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Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Blaming the victims: The New York Times' sick coverage

I had not realized how truly sick the New York Times' coverage of the terror attack was. In the very first paragraph:

The killing of four Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, in the West Bank on Tuesday evening rattled Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the eve of peace talks in Washington and underscored the disruptive role that the issue of Jewish settlements could play in the already fragile negotiations.
The New York Times is agreeing with Hamas - Jews living on their historic homeland are the main evil in the Middle East, and this terror attack highlights the "disruptive role" of their communities.

The terror attack itself is not disruptive. Hell, that's expected. If only those uppity Jews would give in to Hamas' reasonable demands to leave or get slaughtered, then peace would reign.

Also, the New York Times highlights the victims as 'settlers' in the first sentence - not Israelis, not civilians, not travelers. No, the NYT defines them in terms of their pejorative term for proud Jews who exercise their free will and choose to live in a place that has the most spiritual meaning for them.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the “atrocious murder,” which Israeli officials said seemed calculated by Hamas to upset the negotiations, which it virulently opposes. ...

The Palestinian Authority also condemned the attacks.... A Palestinian spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said the attack by Hamas, the authority’s rival, underlined “the need to proceed quickly toward a just and lasting peace agreement,” which he said would “put an end to these acts.”
The article equates Netanyahu's clear and unequivocal condemnation of an utterly immoral act with the PA's formulaic and passionless statement that is entirely meant to soothe Western sensibilities and get useful idiots New York Times reporters to believe them without the least bit of skepticism.

It also quotes, without irony, the completely inane idea that a peace agreement - that Hamas and practically every other Palestinian Arab political and militant group adamantly opposes - would stop terror attacks.

Even before the attack, settlements were looming as a potential deal-breaker in the peace process.
The NYT underscores its sickening point from the first paragraph that this terror attack was a reasonable response to evil settlements. Nowhere does the Times characterize terrorism as an obstacle topeace, only the settlements. In this way, the paper has completely co-opted the false Arab narrative as its own.

Mr. Netanyahu has steadfastly refused to commit to extending a partial moratorium on construction in the West Bank, which expires Sept. 26, while Mr. Abbas has said it will be very hard to keep talking if construction resumes.
Yet the New York Times doesn't bother mentioning that the freeze started last December, and for all that time Abbas refused to negotiate. Instead, it ignores Palestinian Arab intransigence and takes for granted that the temporary freeze must become permanent, forcing tens of thousands of people to not be able to add a bathroom to their houses. Because that's the real obstacle to peace, not execution-style shootings of pregnant women.

A senior Israeli official said that the West Bank attack, the deadliest on Israeli citizens in more than two years, would inevitably heighten the emphasis on Israel’s security in the negotiations. But Palestinian officials noted that the attack took place in an area of the West Bank that is under full Israeli security control, and where the Palestinian security forces have no responsibility and are not allowed to operate.
OK, thought experiment. Let's say that Israel kept up the roadblocks and checkpoints that were there a couple of years ago, and this had prevented the terror attack. Would the Times have praised Israel for its effective defense, or blamed Israel for its stifling checkpoints?

In this case, the "But" indicates that the reporters are more inclined to say that Israel's lack of checkpoints means that Israel is to blame. No matter that the terrorists are, right now, safe inside Palestinian Arab territory.

The victims came from Beit Hagai, a small settlement in the hills south of Hebron, an area known for particularly militant settlers.
Meaning? That Talya Imas deserved to die? Does Hamas distinguish between the "particularly militant" Jews who live in the area and the ones who aren't? This is a very, very sick attempt to justify the attack.

Finally, in a gratuitous paragraph that seems to have no reason to exist except to vilify Israel's right wing, the Times report end with:

The stop-and-go Israeli-Palestinian peace process has often taken place in the shadow of bloody attacks. Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who led the Oslo peace process in the early and mid-1990s, said his philosophy was “to fight terror as if there were no negotiations and conduct the negotiations as if there was no terror.” Mr. Rabin was assassinated by an Israeli right-wing extremist in 1995.
The New York Times is saying, pretty clearly, that the only people who must be stopped are Israeli right-wingers. Hamas terror isn't even an issue or an impediment to peace - it's a mere symptom of the awful conditions placed on Palestinian Arabs by Israel's right wing.

This article is, frankly, Palestinian Arab propaganda. It exactly mirrors Palestinian Arab talking points and does not even imply that terrorism (or Israel's concomitant desire for security) is an issue at all. On the heels of the NYT giving a platform to a person who glorifies the "intifada," it shows how the Newspaper of Record has become a simple mouthpiece for Palestinian Arabs whose only problem with terror attacks is that they cause bad PR.

UPDATE: More NYT bias