Washington Post Provides Cover for Palestinian Antisemitism
The Washington Post is treating antisemites as credible sources — and purposefully omitting hate-filled remarks by Palestinian leaders.
On January 14, 2018, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas gave a two-hour harangue before the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council. Not for the first time, the president of the PA — bound by the Oslo Accords to recognize the Jewish nation of Israel — denied the Jewish people’s connection to their ancestral homeland. And — also not for the first time — The Washington Post gave Abbas cover.
As Palestinian Media Watch noted, Abbas exhorted:
The significance of Israel’s functional character is that colonialism created it in order to fill a specific role; it is a colonialist project that is not connected to Judaism, but made use of the Jews so they would serve as pawns, and they … brought them here.
According to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Abbas traced Jewish history in the Middle East to 1653, and the English ruler Oliver Cromwell, who came up with the idea of “transferring the Jews from Europe to the Middle East … because they wanted this region to become an advanced outpost.” In addition to propagating conspiracy theories, Abbas said that Jews had a history of persecution “because of their social function, not because of their religion,” and he “blessed” Iraqi leaders who expelled Jews from their country following Israel’s 1948 War of Independence.
Yet, a January 14 report by The Washington Post merely referred to the conspiracy-laden diatribe as “combative,” and “brimming with colorful insults.” Only in the final sentence of the final paragraph, in a 711-word article, did the paper state: “In a comment widely reported by Israeli media, he [Abbas] quoted an Egyptian philosopher who had said that Israel’s quest for a national home for the Jewish people is a ‘colonialist project’ that has nothing to do with the Jews (“Palestinian leader attacks Trump, calling his peace deal the ‘slap of the century’).”
As the blogger Elder of Ziyon has noted, this “Egyptian philosopher” is a man named Abdelwahab Elmessiri, whose works include the Encyclopedia of Jews, Judaism and Zionism, which, among other things, dismisses the Jewish people’s connection to Israel as irrelevant.
Recent weeks have evidenced similarly poor reporting from the Post.
As CAMERA noted in The Algemeiner, The Washington Post failed to detail Abbas’ December 13, 2017 claim — made before reporters and others attending the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul — that Jews “are really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history.
And sometimes the Post uses more than omissions to provide cover.
A January 5 Post report claimed that Abbas “has rejected armed conflict with Israel.” Yet, as CAMERA pointed out to the Post, Abbas not only incentivizes anti-Jewish violence via payments and other laurels to terrorists, but he has also personally lauded terrorist attacks.
As The Washington Post itself noted in a January 25, 2016, report, Abbas has “praised” terror attacks, exhorting: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah.” A video of Abbas’ remarks was sent to the Post’s staff. Yet, the paper has refused to correct their false claim that Abbas “has rejected armed conflict with Israel.”
In a December 13, 2017, report, the Post uncritically quoted Rev. Mitri Raheb, who claimed, “The Bible originated in Palestine.” The fact that “Palestine” has never existed, and that Raheb is more than a “Lutheran preacher” was omitted. Raheb is, in reality, an antisemite and activist with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state.
According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization that specializes in combatting antisemitism:
In speeches given to various religious symposia and church summits (including the infamous 2004 US Presbyterian assembly that approved a boycott and divestment campaign against Israel), Raheb promoted a ‘Palestinian theology’ that purports that Jews are not the Chosen People and therefore have no right to the Holy Land.
Recent Post reporting has also obfuscated the antisemitic nature of BDS.
In a January 7, report the Post falsely claimed that BDS “stands for ‘’boycott, divestment and sanctions,’ [and] aims to pressure Israel into complying with international law vis-à-vis its policies toward the Palestinians [emphasis added]. The movement discourages the purchase of Israeli goods, pressures international companies not to conduct business in Israel and urges celebrities not to visit or perform in the country. [emphasis added]”
This, too, is more whitewashing:
BDS leaders — including the movement’s self-identified co-founder Omar Barghouti, whom the Post quotes — have called for the end of the Jewish state of Israel. And, contra to the Post’s misleading definition, BDS has targeted non-Israelis performing outside of Israel, including the Jewish-American singer Matisyahu, when he performed in Spain.
The Washington Post is failing to provide readers with the full story. If, as their masthead proclaims, “democracy dies in darkness,” good reporting dies from one-sided omissions and seemingly purposeful distortions.
The writer is a senior research analyst for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.