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‘NY Times’ ends its blackout, and recognizes Palestinian citizens are voting in Israel’s election

Media Analysis
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Here’s proof that the New York Times listens to Mondoweiss; the Times today finally ran a long article about how Palestinian citizens of Israel are participating in Monday’s election. This site has regularly hammered the Times for ignoring this story, most recently just 2 days ago. 

First, the good news. Times bureau chief David Halbfinger actually visited several Palestinian communities in Israel, and reported as two candidates from the Joint List, which enjoys overwhelming support among Palestinian citizens of Israel, campaigned there. He wrote about some of the grievances in those areas, which the paper usually ignores. He even quoted Ayman Odeh, the charismatic leader of the Joint List, who has been largely a nonperson in the Times until now. Halbfinger pointed out some of Benjamin Netanyahu’s anti-Arab racism, which the paper usually keeps quiet about. And he mentioned that the Joint List is also successfully appealing to Israeli Jews (although he failed to report that some experts predict the Jewish vote for the Joint List could double, to 70,000).

Now, the Times’ failures. First, the paper inexplicably forgot to explain that Palestinian Israelis are 20 percent of the total population within Israel’s pre-1967 borders. How an editor failed to insert this fact in a 39-paragraph article is a mystery, but the omission leaves the impression that Palestinians are a smaller minority than they actually are. 

Second, Halbfinger calls them “Arabs” throughout the article, never once describing them as “Palestinians.” This is standard Zionist practice, but he would have been less biased if he also referred to them as “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” a use favored by Ayman Odeh and others. 

Halbfinger’s report does give us a tantalizing glimpse of Odeh in action, but now he should follow up with a profile of a man who distinguished Jewish Israeli journalists have called “the first superstar politician from the Arab community.” He might start with Odeh’s brave commitment to nonviolence. For decades, pro-Israel apologists have whined ad nauseum that there is “no Palestinian Martin Luther King” — well, here’s one, so let’s learn more about him.

But the Times report’s biggest failure is that it nowhere explains how electoral apartheid works in Israel. The country is having its third election in less than a year partly because there is so much anti-Arab racism among Jewish Israelis that none of the major Jewish parties will dare ally with the Joint List, even though it is the 3rd-largest political force in the country. The Jewish parties by themselves can’t form a governing coalition, so Israel has to keep voting, even though on paper a “minority” government with Joint List backing could be created. 

Electoral apartheid therefore has another ugly feature; Palestinian voters know that the candidates they vote for will never be able to participate in the government, and that the number of Palestinian Israeli cabinet ministers over the decades has been laughably tiny. There would be indignation if black Americans and Latinos were still kept out of the U.S. government. So why didn’t Halbfinger ask those Palestinian Israeli voters that he finally got around to interviewing how they feel about this injustice? 

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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14 Responses

  1. Misterioso on February 29, 2020, 2:44 pm

    Excellent article. Most informative!!

    • PofTarsus on March 1, 2020, 11:55 pm

      The long history of Israel as a Jewish-supremacist apartheid state is well documented. In their own words:

      “There is no such thing as a Palestinian.”
      —– Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, 1969

      “When we have settled the land, all the Arabs will be able to do about it will be to scurry around like drugged cockroaches in a bottle,”
      —– Rafael Eitan, April 14, 1983. Eitan was an Israeli general, Chief of Staff of the Israeli armed forces, Knesset member, Agriculture and Environment Minister, Deputy Prime Minister (1998-1999).

      “There are those who say we can build inside the settlement blocs, and others who say we may not be able to hold onto the towns outside the blocs. I am here to tell you what the Arabs already know – that the Land of Israel is one settlement bloc.”
      —– Naftali Bennett, Minister of the Economy, 2014. Bennett is now Israel’s Secretary of Defense.

  2. eljay on February 29, 2020, 3:06 pm

    … Halbfinger calls them “Arabs” throughout the article, never once describing them as “Palestinians.” This is standard Zionist practice, but he would have been less biased if he also referred to them as “Palestinian citizens of Israel,” …

    IMO it makes more sense to refer to the 20% of Israelis who are not Jewish as “non-Jewish Israelis”, especially if it helps underscore the point that Israel:
    – is a religion-supremacist “Jewish State” primarily of and for Jewish Israelis and non-Israeli Jews;
    – is not the secular and democratic Israeli state of and for all of its Israeli citizens, immigrants, expats and refugees, equally.

