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Another ‘NY Times’ biased report — this one about Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in Jerusalem

Media Analysis
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The New York Times had to report Israel’s shocking demolition yesterday of Palestinian apartment blocks in Jerusalem; the story was too big to ignore. But the paper’s Isabel Kershner cleverly tried to present Israel’s brutal action in the best possible way, while muffling the voices of the victims.

Contrasting the Times’s coverage with other reports, including an excellent article by Mondoweiss’s Yumna Patel, reveals just how biased Kershner’s effort is.

Isabel Kershner (Photo: New York Times)

Isabel Kershner (Photo: New York Times)

Kershner’s slant starts right in the second paragraph, with a long quote from an Israeli minister ominously warning that the “mostly uninhabited buildings” were “a severe security threat and can provide cover to suicide bombers and other terrorists. . .” Kershner’s insinuation is clear; Israel reluctantly had to tear down the apartments to protect itself. She nowhere explains that suicide bombings stopped more than a decade ago, and many reports have shown that the so-called separation wall does not stop Palestinians from crossing into pre-1967 Israel if they want to.

But Kershner’s most impressive effort at whitewash comes immediately, in the 4th paragraph. Here is her tortured sentence:

The decision to proceed with the demolition underscored the legal complexities and human difficulties caused by the absence of internationally recognized boundaries and competing authorities.

This sentence is a masterpiece of deceit. Here is what Kershner should have said: “Israel illegally occupies West Bank Palestine and refuses to negotiate borders. Even though the Palestinian Authority is supposed to be in charge of the area where Israel demolished the apartment buildings, and even granted building permits there, Israel simply overrode the P.A. and tore them down.”

Kershner’s euphemism about “human difficulties” is also repulsive. Her article continues, “By late afternoon, the police were still barring entry to the neighborhood to all nonresidents, including reporters.”

So Kershner just gave up trying to talk to eyewitnesses, confining herself to quoting a couple of Palestinians who were outside the police perimeter. Contrast that with our own Yumna Patel, whose lengthy report includes comment from the Palestinian activist Hamada Hamada: “‘The soldiers were really aggressive, pushing and shoving people, firing tear gas at us, and even beating some people with the butts of their rifles.’”

Two outstanding reporters from the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, Amira Hass and Jack Khoury, also managed to speak to the actual Palestinian victims:

“I built this house stone by stone. It was my dream to live in this house. Now I am losing everything,” said Fadi al-Wahash, 37, his voice breaking as a bulldozer destroyed his unfinished three-floor house.

Hass and Khoury reported that Israel sent 700 police and 200 soldiers to destroy the homes — figures nowhere reported in the Times. The photo accompanying Kershner’s article also left out this massive assault, portraying only a bulldozer in the distance and a couple of blurry army vehicles in the foreground. 

There are other documented reports that Israeli soldiers celebrated and cheered as they blew up the Palestinian homes — a fact also unmentioned in the Times.

The Haaretz article hinted at the real reason for the demolitions. There was no mention of stopping “suicide bombers.” Instead, Hass and Khoury quoted a left-wing Israeli activist who charged that the demolitions were part of Israel’s “demographic war” against East Jerusalem, the ongoing effort to squeeze Palestinians out of the city entirely. 

Even the Washington Post did a better job covering the story. Ruth Eglash’s lead sentence was “Israel drew sharp international rebuke Monday after its forces began demolishing residential buildings in a neighborhood of East Jerusalem. . .”

By contrast, Kershner’s whitewash nearly ignored the international protest, implying that the main objections came only from Palestinians. 

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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16 Responses

  1. Sulphurdunn on July 23, 2019, 11:27 am

    Apparently, no matter what, Israelis are always victims trying just to defend themselves. Palestinians are always, no matter what, terrorists trying to harm them.

    • Kay24 on July 23, 2019, 1:23 pm

      The unfortunate situation is that American leaders know this, and know what the aid we send Israel does to the Palestinians, and know that they are indeed the victims of Israel’s aggression, but they prefer to act naive, and goes along with Israel’s fake cries of victim.

