- No issue is more sensitive in the US than daring to criticize
Israel. It's the metaphorical "third rail" in American politics,
academia and the major media. Anyone daring to touch it pays dearly as
the few who tried learned. Those in elected office face an onslaught of
attacks and efforts to replace them with more supportive officials. Former
five term Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney felt its sting twice in 2002 and
2006. So did 10 term Congressman Paul Findley (a fierce and courageous
Israeli critic) in 1982 and three term Senator Charles Percy in 1984 whom
AIPAC targeted merely for appearing to support anti-Israeli policy.
- DePaul University Professor Norman Finkelstein has long
been a target as well for his courageous writing and outspokenness. Depaul
formally denied him tenure June 8 even though his students call him "truly
outstanding and among the most impressive" of all university political
science professors. It's why his Department of Political Science endorsed
his tenure bid stating his academic record "exceeds our department's
stated standards for scholarly production (and) department and outside
experts we consulted recognize the intellectual merits of his work."
- It didn't help, and on August 26 got worse. The university
acknowledged "Professor Finkelstein is a prolific scholar and an outstanding
teacher." Yet it issued a brief statement canceling his classes and
placing him on administrative leave "with full pay and benefits for
the 2007-8 academic year (that) relieves professors from their teaching
responsibilities." For now, Finkelstein's long struggle with the university
ended the first day of classes, September 5. Both sides agreed to a settlement,
and a planned day of protests was curtailed. But as Chicago Tribune writer
Ron Grossman put it in his September 6 column headlined "Finkelstein
deal ends DePaul tiff....the underlying struggle between supporters of
Israel and champions (like Finkelstein) of the Palestinians continues,
not just at the North Side campus but across the academic world."
- That struggle is nowhere in sight in the dominant media
that includes major print publications, commercial radio, television and
so-called Public Broadcasting and National Public Radio both of which long
ago abandoned the public trust in service to their corporate and government
- In all parts of the major media, no Israeli criticism
is tolerated on-air or in print, and any reporter, news anchor, pundit
or on-air guest forgetting the (unwritten) rules, won't get a second chance.
Support for Israel is ironclad, absolute, and uncompromising on everything
including its worst crimes of war and against humanity. Open debate is
stifled, and anyone daring to dissent or demur is pilloried, ridiculed,
called anti-semetic, even threatened, ostracized, and finally ignored.
In his seminal work on Middle East affairs, "Fateful Triangle,"
Noam Chomsky put it this way: "....Israel has been granted a unique
immunity from criticism in mainstream journalism and scholarship...."
- Call it the myth of the free press in a nation claiming
to have the freest of all. It's pure fantasy now and in an earlier era,
journalist A.J Liebling said it was only for "those who own(ed) one."
Today, they're giants operating the way Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky
explained in their classic book on the media titled "Manufacturing
Consent." The authors developed their "propaganda model"
to show all news and information passes through a set of "filters."
"Raw material" goes through them, unacceptable parts are suppressed,
and "only the cleansed residue fit to print (and broadcast on-air)"
reaches the public. The New York Times calls it "All The News That's
Fit to Print." By its standard, it means sanitized news only leaving
out the most important parts and what readers want most - the full truth
and nothing else.
- The same goes for the rest of the dominant media that
serve as collective national thought control police gatekeepers "filtering"
everything we read, see and hear. They manipulate our minds and beliefs,
program our thoughts, and effectively destroy the free marketplace of ideas
essential to a healthy democracy. In America, that's nowhere in sight.
- The problem is most acute in reporting on Israel. Criticism
of the Jewish state is stifled in an effort to portray it as a model democracy,
the only one in the region, and surrounded by hostile Palestinians, other
Arab/Muslim extremists and whoever else Israel cites as a threat, real
or contrived. The truth is quite opposite but absent from corporate-controlled
- How "The Newspaper of Record" Reports on Israel
- This article focuses mainly on the media's lead and most
influential voice, The New York Times. It's been around since 1851 when
it quietly debuted saying "....we intend to (publish) every morning
(except Sundays) for an indefinite number of years to come." Today,
it's the pillar of the corporate media and main instrument of fake news
making it the closest thing in the country to an official ministry of information
and propaganda. But here's the Times 1997 Proxy Statement quote media critic
Edward Herman used in his April, 1998 Z Magazine article titled "All
The News Fit to Print (Part I)." Its management then (and now) claimed
The Times to be "an independent newspaper, entirely fearless, free
of ulterior influence and unselfishly devoted to the public welfare."
