Tuesday, February 7th | 16 Shevat 5783

May 30, 2016 7:33 am

In the Case of Gay Gaza Commander Executed for ‘Moral Crimes,’ New York Times Editorialists Are MIA

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avatar by Ira Stoll

Mahmoud Ishtiwi. Photo: Screenshot.

Mahmoud Ishtiwi. Photo: Screenshot.

A brief news article in the New York Times last week reported that Hamas has called for resuming the death penalty in Gaza. According to the report, capital punishment there has “mostly stopped” since 2014, though “an exception was the case of Mahmoud Ishtiwi, a Hamas commander, who was fatally shot in April for ‘moral crimes’ after he was accused of theft and of having sex with another man.”

Good for the Times for reporting on the issue, and for its earlier enterprising page one coverage of the Ishtiwi case. But, one wonders: Where is the follow-up from the Times’ editorial page and columnists?

The appointment of Avigdor Lieberman as Israel’s defense minister generated a lead Times editorial denouncing him, in part, because, he “has proposed instituting the death penalty for convicted terrorists.” The Times also ran two op-ed columns hostile to Mr. Lieberman.

So, in the case of an Israeli official who merely proposes executing terrorists, the Times mounted a full-fledged editorial campaign. In the case of the Palestinian Arab regime in Gaza actually carrying out a death sentence on a suspected homosexual, the Times editorial page fell totally silent. And not merely silent.

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It’s as if the paper’s editorial writers are contorting themselves to avoid mentioning the issue. A recent “editorial observer” column about places where “gay and transgender people are widely stigmatized” singled out Uganda, Jamaica, the Dominican Republic, Gambia, Russia and Nigeria. Bizarrely, the column did not mention Gaza at all.

Likewise, as of this writing at least, there has been no Times editorial denouncing Iran for the 30 college students who, the Times news section reported, were each given a punishment of 99 lashes “for attending a graduation party that included men and women.” This, despite the flood of Times editorials advocating the US-Iran nuclear deal and denouncing Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel for opposing it.

It’s a classically anti-Israel and anti-Jewish double standard. An Israeli Jewish politician merely suggests executing genuinely criminal terrorists, and the Times editorial page whips itself into a frenzy of outrage. Meanwhile, Gazan and Iranian Muslims actually impose the death penalty on someone suspected of being gay — or order an extensive public violent beating of college students for the “crime” of attending a co-ed social event — and the Times editorialists take a pass. It’s pathetic.

More of Ira Stoll’s media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

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