    • echinococcus on February 29, 2020, 10:50 pm

      “Israeli” my ass. They are the occupied slaves, remnants of an invaded, expelled and genocided population. Unlike the invaders and their still illegal offspring, they are the legal owners of the entire country. Of course they should have full rights even under the invaders’ racial dictatorship, but no one can force them to accept to be insulted by the term “Israeli”.

      If you are not even able to understand why calling “Israeli” the Palestinians in the pre-67 occupied lands is a heavy insult to their human dignity, it makes sense that you, like also the declared “liberal” Zionists, pigheadedly continue to defend a “right” of the Zionist invaders to continue squatting in Palestine. Hard to understand why the Propaganda Ministry spends money in stipends to open Zionists when they have the undeclared lib-Zios doing the basic work unpaid.

      • wondering jew on February 29, 2020, 11:37 pm

        Maybe it is lying for the cameras or it is a form of Stockholm syndrome, but many of those who live in Israel call themselves Israeli. Don’t have a precise number as of March 1st 2020, but you here are some numbers from the wiki article: ” According to a 2017 survey by University of Haifa professor Sammy Smooha, 16% of the Arab population prefers the term “Israeli Arab”, while the largest and fastest growing proportion prefers “Palestinian in Israel”, and 17% prefer “Palestinian Arab”, rejecting entirely the identity of “Israeli”.[6]” And here is the source’s link: https://foreignpolicy.com/2019/01/18/palestinian-in-israel/

      • eljay on March 1, 2020, 12:15 am

        || echinococcus on February 29, 2020, 10:50 pm ||

        I previously said I would no longer address your comments, but this one time – after continued baiting – I’ll make an exception: You’re a dick. Plain and simple.

        OK, now I’m back to ignoring you. Because you really are worth ignoring.

      • echinococcus on March 1, 2020, 2:13 am

        Eljay,

        Not once have you provided a logical answer, or any answer, on how come amid all your fiery statements you manage to continually hammer everyone’s brains with the propaganda that the 1947 invasion and ethnic cleansing, and all the pre-1967 occupied territory is legitimate and should be respected. That you sometimes state that you consider the whole Zionist entity illegal is, to use Orwell’s word, doublethink.

        You have been challenged many times on this (the majority of these messages have made it through the censorship and you’ve read them) and never once have we heard anything but infantile argumentum ad hominem. You share the opinion that I am a dick with a few people I know but this opinion is totally irrelevant to the subject.

        So once more: how come you (daily at least) legitimate the Zionist entity while posing as an opponent of Zionism?

      • Mooser on March 1, 2020, 12:52 pm

        “eljay”, have you ever heard of a case where the rapist releases the woman from the basement cell, apologizes, oh so sincerely, presents her with flowers and a wedding band, and they live happily ever after?

      • eljay on March 1, 2020, 1:18 pm

        || Mooser: “eljay”, have you ever heard of a case where the rapist releases the woman from the basement cell, apologizes, oh so sincerely, presents her with flowers and a wedding band, and they live happily ever after? ||

        Hey, Mooser. No, I can’t say that I’ve heard of such a case. But I have heard of cases where a rapist is brought to justice and where countries changed their evil ways. Lord knows Israel’s gotta change.

      • Mooser on March 1, 2020, 2:53 pm

        ” But I have heard of cases where a rapist is brought to justice and where countries changed their evil ways.”

        Which is no more than “Echin” thinks can happen.

      • eljay on March 1, 2020, 3:25 pm

        || Mooser: … Which is no more than “Echin” thinks can happen. ||

        And yet we have very different ideas about how it should happen. Imagine that.

    • Ernie on March 1, 2020, 10:14 pm

      @ eljay
      According to the Israeli Cental Bureau of Statistics (https://www.cbs.gov.il/en/publications/Pages/2019/Population-Statistical-Abstract-of-Israel-2019-No-70.aspx), at the end of 2018, the population of Israel comprised 74.32% ‘Jews’ (including in the West Bank), 20.95% ‘Arabs’, and 4.74% ‘Others’. So the category of ‘non Jewish Israelis’ would comprise not 20%, but nearly 26% of the total population. Palestinian Israelis, or ‘Arabs’, comprise a subset of non Jewish Israelis, numbering 21%.