It leaves one breathless and demands an earlier used quote - "phew."
- No media source anywhere has more clout than the Times,
none manipulates the public mind more effectively, and where it goes, others
follow. It's most visible supporting all things corporate, foreign wars
of aggression, and everything favoring Israel it views one way. That's
the focus below - how the New York Times plays the lead cheerleading role
for Israel even when its actions are unjustifiable, unconscionable and
- Freelance journalist Alison Weir founded "If Americans
Knew" as an "independent research and information-dissemination
institute (to provide) every American (what he or she) needs to know about
Israel/Palestine." That includes "inform(ing) and educat(ing)
the American public on issues of major significance that are unreported,
underreported, or misreported in the American media." Below is an
account of her in-depth study of how the New York Times betrays its readers
by distorting its coverage on Israel.
- It was in her April 24, 2005 article called "New
York Times Distortion Up Close and Personal." It drew on the findings
from her 23-page report, and 40 pages of supportive data, titled "Off
the Charts - Accuracy in Reporting of Israel/Palestine (by) The New York
Times." To be as objective as possible, the study "count(ed)
the deaths reported on both sides of the (Israeli-Palestinian) conflict,
and then compare(d) these to the actual number....that had occurred."
The findings showed a "startling disparity....depending on the ethnicity
of the victim(s)."
- The study covered two periods. The first was from the
September 29, 2000 beginning of the Al-Aqsa Mosque (or second) Intifada
(ignited by Ariel Sharon's provocative visit to the Temple Mount Al-Aqsa
Mosque site) through September 28, 2001. The second ran from January 1,
2004 through December 31, 2004. Deaths counted were only those resulting
from Israeli - Palestinian confrontations.
- The first study showed the New York Times reported 2.8
times the number of Israeli deaths to Palestinian ones when, in fact, three
times more Palestinians were killed than Israelis. In the second one, the
ratio increased to 3.6 adding further distortion to the coverage. Reporting
children's deaths was even more skewed, coming in at a ratio of 6.8 for
Israeli children compared to Palestinian ones and then at 7.3 in the later
study. The latter ratio is particularly startling since 22 times more Palestinian
children were killed, in fact, than Israelis in 2004 according to B'Tselem
- the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Terroritories.
The Times simply ignored them.
- In all its reporting in both periods, the Times distorted
the facts egregiously. It highlighted Israeli deaths by headlining and
repeating them. In contrast, there was silence on most Palestinian ones.
The impression given was that more Jews died than Arabs or at times the
numbers were equal on both sides. Most often, they weren't even close.
- It was startling to learn that Israeli and other human
rights groups documented 82 Palestinian children killed at the Intifada's
outset (most by "gunfire to the head" indicating deliberate targeting)
before a single Israeli child died. The Times willfully ignored this in
its coverage the same way it obsessed last summer over Hamas' capture of
a single Israeli soldier while ignoring around 12,000 Palestinian men,
women and children political detainees held by Israelis illegally. For
the Times, they're non-persons, but everyone in Israel and many outside
it know that soldier's name and still do.
- Weir calls this coverage a "highly disturbing pattern
of bias." She presented her findings ("complete with charts,
spread-sheets, clear sourcing, and extensive additional documentation")
to the Times' Public Editor, Daniel Okrent, in a face-to-face meeting,
but came away disappointed. It was because of a 1762-word column Okrent
wrote in response. It ignored or misrepresented the facts, was unconcerned
that most Times reporters covering Israel/Palestine are Jewish, all live
inside Israel, and the paper claimed it's impossible finding "sufficient
numbers of high quality journalists of Muslim or Arab heritage to work
on this issue." It is when you don't look.
- Yet, it's worth noting what Weir believes was a "personal
confession" in a single line. Okrent may have slipped up saying: "I
don't think any of us (at the Times) can be objective about our own claimed
objectivity." Confession or not, it led to no change in the Times'
- Weir updated her report to include Palestinian children's
deaths in 2004 and 2005 from documented information on the "Remember
These Children" web site. It uses Israeli and other human rights organizations'
sources with these findings through June, 2007:
- -- 118 Israeli children under 18 years years of age killed
compared to 973 Palestinian youths, most shot in the head or chest indicating
deliberate targeting by Israeli soldiers. This information never appears
in Times' reports.
