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Another Israeli Execution in Cold Blood, Another Whitewash in The NY Times

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | March 25, 2016

An Israeli soldier is caught on video murdering a helpless, wounded Palestinian as he lies on the street; the graphic scene makes headlines in Europe, the United States and beyond—with a notable exception: The New York Times.

In the newspaper of record we find a different focus. The video and its contents are not the news here; it is the reaction from the Israeli ‘Defense’ Forces that takes precedence over all.

In other words, the Times has chosen to emphasize Israeli spin over events on the ground, and so we have this headline above today’s story by Isabel Kershner: “Israeli Soldier Detained in Shooting of Palestinian.” It is all to convince us that this incident is a terrible aberration from accepted norms and will call forth a swift response.

Her article opens with reference to the IDF announcement that it had arrested the soldier accused of shooting the Palestinian, and it quickly adds that a military spokesman condemned the act as a “grave breach” of the corps’ values.

Kershner goes on to quote and paraphrase the IDF or Israeli officials no less than nine times in the course of a 900-word story. We have comments by the Israeli defense minister, a brigadier general, a lieutenant general, the lawyer representing the detained soldier and the army’s flak, Lt. Col. Peter Lerner.

She expends seven paragraphs on the IDF claims before allowing the other side to speak, and then she quotes from two representatives of human rights groups before returning the microphone to official apologists once again.

Take a look at the headlines and stories in, for instance, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. Both these newspapers took the video itself as the news, with headlines, such as this from the Post: “Watch: Israeli soldier caught on video fatally shooting wounded Palestinian attacker.”

Both papers also include a disturbing quote caught on the video, a voice saying, “This terrorist is still alive, this dog.” The statement was made moments before the wounded man was shot, but Kershner omits it entirely from her story.

She also buys into the army claim that it had started its investigation before the video emerged and then “rocketed around the Internet.” This, however, does not jibe with her statement that the army’s original announcement of the incident was “routine,” a brief report that two assailants had been shot.

The army’s claims of outrage ring hollow in the face of the video evidence, which places the soldiers’ indifference at the killing of the wounded man on full display. They appear cheerful and callously unconcerned and allow local settlers to approach and take pictures of the body.

Kershner, however, characterizes this atmosphere as “a calm, secure scene.”

Readers can find a very different perspective in a brief blog post by Israeli-based journalist Jonathan Cook. In a piece titled, “Another routine execution by Israeli troops,” he writes that “two Israeli officers standing close by don’t bat an eyelid as the Palestinian man is murdered next to them. The soldier who executes the Palestinian even confers with another officer seconds before the deed, apparently getting permission.”

He concludes, “All of them seem to view this as standard operating procedure. And it is: in Israeli military parlance, it is called ‘confirming the kill.’”

Cook’s claim that the incident is far from an aberration has support from many rights groups, international monitoring organizations and even Israeli journalist Gideon Levy (see TimesWarp 1-20-16), and although Kershner mentions these briefly, she gives the weight of her story to the Israeli response.

The Times has almost totally ignored these accusations, and now it strives to convince us that the assassination was anything but routine even as the visual evidence shows otherwise. Readers who care to discover the actual story here can simply watch the scene unfold, a brief and chilling view of the Israeli army carrying out a normal day’s work.

Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter

March 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pew Study Exposes Israel Racism: The NY Times Buries It

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | March 14, 2016

When the Pew Research Center found that 48 percent of Israeli Jews would like to expel or transfer Palestinians from their land, the press took notice. Although this finding was one result among many in an extensive poll, media outlets everywhere devoted their headlines to this striking sign of racism in Israeli society.

Groundbreaking Pew Survey: Almost Half of Israeli Jews Back Transfer or Expulsion of Arabs,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz proclaimed. The British paper The Independent announced, “Nearly half of Israeli Jews believe in ethnic cleansing, survey finds.”

Similar headlines appeared elsewhere, even in Jewish papers within the United States . But there was one notable exception: The New York Times presented readers with this aberrant title: “Deep Rifts Among Israeli Jews Are Found in Religion Survey.”

Readers who dig into the text that follows find no mention of the attitude toward expulsion until they have plowed through eight paragraphs of commentary about divisions between Israeli Jewish groups.

When the author, Isabel Kershner, finally addresses the burning topic of expulsion, she immediately adds that the result should be taken with a grain of salt because the question was not specific enough. She then drops the subject for another 10 paragraphs before circling back to take it up once again.

The fact that she concludes her piece with this topic suggest that it is the data on transfer and expulsion that most concern her, in spite of the diversionary headline and story line.

Readers who stick with Kershner until the end find several paragraphs of commentary aimed at whitewashing Israel’s image: The question about expulsion was too general; other surveys have produced different results; it may be used as a “weapon” by Israel’s critics; and this single result shouldn’t be taken “in isolation.”

