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‘NYT’ publishes Netanyahu’s ‘terror’ smear against Palestinian pols and doesn’t seek their response

Media Analysis
on 8 Comments

Two articles in today’s New York Times show that the paper is belatedly waking up about Palestinian citizens of Israel and their growing role in Israeli elections, but the Times still has a long ways to go before it tells the full truth.

Patrick Kingsley’s report does focus on the Joint List, the coalition of “Arab-led” political parties that increased their strength to 15 seats in the next Israeli Parliament, making it once again the third-largest force in the country. He actually quotes four Palestinian citizens of Israel, who are usually non-persons in the Times, (although he relies for ‘expert analysis’ on Louis Fishman, a professor at Brooklyn College). He also mentions the Joint List’s leader, Ayman Odeh, describing him as “a charismatic lawyer” who possesses “eloquence and approachability.”

Odeh may be ’approachable,’ but the Times still can’t find his phone number to schedule a profile.

The Times’s unfamiliarity with Palestinian citizens may explain a serious error in Kingsley’s article in the print edition; “about two in five Israelis are of Arab ethnicity.” (Someone at the Times must have woken up, because a correction appended to the online version notes that the correct percentage is one in five).

There is worse. Both Kingsley and David Halbfinger, in an adjoining article on the ongoing post-election maneuvering, repeat charges by Benjamin Netanyahu and others that the Joint List includes “supporters of terrorists” and “terror supporters.” But no one on the Joint List gets the chance to respond. Ayman Odeh in particular is a passionate advocate of nonviolence, but you won’t learn that in the Times. 

Once again, Halbfinger whitewashes a major reason that Israel has had 3 elections in less than a year and may now need a fourth: the Jewish political parties are too afraid of racism among Jewish Israelis to risk a governing pact with the Joint List, even a tacit one. Telling one out of every five Israelis that the people you vote for will never form part of the government is electoral apartheid, pure and simple. 

Let’s look quickly at how the Guardian, which occupies roughly the same ideological space in Britain as the Times does here, covered the same story. Right in the third paragraph, Guardian reporter Oliver Holmes says the Arab Israeli parties were “boosted by a backlash to racist campaigning by Benjamin Netanyahu.” No quotation marks around “racist.” So far, you won’t read anything that direct — and accurate — in the New York Times.

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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8 Responses

  1. Misterioso on March 5, 2020, 2:59 pm

    Thank you Mondoweiss for another excellent article!!

    If I should hear someone again refer to “Israel” as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East,’ I’ll scream in outrage and do my best to set him or her straight!! “Israel” is in fact the very antithesis of a democracy.

    • JWalters on March 7, 2020, 7:43 pm

      And of course the NYT makes no mention of Netanyahu being a terrorist. Another major omission.

  2. jw500 on March 6, 2020, 3:38 pm

    The problem is not really racism, although there might be some of that just as there is severe anti-Jewish “racism” or anti-Semitism in the Muslim world. The problem is loyalty. In the United States we have blacks and Hispanics in both parties. We don’t really have a “black party,” and especially not one that rejects the creation of the United States or favors a “black homeland” in the United States. Most of the Joint List members are at best separatists and at worse want to destroy Israel and replace it with a Muslim Arab states. Whether by violent means or not, the result would be the same.

    So, the Israeli Arabs need to revisit their approach to politics. I don’t see how an anti-Zionist party can expect to receive any support from the mainstream in Israel just like in any other country a political party that is against the fundamental premise of the State would be rejected.

    • eljay on March 6, 2020, 6:16 pm

      || jw500: The problem is not really racism … ||

      I agree. The problem is supremacism. Zionists believe that the religion-based identity of Jewish grants to those who choose to embrace it the “right” to be supremacists, to have as large as possible a supremacist state and to do “necessary evil” unto others.

      || … the Israeli Arabs need to revisit their approach to politics. I don’t see how an anti-Zionist party can expect to receive any support from the mainstream in Israel … ||

      I agree that non-Jewish Israelis shouldn’t be anti-Israel. But as you clearly point out – and I do thank you very much for that (unintended?) bit of clarity – they’re anti-Zionist, which means the real problem lies with Jewish / “Jewish State” supremacism and supremacists.

      Make Israel the secular and democratic state of and for all the people living in or up to n-generations removed from Israel – with all of the equality, respect for human rights and accountability that that entails – and I guarantee you that you won’t see any more anti-Zionism in Israel.

      • JWalters on March 7, 2020, 7:45 pm

        Indeed. Zionism teaches the exact opposite of the Golden Rule. Good Samaritans need not apply.

  3. jon s on March 7, 2020, 7:57 am

    It’s worth noting that the Joint List is committed to the 2 state solution, still the only possible and practical way to peace.

    • eljay on March 7, 2020, 9:19 am

      || jon s: It’s worth noting that the Joint List is committed to the 2 state solution, still the only possible and practical way to peace. ||

      It’s worth noting that when you say peace you actually mean a Zionist “peace” that:
      – allows Israel to remain a religion-supremacist “Jewish State”;
      – allows Israel to keep as much as possible of what it has stolen, occupied and colonized;
      – absolves Israel of its obligations under international law; and
      – absolves Israel of responsibility and accountability for past and on-going (war) crimes.

      What you don’t mean and what you don’t want but what should be strived for is peace based on justice, accountability and equality.

    • Mooser on March 7, 2020, 1:04 pm

      “It’s worth noting that the Joint List is committed to the 2 state solution, still the only possible and practical way to peace.”

      You are right, “Jon s”. You have hit on one of the basic reasons the Joint List cannot be allowed into Israeli government.

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