How the media let Israel get away with murder
Israel spends a lot of time talking about secure borders and how the need for them drives its policies regarding the Palestinians. With few exceptions, the media act as willing promoters of this perversion of reality.
Between 11 and 15 January, four young Palestinians — aged 17 to 22 — were shot dead by Israeli occupation forces. The murders took place in the Gaza Strip and at different points along Israel’s wall in the West Bank. In all instances the Israeli army justified the use of lethal force by invoking its need to protect the integrity of the wall and Israel’s borders.
On 11 January, 22-year-old Anwar Mamlouk was reportedly just outside the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza when Israeli soldiers gunned him down.
The next day, Odai al-Darawish, 21, was shot to death at three o’clock in the afternoon while crossing Israel’s wall in the West Bank to get to work in Israel. Initially, Israeli sources claimed the soldiers shot al-Darawish in his legs, in accordance with the “rules of engagement” (“Israeli troops kill Palestinian trying to cross barrier,” The Chicago Tribune, 12 January 2013).
But medical sources quickly revealed that he was hit in the back, indicating that he was likely shot while trying to run to safety (“Israeli forces shoot, kill worker south of Hebron,” Ma’an News Agency, 12 January 2013).
Al-Darawish was from the village of Dura, near Hebron, where in September last year a man attempted to immolate himself in a desperate protest of the dire economic conditions Palestinians face in the occupied West Bank (“Palestinian man attempts to set himself on fire in West Bank village of Dura,” Haaretz, 17 January 2013).
Mustafa Jarad was aged 21 and a farmer from Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. He was shot in the forehead by an Israeli sniper on 14 January while working his land. But despite the Israeli gunman’s skillful marksmanship, Jarad was not killed immediately.
Doctors at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City tried to remove the bullet from his severely injured brain, but Jarad died after surgery (“Mustafa Abu Jarad, murdered in Gaza, by the Israeli army,” International Solidarity Movement, 15 January 2013).
Shooting a schoolboy
Samir had just completed his last exam before school break and had joined a group of boys to protest the wall. Samir’s family has lost five acres of land with 3,000 olive trees due to the construction of Israel’s wall; Samir had also been jailed three times for his participation in demonstrations (“Israeli forces shot youth in the back as he ran away, say Palestinians,” Guardian, 15 January 2013).
English-language reports of these murders have been scant where they exist at all. For example, the press is in disagreement over the circumstances of Anwar Mamlouk’s death. Reuters reported that Anwar’s brother, Hani, stated that Anwar had been studying outdoors when he was shot (“Israeli forces kill Palestinian along border with Gaza: Hamas,” NBCNews, 11 January 2013).
The BBC, however, relayed only the Israeli military’s version of events and reported that Anwar had entered the “forbidden area” along Gaza’s boundary with dozens of other Palestinians (“Gaza: Palestinian farmer killed by Israeli gunfire,” 11 January 2013).
Shifting the blame
The New York Times took the murder of Samir Awad, the fourth in the spate of Israeli willful killing of unarmed Palestinians, as an opportunity to remark on the “growing unrest” in the West Bank, bizarrely shifting culpability for the deaths onto Palestinians (“Israeli forces kill Palestinian at barrier,” 15 January 2013).
It must be noted that when 17-year-old Muhammad al-Salaymeh was slain by a border police officer in Hebron on his birthday in December 2012, The New York Times remained silent.
Reading the New York Times’ coverage of the murder of Palestinians by Israelis is an apt lesson for any aspiring spin-doctor on the language of equivocation.
The paper’s reporter Isabel Kershner pivots the focus of Monday’s murder in Budrus away from Israel’s trigger-happy soldiers operating in a world of endless and unquestioned impunity and onto Palestinians’ “simmering restiveness”; their increased participation in “disturbances” of the “relative stability” that Israel has tried to maintain; and their “dire financial crisis that has prevented the Palestinian Authority … from paying … government workers.”
Notably there is no explanation provided as to why the PA has not been able to pay its tens of thousands of workers, namely that Israel has stolen the Palestinians’ tax and customs duty funds.
