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September 16, 2015 3:33 pm

Watchdog Accuses New York Times of Acting as ‘Apologist’ for Palestinian Rock-Throwing

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HonestReporting says The New York Times omitted important facts from its headline about the attack that killed an Israeli on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Photo: HonestReporting/Facebook.

Watchdog HonestReporting slammed The New York Times for omitting important facts from its headline about the attack that killed an Israeli on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Photo: HonestReporting/Facebook.

Media watchdog HonestReporting accused The New York Times on Wednesday of showing sympathy to stone-throwing Palestinians, after the publication reported on an incident in which an Israeli was killed when his car was pelted by rocks on Rosh Hashanah eve.

The New York Times headlined the article: “Jewish Man Dies as Rocks Pelt His Car in West Bank.”

The victim, Alexander Levlovich, 64, was on his way home from a holiday meal when he lost control of his vehicle after it was hit by rocks thrown by Arab youths, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Times neglected to mention Israel’s official description of the suspects.

Instead, HonestReporting said, Levlovich’s death is attributed to “attackers [who] pelted the road he was driving on with rocks.” The publication noted that the car crashed after “being hit by a thrown object,” but failed to specify the nature of the attack or the assailants.

The paper also cited Luba Samri, a police spokeswoman, who said that “the rock-throwing appeared to have caused the accident but that ‘nothing is 100 percent sure.'”

In an interview with The Algemeiner, HonestReporting’s Managing Editor Simon Plosker said, “The New York Times continues to act as an apologist for Palestinian stone-throwing. This latest incident is tragic proof that attacking vehicles with rocks can be deadly. Alexander Levlovitz didn’t simply ‘die,’ as The New York Times’s headline suggests. He was killed by Palestinians who deliberately targeted his car with rocks… That The New York Times prefers to attribute responsibility to the rocks rather than those who threw them is a damning indictment on the moral compass of the newspaper.”

The New York Times on Wednesday issued a correction to its original article, saying it had wrongly reported on the location of the attack, which took place in East Jerusalem, not the West Bank. The headline was then modified to include the correct site of the incident, but no changes were made to the article or headline regarding the Palestinian perpetrators of the attack.

Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that the New York Times headline paints a false narrative about the attack. “Essentially it looks like an act of God. [The rocks] just fell,” he said. 

Anyone reading “between the lines” will know that Levlovich’s death was the result of a terrorist attack by Palestinians, said Cooper, but the problem is that it wasn’t written that way in the Times. 

Cooper said he’s not asking for the Times to “give Israel any breaks; just to report the facts. Just tell the truth and if you’re not sure, you can put in ‘reportedly,’ ‘allegedly’ or ‘so said police.'”

He added, “Many people don’t read through any full article… and that headline specifically does not inform you that there was a terrorist act… That’s not journalism.”

Furthermore, he said, “If that’s the kind of coverage terrorists see in the Western media — in the top-tier media — they’ll take it as an encouragement. It’s taken by those who are behind the violence that they can continue until there is any sort of push back. If there’s no push back, then why would they stop?”

The New York Times did not respond to The Algemeiner‘s request for comment on the criticism.

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