- Instead, The Times "marginalizes Palestinian women
and Palestinian rights" according to a November 17, 2006 Electronic
Intifada (EI) report. Its authors (Patrick O'Connor and Rachel Roberts)
state: "The New York Times pays little attention to human rights in
Israel/Palestine, downplays....violence against Palestinian women and generally
silences (their) voices."
- Since the second Intifada began, B'Tselem, Amnesty International
(AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) published 76 reports documenting Israeli
abuses of Palestinian rights and four others on Palestinian violations
against Israelis or other Palestinians. The Times, however, wrote only
four articles on them all - two on Israeli abuses and two others on what
Palestinians did suggesting both sides shared equal guilt.
- Three other Times articles on the conflict focused on
a Human Rights Watch report criticizing Palestinian suicide bombings, another
HRW one on Israeli actions in Jenin in 2002, and a B'Tselem report on the
Israeli Defense Forces' (IDF) exoneration of soldiers for killing a Palestinian
child. The Times also published one article criticizing Israel's 2006 war
on Lebanon and one other one critical of Hezbollah during that conflict.
It's the Times' idea of fairness and balance, that distorts facts, ignores
truth, and in every instance betrays its readers.
- EI's writers refer to thousands of New York Times articles
on Israel/Palestine since the second Intifada began September 29, 2000.
Yet in them all, it "quoted, cited or paraphrased just 4187 words....from
human rights organizations in 62 articles, snippets (only) averaging just
69 words per article." In the same articles, far more space was given
to Israeli government denials even when clear evidence proved them false.
- Other research shows The New York Times op ed page marginalizes
Palestinian voices and completely shuts out its women who are portrayed
as passive, docile and at the mercy of men. Readers aren't told they "balance
their dual commitment to the national (and feminist) struggle(s)"
by courageously leading the fight against domestic and Israeli violence
in the Occupied Territories. The Times also ignores Amnesty International's
emphasis on the occupation's harmful effects on women in detention centers
and from "military checkpoints, blockades and curfews" even though
they cause sick and pregnant women to die for lack of aid.
- It's part of the same pattern of selective disclosure
and distortion so readers don't know what's happening and are led to believe
victims are the victimizers. Facts are ignored, international law is unmentioned
and reporting "contributes to the dangerous pattern of Western disparagement
of Muslim society," made easy post-9/11.
- EI sums up its article stating "If the Times cared
about human rights in Israel/Palestine, (balanced reporting, and) valued
independent third party perspectives, (it) would have published more than
6256 (total) words....of major human rights organizations (reports) in
its thousands of articles" for the past seven years. Instead, the
impression given is Israeli crimes are marginal, sporadic, inconsequential,
acts of self-defense and not crimes at all. This type reporting sets the
(low) standard for the rest of the dominant media and highlights why few
Americans question their government's full and unconditional support for
- The Times willfully ignores the following type information
B'Tselem posts and updates on its website (www.btselem.org). From September
29, 2000 through August 31, 2007, it documented 4274 Palestinians killed
by Israeli security forces or civilians including 857 children. That compares
to 1024 Israelis killed by Palestinians including 119 children.
- Throughout this period, The Times low-keyed Israeli violence
in its coverage but featured dozens of articles on Palestinian suicide
bombings and other acts of self-defense it portrays as "terrorism"
against innocent Israelis. Left out is what B'Tselem, Palestinian Centre
for Human Rights (PCHR), AI, HRW, ICRC and other human rights organizations
- -- willful violations of the Fourth Geneva Convention's
protections of civilians in times of war and under occupation by a foreign
- -- excessive use of force and abuse; -- policy of collective
punishment and economic strangulation;
- -- growing numbers of expanding illegal settlements;
-- home demolitions; -- random IDF invasions, air and ground attacks; --
many dozens of extrajudicial assassinations; -- administrative detentions
without charge and routine use of torture of thousands of Palestinians
including young children treated like adults;
- -- land expropriation; -- crop destruction; -- policies
of closure, separation, checkpoints, ghettoization and curfews;
- -- denial of the most basic human rights and civil liberties;
- -- an overall Kafkaesque "matrix of control"
designed to extinguish Palestinians' will to resist.
- The Times willful distortion and indifference to Palestinian
suffering highlights its coverage. Like others in the dominant media, it
displays no sense of fairness, accuracy or balance in portraying Palestinians
as militants, gunmen and terrorists - never as oppressed human beings under
occupation struggling for freedom in their own land. In sharp contrast,
Israelis are seen as surrounded, beleaguered, and innocent victims acting
in self-defense. It's sheer fantasy, the facts on the ground prove it,
but Times readers aren't given them.