      • Misterioso on July 24, 2019, 10:37 am


        “Israel’s Choice for U.S. President” American Free Press, July 18/19, by Philip Giraldi

        “In late June, President Donald Trump flailed away with his own particular brand of non-diplomacy at the G20 Summit in Japan, but it is worthwhile noting on the plus side that his administration is so inept that it could not even plan and execute a proper coup in Venezuela. Nor has it been able to concoct sufficient lies about Iran effective enough to create a casus belli and unleash the B-52s. There is a certain comfort in knowing that the United States is now governed by the Three Stooges—’Larry’ Trump, ‘Moe’ Pompeo, and ‘Curly’ Bolton—which means that starting new wars might just be beyond their cognitive ability to make mischief.

        “The real irony is that stupidity is both bipartisan and contagious in the federal government. The Democrats have not quite figured out that instead of playing identity politics, talking about reparations, gay rights, ‘undocumented migrants,’ and free college, they should instead be discussing more important issues, notably the impending nuclear holocaust being stumbled into by the Trumpsters, which just might bring to an end life on this planet as we know it.

        “A college friend recently asked me what my nightmare scenario for a totally dysfunctional foreign and national security policy might be. I responded without thinking that it really is all about war and peace, that the worst case would be the impeachment of a bumbling Trump and his replacement by a much more capable and vicious Vice President Mike Pence, who actually wants to end the world so he can be raptured up to heaven.

        “But my answer was wrong. Trump is unlikely to be impeached by a Senate in which the GOP holds a majority, so Pence’s ascent to the throne is not currently plausible unless the president suffers a cardiac arrest after ingesting too many cheeseburgers. The real danger is what comes after Trump, in 2024. The preferred candidate by Israel and its lobby, and therefore the prohibitive favorite, is Trump’s former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley. If you think Trump is blindly and blatantly pro-Israel at the expense of American interests, just wait until you see Haley’s naked self-interest at work.

        “‘Haley resigned from her position at the UN last October. Like many others in the foreign policy establishment, she was all for Israel because she understood that leaning that way provided instant access to money and plenty of positive press coverage. Completely ignorant of possible consequences, she declared that Washington was ‘locked and loaded,’ prepared to exercise lethal military options against Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies, seen as enemies by Israel. Immediately upon taking office at the United Nations she complained that ‘nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel’ and vowed that the ‘days of Israel bashing are over.’ Not surprisingly, she was greeted by rounds of applause and cheering when she spoke at the annual meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) last March, saying, ‘When I come to AIPAC I am with friends.’

        “Haley’s embrace of Israeli points of view was unrelenting, including blocking any investigation of the Israeli army’s slaughter of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators in Gaza. She also led the effort to cut funds going to the agency providing critical food and medical assistance to millions of Palestinian refugees. In February 2017, she blocked the appointment of former Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad to a diplomatic position at the United Nations because he was a Palestinian. In a congressional hearing she was asked about the decision: ‘Is it this administration’s position that support for Israel and support for the appointment of a well-qualified individual of Palestinian nationality to an appointment at the UN are mutually exclusive?’ Haley responded yes, that the administration is ‘supporting Israel’ by blocking every Palestinian.

        “Not surprisingly, Haley consistently took a hard line against Iran, aggressively supporting Trump’s abrogation of the agreement to control its nuclear weapons, and she famously warned that Washington would be ‘taking names’ of countries that don’t support its agenda in the Middle East. If Haley were a recruited agent of influence for the Israeli Mossad she could not have been more cooperative than she apparently was voluntarily.

        “When Haley resigned, The New York Times predictably produced an astonishing editorial headlined ‘Nikki Haley Will Be Missed.’ Other praise of her upon her impending departure from the UN was related to whom exactly she managed to please while she was in office. The ubiquitous neocon-in-chief Bill Kristol has long been promoting Haley for president. One leading member of Kristol’s neocon chorus, Mark Dubowitz of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, tweeted, ‘Thank you @nikkihaley for your remarkable service. We look forward to welcoming you back to public service as president of the United States.’ Dubowitz is a Canadian Jew, and it would be nice if he could be deported to a remote Internet-free spot on Baffin Island where he can cease interfering in American politics, but that would mean putting an end to the $560,000 in salary and benefits that he enjoys for being one of Israel’s most reliable Fifth Column traitors in the United States.