These are the final words in the piece, and they are aimed at denying Israel’s problem with racism. But Kershner has omitted other findings from the survey that paint a different picture. Nearly 80 percent of all Israeli Jews agreed that Jews should have “preferential treatment” in Israel, and some 80 percent of Israeli Muslims said discrimination against their group is common.

She also omits Israeli President Reuven Rivlin’s comment on the data concerning Palestinians. She provides only his vague quote that Israelis need to “address our problems at home, more than ever,” omitting the fact that he had named the “attitude towards Israel’s Arab citizens” as a singular challenge.

Kershner’s story drew the attention of James Zogby, president of the Arab-American Institute, who wrote in the Huffington Post that her article includes a “classic example of deflection.” After reporting that nearly half of Israeli Jews want to get rid of the Palestinians in their midst, he noted, she immediately adds that “Israeli pollsters found the wording of the question problematic.”

In other words, she couldn’t report the finding in a straightforward way, as she did with the data on other issues dividing various Jewish religious groups.

The entire story, from the headline to the final quote, is built around evasion, beginning with the title and a photo—not of the threatened Palestinian population, but of Jewish citizens at a market. It wanders into sidetracks before reporting the alarming result from the Pew study, then veers away again, coming back to end the piece with a series of quotes meant to deflect the blame from Israel.

Times editors know that many readers never get beyond the headlines and many others read little more than the opening paragraphs of a story. Once again it has buried the real story under piles of diversion, knowing well that few readers will take note.

March 14, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

In an Appalling Act of Hypocrisy, NY Times Promotes Settlers as Peace Builders

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | December 15, 2015

Gush Etzion Junction was a peaceful corner of the West Bank, according to The New York Times, until Palestinians ruined it with a series of attacks in the latest uprising. Such is the message in Isabel Kershner’s most recent attempt to whitewash Israel’s brutal and illegal occupation of Palestinian territory.

Readers are never reminded of the fact that Gush Etzion is an illegal Jewish-only settlement block located in the heart of the West Bank. Nor are they told that its presence means the loss of thousands of acres of land once vital to the livelihood of the indigenous Palestinians, the confiscation of water resources and a choking system of military checkpoints.

In her story today, Isabel Kershner makes no attempt to discern what Gush Etzion means to Palestinians, although it sprawls over a large tract of their heartland, on their confiscated hills and fields. She provides Gush Etzion’s Jewish history but says nothing of the Palestinian experience, and while listing recent attacks on Jews, she makes no mention of Palestinian injuries and deaths, which far exceed those of Israelis.

Her one attempt to provide a motive for Palestinian attacks is ludicrous: The junction has become a target because it is a “hub of coexistence.” Nothing is said about the crushing effects of the occupation, trigger-happy Israeli troops, the continuing confiscation of Palestinian land and the loss of hope.

She writes: “Jewish settler leaders have promoted the slightly shabby complex as a symbol of peaceful coexistence and evidence that Israelis and Palestinians can share the hotly contested territory.”

In other words, the settlers have the best of intentions. After stealing Palestinian land and water to build Jewish-only colonies, they insist that they want only to be good neighbors.

Kershner also makes a feeble effort to provide “balance,” bringing out her stock phrases to defend Israel’s crimes: “The Palestinians and much of the world consider all settlements in the territories seized in 1967 as illegal and an obstacle to establishing a Palestinian state.”

Much of the world. This is a duplicitous way to put it. In fact, the entire world opposes the settlements, even Israeli’s staunchest ally, the United States.

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last year announced a huge land grab from Palestinian villages surrounding Gush Etzion, the world rushed to condemn the act. This is important context in any discussion of the block, but no mention of it appears in Kershner’s story.

Other factors undermine her claim of peaceful coexistence and good intentions from settler leaders. B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights monitoring group, has frequently charged that the Gush Etzion police station is notorious for torturing Palestinian teens in order to extract confessions. It has released reports over several years pointing to significant abuses in the heart of the settlement block.

Kershner makes much of the presence of Palestinian employees at Gush Etzion Junction and manages to quote one of them—at the end of her story—thus suggesting that it is a welcoming place, open and tolerant. The backstory, however, is more revealing. It can be found in this paragraph from The Economist, written after Netanyahu’s land grab announcement last year:

“Encircled by Mr Netanyahu’s latest appropriation, Palestinian residents of the bucolic village of Wadi Fukin have already lost all but 450 of the 3,000 acres they once had, and stand to lose more. The hillsides where the village’s 600 sheep and goats graze are set to go. Unable to farm, many men find work as builders, often on Jewish settlements nearby. They may yet be called upon to build homes for Israelis on land they regard as their own.”

Wadi Fukin is one of the villages destined to lose under the latest expansion of Gush Etzion. Its tragic tale and that of many others are entirely missing from the story in the Times today. In such a context-free effort, Kershner makes her claims of tolerant settlers and a peaceful oasis, and the result is an appalling act of hypocrisy and spin.

Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter.

December 15, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli Spin in The NY Times: The Annals of Absurdity

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | November 20, 2015

Five men died in Israel and the West Bank yesterday, the victims of shooting and stabbing attacks by Palestinians. The assaults took place in Tel Aviv and in the Etzion illegal settlement bloc, and their deaths, according to The New York Times, marked “the deadliest day in the recent wave of violence.”

Deadliest day? For Israelis, yes, but not for Palestinians. As the Times has reported, Israeli soldiers shot and killed six young men in Gaza during demonstrations at the border fence on Oct. 9. Days later, on Oct. 20, five more Palestinians died at the hands of Israeli troops within the span of 12 hours (in this case, the newspaper remained silent and made no effort to report their deaths).

Nevertheless, Isabel Kershner in the Times today insists that the five deaths (one involving a Palestinian working in Israel and one involving an American visitor) are the high point in violence since a wave of lone wolf attacks against Israelis broke out at the beginning of October.

Nothing could provide more certain evidence of the Israeli bias in the Times. Palestinian deaths do not register on their tally of casualties; violence refers only to Palestinian aggression.

Kershner’s story acknowledges that some 90 Palestinians have died since the beginning of October, compared with 16 Israelis, but in explaining this discrepancy she manages once again to blame the victims. The Palestinians died, she says, while attacking or attempting to attack Israelis or “in clashes with Israeli security forces.”

Nothing is said of those who died in what human rights groups call apparent extrajudicial executions: the youth shot as he tried to extract his identity card from his pocket, the young woman killed as she stood with her hands over her head. It seems the Times wants us to believe the often dubious claims of Israeli forces responsible for Palestinian deaths.

Today’s story lists all of the victims by name and gives a detailed account of one of them, an American teenager who had “distributed food and candy to Israeli soldiers” the day he was killed. The Oct. 9 story about the deaths in Gaza gives the name of not a single Palestinian.

Kershner, however, has provided us with some context here, and the result is bizarre. She manages to link the five deaths to a long-awaited agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority “granting Palestinian cellphone carriers 3G high-speed cellular services in the West Bank.”

The attacks came “hours after” this agreement, she writes, and she goes on to imply that Palestinians should have taken this contract as something of a white flag, a sign that a truce is in effect.

“The move,” Kershner states, “intended to bolster economic development, had indicated a possible effect, or desire, to return to calm after weeks of violence.” She then quotes an Israeli minister who claims, “We always agree to confidence-building measures with the Palestinians to help with their economy.”

It is difficult to reconcile this assertion of goodwill with the fact that Palestinian cellphone carriers have been requesting the right to use 3G services since 2006 and only at this point has Israel agreed to allow this now outdated technology. Yet Kershner reports it without a hint of irony.

Readers are to take from this that the Palestinians have no right to protest, let alone to resort to violence. Israel, Kershner is saying, has their well-being at heart.

Missing, as usual, is the context of the brutal occupation, the ever-tightening pressure of settlement building that robs Palestinians of land, water, basic livelihoods and the right to move freely. Missing also are the arrests and abuse of young Palestinians, some as young as 6, and the heavy use of administrative detention, which denies detainees the right to a defense or even to know the charges against them.

If Kershner wanted to peg her story to recent developments, she could have mentioned the crackdown on the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel; the slap on the wrist meted out to the police officer who brutally beat an American Palestinian teenager last year; or the collective punishment of home demolitions, which can leave a wide trail of devastation beyond the stated targets.

Instead, readers are told that Israeli “goodwill” has been spurned by ungrateful Palestinians and that Israelis alone are the victims of violence. Thus, the Times and Kershner give dominance to Israel spin even as their efforts turn the news into an exercise in distortion and absurdity.

Follow @TimesWarp on Twitter

November 21, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The NY Times: In Praise of Israel’s Killing Squads

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | November 13, 2015

In The New York Times it’s all part of a high stakes game, the good guys (Israelis) against the bad guys (Palestinians), and this time the good guys won, taking the prize through clever and audacious disguises.

Such is the tone of Isabel Kershner’s story today that tells of yet another outrage by Israel: Special forces invaded a hospital in Hebron, held the staff at gunpoint, killed a visitor point blank and kidnapped a patient recovering from surgery.

Condemnation of this atrocity and other recent attacks on Palestinian hospitals has come from Doctors Without Borders, Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross and a half dozen United Nations agencies, but none of their criticisms are included in the Times story.

Kershner, instead, only includes objections from Palestinians, and in the context of her writing, they come off as sore losers who would be expected to complain, in any case.

Her story opens with a description of the raid, as undercover Israelis disguised as Arabs enter the hospital, pushing a “pregnant woman” in a wheelchair, and it ends with several paragraphs looking back at other Israeli operations that involved masquerades: a 1972 action to foil a hijacking, a “famous” revenge assassination by former prime minister Ehud Barak, and a raid in Dubai to kill a Hamas commander.

