Tuesday, March 20, 2007

More New York Times Anti-Israel Bias

First published on FrontPageMag.com

On March 8, Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV broadcast an interview with the two kindergarten-age children of Rim Al-Riyashi, a Palestinian woman who had blown herself up in a suicide attack several years ago, killing four Israelis. The interviewer prods Doha and Muhammad to celebrate their "jihad-fighting" mother's "martyrdom."

Indoctrinating children to celebrate the murder of Israelis, even when the cost is losing the dearest of family members, has been a campaign of Palestinian media, mosques and schools since the inception of the Palestinian Authority in 1994. But you would never know it by reading the New York Times. On the contrary, America's so-called "newspaper of record" consistently excludes this far-reaching obstacle to ending the Arab-Israeli conflict.

A particularly egregious example of evasion and distortion is a page one March 12 article, running nearly 3200 words, by the Times' Jerusalem bureau chief, Steven Erlanger. The bias is obvious in the title: "Years of Strife and Lost Hope Scar Young Palestinian Lives."

Today's Palestinian children are more violent, we're told, and more eager to die as martyrs than were their predecessors not because of constant indoctrination to seek martyrdom in pursuit of Israel's destruction. Rather, these young souls have simply been scarred and twisted by the unending conflict and, with it, "a loss of hope."

The caption under the oversized front page photo, of a Palestinian boy with a slingshot, conveys the same theme: "Parents fear the atmosphere of despair has made their children more accepting of violence."

One would think that, in a 75-paragraph story on the culture of violence among Palestinian youth, the Times might break its long silence about Palestinian inculcation of hate. But all Erlanger offers is, in paragraph 11: "Many Israelis agree that the current generation of young Palestinians has been thoroughly radicalized, but say that is the product of Palestinian political and religious leaders who have sanctioned and promoted violence and terrorism against Israel."

That's it.

Israelis "say" Palestinians have "sanctioned and promoted violence and terrorism."

The veteran correspondent can, it seems, find no quotes from the innumerable, easily accessible examples of hate-mongering and instead casts the matter as - Israeli opinion. Television broadcasts purveying bigotry and the glories of "martyrdom" to Palestinian children are readily available from the Middle East Media Research Institute, but hold no sway with Erlanger. And presumably Senator Hillary Clinton's recent press conference with Itamar Marcus, director of Palestinian Media Watch, decrying anti-Israel and anti-Jewish prejudice and incitement to violence in Palestinian school texts, was much ado about nothing.

Erlanger's reducing the issue to merely something that "many Israelis... say" is reminiscent of the notorious Times article by William Orme published in October, 2000, shortly after Arafat had launched his terror war and a Palestinian mob had lynched two Israeli soldiers. Orme noted Israeli complaints of incitement by Palestinian Authority media and wrote, "Israelis cite as one egregious example a televised sermon that defended the killing of the two soldiers. 'Whether Likud or Labor, Jews are Jews,' proclaimed Sheik Ahmad Abu Halabaya in a live [official PA television] broadcast from a Gaza City mosque the day after the killings."

Omitted by Orme was Halabaya's further comments: "[The Jews] are the ones who must be butchered and killed, as Allah the almighty said: Fight them; Allah will torture them at your hands, and will humiliate them... Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them. Wherever you are, kill those Jews and those Americans who are like them..."

But to reveal the pervasiveness and genocidal import of Palestinian hate indoctrination would undercut the slant on the conflict that animates virtually all Times news coverage and editorializing. That slant can be seen in Erlanger's repeated insistence that the problem lies in "this generation [of Palestinians having] lost faith in political solutions" and his tracing this loss of faith to the collapse of the Oslo process in 2000.

In fact, since the founding of the Palestinian Authority, its officials have peddled, particularly to Palestinian children, the message that all of "Palestine," from the Jordan to the Mediterranean, properly belongs to them, that the Jews are merely usurpers in the land with no legitimate claim to any of it, and that the young must dedicate their lives to extruding the Jews and destroying the Zionist state.

It is impossible to understand the violence and commitment to martyrdom of Palestinian youth without looking at this incessant indoctrination. But you cannot look at it, or even know of its existence, if your source for Middle East coverage is the agenda-driven New York Times.