Omitting key facts
This is how The New York Times turns the cold-blooded murder of a teenage boy into a deliberately obfuscating story that describes an opaque haze of “tensions” and “growing unrest.”
This exonerating cloud of ambiguity is kept afloat by the newspaper’s methodical omission of facts: not only the facts of the recent murders of Odai al-Darawish, Muhammad al-Salaymeh and Anwar Mamlouk, but those of the countless incursions, demolitions and violence that Israel perpetrates against Palestinians every week (“Weekly report on Israeli human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory,” Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, 10 January 2013).
These are the kind of facts that, if properly reported by the journal of record, would allow readers to know that it is Israel who is the violator of the terms of the country’s own precious “borders.” Proper reportage would give stark and unassailable lie to the notion that it in order to protect these borders, it must shoot and kill innocent men and boys, or women and girls.
Deferring to Israel
The awful truth of what happened this week lies outside stories in which gunned-down youths are identified by their intentions to trespass, and in which the wall is described as designed to keep out “terrorists.” Yet the BBC, The New York Times, Reuters and AP all deferred to Israeli military sources to report on the deaths of four young people. The result is that their readers are told that Israeli soldiers followed the proper protocol to protect Israel’s sovereignty and borders.
With the notable exception of British newspapers the Guardian and The Independent (see “Did Israeli troops deliberately provoke boy, only to shoot him in the back?” 16 January 2013), the media dutifully joined ranks with the State of Israel, grinding out the useful fiction that implicates these dead young Palestinians as menaces to the security and stability supposedly maintained by the chimera of separation.
As for borders, it’s exceedingly likely that the grief-stricken parents of the slain youths would love to see the existence of any kind of boundary on Israel that might protect their children from the presence of a threatening, violent and usurping entity.
*Charlotte Silver is a journalist based in occupied Palestine and San Francisco.
The screenshots prove it: New York Times altered headline to remove words “Israeli-occupied”
Cached image of New York Times story before headline was changed to omit words “Israeli-occupied West Bank.”
A New York Times headline accidentally told the truth today about Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land, before it was ‘fixed.’
The original headline read “Palestinians Set Up Camp in Israeli-Occupied West Bank Territory.” Later, the headline was altered to remove the words “Israeli-occupied.” It now reads “Palestinians Set Up Tents Where Israel Plans Homes.”
The website Newsdiffs.org shows that the original headline was posted at 1:09 PM EST. It was discovered to have been changed at 7:10 PM EST.
A key goal of Israeli propaganda is to eliminate the term “occupied” from media coverage of Israel’s, well, occupation. Many media have adopted terms like “disputed” that grant false legitimacy to Israeli claims to the land which are totally null and void in international law.
The Times article still describes the area as “hotly contested piece of Israeli-occupied West Bank territory known as E1.” And yes, I’ve taken a screenshot in case they decide to change that too.
How the headline appears after the change.
Thanks to Twitter user @JamieSW for spotting.
How The New York Times erases Israel’s crimes
According to The New York Times, there is no siege of Gaza, no occupation of the West Bank, and never was there a Nakba (the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine). Three recent articles erase these key Israeli crimes from the historical record.
In a 13 December 2012 article entitled “Hamas Gains Allure in Gaza, but Money is a Problem,” Steven Erlanger explores the reasons for Gaza’s increasingly debilitating poverty. Never once in this 1,300-word piece does Erlanger even mention the Israeli siege on Gaza or the 2008 and 2012 Israeli bombardments as factors (much less the principal causes).
Instead, Erlanger goes through a long list of regional developments (the weakening of the Assad regime in Syria, sanctions on Iran) and, most emphatically, decisions by Hamas(new taxes and fees), which have supposedly left Palestinians in Gaza not only increasingly impoverished but also more resentful than ever of Hamas. “Gazans recognize that there is more order here,” Erlanger explains, “more construction and less garbage. But many resent the economic burden of financing Hamas and, implicitly, its military.”
So to the extent that the most recent Israeli onslaught is considered at all, it is Hamas’rockets, once again, that are blamed for Gaza’s misfortune. As if to prove his point, a 43-year-old butcher says to Erlanger, “things have steadily declined in Gaza.” Another Gaza resident adds, “it is a life of depression and deprivation.”