In other words, it was all part of an illustrious Israeli tradition.

The Palestinians are described as “livid,” a term that implies a somewhat excessive rage and carries a hint of derision. It is not a neutral term in news writing, but Times editors apparently had no problem allowing it to stand.

The Israeli operation, on the other hand, is characterized as something of a breeze, not the bloody and outrageous affair that it was. They entered the hospital and then “about 10 minutes later they were on their way out.” They “whisked away” the suspect, Azzam Shalalda, leaving his cousin, Abdallah Shalalda, dead on the floor of the hospital room.

In describing a similar raid on a Nablus hospital last month, Kershner writes that Israeli forces “snatched” a suspect in a fatal shooting. Such vocabulary implies a kind of cinematic caper, devoid of real life complications.

Missing from her story is any mention of international humanitarian law, which forbids such violations of hospital and health care facilities. Amnesty International also noted that the killing of Abdallah Shalalda appeared to be a deliberate extrajudicial execution, and Tikun Olam blogger, Richard Silverstein, wrote that the undercover agents had entered the hospital expressly to kill Abdallah and arrest his cousin.

Kershner, however, is quick to quote the military, which claimed that “a suspect attacked the force, which responded to the assault and fired on the attacker.” Only later in her story does she note that hospital officials said he was shot not during an attack but when he emerged from a bathroom. Amnesty stated that his wounds were consistent with a deliberate execution.

Her story glosses over the recent raids on a Jerusalem hospital and UN demands that they cease. (Israel, however, has continued to invade the facility.)

In the eyes of Kershner (and the Times), it seems that there is no problem with Israeli violations of international law when the state wants to apprehend a Palestinian suspect. She writes that the raid was Israel’s way of saying  that “there will be no safe haven for Palestinian suspects.”

By contrast, the Times has never bothered to report that Israel knows the identity of Jewish settlers responsible for burning to death three members of a Palestinian family but refuses to arrest them because it might reveal intelligence methods.

The terrible irony of this double standard is beyond the radar of Isabel Kershner and the Times editors. On the contrary, they present Israel’s lawless and bloody actions as evidence of ingenuity and daring, celebrating a “victory” over the ultimately helpless and endlessly oppressed Palestinians.

November 13, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Videos Show: Israel is Killing in Cold Blood

By Barbara Erickson | TimesWarp | November 11, 2015

What is inspiring young Palestinians to attempt yet more stabbing attacks on Israelis? The answer, according to The New York Times, has nothing to do with the violence of military occupation, the abuse of Palestinian children or trigger-happy troops; it is merely a “loop-like dynamic” of attack and response inspired by video clips.

In a story today, Isabel Kershner reports that videos showing knife attacks and heavy-handed treatment of young detainees are inspiring Palestinian boys as young as 12 to attempt knife assaults. But in a significant omission, the article says nothing about disturbing videos that support a different take: Many Palestinians have been killed when they posed no possible threat.

Likewise, even as Kershner writes about youthful attackers, she (and the Times) have avoided any mention of the constant reports from rights groups over recent years that detail the abusive treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli custody. These include reports of troops arresting children as young as 6 and documentation of violence used against the young detainees. (Also see TimesWarp 1-13-14.)

Instead, readers are introduced to two cousins, 12 and 13, who played hooky from school yesterday in order to carry out a copycat stabbing attack in Jerusalem. Both were arrested; one was seriously wounded in the process; and both had watched video footage the night before of Israeli interrogators aggressively questioning another young teen, Ahmad Manasra, who was wounded after an alleged attack that left his cousin dead.

Kershner then devotes much of her article to rehashing the story of Manasra, who was featured earlier in a lengthy piece aimed at showing how Palestinians got it wrong when they claimed the boy had been killed. It appears to have the same purpose here: to undermine charges that Israeli troops have made false claims about knife attacks and have planted evidence.

She writes, “In several cases, with no video corroboration, Palestinians have insisted that no stabbings took place and have accused the Israeli authorities of planting knives at the scene.”

Several significant factors are missing from this statement: Although video evidence is unavailable in some cases, others are supported by credible eyewitness accounts contradicting official claims; rights groups, not only Palestinians, have charged Israeli troops with killing innocent victims; and video evidence does exist that bolsters many of the charges against Israeli forces.

In a press release last month, Amnesty International said Israeli soldiers and police had resorted to “extreme and unlawful measures” and had “used intentional and lethal force without justification.” The rights group highlighted four cases of “what appear to have been extrajudicial executions.”

Amnesty pointed up one “especially egregious case” in which Israeli forces killed 19-year-old Sa’ad Muhammad Youssef al-Atrash in Hebron on Oct. 26 as he tried to retrieve an identity card. As the youth reached into his pocket, a soldier behind Atrash shot him on the right side. The report continues, “The eyewitness said he was shot six or seven times and bled profusely as he lay on the ground for about 40 minutes afterwards, while soldiers failed to provide medical treatment.”