- They're also not told how Israel discriminates against
Palestinian Arab Israeli citizens. Patrick O'Connor explained in his March
30, 2006 Electronic Intifada article titled "The New York Times Covers
Up Discrimination against Palestinian Citizens of Israel." He noted
the rise to prominence of Israeli Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman and his extremist Yisrael Beiteinu
party. It advocates "transferring a number of Palestinian towns in
Israel to Palestinian Authority (PA) control," thereby revoking the
legalized status of hundreds of thousands of its own citizens. They're
already second class ones and are treated unequally under Israel's Basic
Law that affords rights and benefits to Jews only.
- O'Connor notes the Times plays "a leading role collaborat(ing)
with this strategy." It characterizes all Palestinians as militants,
gunmen and terrorists while suppressing their "experiences under....occupation
(victimized by) Israeli state terrorism, and (the) systemic Israeli discrimination
against Palestinian (citizens) living in Israel...."
- An instance of Times distortion was from a March 21,
2006 article by Dina Kraft. In it, Israel dismissively refers to "Israeli
Arabs" and so does Kraft. They're not called Palestinian Israeli citizens
"to divide and rule, and to cover up the familial, historical and
cultural relationship between Palestinians" inside Israel to those
in the Territories and diaspora. The Times goes along without challenge,
never questioning if a self-declared Jewish state can be democratic without
ensuring equal rights to its non-Jewish minority. Ignored as well is Yisrael
Beiteinu's outlandish proposal to revoke citizenship rights for Arabs inside
Israel because they're not Jews.
- O'Connor stresses how the Times, Kraft and the major
US media collaboratively perpetuate the myth that Israel is "a liberal,
democratic state inexplicably beset by Arab/Muslim terrorism." In
so doing, they suppress the historical record that Israel ethnically cleansed
800,000 Palestinians, killed many thousands of others, and destroyed 531
villages and 11 urban neighborhoods in cities like Tel-Aviv, Haifa and
Jerusalem in its 1948 "War of Independence." They also deny that
Palestinians everywhere have close historical, family and cultural ties,
yet Israel discriminates against them all unfairly.
- In her report, Weir noted what all people of conscience
believe: that "readers of The New York Times (and all Americans) are
entitled to full and accurate reporting on all issues, including the topic
of Israel/Palestine." In her study period, the Times covered it in
"well over 1000 stories," so it's deeply troubling how much critical
information was omitted.
- A 9/11/07 Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR)
Action Alert provides more evidence of NYT cover-up and distortion. It's
titled "Whose Human Rights Matter? NYT on Hezbollah and Israeli attacks
on civilians." FAIR cites two recently released Human Rights Watch
(HRW)investigations of Israel's war against Lebanon in which The New York
Times highlighted "unlawful attacks against Israel" while giving
short shrift to "unlawful attacks committed by Israel." This
is de rigueur at The Times so the FAIR report is no surprise.
- It noted the NYT ran its own 800 word story supportive
of Israel on 8/31/07 titled "Rights Group Accuses Hezbollah of Indiscriminate
Attacks on Civilians in Israel War" accompanied by a photo of "Israeli
civilians at risk from Hezbollah rockets." In sharp contrast, it settled
for a 139 word AP report on Israeli unlawful attacks under its own headline
titled "Israel Criticized Over Lebanon Deaths" with no photo.
Even worse, The Times report on Israeli infractions omitted key information
about the claim that Hezbollah used Lebanese people as human shields. HRW
found no supportive evidence, and its executive director, Kenneth Roth,
said the Israeli government's assertion was false.
- The Times also failed to reflect the dramatic disparity
in civilian deaths on each side. HRW estimated Israel killed about 900
Lebanese civilians out of a total 1200 death toll in the country while
Hezbollah killed 43 Israeli civilians plus about 80 IDF personnel. FAIR's
conclusion: The Times values Israeli lives far more than Lebanese ones.
- FAIR raised an additional point as well from its 12/6/06
Action Alert. It refuted a Times report as false that Israeli attacks on
civilians were legitimate "since Hezbollah fired from civilian areas,
itself a war crime, which made those areas legitimate targets." Again,
standard practice at The Times that values fake news above truth, accuracy,
fairness and balance.