        “Nikki was also praised by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. ‘I would like to thank Ambassador @nikkihaley, who led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country. Best of luck!’ The Israeli Army itself had nice things to say, tweeting, ‘Thank you @nikkihaley for your service in the @UN and unwavering support for Israel and the truth. The soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces salute you!’

        “It should surprise no one that Haley has recently been in Israel as the guest of the GOP’s leading donors, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson. Ha’aretz enthused over how she ‘. . . has a wonderful laugh. It’s warm, rounded, and the perfect length to fill the distance between you and her. Haley’s chuckle makes you feel for a moment that you genuinely amuse her, in a good way, so much so that you forget that the laugh came instead of the question you just asked her. When she runs for president, as she no doubt will one day, expect her to deploy that laugh a lot. It’s a valuable political tool. My question at which Haley laughed was ‘does the path to the White House pass through Jerusalem?’ She was in town as the guest of honor at the Israel Hayom Forum for U.S.-Israel Relations, and though I didn’t get an answer, Haley’s willingness to endure the five hours of the ‘forum’ reflected, if not the durability of U.S.-Israel relations, then certainly her relentlessness and professionalism as a politician. . . . Everything about Haley throughout the grueling evening, at least when on public display, showed her meticulous planning and determination, starting with her attire. Her long—and long-sleeved— dress on a sweltering Jerusalem summer evening contrasted with the much shorter dresses all around and drew approval from ultra-Orthodox men. ‘Wow, she really understands tzniess,’ one of them whispered to me, using the Yiddish word for modesty.’

        “So, Israel is just waiting for President Nikki to arrive and the line about the ‘path to the White House’ running through Jerusalem is the kind of double entendre banter that close friends regularly exchange when discussing something that they know to be true.

        “It seems inevitable that we Americans go from one lover of Israel to another at the White House due largely to the impact of the narrative contrived through Zionist manipulation of the media and the direct corruption of the government itself by Jewish money. But even by that low standard, Haley is something else. She is a true believer with a fanatical gleam in her eye, just like Pence and Pompeo are in their dispensationalism, and that is very, very scary. Having her at the helm should be anyone’s worst foreign policy nightmare.”

  2. Kay24 on July 23, 2019, 11:39 am

    At this point, it looks like the New York Times is full of pro Israeli agents. I suppose the label “zionist media” can apply to the NYT, and it seems highly appropriate. You have to wonder how they sleep at night. Children are thrown in jail, killed brutally, homes demolished, and the victims of the zionist occupation, have suffered for decades, yet their loyal servants who pose as journalists, keep reporting these crimes favoring the zionist criminals. Disgusting human beings.

  3. Citizen on July 23, 2019, 4:19 pm

    They sleep well. They like their jobs, and love the life style they have, very comfy.

  4. Talkback on July 23, 2019, 6:12 pm

    The NYT continues to prove its incompetence.

    The article claims that “United Nations officials had appealed to Israel to call off the demolition, which Palestinian officials condemned as a “war crime” and “ethnic cleansing.” allthough the UN has issued a statement that

    “the move was “not compatible” with Israel’s “obligations under international humanitarian law” … “it results in forced evictions, and contributes to the risk of forcible transfer facing many Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem”.”

    • Talkback on July 23, 2019, 6:59 pm


      More examples of NYT incompetence:

      “Israel conquered East Jerusalem” instead of “Israel occupied East Jerusalem”
      “seizing those territories from Jordan” is legally and historically incorrect because it’s Palestinian territory and its status has never changed
      “It then annexed East Jerusalem in a move that was never internationally recognized.” is deceiving, because it illegally annexed East Jerusalem and this was condemned by the UN’s Securty Council which declared it “null and void”.
      “and Palestinians have long described it as a land grab.” The wall was build on confiscated land and according to the International Court of Justice compensations have to be paid. That’s a fact and not a Palestinian description.

      It’s quite telling that the NYT always wants to frame something as a Palestinian position, when in fact it’s the UN’s.

      This is just blatant journalistic incompetence.

  5. Ossinev on July 24, 2019, 1:27 pm

    Nikki Haley is a daughter of Punjabi parents who emigrated to the US in 1969. No dooubt she found Sahib Deranged Donald`s recent racist tweets truly inspiriational as she has spent the last few years moisturising his posterior.

    I agree that she has the credentials to become President – not least beacuse of her blind support for Zioland and the Benjamins which would flood her way if she entered the race from the Zio Fifth Columnists in the US such as the odious Adelsons. She is also a pro active racist in her expressed attitude towards the Palestinians.

    What would be very interesting would be to see her run against DD on the Republican ticket.
    No doubt in those circumstances he would do one his volte faces and lead the chants of “send her back”.

  6. DaBakr on July 25, 2019, 1:50 am

    MW has nothing better to do then gripe about this and that “bias” in the NYT knowing full well that many zionists find equal and opposite bias in the times just as often. As somebody must have said, ‘if they are pissing everybody off they must be doing at least some things right.’

    • oldgeezer on July 25, 2019, 12:21 pm


      Yeah but the difference is that zionists are upset when the NYT actually tells the truth on those rare occassions when something slips by the propaganda department.

      • DaBakr on July 26, 2019, 1:39 am


        oh thanks. truly appreciate your totally non biased opinion on what the truth is to you. that really clears things up. your side is ‘the truth’ and the other side is ‘all lies’. so circumspect for an og. but the juvenile usage of a disparaging spelling of my name is ill suited to a mature person. but if it makes you feel better, I can take it. I share a basically identical name to the socalled leader of the IS caliphate (minus the from Bagdad part)by some translations so “doh” is not so bad.

      • oldgeezer on July 26, 2019, 9:52 am


        That’s cool. It’s a good thing that you share that name. The similarities between ISIS and zionism both in policy and practice are numerous. Both attempt to eradicate or eliminate anything that they deem not part of their culture. Whether it be destroying towns and villages, religious buildings. Amazing how rare it is to find the culprits that torch religious buildings. You would think Israeli police are incompetent.

      • DaBakr on July 27, 2019, 1:34 am


        Yup. Israel is just spreading out further and further imposing strict obediance to orthodox law,discouraging music, women from parading around in sexy bikinis, usury, capitalism, democracy, civil rights, gay rights, supreme court decisions, elections, and finally, I forgot, Israel is spreading head chopping of infidels as acceptable part of Jewish religion. How many IS start ups were there again? Israel is just evil incarnate. The rest of the world can’t hold a candle to the level of evil. Don’t text on your evil cell phone

      • oldgeezer on July 27, 2019, 10:58 am

        LOL dohbaker

        It must be laundry day in your house. It always amuses me when I encounter someone who thinks Israel should be judged by positives it may have produced (frequently the claims are just false to begin with) and not by it’s extreme crimes against humanity. And yes Israel is spreading out. Undeniably. Yes it uses massive amounts of terrorism and murder of innocents to further it’s objectives.

        No doubt were they your clients you’d be extolling the virtues of Ted Bundy or John Wayne Gacy. Yes it is evil.

        Your judicial system is a farce. And your comment on texting is just laughable.

      • Talkback on July 27, 2019, 5:22 pm

        DaBakr: “Don’t text on your evil cell phone.”

        Imagine someone scolds Germany for the Holocaust and then gets a response in which all of its inventions and economic sucesses is listed (and of course animal rights during Nazi times when Jews were still slaughter animals in accordance with religious rites) and the message: “Don’t use modern print then. Stop singling out Germanym that’s racism. Antinazism is hatred against Germans!”

        Wouldn’t you find that pathetic and ludicrous?

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