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May 15, 2016 6:53 am

The New York Times Gets Lost in Jerusalem

avatar by Ira Stoll

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Pisgat Ze'ev, Jerusalem. Photo: Wikipedia.

Pisgat Ze’ev, Jerusalem. Photo: Wikipedia.

A New York Times dispatch from Jerusalem about a court’s conviction of a Palestinian teenager for the October 2015 stabbing of two Israelis — a 13-year-old boy and a man — describes the city’s Pisgat Ze’ev neighborhood as being “in a part of the city that Israel conquered from Jordan in the 1967 war and annexed in a move that was never internationally recognized.”

As so often in newspaper articles, the bias shows through in the decision to choose when to begin telling the story. Did Jerusalem’s history begin in 1967? Wikipedia’s entry on the neighborhood reports that “three ritual baths from the Second Temple period have been excavated in Pisgat Ze’ev” — evidence of Jewish population dating back 2,000 years. The entry goes on to report that “overlooking the neighborhood is Tell el-Ful, believed to be the capital of the Tribe of Judah and site of the Israelite King Saul’s palace.” It further reports that in the 1930s, land nearby was bought “by European Jews for the establishment of a Jewish farming cooperative, Havatzelet Binyamin. Most of the landowners died in the Holocaust.”

Jordan’s control of Jerusalem was never internationally recognized either. The Times doesn’t mention that. Not even the other Arab countries recognized it, though Britain, the outgoing colonial power, did. By now, Israel has controlled eastern Jerusalem for far longer than Jordan’s brief tenure there during the period from the end of the British mandate in 1948 (or Jordan’s formal annexation of the city in 1950) to the Six Day War in 1967.

Anyway, it’s hard to imagine that such a territorial dispute justifies the stabbing of a 13-year-old Israeli — or any Israeli, for that matter. So it’s not clear why the Times even bothers to delve into the matter at all, except to leave a one-sided and misleading impression about which side of the conflict has a stronger claim to the land where the attack took place.

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

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