By Barry Rubin
The New York Times–with the exception of some honorable reporters in the field (you know who you are)–never ceases to amaze one in the spectacularly biased writings of those back at headquarters. Here’s one that’s particularly remarkable, a real piece of advocacy in which the reporter does everything possible to justify flotilla ships trying to run the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
He also selectively discusses the IHH sponsor of the previous flotilla, leaving out all the evidence (presented in my articles and elsewhere) of its radical and terrorist connections, including U.S. court documents. I explained this for the Times more than five weeks ago but they paid no attention and they still cannot find any of this evidence!
The article even includes a pro-IHH video without any balancing video, of which a number are easily available. There is virtually no hint that the militants on board had earlier shouted slogans advocating genocide for Jews, declared their intention to be Jihad martyrs, or attacked and kidnapped the arriving soldiers.
In addition, this article was written after Germany banned the IHH’s local branch for supporting terrorism but doesn’t even mention this fact. (Yes, I know the German government said it was a separate group but that is a purely formal organizational point.)
And on top of that the article was also written after the terms of the blockade were changed, with the approval of the U.S. government and personal endorsement of President Barack Obama no less. These new regulations only exclude military and dual-use items. There is no mention of the fact that circumstances have changed and thus any new flotilla ship can hardly be humanitarian since there is no limit on consumer goods.
Nor does it mention that the purpose of the flotillas–even before, but most obviously now–is not to help the people of Gaza but to ensure the easy import of weapons and militarily useful goods for a radical, antisemitic, anti-American repressive regime that opposes a two-state solution and openly proclaims its intention of committing genocide on Israel’s Jews.
If this kind of thing appeared on a left-wing blog (or an Iranian or Syrian newspaper) it would at least not be surprising. But this is the New York Times. I no longer write a response like this one to correct errors in the Times coverage, but rather to point out that this is not the great newspaper (whatever its flaws) that once was considered America’s best. It is, at least on issues concerning Israel (again with honorable exceptions) a propaganda sheet, a shill for totalitarian and mendacious forces.
For other examples, see the Times’ remarkably deceptive portrayal of an Egyptian antisemitic extremist as a moderate, or the imbalance in its op-ed page. If you want to read a serious, balanced, full-service print newspaper pick up the Washington Post instead.
Are there still journalism classes where an article like this would be presented as a horrendous bad example of what newspapers should do?
Note: If you want to think you’re helping Palestinians, promoting peace, and being fair–or even being merely moderately anti-Israel–at least have the decency to back the Palestinian Authority (PA) and oppose Hamas. The PA is corrupt, still riddled with radical elements, sometimes involved in terrorism, and unready for a real two-state solution. But at least, unlike Hamas, it isn’t a client of Iran intent on maximizing terrorism, subverting all non-radical Arab regimes, indifferent to the well-being of its own people, crushing women’s rights, expelling Christians, destroying American influence in the region, deliberately endngering civilians for propaganda purposes, seeking war at the earliest possible opportunity, and intent on committing genocide.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) CenterMiddle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict, and Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan), Conflict and Insurgency in the Contemporary Middle East (Routledge), and editor of the (seventh edition) (Viking-Penguin), The Israel-Arab Reader the paperback edition of The Truth About Syria(Palgrave-Macmillan), A Chronological History of Terrorism (Sharpe), and The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley).