All the News Unfit to Print

What the New York Times chooses to cover in the Arab-Israeli conflict – and what it excludes – is a story in itself. The paper’s silence, as of this writing, about an event that has rocked the Israeli media and public and triggered calls for government action once more raises serious questions about the paper’s news judgment. After all, the Times reports on no other foreign nation as minutely as it does Israel, whether about negotiations, housing permits in Jerusalem, Israeli gravel-use in the West Bank or a Tel Aviv polygamist.

The story being ignored is the Im Tirtzu campaign to expose the New Israel Fund’s connection to the defamatory Goldstone Report via its funding of groups that spurred the creation of and then contributed harsh commentary about Israel to the UN document. Originally founded as a student organization to counter anti-Zionist activity on campus, Im Tirtzu publicized revelations about the NIF-Goldstone ties in provocative ads across the country. The campaign began in January and has already prompted moves in the Knesset to intensify oversight of foreign political entities financing groups in Israel.

According to polls, the Israeli public by a significant margin opposes politically-based foreign funding of activity in Israel.

So why the silent treatment by the Times?

For starters, many of the very same NIF-supported NGO’s under fire for allegedly helping fuel the Goldstone calumnies against Israel are also preferred news sources of the Times, quoted regularly as reliable critics of Israeli society. B’Tselem and Yesh Din, for instance, are favorites, together cited at least 25 times in the last two years, typically charging the Israel Defense Forces or other official bodies with misconduct, and sometimes prompting entire stories focused on the NGO charges.

Gisha, another NIF grantee, has been invoked at least 10 times in the same period as an objective organization demanding “free movement” for Palestinians. Gisha allegations have triggered front page, multi-story coverage.

HaMoked, yet another New Israel Fund-financed NGO, has been cited by the Times denouncing Israel for its handling of residency issues for Palestinians. Still another, Bimkom, has appeared in the Times blasting Israel for the effects on Palestinians of the separation barrier. Two more favored by both the Times and NIF are Physicians for Human Rights and the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The newspaper has cited the former assailing the Israeli military for ethics violations, the latter deploring alleged discrimination in traveling the roads. One more NGO that enjoys both the support of the NIF and the confidence of the Times is Breaking the Silence, which alleges abuses of Palestinians by soldiers.

The claims of all these groups are tainted by ideological bias and factual distortion. As Ha’aretz’s military correspondent notes with regard to Breaking the Silence, “Any organization whose Web site includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer.” Indicative of the disregard for fairness and objectivity, the soldier “testimonies” posted on its Web site include no dates and no specifics, but are anonymous charges the military cannot investigate – or refute.

B’Tselem, created to “change Israeli policy in the occupied territories” and to monitor treatment of Palestinians there, has produced strikingly skewed and false categorizing of Palestinian casualties. The group has included terrorists such as Abdul Salaam Sadek Hassouneh, who murdered six at a Bat Mitzvah celebration in 2002, as “civilians” killed by Israel. Similar distortions minimizing violence against Israelis color much of B’Tselem’s work.

Gisha pursues legal measures against Israel charging “segregation” and has signed ads alleging Israel is an apartheid regime. Its reports minimize or ignore entirely the threats against Israel.

And so it goes with all the groups.

Yet the Times promotes their message and their standing, presenting them as mainstream, credible, worthy sources. Indeed, the paper avoids identifying their political hue, which is uniformly well to the left, if not radical. In Times parlance, they are merely Israeli “human rights groups.” Only once, for example, was any tagged correctly as an “Israeli leftist advocacy group” – and this not in a news story, but a summary brief. Perhaps accidentally.

Nor is this pattern regarding political labels applied consistently across the political spectrum. For example, on the few occasions when the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs has been quoted, the think tank has repeatedly been termed “conservative.”

Given all this, the absence of attention to the NIF-Goldstone connection is unsurprising, if journalistically indefensible.

The New Israel Fund must, moreover, be grateful for the Times silence; its American donors generally believe they contribute to the betterment of life for rape victims and battered women, for the enhancement of the environment and the strengthening of Israeli education. Most would not likely be happy learning NIF-funded publications had a hand in the Goldstone Report and smear Israel as an apartheid regime.

