Just imagine the outcry if the New York Times completely ignored the existence of black and Latino voters in its analysis of the U.S. elections. But the paper continues to practice electoral apartheid in its coverage of Israel, which goes to the polls again Monday for the third time in less than a year.
Let’s start with a fact: 20 percent of the population of Israel within the 1967 borders are Arab Palestinians. Yet David Halbfinger’s pre-election survey today finds 6 different Jewish Israelis to quote, but not one single Arab.
He also treats the repeat elections as a kind of joke:
Is this election more ‘Groundhog Day’ or an episode of the ‘Twilight Zone’? A Sartre novel or a Beckett play?
His attempt at wit covers up the ugly truth; Israel continues to have one election after another partly because there is so much anti-Arab racism in the country that none of the major Jewish political parties will dare to form even a tacit alliance with the Joint List, which represents the one-fifth of Israelis of Palestinian background.
Halbfinger’s long report includes only one sentence about the Joint List:
Spirits are comparatively high among Israel’s Arab minority, whose politicians want to improve on the 13 seats in Parliament that their combined slate, the Joint List, won in September.
By not following up this tantalizing observation, Halbfinger is committing journalistic malpractice of a high order.
Once again, you can turn to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz to learn about what the New York Times is concealing. Apparently Palestinian citizens of Israel are not the only people planning to vote for the Joint List. An intriguing Haaretz podcast predicts that the Jewish vote for the Arab coalition could double to 70,000, a “record number,” which could give the group one more parliamentary seat.
You also won’t learn from Halbfinger’s whitewash that the leader of the Joint List, Ayman Odeh, has become what the Haaretz podcasters call “the first superstar politician from the Arab community.” They say he is “super-likable.” Bradley Burston, a veteran Jewish journalist, describes him as “much more Israeli than I ever will be.”
The Haaretz podcasters also use a painful but accurate word to describe Palestinian citizens in Israel’s political system: “pariahs.” Until now, Arab voters know that their candidates will never be able to form part of the government, and the number of Palestinian Arab cabinet ministers over the decades has been laughably tiny. Imagine the indignation if black Americans and Latinos were still kept out of the U.S. government.
And the New York Times continues to ignore Ayman Odeh, even though 1) he leads the 3rd-largest political force in Israel, 2) he is completely committed to nonviolence, and 3) he is impressive and quotable in person, as this site found more than 4 years ago.