Times readers, however, are unlikely to know anything about Muhammad Atrash and how he died, nor are they aware of the Amnesty statements or of reports from other rights groups, including those in Israel and Europe, all of them charging Israel with unlawful killings.

Since the Amnesty release last month, Israel has continued to kill Palestinians, many of whom posed no possible threat, bringing the total to over 80 killed and some 8,500 wounded since the beginning of October. As of Oct. 31, eight Israelis had died and 115 had been wounded, according to the United Nations. These numbers, however, do not appear in Kershner’s story.

Last week Israeli forces shot and killed a 73-year-old grandmother as she drove through Hebron to meet her sister for lunch. A spokesman said she tried to ram soldiers with the car and that a knife was found in her car. Video footage shows a different scenario: Tharwat Sharawi was driving at a moderate speed and in no way aimed to hit soldiers when a barrage of bullets took her life.

The Times has made no mention of this video evidence, nor has it informed readers of other disturbing cases, also caught on video:

  • A settler shoots and kills Fadi Qawasmi, 18, in Hebron on Oct. 17, and appears to hand a knife to a soldier, who drops it near the body.
  • A mob chases Fadi Alloun in Jerusalem on Oct. 4, shouting, “Shoot him!” as he runs for his life. Police bring him down with a hail of bullets.
  • Muhammad Ramadan al Muhtasib, 23, is shot multiple times and killed as he lies helpless on the ground in Hebron on Oct. 30. The army alleges that he tried to stab a soldier.
  • Issra Abed, 30, is shot at a bus station in Afula as she stands with her hands over her head. After she lies wounded on the ground, a bystander approaches and kicks away a pair of sunglasses lying by her side. (Police said she was grasping a knife.)
  • Dania Irsheid, 18, is shot and killed at a checkpoint in Hebron after passing through metal detectors and a revolving iron gate. Video footage show Israeli police giving her no assistance as she lies bleeding on the ground.
  • Hadeel al Hashlamoun, 18, is shot at a checkpoint in Hebron on Sept. 22 and left to bleed to death. A video shows her being dragged by her heels along the ground.

In several of these videos the indifference of Israeli troops is striking. None of them attempts to help the victims, and in some cases witnesses report that settlers are allowed to take pictures of the dead and dying while Palestinian journalists and medics are turned away. One highly disturbing photo shows a smiling settler taking a photo of a dead Palestinian in Hebron on Oct. 29.

In this context, the report by Kershner is appalling. Although video evidence, eyewitness accounts and investigations by rights groups point to a pattern of trigger happy—even blood thirsty—security forces killing Palestinians with the slightest degree of suspicion, the Times has made no effort to inform readers of these findings. On the contrary, it places this misleading story by Kershner on page 1 above the fold.

Here we find another attempt to blame the victims, to paint Palestinians as the violent offenders, omitting even the numbers of dead and injured, which reveal a disproportionate death toll of 10 Palestinians for every one Israeli. The facts, however, seem to be of no account when it comes to protecting Israel. Given the choice between shielding this rogue state and reporting the news, the Times stands with Israel.

November 12, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NY Times Regurgitates IDF Intelligence Justifying Attacks on Civilians

By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam |May 13, 2015

Today, the NY Times published what was essentially an unexpurgated series of IDF intelligence reports claiming Hezbollah had taken over a southern Lebanese town and turned it into a fortress bristling with fortifications. The story, written by Isabel Kershner, features photos and descriptions of intelligence data received directly from the army intelligence unit, AMAN.

At no point in the story does Kershner offer any skepticism about the substance of the material or its origins. Nor does she entertain any thoughts about the ultimate purpose of releasing the material to her. As I read the story, the biggest nagging question was: how did she vet this before publication? Did she get someone to visit the village to confirm details? Did she ask a military analyst or consultant to authenticate the documents proffered her?

The only indication in the report that these issues may’ve  been considered is a statement that none of the information “could be independently verified.” You’re damn straight they couldn’t be verified. But how hard did you try?

There is an interview conducted by the Times’ Lebanon correspondent Anne Barnard with a figure representing Hezbollah. He refuses to address the specifics of the intelligence information and only affirms the Islamist movement’s determination to protect Lebanese sovereignty from Israeli attack.

I tweeted these questions to Jodi Rudoren, the paper’s Israel bureau chief, and she replied that since it was not her story I should contact Kershner directly. Given that she’s Kershner’s boss, I found the response odd.

We should also remember that Kershner’s husband is former Jerusalem Post IDF correspondent Hirsh Goodman.  He is a researcher at the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies, a think tank deeply connected to the Israeli military and intelligence apparatus.

