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April 16, 2018 7:53 am

The New York Times Continues Its Anti-Israel Smear Campaign

avatar by Ricki Hollander

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The New York Times logo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The April 12 New York Times editorial on Israel was predictable. It touted the same message that the Times promotes day after day in its news pages, op-eds, and editorials: Israelis are bad and Palestinians are their innocent victims.

The editorial in question — “Israel’s Violent Response to Nonviolent Protests” — included all the familiar tropes employed by the Times to demonize Israel. It is all rather formulaic by now.

1) Present the Israeli version of events as allegations, but adopt Palestinian claims as truth:

  • Israel has said some Gazans have tried to toss crude explosives, shoot weapons and breach the barrier.”
  • The government claims that the protests are a cover for a more violent Hamas agenda.”

Vs.

  • “But, in general, the protests have been peaceful.”
  • “But in the face of unarmed civilians it could do so with nonlethal tactics.”
  • There has been no apparent reason for Israel to use live ammunition.

In fact, on the same day that the editorial came out, supposedly peaceful, non-violent Palestinians detonated an explosive device near an Israeli bulldozer in the buffer zone near the security barrier.

2) Dismiss Israeli claims, even when the reasoning lacks any logic:

  • “The Israeli military has said its forces did not intentionally shoot journalists. But that assertion was undercut by Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defense minister, who said on Tuesday that [journalist Yasser] Murtaja was a Hamas captain who had used a drone to collect intelligence on Israeli forces. That volatile charge is at odds with independent news reporting and, if it is false, could put other journalists at grave risk.”

How exactly does Lieberman’s claim that Murtaja is, in fact, a Hamas captain trying to collect intelligence “undercut” the assertion that Israel did not deliberately target journalists? It doesn’t.

On the contrary, if Murtaja was indeed a Hamas operative collecting intelligence, then it would support Israel’s claim that soldiers were not targeting journalists.

3) At the same time, accept the claims of overtly partisan organizations, identifying them as neutral human rights groups, and quote or cite them to bolster your own partisan claims:

  • “Human Rights Watch said it reviewed videos of the protests … showing that victims posed no threat to Israeli troops.”
  • “Meanwhile, B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, urged Israeli soldiers to disobey open-fire orders because using live ammunition against unarmed people is unlawful.”

Both Human Rights Watch and B’tselem routinely bend the facts in their obsessive attempts to deletimize the Jewish state.

4) Emphasize the difference in the number of casualties to imply that Israel is using disproportionate force against Palestinians:

  • “…three wars between Israel and Hamas that have killed thousands of Palestinians and about 100 Israelis.”
  • “Since the protests began, Israeli forces have killed at least 29 Palestinians and wounded more than 1,000. … There have been no known Israeli casualties.”

The IDF’s mission is to defend the Israeli people — keeping them out of harm’s way and keeping harm away from them. The mission of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, by contrast, is to eradicate the Jewish state, sacrificing their people as suicide bombers and human shields, and otherwise urging their people to put their lives at risk by carrying out attacks on Israelis and the IDF or breaching the security barrier to flood Israel.

5) Always present Palestinians as blameless victims without any responsibility or agency. For example:

  • “…protests that over the past two weeks have drawn tens of thousands of Palestinians to Gaza’s border with Israel, demanding to return to lands their families lost in the 1948 war that accompanied Israel’s founding.”

Whose fault was the 1948 war, launched by Arab armies with the intent of eradicating the nascent Jewish state?

Whose fault is it that the Palestinians have rejected every offer of statehood because they insisted that they would not accept a Jewish state in the region?

Whose fault is it when someone is hurt or killed while in the process of attacking or trying to kill someone else?

For the Times, the answer is always Israel.

Ricki Hollander is a senior analyst at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America. A version of this article originally appeared on the CAMERA website here.

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