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August 16, 2019 8:28 am

The Washington Post Bars the Truth About Israel

avatar by Sean Durns


The late Dvir Sorek. Photo: Courtesy.

You can tell a lot about a news outlet by what it chooses to cover — and even more by what it chooses to ignore. The Washington Post’s reporting on Israel is a case in point.

Take, for example, the murder of Dvir Sorek. The 18-year-old Israeli yeshiva student was found stabbed to death on August 8, outside of the community of Migal Oz. Sorek’s murder — and the subsequent manhunt and arrest of two Palestinian suspects, one of them a Hamas activist — attracted widespread coverage from major US news outlets, including The New York Times.

The Washington Post’s Jerusalem bureau, however, declined to file any reports on the terrorist attack, much less highlight the footage of Palestinians celebrating the murder by launching fireworks during Sorek’s funeral. Instead, the newspaper contented itself with reprinting Associated Press (AP) briefs on the murder, the majority of which appeared only online.

As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) highlighted recently, The Post has a habit of under-reporting terrorist attacks and minimizing the antisemitic rhetoric and actions of Palestinian leadership.

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Indeed, when The Jerusalem Post reported on July 11, 2019, that the PA was doubling the monthly payments to the terrorist responsible for masterminding the murders of three Israeli teenagers, The Washington Post was nowhere to be found.

Citing research by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), Jerusalem Post reporter Mayaan Jaffe-Hoffman noted that the PA had dramatically increased the payments being made to imprisoned terrorist Husam Al-Qawasmi, who helped plot the abduction and subsequent murder of Gilad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel in 2014. That incident helped trigger the 2014 Israel-Hamas War, and is, in part, the subject of a forthcoming HBO series.

That the PA is choosing to double down on its “pay to slay” policy amid a budget crisis — which itself is the result of US and Israeli aid cuts over that very same policy — is newsworthy. But not, it seems, to The Washington Post.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas has vowed that he’ll continue to pay terrorists to the “last penny,” a decision that violates the Oslo Accords –something that The Post also failed to report. The newspaper also chose to ignore Abbas’ July 25 threat to stop implementing previous agreements with Israel.

Other omissions highlight The Post’s bias. When the US decided to cut aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in 2018, The Washington Post filed no fewer than five reports. As CAMERA pointed out in a September 5, 2018 letter to the editor, The Post omitted UNRWA’s troubling history of promoting anti-Jewish violence and terror. Instead, the newspaper portrayed the cuts in a negative light, often acting more as an advocate for the UN agency than an impartial media outlet.

Yet, when an internal ethics report was leaked in August 2019 accusing the head of UNRWA of nepotism, corruption, retaliation against whistle-blowers, and sexual misconduct, The Washington Post was curiously absent. The newspaper failed to provide any original reporting on the scandal, which, by contrast, was detailed in many other outlets.

Nor did The Post cover the August 2019 bipartisan visit of 72 US lawmakers to Israel — the “largest-ever Congressional delegation” — as The Times of Israel reported. The Post’s decision to ignore the trip is revealing.

By contrast, when fewer than a dozen US writers and poets — some of whom compared Israel to Hamas — traveled to Israel at the behest of an anti-Israel NGO in May 2016, The Post filed a glowing 1317-word report complete with several photographs detailing the trip. Similarly, when Israel decided to deny entry to US Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, The Post decided that this merited coverage, even if the trip of 70-plus lawmakers did not.

Both Omar and Tlaib support the Boycott, Divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement. As CAMERA and others have noted, BDS seeks the end of the Jewish state, singles out only Israel for opprobrium, has been declared antisemitic by various legislative bodies, and is endorsed by terrorist organizations like Hamas. The Post’s coverage, however, whitewashes BDS, which it claims, “protests Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and has found growing support in Europe and the United States in recent years.”

In fact — in another occurrence ignored by The Post — Germany’s legislature ruled that BDS is “antisemitic.”

The Post also failed to note that Israel’s decision to enforce its laws banning entry for BDS supporters came after Omar and Tlaib’s itinerary was published. Given their anti-Israel and antisemitic records, it is unsurprising that the agenda for their trip referred to all of Israel as “Palestine,” was sponsored by Miftah and included meetings with Defense for Children International-Palestine (DCI-P) and other anti-Israel NGOs.

As NGO Monitor has documented, DCI-P has extensive ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation, a US-designated terror group. The President of DCI-P’s General Assembly, Nasser Ibrahim, is the former editor of El Hadaf, the PFLP’s weekly publication. DCI-P board members and employees, past and present, include no less than 10 individuals with links to the PFLP.

As for Miftah, NGO Monitor offers disturbing details: “On March 27, 2013 MIFTAH, a Palestinian non-governmental organization (NGO) founded in 1998 by Hanan Ashrawi (Chair of MIFTAH’s Board of Directors), published an article by Nawaf al-Zaru that repeated the antisemitic blood libel.”

Put simply: two members of Congress planned a trip sponsored by an NGO that traffics in antisemitism, which had — as its basis — the denial of Israel’s right to exist, and which included meeting a group with terror links. And yet, The Washington Post, as well as other outlets like Politico, The Hill, and USA Today, couldn’t be troubled to report the full story.

The writer is a Senior Research Analyst for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis.

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