I should make clear that I’m not taking any position on the accuracy of the report or the IDF documents. Instead, I’m most disturbed by the process used in putting this story together. The IDF and Israeli intelligence in general is well-known for putting forth false or fraudulent claims. Any Israeli journalist who is half-way honest knows this and would freely concede it. It is incumbent on any self-respecting journalist to authenticate such data before accepting it at face value. I don’t see any indication from the story itself that any of this was done.

Another critical aspect of this story you won’t find mentioned by Kershner is that Hezbollah is a Lebanese resistance movement whose goal, at least concerning Israel, is to defend the nation’s sovereignty. Yes, we can argue about its involvement in Syria diverging from this agenda, but aside from a few skirmishes Hezbollah is not fighting Israel in the Syrian Golan. Not to mention, that the IDF is complaining about Hezbollah fortifying a Lebanese village from attack by Israel. In other words, Hezbollah’s purpose is to defend Lebanese territory. How it does this is not something Israel has a right to complain about.

In the article itself, the IDF sources make crystal clear that their military strategy features an invasion of Lebanon. In other words, the Israeli army is conceding that it intends to violate Lebanese sovereignty. Yet on the other hand it denies Lebanese the right to defend against such an invasion. The army also makes clear Israel’s intent to kill civilians, as it has in numerous invasions and occupation over the decades. The difference this time around is that the IDF is warning beforehand that it intends to do this. It is telling the world that we will do to Lebanon what we did to Gaza. There will be no mercy. No punches pulled. It will unleash the full fury of its arsenal. Civilians will be treated no different than combatants.

In the midst of the massive civilian death toll it will trot out Kershner’s stenography and say: See, we told you so. We warned you that Hezbollah was using civilians as human shields.  We warned you in no less a venue than the NY Times that we would have no choice but to decimate the militants along with the civilians. Now, you have no right to complain that we did precisely what we told you we would do.

The reporter quotes her intelligence source making yet another mendacious claim about the history of guerrilla warfare:

“Historically, armed forces have separated themselves from the population, in uniform,” the senior Israeli military official said. “This is not the case here or in Gaza.” He accused Hezbollah of cynically using civilians.

This is not only utterly false in general historical terms (remember the 250,000 dead in Leningrad or the two Warsaw Ghetto uprisings?), it’s false in terms of Israel’s own history. The Palmach and other Jewish resistance groups made extensive use of civilian infrastructure, including synagogues, to hide weapons caches. Military forces use whatever advantage they can muster which benefit their strategic position. If the IDF was in the position of Hezbollah it would do nothing different. In such a case, no one could argue Israel didn’t have the right to do so as long as it was defending its territory from invasion, as Hezbollah is doing. … Full article

May 13, 2015 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | Comments Off on NY Times Regurgitates IDF Intelligence Justifying Attacks on Civilians

A few questions for the New York Times

By Alison Weir | July 26, 2014

Following are a few short questions for the New York Times in regard to a recent news report:

1. When are you going to cover the killing of Palestinians the same way you cover the killing of Israelis?

Israel’s killing of at least 8 civilians in one day was relegated to the second half of the story and not mentioned in the headline.

The murder of a father of three children, a staff member for Defense for Children International, got two sentences in the 17th paragraph. Israeli forces’ killing of a 17-year-old got one sentence in the 25th paragraph. The killing of a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old got a half sentence – between them – in the 27th paragraph.

2. When are you going to stop calling Palestinians who are fighting to protect their homeland “militants” and start calling them resistance fighters?

3. When are you going to stop framing this as “Israel against Hamas” rather than Israel against Gazans? Or Israel against Palestinians?

The vast majority of the over 800 people Israeli forces have killed in the last 19 days are civilians, many of them children. The vast majority of the over 5,000 injured are civilians, many of them children.  Israel is, once again, destroying large amounts of civilian infrastructurehospitals, schools, roads, family homes, etc.

4. When are you going to include crucial context on the American connection – that hard-pressed American taxpayers give Israel $8.5 million per day?

When are you going to mention that we have given tiny Israel far more of our tax money than to any other country – In total, over $233.7 billion (corrected for inflation). Currently, on average, 7,000 times more per capita than to others around the world.

5. When are you going to tell your readers that senior “objective” reporter Isabel Kershner was a British citizen who went to Israel to become an Israeli citizen? When are you going to divulge her family ties to the Israeli military?

6. When are you going to include the true context of the violence:

  • Gaza is basically an open-air prison that Israel has been starving for over seven years (an Israeli official called it putting Palestinians “on a diet“),
  • Rockets from Gaza began in April 2001 AFTER Israeli invasions and shelling of Gaza, that the vast majority of these rockets are small, home-made projects that cause no damage (and that this was the case long before the Iron Dome system was deployed),
  • During the entire time the rockets have been used they have killed a total of approximately 30 Israelis, while during this same period Israeli forces have killed over 4,700 Gazans?
  • The Jewish state was created through a war of ethnic cleansing, and that the allegedly “only democracy in the Middle East” has no constitution and has never declared its borders,
  • Palestinians in the Occupied Territories are living on approximately 15 percent of their original land.