- Weir hoped a public airing of her findings on The Times
would lead to better reporting at the "paper of record." It never
did and just got worse following Hamas' dramatic democratic January, 2006
electoral victory. Afterwards, all outside aid was cut off, Hamas was marginalized
and politically isolated, and Israeli repression got stepped up in an effort
to crush the fledging government by making the Territories "scream."
- It came to a head June 14 following weeks of US-Israeli
orchestrated violence. Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas
declared a "state of emergency" and illegally dismissed Hamas
prime minister Ismail Haniyeh and his national unity government. He appointed
his own US-Israeli vetted replacements days later with The New York Times
in the lead supporting the new quisling coup d'etat government. Noted journalist
and documentary filmmaker John Pilger explains the first casualty of war
is good journalism. It's as true for reporting on Israel, especially on
the pages of "the newspaper of record" that sets the low standard
others then follow.
- That standard excludes discussion of the powerful Israeli
lobby with AIPAC just one part of it. Noted figures like John Mearsheimer
of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of the Harvard Kennedy School
of Government are persona non grata for their heroic work documenting its
powerful influence on US policy toward Israel and the Middle East. Noted
scholar and activist James Petras makes the same compelling case in his
revealing 2006 must-read book titled "The Power of Israel in the United
States." The record of "the newspaper of record" includes
none of their findings and conclusions proving when it comes to truth in
reporting, it's absent from its pages. It's especially pronounced in its
coverage of Israel/Palestine.
- More Evidence of Corporate Media Distortion on Israel-Palestine
- When it comes to shoddy reporting, most notably on Israel/Palestine,
there's plenty of blame to go around. It's found on major US broadcast
and cable channels, most all corporate-owned publications here and abroad,
the BBC, CBC, Deutche Welle, other European broadcasters, and what passes
for so-called public radio and broadcasting in the US. An exception is
Pacifica Radio, the original and only real public radio in the US. Its
provides excellent coverage, especially on KPFA's daily Flashpoints Radio
with the best of it anywhere on-air from its co-hosts, contributors and
top quality guests.
- The opposite is true for so-called National Public Radio's
(NPR), but its public broadcast (PBS)counterpart shares equal guilt. Many
people naively turn to NPR as an acceptable alternative to corporate media
disinformation without realizing it's as corrupted by capital interests
and big government as all the others. Its president, Kevin Klose, is the
former head of US propaganda that includes Voice of America (VOA), Radio
Liberty, Radio Free Europe, Radio Free Asia, Worldnet Television and the
anti-Castro Radio/TV Marti. He's ideal for the same role at National Public
Radio, and it's why he got the job.
- NPR never met a US war of aggression it didn't love,
and it's especially attentive to the interests of its corporate paymasters
like McDonald's (with $225 million of it), Allstate, Merck, Archer Daniels
Midland, and the worst of all worker rights' abusers, Wal-Mart, that NPR
welcomes anyway. In its space, there never is heard a discouraging word
on any of these or most other major US corporate giants.
- Then, there's the issue of fair and balanced reporting
on Israel/Palestine that's absent from NPR programs all the time. The media
watchdog group FAIR exposed it in its study of NPR's coverage of Israeli/Palestinian
violence in the first six months of 2001. Over virtually any period, Palestinian
deaths way outnumber Israeli ones. Yet NPR in the period studied reported
62 Israeli deaths compared to 51 Palestinian ones at a time 77 Israelis
and 148 Palestinians were killed. It meant "there was an 81% likelihood
an Israeli death would be reported on NPR, but only a 34% likelihood"
a Palestinian one would be.
- The findings were similar each way FAIR examined the
data. They showed one-sided pro-Israel reporting the way it is throughout
the dominant media. The result (then and now) is NPR betrays the public
trust. It suppresses real news in favor of the fake kind it prefers. It
violates its claim to be "an internationally acclaimed producer of
noncommercial news, talk and entertainment programming" and its mission
statement pledge "to create a more informed public - one challenged
and invigorated by a deeper understanding and appreciations of events,
ideas and cultures (through) programming that meets the highest standards
of public service in journalism and cultural expression." It's pure
nonsense. On all counts, NPR fails badly.
- The Electronic Intifada web site showed how badly. It
was in a February 19, 2002 article titled "Special Report: NPR's Linda
Gradstein (its Israel correspondent) Takes Cash Payments from Pro-Israel
Groups." Ali Abunimah and Nigel Parry (its co-founders) discovered
Gradstein violated professional journalistic and NPR ethics and policy
by accepting cash honoraria from pro-Israeli organizations in the past
and currently to the date of the article.
