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Israel needs Palestinian violence to shift world opinion — and ‘The New York Times’ helps out!

Media Analysis
on 24 Comments

Once again, the New York Times has turned over its coverage of the ongoing Gaza protests to Hasbara Central, Israel’s propaganda apparatus. Today’s article, on the fifth Friday of the Great March of Return, ran on the print edition’s front page, and should be regarded not as a “report,” but as a prior justification for the full-scale massacre Israel is surely planning as the Gaza marches lead toward the May 15 culmination on Land Day.

The Times article misses the central truth — that Israel is deliberately trying to provoke violence among the Gaza protesters so it can stop losing the war for world public opinion, which is appalled as its snipers have already killed more than 40 of the demonstrators, including another 3 yesterday, and wounded more than 1000.

The view that Israel wants violence is not only held by Palestinians and their supporters. Asaf Ronel is the Israeli world news editor of the distinguished newspaper, Haaretz, and he tweeted yesterday that Israel’s air attacks on Gazan “naval targets,” (buried in the Times story), “can also be an attempt to draw Hamas to fire back rockets.” Ronel went on to note that “Not a single rocket was launched since #GreatReturnMarch started & no Israeli was hurt” — facts missing in the Times.

The Times article nowhere mentions that not a single Israeli, soldier or civilian, has gotten as much as a scratch during the ongoing protests. Instead, the paper today recites the Israeli military’s view: that masses of Gazan protesters “swarmed” toward the border with Israel, that some of them were armed, that they fired at Israeli soldiers, and that some of them nearly breached the fence. Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, an Israeli army spokesman, is given so much space in the article that the Times should have added his name to the byline.

On closer inspection, the article’s claims are suspect. The allegation that some Gazans fired into Israel are vague, based on mysterious, unnamed “witnesses.”

The “fence” that the protesters “breached” turns out not to be on the border at all, but a barbed wire barrier that Israel had placed inside Gazan territory.

Yet again, the Times also failed to contact any human rights organizations. The BBC report quoted Amnesty International’s call for a global arms embargo against Israel, which Amnesty said was “carrying out a murderous assault against the protesters.”

If the Times thinks Amnesty is too risqué, why not at least visit the website for B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group? Their site includes a banner headline repeating its call to Israeli soldiers to stop firing at Gazans.

SOLDIERS, HOLD YOUR FIRE If the heart be not callous: on the unlawful shooting of unarmed demonstrators in Gaza.

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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24 Responses

  1. John O on April 28, 2018, 12:52 pm

    ‘Gazan “naval targets,” ‘

    Gaza has a navy? Who knew?

    • Cazador on April 30, 2018, 12:47 pm

      They do, but they can’t take their ships farther than six nautical miles from Gaza’s shore. Oh! I forgot! Their ships are simple, small fishing boats, with a maximum crew of four, maybe… It all depends on how the Israeli Navy boat crews feel about the said distance on any particular day. Some Palestinians fishermen have been shot at 6 miles from shore. Some have been forced to go back to the 3-mile maximum distance, depending on how the zionist nutàyahoo felt about depriving Gazans from the food of the sea, often rich in proteins, vitamins and omegas…

  2. Donald on April 28, 2018, 1:10 pm

    They published a very good opinion piece by a Palestinian protestor, but maybe that is just a fig leaf— they can say they are being fair and then go back to siding with Israel in the news stories.

    • Misterioso on April 30, 2018, 10:54 am

      @Donald Johnson, et al

      Just received from my Canadian friend:

      “In 2018, we commemorate 70 years of the original Nakba and recognize the ongoing colonization of remaining Palestine in similar pattern of Judaization of the West Bank including East Jerusalem and the total siege and destruction of Gaza.

      “Entitled, the primary purpose is to make it quick and easy to organize and implement a Nakba 70th anniversary public commemoration in your city. It is offered as a complete ‘action kit’ providing the many elements needed to organize and hold a successful event. No longer does each group need to ‘re-invent the wheel’ –

      “, takes a proven action as seen in the highlights video clip and adapt it to your local reality leading to a street performance event in your town or city.

      “Although useful for educational purposes, this site is offered as a public action resource to people and groups across the globe to help them commemorate the Nakba’s 70th anniversary with others in a powerful yet respectful and dignified manner.

      “Using saves valuable time and scarce resources by focusing only on what is needed and providing the materials to organize and implement.

      “It provides powerful words, images and actions which can be taken to public spaces and be noticed by people otherwise ignorant of the occasion or its significance.”

      Nakba70 Highlight video:

  3. Citizen on April 28, 2018, 1:24 pm

    Intereresting that, in the extensive discussions on US tv news channels about “fake news,” nobody mentions the hoary champion of fake news in subject matter: the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

  4. Ossinev on April 28, 2018, 1:25 pm

    If you want the full frontal Goebbels standard Hasbara dump from the most moral spokesman see:

    Now he looks and sounds so native/ so local doesn`t he compared with those barbarian foreign Palestinians who are trying to steal back the land which those European Conricus types stole from them(aka reclaiming their ancient homeland which the nasty Romans purloined from them yawn)

    To understand the I/P conflict all you have to do really is to listen to Conricus or even better his English buddy Micky Rosenfield.

    So nice to get the views of these non Middle Eastern European Conquistadors.

  5. Donald on April 28, 2018, 2:09 pm

    Read the five most popular comments with readers. They are all supportive of Israel. Comment six finally leans the other way. The first five could have been written by the Israeli government.

    It’s nice to think that the good guys are winning with the American public, but I have seen no evidence of that except with a minority.

    • lyn117 on April 28, 2018, 3:04 pm

      They may have been written by the Israeli government, by paid posters, and their popularity may be a product of organized hasbara, even automated or users with multiple identities. I’ve noticed in the last month or so a rise in popularity of pro-Israel comments (I could be wrong, of course).