7. When are you going to give readers the facts without Israeli spin?


Alison Weir is president of the Council for the National Interest, executive director of If Americans Knew, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: How the US was used to create Israel.


ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Statistical Report on New York Times coverage of Israel-Palestine

Blog analyzing New York Times coverage of Israel-Palestine

July 27, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Info & Disinfo on Gaza, and Appeal for Hala Abu Shbeika, 3, killed in Israeli airstrike against Gaza

By Eva Bartlett | In Gaza | December 25, 2013 

Some things to consider giving Israel’s bombing spree in Gaza on Dec 24:

-Israeli soldiers on a routine basis target Palestinians of all ages, including children, as they farm or fish, killing and maiming them. This is policy from the top-down, not random, not “bad apples”.  See videos here and here;  see reports here and here and here and here and UN.

-Israel has violated the Nov 2012 “truce”/”ceasefire” from the beginning, as documented here [Israeli Ceasefire Violations in Gaza and World Silence] and here.

and this important clarification from Yousef at the Jerusalem Fund:

Israel, and Kershner, Strike Again

The bias in New York Times reporting on Israel/Palestine is so systematic, it is predictable. Literally. When the news broke this morning that an Israeli had been shot by a sniper in Gaza while working on the fence around Gaza I knew that the killing would receive plenty of coverage in US media and of course in the New York Times by none other than Isabel Kershner. Even though Kershner routinely fails to report about Palestinian casualties in the Gaza Strip killed or injured by Israel, she rarely misses an opportunity to report about Israelis killed by Palestinians. That’s why earlier this morning I tweeted:

Has Isabel Kershner written her inevitable piece on the Israeli shot today yet after ignoring the large number of Palestinians shot in Gaza?
— Yousef Munayyer (@YousefMunayyer) December 24, 2013

On cue, an hour and a half after my tweet, Isabel Kershner’s story goes up at the New York Times.

The headline:

Israelis Shell Gaza After Israeli Fence Repairer Is Killed

and the lead paragraph:

 An Israeli laborer who was repairing the security fence along the border with Gaza was fatally shot on Tuesday by a Palestinian sniper, according to the Israeli military, and Israel immediately responded by bombing targets it associated with militant groups in the Palestinian coastal territory.

both make clear that the events today were Israel responding to an attack from Gaza. But absent both from that framing narrative and her entire piece, as I knew would be the case, is any description of preceding events in the Gaza Strip in recent days which featured several and persistent Israeli violations.

Kershner doesn’t tell you that in the last 10 days the Israeli military shot a Palestinian teenager in Gaza on the 15th, shot and killed a man and injured two others in Gaza on the 20th, shot an injured a Palestinian farmer on the 21st, fired at Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza on the 22nd, and shot and seriously injured a Palestinian man on the 23rd. All of these incidents happened in the days preceding today’s events and involved Israel firing into Gaza. None of them are reported in her article despite being vital context for today’s events.

She mentions that Israel’s bombardment of Gaza in November 2012 “ended with an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire” but fails to mention that Israel has been consistently violating that cease-fire. We’ve been keeping track of all of these violations here, precisely because we knew Isabel Kershner and others were not going to inform you about them.

She does however, enumerate all recent Israeli casualties…. in the West Bank:

The Israeli killed on Tuesday was a civilian contractor who had been working for the Israeli Defense Ministry. His death came a day after an Israeli police officer was stabbed and wounded at a West Bank junction. On Sunday, a bomb exploded on a bus in Bat Yam, near Tel Aviv, minutes after the passengers had been warned to exit, preventing casualties. The police said they were working on the assumption that the bomb had been an attempted attack by Palestinian militants.

In addition, three Israeli soldiers and a retired colonel have been killed in recent months by Palestinians from the West Bank.

Kershner did a very similar thing in a piece last month which we called out here.

Her piece does end with this line “More than 20 Palestinians have been killed in clashes with Israeli forces this year, according to Palestinian officials.”

All the Palestinians killed and injured are an afterthought in this piece. Those killed and injured by Israeli fire in Gaza immediately prior to today’s events are not even mentioned. In what can only be interpreted as an effort to evoke sympathy for Israel’s actions, Kershner selects to inform the reader about attacks against Israelis in the West Bank while ignoring Israeli attacks on Gaza that occurred right before today’s events, even though today’s events occurred in Gaza and not in the West Bank.

The reader is treated to the familiar refrain: Israel is always acting to defend itself. The New York Times can do better and its readers sure deserve better than this.

With such horribly skewed and sloppy reporting, is it any wonder Americans are so misinformed about the situation?