      • eljay on March 2, 2020, 7:17 am

        || Ernie: @ eljay
        According to the Israeli Cental Bureau of Statistics … the category of ‘non Jewish Israelis’ would comprise not 20%, but nearly 26% of the total population. … ||

        Thank you for correcting the percentage.

  3. Misterioso on March 1, 2020, 9:53 am

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-israel-has-reached-the-bottom-and-now-it-s-too-late-1.8592825

    “In Classic Occupier Fashion, Israel Has Hit Rock Bottom. And Now It’s Too Late”
    By B. Michael, Haaretz, Feb.27/2020

    “Yes, yes, this is exactly how it happens.”

    “But what was the original sin? The Nakba? Not separating religion and state? The lack of a constitution? The terrible mistakes in absorbing immigrants? The different school systems? The pipe dreams about ‘Jewish and democratic’?

    “The corrupt Sinai Campaign of 1956? The corrupting war of 1967? The unnecessary Yom Kippur War of 1973?

    “The occupation? The souls that were poisoned? The urges that were liberated? The Judeoid paganism? The criminal settlements? The disregard of the Zionist ultra-Orthodox monster ever since it was born? The inconceivable (and unavoidable) evil of the military tyranny in the occupied territory to our east?

    “The complete loss of restraint by government? The celebration of corruption? The debauchery by lucre? The creeping weakness of the justice system?

    “But what difference does it make? Really, what difference does it make? After all, by now it’s too late. The exit from the corral is no longer in sight. The path is clear, consistent. Here and there it’s a bit tortuous, but it doesn’t deviate by a single degree from the one we’ve been sentenced to.

    “There were people who warned us. There were people who foresaw what would happen. Theodor Herzl, for instance, who in his rosy nightmares saw an enlightened state where Jews and Arabs battled a chauvinist rabbi who sought to take it over – and defeated him.

    “And Lord Nathaniel Rothschild, who in August 1902 sent a letter to Herzl saying, ‘I tell you very frankly that I should view with horror the establishment of a Jewish Colony … it would be a Ghetto with the prejudices of the Ghetto; it would be a small, petty, Jewish State, orthodox and illiberal, excluding the Gentile and the Christian.’

    “And Lord Edwin Montagu, the only Jewish minister in His Majesty’s Government back then, who in October 1917 sent the British cabinet a memorandum titled ‘The Anti-Semitism of the Present [British] Government.’ The government’s sin, he wrote, was its acceptance of the Balfour Declaration, which was destined to create a synthetic nation in Palestine and thereby provoke waves of anti-Semitism in which people would accuse the Jews of dual loyalty and demand that they all be sent to Palestine. And one could add many more concerned Jews to this list.

    “But what difference does it make? Really, what difference does it make? After all, by now it’s too late.

    “After the 1967 war, there was also a minority that foresaw where the country was heading. Just three months (!) after the war, a dozen members of the Matzpen movement published an open letter in Haaretz, on September 22, 1967, saying, ‘Holding on to the occupied territories will turn us into a nation of murderers and murder victims.’

    “Similar warnings were made by Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz and three men who were current or former ministers at the time – Haim-Moshe Shapira of the National Religious Party, Pinhas Sapir and Yitzhak Ben-Aharon. One could add many more concerned Israelis to the list. But the religious demon that escaped from the cracks in the Western Wall could no longer be stopped.

    “What happened next was classic. Every occupying state has gone down this path – a coarsening of the soul, a loss of good character, burgeoning violence and oppression, an addiction to authority, hatred, evil and lucre.

    “And then, riding on all this, a contemptible man always attains power, a corrupt man devoid of restraint who gathers evil men in his own image around him – people who market hatred and wickedness, who dance on the blood of others, holy priests with the greatness of God in their mouths and bribes in their pockets.

    “And the masses are always drawn to their charm, because hatred is always stronger than enlightenment. And absurd beliefs are always stronger than cold logic. And liberated urges are always more tempting than the restrictions imposed by good character.

    “And that’s how we got here. And from here we can see the darkness at the end of the corral.
    So what will be? What will be? ‘The Holy One, blessed be He, did justice with Israel when He scattered them among the nations,’ it says in the Babylonian Talmud, tractate Pesachim, page 87b. And this, alas, shall be our consolation.”

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