    • Edward Q on April 30, 2018, 10:22 am

      The NYT readership will self-select for Zionism. The newspaper has a credibility problem with other people. Its readers are like the viewership of FOX news. Do you subscribe to this paper?

  6. eljay on April 28, 2018, 2:55 pm

    Zionists are truly hateful and immoral hypocrites:
    – they believe that Jews are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them; and, therefore,
    – willingly advocate, commit, defend or justify those acts.

  7. JohnSmith on April 28, 2018, 6:42 pm

    When John Oliver on his show “Last Week Tonight” attacked Ayatollah Khameini of Iran last Sunday, I found his report both stupid and disheartening in its espousal of Zionist pieties. He showed a clip of Khameini circa 2015 predicting (optimistically) the fall or downfall within 20 years of the “Zionist regime.” Oliver portrayed this, as far as I could see, in an utterly unthinking way as the most wicked antisemitism / racism / anti-Israelism.

    I don’t know if Khameini or others in Iran espouse actual antisemitism, but this brain-dead equating of antisemitism and anti-Zionism stuck in my craw.

    Here is a series of 12 tweets comprising a letter to John Oliver. I suppose it’s unlikely that he will read them, unlikely that his production team will read them, and even if they do so, it’s still more unlikely that the tweets will have any effect on their thinking.

    1. Dear John Oliver, Your attack on Ayatollah Khameini of Iran was racist.  When he said he looked forward to the fall of a “Zionist regime” in 20 years, he was not attacking Israel as a nation or the Jewish religion.
    2. If he or other leaders have said remarks against Israel as a nation or the Jewish religion, please report on this.  But decrying Zionism is something that everyone who cares about human rights or democracy should do.
    3. Your attack only makes sense if you equate Israel and Judaism as being one and the same, and choose to see Iranians as being incapable of pursuing rational diplomacy or choosing their words carefully.
    4. I do not like the idea of religious rule anywhere, either in Iran or in Israel or in the U.S.
    5. It is doubtful that Israel is majority Jewish.  It certainly is minority Jewish if you count the refugees who were driven from their land at gun- and knifepoint during the Nakba.
    6. And if Israel/the West Bank/Gaza is majority Jewish (by a hair), that majority is an ethnic or racial majority.
    7.  If you realize that some ethnic Jews, in Israel, are not religious Jews, then you should see that only a minority of people there believe that Israel magically belongs–because magicks!–to the Jewish religion.
    8. So how about some real democracy?  Instead of Israel’s toxic, racist, apartheid regime for people treated with utter brutality, utter contempt for their lives and well-being?
    9. If you want to attack this leader, please do so with a better clip with a statement that is actually anti-Israeli, rather than anti-Zionist Israel.
    10. Instead, your coverage of the clip comes across as a breathless press release from Hasbara Central (look it up).
    11. If you want to attack Iranian policies, please do so in the future in a way that does not presuppose that Iranians are lesser beings who do not choose their words carefully.
    12. Jewish people, like other people, have been a great asset to the U.S.  But respecting people in the U.S., or in Israel, should not require anyone to speak admiringly about any “Zionist [racial supremacist] regime.”

    • pabelmont on April 29, 2018, 7:45 am

      Nice, and he won’t read it. Apparently he is either a paid hack or, like others who live within an Israel-centric world, simply knows which side his matzo is schmaltzed on.

      • Mooser on April 29, 2018, 1:56 pm

        “simply knows which side his matzo is schmaltzed on.”

        If the matzoh contains no animal products or meat, it is perfectly acceptable to put butter or margarine on it, and it tastes better.

    • on April 29, 2018, 10:57 am

      I so agree. It’s hard to watch any of these “liberal” shows these days. Oliver does a good job on US domestic policies but a coward or bought propagandist when it comes to foreign policy.

      • echinococcus on April 29, 2018, 12:29 pm

        Is there really a difference between foreign and domestic policy for “liberals”? As long as the politically correct decorum has been satisfied and they are given time to claim more crumbs fallen from the war profits table and to do their handwringing, they always end up with their toes on the imperialist line. The “non-Zionist” liberals, too.

      • Maghlawatan on April 29, 2018, 12:51 pm

        It’s self censorship at this stage. Zionism is like Harvey Weinstein. Nobody dared with him. Until the dam broke. It will be the same for Zionism.

  8. inbound39 on April 29, 2018, 8:10 pm

    The time is drawing near when Zionism will be rejected by the majority globally due to Israel’s despicable behaviour toward Palestinians. Americans will grow tired of their taxpayer dollars arming Israel so it can persecute Palestinians and murder them at will. Time is coming when Americans will want to elect their own President without Pro Israel money deciding for them. The time is also running out for Pro Israel American governance. Senators and Congressmen will seriously regret climbing into bed with Israel. The damage done to America by the special relationship with Israel will take decades to repair and I doubt people with ever forget America allowing and enabling Israel to continue its war crimes and apartheid system. Zionism is an affront to humanity.

    • rafa santisteban on April 30, 2018, 4:28 pm

      That’s pure wishfulness isn’t it? No evidence? The time *will come* when the world will turn on Israel, as say society turned on Harvey Weinstein – dramatically and unexpectedly . But I see no evidence for that happening in the near future., for a decade or more say. It requires a prominent figure or organization with the courage to attack Israel publicly and forcefully – to break Israel’s McCarthyite hold on the media. It also needs to happen at the right time, when momentum can build swiftly.

  9. JustJessetr on April 30, 2018, 11:20 pm

    For a crowd that doesn’t take the New York Times seriously, you all sure take the New York Times pretty seriously year after year after year.

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