- Gradstein is notorious for her pro-Israeli bias and being
paid for it makes it worse. Hillel is one of her paymasters, and in one
instance openly acknowledged it considered Gradstein an Israeli propagandist.
Other Israeli groups apparently do as well as Gradstein openly violated
NPR's stated (but uninforced) policy not to accept these fees. Instead,
she regularly takes them and likely still does.
- The EI writers concluded "for some reason or other,
Gradstein is effectively exempt from NPR's own regulations. These revelations
only broaden existing concerns about the integrity of NPR's Middle East
reporting and honesty of Linda Gradstein....the sad truth is that Linda
Gradstein rarely meets (the minimum) standard(s)" of journalistic
ethics and integrity. This is common practice at NPR and at the rest of
the major media as well.
- The Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in
- The dominant US media have loads of firepower and freely
unleash it supporting Israel. They need no backup help but get it anyway
from CAMERA, a powerful Boston-based pro-Israeli media lobby group. The
organization was founded by Charles Jacobs in 1982 and claims to be "non-partisan....regard(ing)....American
or Israeli political issues (and takes no position) regard(ing)....ultimate
solutions to the Arab-Israeli conflict." It calls itself "a media-monitoring,
research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and
balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East."
- It claims "Inaccurate and distorted accounts of
events in Israel and the Middle East are....found everywhere from college
radio stations to network television, from community newspapers to national
magazines (to the) Internet." They're also in "fashion magazines,
architectural publications, encyclopedias....travel guides, and even dictionaries."
They're "inaccurate (and) skewed (and) may fuel anti-Israel and anti-Jewish
- CAMERA's on guard to fight back with plenty of dues-paying
members to do it - 55,000 well-heeled ones plus "thousands of active
letter writers." They monitor all media and its journalists everywhere
for one purpose - to resolutely support Israel and combat all criticism
it calls "anti-Israel bias." CAMERA tolerates none, not even
modest in tone on issues too minor to matter. They do to CAMERA that views
everything in black and white terms with no gray allowed.
- Muslims are bad because they're Muslims and not Jews.
Jews, on the other hand, are good because they're Jewish. This for CAMERA
is fair and balanced meaning support Israel, right or wrong, and you are.
Dare criticize, you're not, and be targeted full force with all CAMERA's
hard-hitting tools - mass letter-writing, articles, op-eds, monographs,
special reports, full-page ads in major publications, the CAMERA Media
Report critiquing "bias and error," CAMERA on Campus doing the
same thing, CAMERA Fellows training students in pro-Israeli thinking, and
focused attacks on "media bias" and journalists anywhere even
mildly critical of Israel.
- CAMERA is effective because it's unrelenting, focused
and well-funded. It "systematically monitors, documents, reviews and
archives (all) Middle East coverage." Its staffers "contact reporters,
editors, producers and publishers" demanding "distorted or inaccurate
coverage" be retracted and replaced by "factual information to
refute errors." For CAMERA, it means support Israel without compromise
or be hounded until you do.
- Two Examples of Truth in Reporting Banned in the Dominant
Media - First from Bethlehem
- Pacifica's KPFA Flashpoints Radio co-host Nora Barrows
Friedman has become the electronic media's most courageous voice on Israel/Palestine.
An example was her disturbing story from Bethlehem August 21 for Inter
Press Service that was unreported in the dominant media. It's a dramatic
example of sanitizing ugly parts of a story to prettify Israeli actions
or simply ignoring it as in this case.
- Friedman reported the Israeli military has been cutting
and destroying apricot and walnut trees for months to make way for its
scheme in the village of Artas, southeast of Bethlehem. It's a concrete
tunnel (along with the apartheid separation wall) for raw Israeli settlement
sewage (excrement and waste). It's to be dumped on Palestinian land even
though its toxicity will endanger the health and welfare of its residents.
It will destroy crops and poison the land rendering it useless for agriculture.
