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Monday, October 22, 2012

How anti-Israel bias creeps into the mainstream media

The Harvard Crimson had an article on October 16 about how Palestinian Arabs who wanted to take the SATs were cruelly blocked by a heartless Israel:

As countless students around the world took the SAT a week ago, Palestinians from the West Bank could not join their ranks. The October SAT exam was cancelled for students in the West Bank: The Israeli authorities held the exams sent by the College Board for weeks, not releasing the tests to AMIDEAST’s office in Ramallah.

This SAT cancellation has been devastating for high school seniors across the West Bank who were planning to apply to college in the United States—including those from the Ramallah Friends School. As alumni of the school, we are proud of its emphasis on global citizenship. RFS has a rich history in Palestine. It was established in 1869 by American Quakers and has since been certified by the International Baccalaureate Organization in Switzerland. About half of RFS students are Palestinian Muslims and the other half are Palestinian Christians—the latter are descendants of the very first Christian community. We have been nurtured by values of peace, nonviolence, social justice, and equality—principles to which many Palestinian families are deeply committed.

The College Board has announced that it will attempt to schedule a make-up test for those students who were supposed to take the October SAT. AMIDEAST suggested in an email that the tests were held because of an “administrative delay.” According to Michael Madormo, English teacher and Director of the College Preparatory Academy at RFS, “the SAT cancellation has been disheartening since it seems that the Israelis had the exams for weeks and despite efforts by UPS, ETS [Educational Testing Service], and AMIDEAST, the tests were not passed through customs.”

Palestinians have suffered from such profound lack of sovereignty for decades now. This latest SAT episode is merely a symptom of systematic attacks on Palestinian education.
There's lots more hate there.

It would not be such a big deal, but Judi Rudoren of the New York Times linked to it on her Facebook account:


At least she decided to wait until after October 20th to write an anti-Israel article, because the truth is much different than how the Harvard Palestinian Arabs characterized it. From AP:
The US State Department said dozens of Palestinian students whose SAT exams were delayed because of Israeli customs will take the test this Saturday.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Wednesday that about 100 students in the West Bank will sit the exam this weekend.

“I’m happy to say that we have learned that this issue has now been resolved,” Nuland said.

Mahmoud Amara, a Palestinian principal of the Friends School, said the rare two-week delay affected his students’ ability to apply for American universities. He said US officials told them the delay was because the exams arrived during a series of Jewish holidays, when Israeli customs offices were closed.

The SAT college admissions exams are administered in the West Bank by Amideast, an American non-profit.

A Harvard University publication had reported that the non-profit cancelled the exams in the West Bank.
While Rudoren - a reporter - was "waiting" to see what would happen, AP actually reported it - the tests really were delayed for only two weeks, not "cancelled" after Israel sat on it for "weeks" as the Crimson article accused.

Rudoren might have been impressed with the history of the Ramallah Friends School based on the Crimson article, but perhaps she didn't realize that the school apparently teaches that it is OK to lie about Israel. It must be part of those values that the RFS teaches, as a teacher is quoted in the Crimson as well.

Her willingness to believe the Crimson slander and the queue up an article in her head about it without first even making a phone call says a bit about how some journalists' minds work. In this case, another news agency did the work and Rudoren lost out on a sensational anti-Israel piece that was handed to her by Israel haters at Harvard.

(h/t Adam L., Anne)