Erlanger does include the word “siege” in his analysis, but only amidst a quoted laundry list of problems Palestinians in Gaza now endure: “poverty, mismanagement, siege,unemployment, little freedom of movement,” Mkhaimar Abusada is quoted as saying.
And the siege, among these other conditions, is implicitly attributed not to Israel, but to Hamas: “If it can’t deal with these same issues,” Abusada concludes, “Hamas will find itself in the same position as it was before the war.” While Abusada, a political scientist at Al-Azhar University, certainly knows the origins of these conditions, Erlanger’s placement of his quotation makes it seem that even Abusada blames the siege on Hamas.
Either way, Erlanger does not provide any sense of how totalizing and devastating a ground, air and naval blockade (much less the two recent military assaults) of the densely populated territory actually is. An uninformed reader could easily conclude that the siege is something for which Hamas is responsible, not an imperially-imposed form of collective punishment foisted upon Palestinians by Israel, and not something that is directly responsible for Gaza’s poverty and “little freedom of movement.”
Thus, according to The New York Times, Hamas is responsible for Gaza’s problems; Israel has nothing to do with it.
A Times article about Palestinian refugees in Syria published three days after Erlanger’s Gaza story obscures the reason that Palestinians are refugees in the first place (“A Syrian airstrike kills Palestinian refugees and costs Assad support,” 16 December 2012).
With just eight words, the Times absolves Israel of any responsibility for the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to make way for a Jewish state.
Reporting on the Syrian regime’s recent attack on Yarmouk camp in Damascus, home to thousands of Palestinian refugees, the Times explains that the Palestinians there were “refugees from conflict with Israel and their descendants.” The Nakba, the original sin ofZionism and the State of Israel, is thus smeared into obscurity. It is transformed into something it is not, changed from the wholesale removal of one group of people by another to a conflict between two presumably equal sides, from which a bunch of Palestinians evidently fled.
The newspaper of record does not, of course, go on to explain that while UN Resolution 194 specifically grants the Palestinians in Syria (as well as those in Lebanon, Jordan and elsewhere) the right to return to their homes in what is now Israel, the Israeli government has always — and, at times, violently — denied this right.
An article published the following day, on the so-called E1 land east of Jerusalem in the occupied West Bank, fails to mention that this land and the broader territory of which it is part, is considered by international law to be a Palestinian territory currently under Israeli occupation (Steven Erlanger, “West Bank land, empty but full of meaning,” 17 December).
Reporting on Israel’s recent declaration to build settlements on E1, Erlanger reproduces the oldest Zionist myth in the book: that this is an “empty” land, over which now the “two sides” are struggling: “E1 [is] a largely empty patch of the West Bank,” Erlanger writes. And the “fight” over E1 “speaks to the seemingly insurmountable differences, hostility, and distrust between the Israelis and the Palestinians,” Erlanger informs us.
Thus, the occupied Palestinian West Bank, with all its illegal Israeli settlements, Jewish-only roads, Israeli checkpoints, Israeli military incursions and Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes, is reduced to a territory to which two different groups are laying equally legitimate claim. The closest Erlanger gets to even hinting at the occupation is where he writes toward the end of the article that E1 is “largely state land.”
But this, like the unidentified and unexplained “siege” in Gaza, is far too vague for an uninformed reader to understand which “state” controls this land, under which conditions, and against whose rights, livelihood and sovereignty.
So there you have it: no siege, no Nakba, and no occupation. Such reporting is, at best, delusional. At worst, it is intentionally misleading. In any case, The New York Times serves Israel’s interests by keeping the American public in the dark about the true nature of Israel’s occupation.
It is easy to understand why so many Americans find the situation so apparently confusing when the people who report on it are themselves confused about the very basic historical, geographic and political realities.