- Artas villagers have been "active and defiant....over
the last year after unofficial information" about the plan leaked
out. It's still ongoing, nonetheless, as Israeli bulldozers continue uprooting
crops and orchards in preparation for construction to follow. Non-violent
protesters (on their own land) "have been shot at, beaten" arrested
and imprisoned for defying expropriation of their property. Israel frequently
does this throughout the Occupied Territories for the parts it wants. In
this case, it's for land to dump raw untreated toxic sewage waste on from
- It's part of an overall ethnic cleansing scheme to dispossess
Palestinians from their lands, one parcel, one village at a time, every
devious way Israelis can invent to do it. This time, villagers are fighting
back in the Israeli Supreme Court. But based on its past rulings, they
have little hope for justice and no hope the major media will help stop
the abuse by exposing it in its coverage.
- A Second Example: Hamas' "Goals for All of Palestine"
- Mousa Abu Marzook, Hamas political bureau deputy, prepared
an eloquent op-ed piece July 10 titled "Hamas' stand" that got
rare space in the latimes.com but none in the New York Times, NPR or elsewhere
in the dominant media. In it, he explained Hamas' July rescue of BBC journalist
Alan Johnson wasn't done "as some obsequious boon to Western powers.
It was....part of our effort to secure Gaza from (all) lawlessness....
and violence....where journalists, foreigners and guests of the Palestinian
people will be treated with dignity."
- He stressed Hamas never supported attacks on Westerners.
Instead, its struggle "always....focused on the occupier and our legal
resistance to it....supported by the Fourth Geneva Convention." Despite
that right of any occupied people, Israel and Washington falsely accuse
its leaders of ideologies "they know full well we do not follow, such
as the agenda of Al Queda and its adherents."
- Marzook "deplore(d) the current prognosticating
over "Fatah-land (in the West Bank) versus "Hamastan (in Gaza).
In the end, there can be only one Palestinian state," and its people
have every legal right to demand and expect one. He continued saying its
"militant stance" is reasonable in "our fight against the
occupation and the right of Palestinians to have dignity, justice and self-rule."
It's guaranteed all peoples everywhere under the 1948 Universal Declaration
of Human Rights.
- Marzook raised the litmus test issue of Palestinians
having to concede Israel's "putative right to exist as a necessary
precondition to discussing grievances, and to renounce" its 1988 charter
position "born of the intolerable conditions under occupation more
than 20 years ago." A state "may have a right to exist,"
he stated, "but not....at the expense of other states (or more importantly)
at the expense of millions of human individuals and their rights to justice."
- Marzook justifiably asked "Why should anyone concede
Israel's right to exist, when it....never....acknowledged (its) foundational
crimes of murder, ethnic cleansing (and seizure of) our towns and villages,
our farms and orchards, and made us a nation of refugees? Why should any
Palestinian recognize (this) monstrous crime....?" How can Israel
"declare itself explicitly to be a state for the Jews (alone)....in
a land where millions of occupants are Arabs, Muslims and Christians."
- Marzook continued denouncing Israeli hypocrisy referring
back to the writings of its Zionist founders. In them, they made "repeated
calls for the destruction of Palestine's non-Jewish inhabitants" saying:
"We must expel the Arabs and take their places." Israeli policy
today "advocat(es) for the expulsion of Arab citizens from Israel
and the rest of Palestine, envisioning a single Jewish state from the Jordan
(River) to the sea." The international community voices "no clamor....for
Israel to repudiate these words as a necessary precondition for any discourse
whatsoever. The double standard, as always, is" for Palestinians alone.
- Marzook has no trouble "recognizing" Israel's
right to exist. "Israel does exist," he says, "as any Rafah
boy in a hospital bed, with IDF shrapnel in his torso, can tell you."
He referred to a distracting "dance of mutual rejection (while) many
are dying (or live) as prisoners....in refugee camps" and Israeli
- Marzook speaks for all Palestinians saying he "look(s)
forward to the day when Israel can say to me, and millions of other Palestinians:
'Here, here is your family's house by the sea (we took from you in 1948),
here are your lemon trees, the olive grove your father tended: Come home
and be whole again.' Then we can speak of a future together" and can
have one in peace but never under occupation.
- Try finding that commentary in the New York Times or
on NPR. Somehow, it slipped into the latimes.com and maybe in error. Pilger
is right. The first casualty of war is good journalism. It applies as well
to reporting on Israel/Palestine and most other major world and national
issues. Real news and information fall victim to the fake kind in the dominant
media. Thankfully, people are catching on, viable alternatives abound in
print and online, and web sites like this one provide it.
- Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at
- Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and
listen to The Steve Lendman News and Information Hour on TheMicroEffect.com
Saturdays at noon US central time.