CLICK HERE FOR APPEAL PAGE

December 25, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , | Leave a comment

NY Times headline reverses chronology, story leaves out important information

Does the New York Times consider Israeli goats more important than Palestinian children?

By Allison Weir | October 8, 2012

Today’s New York Times features a headline that reverses the sequence of events described in the story it is allegedly representing. It also omits significant information.

The headline reads: “Israel Launches Airstrikes After Attacks From Gaza” in a story bylined by Isabel Kershner. In other words, in its usual fashion, the New York Times headline tells readers that Israeli violence is defensive and came after Palestinians initiated the violence.

In reality, it was the opposite, as the lead paragraph states: “Palestinian militants from Gaza fired a barrage of rockets and mortar shells into Israeli territory on Monday, causing no casualties but some property damage, AFTER an Israeli airstrike wounded at least 10 Palestinians in southern Gaza on Sunday [emphasis added].”

Farther down, the story reports, “The latest flare-up began with the [Israeli] missile strike on Sunday against two men who Israel said were members of jihadist groups…. at least eight passers-by were also injured.”

In addition to reversing the party responsible for the initiation of violence, the Times story also omits information about the 8 people who were “also injured.” Were they old men? Women? Children? What is the nature of their injuries? Will any be permanent?

The Times doesn’t tell us. Yet, while reporter Isabel Kershner didn’t bother to obtain or convey this information, she does tell us, “Several goats were killed in a petting zoo in an Israeli communal farm…”

Other news media provide some of the missing information. According to the Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), an infant and four other children were among the injured. Three of the injured are in serious condition. IMEMC reports that the missiles were fired into a crowded area that included school students heading home from evening school.

The New York Times story also doesn’t disclose the fact that the reporter, Isabel Kershner, is an Israeli citizen. (The Times refuses to answer questions about whether she has served in the Israeli military, or whether she has family members currently serving in the Israeli military or that served in it in the past.)

The previous New York Times bureau chief for the region, Ethan Bronner, had a son serving in the Israeli army, and many of the journalists in the area have similar personal connections to the Israeli military. The New York Times has a history of appointing bureau chiefs with ties to Israel.

A 2005 study found that the Times had reported on Israeli children’s deaths at a rate seven times greater than it reported on Palestinian children’s deaths.

While the New York Times and other US media frequently report that Palestinian violence has interrupted what the media call “a period of calm,” a 2009 study by an MIT professor revealed, “[I]t is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict.”

The study found, “79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day).

In addition, the researchers stated, “…of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than 9 days.”

An alternative headline, and story, could have been something like: “Israeli airstrikes injure infant and 4 other children.” This might be the kind of reporting we would get if the Times would ever stop assigning partisans to cover the conflict.

October 8, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Double Speak from Benjamin Netanyahu

By Philip Giraldi | The Passionate Attachment | March 28, 2012

The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner reporting from Jerusalem on March 20th described Israeli government rage at a comment made by the European Union’s foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton relating to the killing of three Jewish children in Toulouse France on the previous day. Ashton decried the killing but then tied it in to equally unfortunate deaths of children in other places, including Gaza. Her comment caused Netanyahu to explode, saying he was “infuriated” by the “comparison between a deliberate massacre of children and the defensive, surgical actions” of the Israeli Defense Forces hitting “…terrorists who use children as a human shield.” Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman quickly joined in, saying that Ashton should instead be thinking about the “children of southern Israel who live in constant fear of rocket attacks from Gaza.”

Where to begin? Israel’s surgical attacks have killed thousands of Gazans, including many children, and the stories about children as human shields comes from – you guessed it – Israeli government sources. The Goldstone report uncovered no evidence that there had been any use of civilians by Hamas militants. Israel has deliberately attacked schools and refugee camps, with little regard for who ends up dying. In its most recent bombings of Gaza, Israel has killed 26 Palestinians, including two children. No Israelis were injured when the Palestinians responded with homemade rockets. In 2011, 105 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, at least 37 of whom were undeniably civilians. This was up from 68 killed in 2010.

In Operation Cast Lead in January 2009, the Israelis killed at least 1,100 Palestinians, using phosphorous shells and other weapons considered to be forbidden under international law. Ten Israeli soldiers died as well as 3 civilians, a Palestinian-to-Israeli rate of mortality approaching 100 to one.

The fact that Netanyahu and Lieberman can be taken seriously and reported in the New York Times when they rant about how humane the Israeli Army is demonstrates that there is an operating assumption in the media that the American public can believe just about anything when it comes to Israel. It recalls the foppish French “philosopher” Bernard Henri-Levy’s assertion that the Israeli Army is the world’s most moral. After years of being subjected to intense propaganda, maybe it’s true that the public in Europe and America have been completely brainwashed when it comes to Israel’s bad behavior.

March 28, 2012 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, War Crimes | , , , , , | Comments Off on Double Speak from Benjamin Netanyahu