*Robert Ross is an Assistant Professor of Global Cultural Studies at Point Park University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His research and teaching focus upon the political-economic geographies of Israel, Palestine, Lebanon and the United States. He is also a member of the Pittsburgh Palestine Solidarity Committee and the Israel-Palestine Mission Network of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
148 professors sign letter objecting to New York Times Nazi ad, but paper refuses to run it
The Times, however, failed to print it. Here is the letter and the full list of signatories:
Faculty letter to The New York Times:
To the Editor:
We are professors who teach in universities across this country. We are appalled at the advertisement by the David Horowitz Freedom Center (Op-Ed page, April 24, 2012) which compares the international movement for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel (BDS) to the Holocaust and ancient blood libels. It also asks that professors who support it be “publicly shamed and condemned.” It grossly distorts the statements of such professors, which are publicly available online and can be verified.
The Horowitz Center’s advertisement seeks to shut down informed debate. Free speech and thought was a crucial right at stake in 1930s Germany and it remains so today. The discussion that took place at the University of Pennsylvania did not use any objectionable language, and included many Jewish participants, including rabbis.
Your readers can hear for themselves what was said at www.PennBDS.org. It is Horowitz who uses the language of hatred and bigotry. Even those of us who do not support BDS are alarmed at your carrying an advertisement that misinforms and names individuals who do not have the money that Horowtiz has to defend themselves through his chosen medium.
We hope you will publish this letter to make this point.
- Ania Loomba, University of Pennsylvania
- Ajay Skaria, University of Minnesota
- Amy Lang, Syracuse University
- Andreas Huyssen, Columbia University
- Anjali Arondekar, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Ann Pellegrini, NYU
- Antonio Feros, University of Pennsylvania
- Boris Gasparov, Columbia University
- Brian Boyd, Columbia University
- Bruce Robbins, Columbia University
- Cesare Cesarino, University of Minnesota
- Charles Bernstein, University of Pennsylvania
- Crystal Bartolovich, Syracuse University
- Daniel Richter, University of Pennsylvania
- David Delgado Shorter, UCLA
- David Eng, University of Pennsylvania
- David Kazanjian University of Pennsylvania
- David Lloyd, University of Southern California
- David Pellow, University of Minnesota
- David Shorter, UCLA
- Elizabeth Bernstein, Columbia University
- Ellen Kennedy, University of Pennsylvania
- Farah Godrej, University of California, Riverside
- Gary Fields, University of California, San Diego
- Gillian Hart, University of California, Berkeley
- Heather Love, University of Pennsylvania
- Homay King, Bryn Mawr College
- Howard Winant, University of California, Santa Barbara
- Indrani Chatterjee, Rutgers University
- James English, University of Pennsylvania
- James Schamus, Columbia University
- Jasbir Puar, Rutgers University
- Jean Howard, Columbia University
- Jean Lave, University of California, Berkeley
- Jennifer Wenzel, University of Michigan
- Jigna Desai, University of Minnesota
- Jim Holstun, SUNY, Buffalo
- Joel Beinin, Stanford University
- Joel Wainwright, Ohio State University
- John Mowitt, University of Minnesota
- Joseph Slaughter, Cornell University
- Josephine Park, University of Pennsylvania
- Josie Saldaña, NYU
- Judith Frank, Amherst College
- Judith Surkis, Columbia University and the Institute for Advanced Study
- Kaja Silverman, University of Pennsylvania
- Katherine Franke, Columbia Law School
- Kathleen A. McHugh, UCLA
- Kathy Peiss, University of Pennsylvania
- Keya Ganguly University of Minnesota
- Lucy San Pablo Burns, UCLA
- Manan Desai, Syracuse University
- Margo Todd, University of Pennsylvania
- Marianne Hirsch, Columbia University
- Mark Levine, University of California, Irvine
- Max Cavitch, University of Pennsylvania
- Mayanthi L. Fernando, University of California, Santa Cruz
- Melissa Sanchez, University of Pennsylvania
- Michael Gamer, University of Pennsylvania
- Michael Rothberg, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
- Michelle Clayton, UCLA
- Najam Haider, Barnard College
- Nancy Bentley , University of Pennsylvania
- Natalie Melas, Cornell University
- Nguyen-vo Thu-huong, UCLA
- Nikhil Pal Singh, NYU
- Page Fortna, Columbia University
- Patricia Morton, University of California, Riverside
- Persis Karim, San Jose State University
- Piya Chatterjee, University of California, Riverside.
- Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University
- Raka Ray , University of California, Berkeley
- Saadia Toor, City University of New York
- Saba Mahmood, University of California, Berkeley
- Sabina Sawhney, Hofstra University
- Sheldon Pollock, Columbia University
- Shelley Feldman, Cornell University
- Shu-mei Shih, UCLA
- Simona Sawhney , University of Minnesota
- Steve Hahn, University of Pennsylvania
- Susan Edmunds, Syracuse University
- Suvir Kaul, University of Pennsylvania
- Taher Herzallah, University of California, Riverside
- Tariq Thachil, Yale University
- Timothy Brennan, University of Minnesota
- Toni Bowers, University of Pennsylvania
- Toorjo Ghose, University of Pennsylvania
- Tsitsi Jaji, University of Pennsylvania
- Vijay Prashad, Trinity College
- Viranjini Munasinghe, Cornell University
- Warren Breckman, University of Pennsylvania
- Zachary Lesser, University of Pennsylvania
- Rei Terada, UC Irvine
- Ravi Palat, Binghamton University
- Irma T. Elo, University of Pennsylvania
- Gregory Mann, Columbia University
- Qadri Ismail, Univerisity of Minnesota
- Nik Heynen, University of Georgia
- Shefali Chandra, Washington University St. Louis
- Jason McGrath, University of Minnesota
- Ismail Poonawala, UCLA
- Zohreh Sullivan, UIUC
- Richard Dienst, Rutgers University
- Charles E. Butterworth, University of Maryland
- Gabriel Piterberg, Professor of History, UCLA
- Jennifer Olmsted, Drew University
- Katherine C. King, University of California at Los Angeles
- Dina Rizk Khoury, George Washington University
- Sondra Hale, Los Angeles (UCLA)
- Caren Kaplan, Professor, UC Davis
- Carole S. Vance, Columbia University
- Karen Brodkin, Professor Emerita, UCLA
- Lee Zimmerman, Hofstra University
- Louise Fortmann, UC Berkeley
- David Klein, California State University, Northridge
- Barrie Thorne, University of California, Berkeley
- Ahlam Muhtaseb, California State University, San Bernardino
- Neil Smith, CUNY
- Carole H. Browner, UCLA
- Kamala Visweswaran, University of Texas
- Guy Pollio, Nassau Community College
- Mona Mehdy, Univ of Texas at Austin
- Snehal Shingavi, University of Texas, Austin
- Tim Corrigan, University of Pennsylvania
- Paul Saint-Amour, University of Pennsylvania
- Michael Goldman, University of Minnesota
- Huma Dar, UC Berkeley
- Zachary Lockman, New York University
- Rebecca L. Stein, Duke University
- Dohra Ahmad, St. John’s University
- Richard Falk, UCSB
- Sondra Hale, UCLA
- Gayatri Gopinath, NYU
- Shane Minkin, Swarthmore College
- Lisa Duggan, NYU
- Hatem Bazian, UC Berkeley
- Jed Esty , University of Pennsylvania
- Christopher L. Chiappari, St. Olaf College
- Aniruddha Das, Columbia University
- Thomas Pepper, University of Minnesota
- Helen Scott, University of Vermont
- Gayatri Chakravoty Spivak, Columbia University
- Lisa Hajjar UCSB
- Stephanie McCurry , University of Pennsylvania
- S. Shankar, University of Hawai’i at Manoa
- Cindi Katz, CUNY.
- Nada Elia, Antioch University – Seattle
- Grace Kao, University of Pennsylvania
Anti-Semitic symbol found inside elevator in Williamsburg building in second incident in nine days
Why does America refuse to admit that others are victim to the same forces of hatred and terrorism that attacked them ten years ago today? Worse yet, why does America continue to hide the fact that it is they who are orchestrating those very forces?
Dear America, your 9/11 is our 24/7.
The Children Lose, Again
by Abby Zimet
A California museum has cancelled an exhibit of art by Palestinian kids in Gaza, reportedly after pressure from pro-Israel groups in the Bay Area. The Museum of Children’s Art in Oakland had been working for months with the Middle East Children’s Alliance on the project, “A Child’s View of Gaza,” set to open in two weeks. Does it really need to be said: Kids shouldn’t have to pay for the appalling cruelty and stupidity of adults. Look at this art.
