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July 6, 2017 3:02 pm

‘Sick’ New York Times Article Portrays Terrorist as ‘Political Prisoner’ of Israel

avatar by Ira Stoll

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A portrait of jailed Palestinian terrorist Marwan Barghouti painted on the security barrier near the Qalandiya crossing north of Jerusalem. Photo: Ben Siesta via Wikimedia Commons.

A New York Times article inaccurately portraying convicted terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a political prisoner is triggering outrage, concern, and dismay among the newspaper’s readers.

The managing director of the Israel Project, David Hazony, tweeted, “This is quite sick. NYT runs a romantic piece about Marwan Barghouti, who is in jail for multiple murders. Calls him ‘political prisoner.’”

Hazony carried on the criticism for a whole thread: “Of course, I did not even mention the headline, which calls him a ‘Jailed Palestinian Freedom Fighter.’ This is really over the cliff. Worth stating obvious: His wife’s line is essentially an admission that he ordered the murder of Israeli innocents. Yet NYT is cool w that. This, after NYT ran op-ed by Barghouti neglected 2 mention murder convictions. Seems like they’re now in business of mainstreaming terror? On the delicate subject of his being an actual terrorist, it quotes wife: ‘he never killed with his own hands.’ No other side presented.”

The senior vice president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the US Treasury, commented on Twitter by describing the New York Times as the “paper of broken record.”

The executive director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Robert Satloff, tweeted:

Editors on vacation? @nytimes calls M #Barghouti, convicted of multiple murders of civilians, a “political prisoner”

The Washington, DC bureau chief of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Ron Kampeas, echoed Satloff’s comment attributing the article to an editing lapse: “Copy editors being bought out. I keep saying, this is not good.”

Palestinian Media Watch commented, also on Twitter, “Shame on @nytimes for romanticizing terrorist Barghouti.”

The opinions editor of the Jerusalem Post, Seth Frantzman, commented, “So NYT, which hid Barghouti’s conviction in his oped, now headlines him ‘freedom fighter’; I didn’t know murdering ppl is freedom #think”.

The journalist who wrote the Times article, Shaina Shealy, graduated from college in 2010, according to her web site, which also carries links to articles that she wrote for Al Jazeera and Haaretz.

The article is in a section of the online Times called “women in the world,” part of a live conference business that the financially stressed Times is trying to make money by expanding.

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


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    I wonder how many ‘good’ Jews still run to buy the NY Slime. Time to not only boycott the Slime but to notify advertisers. Newspapers no longer count on revenue from buyers. They count on the revenue from advertisers who count on readers buying their products.



  • Allow me to exercise a bit of turnaround – being a writer or commentator on the Left with an obviously Jewish name willing to bash Israel is worth a lot.The NYT and others pay quislings of this sort quite well.

    They’re worth quite a bit more than non-Jews (and there are a lot of them) willing to call out the NYT for its long standing anti-Israel bias.

    It’s also hardly surprising that people would accuse Jews of bias for pointing out the NYT making a ‘freedom fighter’ or ‘activist’ out of a convicted murderer now serving 5 life terms. Pity that Israel doesn’t have the death penalty for such creatures.

  • Naftali Greenwood

    Ben-Nathan, eh? You would say that.

  • The New York Times is a modern day Der Strumer.

  • Lauren Rischel

    The NYT coverage of Protective Edge showed it for the anti-Israel rag that it is. It is no friend of Jews in general, and Israel specifically.

  • ahad_ha_amoratsim

    Calling Barghouti yemach shmo a freedom fighter is like calling the NYT a still-reputable newspaper.

  • cbusa

    So the Jewish victims of ant-Jewish behavior are unworthy of speaking up and not to be trusted for calling out bias? If we don’t speak up for ourselves, who will speak for us?