The New York Times covers phase one of the Trump peace plan, an economic “workshop” in Bahrain next month at which the administration is expected to dangle the money it wants to give Palestinians and states neighboring Israel, so that Palestinians will sacrifice their political demands/rights (among them sovereignty on ’67 borders; return of refugees; shared Jerusalem)– a figure said to be $68 billion.
The article quotes No Palestinians. It does include quotes from Aaron David Miller, Jared Kushner, Robert Satloff, Treasury’s Steve Mnuchin, and Brookings pundit Tamara Cofman Wittes. Five (Jewish) Americans, all five of them strong supporters of Israel. (Mnuchin’s background is here.)
Satloff, Wittes, and Miller are all presented as “critics” of the plan, but they are all Zionist critics of the plan. Just different shades of Zionist.
Why? This is racism in journalism before your eyes. The Times clearly has a structural bias against Palestinians. Even as it demonstrates its higher consciousness in other left zones, the newspaper is stuck in the old paradigm on Israel. How else could a newspaper publish four justifications of the killings of nonviolent protesters inside of a few months, as it did last year re Gaza? This would never happen in any other context when a government opens fire on demonstrators. But the Times columnists offered those justifications, in Shmuel Rosner’s case almost a bloodthirsty one, and there was no balance, let alone criticism from the Roger Cohens, David Brookses, and Michelle Goldbergs of the world. Palestinians simply don’t count as full human actors.
The Palestinian Prime Minister released a statement rejecting the economic summit today. He and his cabinet surely were available yesterday. So was Sam Bahour, who writes that Palestine cannot have an economic future without an independent political future, in which construction workers and university graduates will be able to find employment inside a Palestinian state. Diana Buttu, Saeb Erekat, Hanan Ashrawi (who has been denied a visa to travel to the U.S.), Omar Barghouti, Mustafa Barghouti, Haider Eid surely would have spoken to the Times, too. Palestine is truly teeming with sophisticated political actors on a wide range who would have something to say about the implausibility of economic peace. And if the Times says this was an American politics piece, well, there are Palestinians here, too, who have a lot to say. The bottom line here is obvious and disturbing. Palestinians aren’t equals.