“The only winners here are those who spend millions of dollars censoring any criticism of Israel and silencing the voices of children who live every day under military siege and occupation.” – Barbara Lubin of MECA.
Also see THIS report
Why does America refuse to admit that others are victim to the same forces of hatred and terrorism that attacked them ten years ago today? Worse yet, why does America continue to hide the fact that it is they who are orchestrating those very forces?
The photos in THIS link speak volumes about that hatred… DON’T click on the link if you are weak at heart, they will make you sick!
Again, why does America refuse to publicise those photos? They represent the reality that Gazans have to live with every day of their lives. For Gazans, every day is 9/11.
Here is Carlos Latuff’s take on 9/11
Calls to Gaza were met with error messages or dial tones, and the blackout seemed to affect multiple platforms including regular landline services as well as mobile access including Israeli services.
A technician at Jawwal, the main mobile provider in the occupied territories, told Ma’an the company was aware of reports that residents were experiencing technical difficulties.
People with subscriptions to international services like Blackberry were able to communicate, but some said reception was spotty and unreliable. Israeli wireless Internet remained online in some places.
Meanwhile, residents of Gaza near the border with Israel said army bulldozers were seen operating shortly before communications went offline. An army spokeswoman denied the account.
Wine Bottles Smashed In Al-Aqsa Compound
Local sources report that a number of Jewish settlers broke into the al-Aqsa compound and began drinking wine and smashing bottles on the floor.
Consumption of alcohol is forbidden in Islam and such acts are considered desecration. The group allegedly broke through a gate near the Western Wall and were protected by Israeli police. Police only intervened to ensure that angry worshippers from the mosque were kept separate from the settlers.
The al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock are considered the third holiest site in Islam. The act of desecration was allegedly a result of calls to celebrate the Shavuot holiday at the site. Tensions have been particularly high in East Jerusalem recently as a result of inflammatory marches on ‘Jerusalem day’ last week and Israeli MK Michael Ben-Ari’s tour of the mosque with a group of settlers on Tuesday.
See apology at end of post….
These are not the days of Kennedy where there were no women to be found in any strategic White House photos. Society has progressed and women now hold major positions the world over, whether some publications like it or not.*
Ultra-Orthodox Hasidic newspaper Der Tzitung is trying to change history by removing US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton from the recent Situation Room photo showing Clinton alongside Obama and the rest of his staff watching the Osama bin Laden raid.
Apparently the paper doesn’t allow publishing of women in any of the pictures as they could be considered “sexually suggestive.” Der Tzitung also removed Director of Counterterrorism Audry Thomason from the now-iconic photo.
History, it seems, is not devoid of women, not matter how good our photoshopping skills are. To try and pretend that women aren’t part of today’s most important historical moments is ridiculous.
These are not the days of Kennedy where there were no women to be found in any strategic White House photos. Society has progressed and women now hold major positions the world over, whether some publications like it or not.
In the past the White House has banned news organizations who have “manipulated” photos.
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life
Reported in Ynet
THIS just off the press…..
U.S. Orthodox newspaper apologizes for altering White House photo
Did Israeli media sideline racist motives in killing of Arab youth in Jerusalem?
Amid the revolutionary cheer that was emanating from Egypt last week, a group of Israeli Jews attacked and killed a Palestinian in the heart of West Jerusalem. 24-year-old Palestinian Hussam Rwidy was killed by a group of nationalist Jewish youth screaming “death to Arabs” as he was walking home from work. The Israeli government quickly put a media blackout on the case fearing a violent reactions from Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank. Once the media blackout was lifted, select Israeli media outlets covered the story as a “drunken brawl turned bad.” According to one Jerusalem resident who helped the victims after the attack, neither of them were drunk.
The Alternative Information Center has posted a video report about the killing and racism in the holy city. Anyone who has visited Jerusalem will recognize the street where the attack took place as ground zero of birthright trips and tourists to the city.
As this piece was posted, Ynet has reported that four young settlers have been arrested in connection with the crime. The story was posted today at 14:44 and is currently only in Hebrew. You can view the story here and I will post any new major developments as they happen.