder if any of the NYT contributors read Mondoweiss? any chance you know the answer to this Phil, or contributors? I so hope they read these articles along with the comments on just how crappy a newspaper they are.


  3. JWalters on April 2, 2018, 10:52 pm

    The truth and lies are always “dueling narratives”.

  4. Maghlawatan on April 2, 2018, 11:36 pm

    Gaza is a rights issue. It is also a system issue. The system doesn’t work any more. Israel frames Gaza as a vermin issue . Hence the shooting .
    Israel will keep on shooting but it can’t present its view coherently. Because Gaza is NOT a vermin issue.

    If often wonder if Palestine had been colonised by people of another religion whether there would be a need for the Gaza solution with its exclusion and association with filth, terrorism and unworthiness . Is Gaza linked ultimately to kashrut and the dietary laws in the Zionist mindset ?

  5. JosephA on April 3, 2018, 12:21 am

    The mainstream media that ignores this massacre will eventually be left in the dustbin of history. Eventually.

  6. JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 2:24 am

    RE: “A new ‘NY Times’ tactic to downplay Israel’s murderous assault in Gaza: dueling narratives

    • JLewisDickerson on April 3, 2018, 2:41 am

      P.S. RE: “Tanks and sharpshooters against unarmed civilians. That’s called a massacre. There’s no other word for it. . . You can’t even call it a war crime because there was no war there.” ~ Gideon Levy in Haaretz

      MY COMMENT: I hope Gideon Levy has a very good security detail!

      ■ Security detail
      From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ~
      A security detail, often known as a PSD or PPD (Personal Protection Detail), is a protective team assigned to protect the personal security of an individual or group. PSDs can be made up of military personnel, private security contractors, or law enforcement agents. . .

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