Most would probably not be contributors if they knew that, according to NGO-Monitor’s Anne Herzberg, there are NIF-funded groups that “demonize Israel at the UN, support boycott and divestment campaigns, promote ‘lawfare’ cases against Israeli officials and even advocate erasing the Jewish character of the state.”

Regrettably, the paper’s affinity for NIF-funded groups that blame Israel for the conflict and related problems is matched by its lack of attention to the genocidal demonizing of Israel in Palestinian society and the wider Arab world. Unmentioned in its pages, for instance, was a recent translation from Arabic by MEMRI (Middle East Media Research Institute) of yet another screed by a Muslim preacher in Nablus who calls Jews Nazis, exhorts his flock to kill all Jews and says:

Palestine was subjected to a loathsome occupation of its land and holy places by these neo-Mongols, who perpetrated, on this holy, blessed, and pure land, acts of killing, assassination, destruction, expropriation, Judaization, harassment, and the fragmentation of the homeland. (January 29, 2010)

In fact, a number of NIF groups would agree with much of what the preacher at the Bourin mosque had to say. But that only underscores the need for serious investigation of the New Israel Fund and the many politically extreme grantees enjoying millions of dollars of its largesse.

It underscores too the question about the news judgement of the Times, which has drifted increasingly away from objective reporting on Israel, has promoted its defamers, and continues to ignore the onslaught of Palestinian and broader Arab anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate indoctrination.

Andrea Levin is Executive Director and President of CAMERA, Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

  • aliko

    As good an article as this is, there's more to it. The NIS has an army of more than 50 lawyers who's studies were financed and now serve in the General Attorney and in the courts.

    I hate to admit it but the "liberal" left took over the immune system of Israel, the justice system, and this cancer is found in a big way in all the major newspapers. Only "Israel today" and some other, smaller and newer media channels provide a balanced or, god forbid, patriotic views.

    If that's not enough, they're established in all the TV channels (1, 2, 10) the Israeli public radio (similar to NPR) and in the IDF radio as well.

    Suggested reading:
    Yifat Erlich: "The secret family" (in Hebrew only AFAIK so paste in translate.google.com) http://www.news1.co.il/Archive/003-D-45887-00.htm

  • William Smart

    The New York Times is hugely pro-Israel – so much so that it personally benefits from the ethnic cleansing, owning most of a house that was seized from Hasan Karmi, a BBC Arabic Service broadcaster and scholar (1905-2007). Karmi was bludgeoned from his home in 1948 by Zionist militias. His was one of an estimated 10,000 Palestinian homes in West Jerusalem stolen that year.

    Hasan Karmi’s daughter, Ghada, a physician and well-known author discovered that The New York Times was squatting her childhood home in 2005. They'd made no effort to find the owner, and refuse to deal with it's rightful owner now.

    Need anything else? The NYT reporter in Jerusalem is Ethan Bronner, who has a son in the IDF – what sort of balance can he possibly bring? Can anyone imagine the father of a Hamas member (even a peaceful one) ever being employed by the NYT? Of course not!

    As for bias, here's a really blatant, lying example – the NYT completely ignored the content of the Goldstone report when it came out. They picked up on it only many months later when Israel made a denial that they'd deliberately targetted, from the air, the last working flour mill in Gaza. According to Israel, it was hit by mortars because militants were using it.

    It turned out that the operators of the flour mill were actually privileged collaborators with Israel, so as far from Hamas as they could possibly be. They'd already made a statement to Goldstone that there had been 3 phone warnings of an imminent air-strike (only the last of them acted on). Goldstone can prove it was an airstrike that did it, he has photographs of the bomb remnants. You can barely target ordinary civilian life better than by destroying their food production.

    There are four other flour mills in Gaza, all derelict after previous destruction. They might easily have had militants in them, and could have been mortared for it – but they were not. Only the working one was destroyed. Israel has a lot to answer for – and so does the New York Times for publishing Israel's propaganda lies and cover-ups.

    • stern

      Interesting, Mr "Smart", that you refer only to West Jerusalem in 1948. Do you have similar strong words for Jordan, which ethnically cleansed East Jerusalem of every Jew living there, even though their families had been there for centuries? Do you have any strong words for the way Jordan trashed Jewish holy places between 1948 and 1967, using Jewish gravestones for road paving and latrines? And can you explain why 19 years of Arab occupation of East Jerusalem – in your mind and in the minds of anti-Semites everywhere – trumps 3,000 years of vibrant Jewish life? I look forward to your answers.

      • Notta Dhimmi

        PART 2
        From this, the real question of interest becomes clear: is this pig a paleo-conservative a-hole who hates Jews with every fiber of his being, or is this pig a leftist a-hole who hates Jews with every fiber of his being? The truth is that the political spectrum is NOT best measured on a line with directions "left" and "right" – certainly not when it comes to Jews. No, when the question involves Jews politics are best measured on a circle: the vile, stinking Jew-hating pigs on the left meet the vile, stinking Jew-hating pigs on the right, where they recognize each other and realize that they are brothers in spirit. In the words of the ancient Hebrew song (with my modification between asterisks): hinei ma *LO* tov uma naim, shevet achim gam yachad.

        • Democracy First

          He is, indeed, a raging anti-Semite, for whom truth is merely an obstacle to be papered over with lies, misrepresentations, misdirections, and lack of centext.

          You will note he didn't respond to any of the article's points.

      • Notta Dhimmi

        PART 1
        The foetid screed written by Mr "Smart," dripping with barely containable hatred of Jews, is a classic (no lectures from the ignorantsia are needed on the supposed distinction between hatred of Jews and hatred of Israel – when a jerk like Mr "Smart" obviously lives to condemn Israel, and would seemingly have no qualms about tearing a Jew apart with his teeth and fingers, we can ALL smell the stink of his anitsemitism).

        The fact that this creep is reasonably literate in English suggests that he is NOT a slime-like barbarian immigrant from some putrid third world hell-hole, his brain chock-a-block with primitive zoological Jew-hatred, who has come to the USA to enjoy the benefits of a still-great (but rapidly declining) country. No, his use of English suggests that he is a home-grown slime whose mind is chock-a-block with primitive, zoological Jew-hatred.

  • von Starkermann

    Israel allows these NGO groups in the country to operate freely and openly. So what's the big deal here? It's alike allowing the KKK to operate openly and freely then complain about their antisemitism and anti Black sentiments. If these groups were really hurting Israel, then they would have been put out of business a long time ago.

  • Marty

    When jordan illegally occupied eastern Jerusalem during 1948-1967 its soldiers insisted on using Jewish cemetary stones for their urinals, insured that no Jews could visit their ancient holy sites in any part of the west bank, and forcibly removed all Jewish residents from the Old City's Jewish Quarter. Keep in mind that jordan is considered by the new york times as a "moderate" arab state.

    • stern

      You're right, Marty. Jordan also forbids Jews from purchasing land or becoming citizens. And they call Israel an "apartheid" state???!!!

      • Raymond in DC

        Just as Jews purchased land from Arabs west of the Jordan, they did likewise *east* of the Jordan, and a number of small settlements were established. All were seized after Transjordan was established, and all the Jews were expelled. No compensation was ever paid. And, yes, sale of land to Jews remains prohibited under Jordanian law.

  • P.J. Boelsma

    I have only one authority I can understend: the Wort of God He writes by Himself.
    This Lord has creating this Globe and the haeven above and says: I love Israël, My servant!
    No further comment!

  • USMCSniper

    The New York Times published an article dueing the Bush Administration disclosing a highly classified Terrorist Monitoring and Finance Tracking Program, an on-going & successful effort to map terrorist communications and networks through the use of financial data. As usual, the Times cited anonymous persons, aka elected democrats who are criminal leakers, as the source of the classified information.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/welldoneson welldoneson

    Looking back through the last several generations, a pattern emerges… that pattern involves the left being on the WRONG side of damn near every issue that ever came forth. This is not to dismiss wrongs done by the right, but the overwhelming number of lefty puzzing errors – opposed the WW2 war effort, supported Stalin, idolized Castro, took up the Moslem Fundamentalist cause, backed "man did it" climate change, systematically cripple Europe with blundering and unworkable bureaucracy, demonize any U. S. President who actually tries to get his country to "play to win" to name a few – leads one to believe these aren't simply mistakes in judgement. They want to destroy the West. To replace it with what? We don't need to find out.

    Stop them.

  • Shalom Freedman

    Any reader of the 'Times' knows its position is Beilin-Sarid-ism, one identical with that of the 'Shalom Achshav' people in Israel. This by the way is the position of the Obama Administration.