'Law-Abiding' Israelis, 'Unwelcoming' Palestinians

U.S. journalists sympathize with Israeli colonists

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Decode Jerusalem

The Obama administration’s push to freeze Israeli construction of illegal colonies in the West Bank has brought the settlement question back to the fore of media coverage. On July 27, Time published a rather long piece by Nina Burleigh on Israeli settlements under the headline “Two Views of the Land.” The first view was Israeli: The Katzes, very normal, gentle people readers can identify with (they’re even from New York!), “consider themselves law-abiding citizens” and do earnest and upstanding things like “publish a small community magazine and take part in civic projects. Sharon raises money for charity by putting on […]


The 'Right to Exist' as an Arab Israeli

U.S. papers of record regularly erase Israel’s Palestinian citizens

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/nealunger

On January 11, 2009, a Washington Post article (“The View from Israel: Victors in a Necessary War”) declared that “Israelis have been . . . resolute” in their support of Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s three-week assault on Gaza. What the piece did not mention was that some 20 percent of the citizens of Israel are Palestinians. While a common criticism of Palestinian political groups is their refusal to recognize Israel’s “right to exist,” U.S. corporate media repeatedly fail to recognize the existence of Palestinian Israelis. During Cast Lead, from December 27, 2008, until the tentative cease-fire unilaterally declared by Israel […]


Get Carter

NY Times punishes an ex-president for criticizing Israel

Though the New York Times ignored Jimmy Carter’s book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid when it was first published--it didn’t review the book until it had already been on the Times’ bestseller list for five weeks--that didn’t stop the paper from running an article about a former Carter employee who didn’t like the book. The December 7, 2006 article began by reporting that Kenneth W. Stein, a former executive director of the Carter Center in Atlanta, had resigned, “citing concerns with the accuracy and integrity of Mr. Carter’s latest book.” It quoted Stein charging the book was “replete with factual errors, […]


Whose Human Rights Matter?

NYT on Hezbollah and Israeli attacks on civilians

When Human Rights Watch recently released two investigations of the 2006 Israel/Lebanon war, the New York Times found the group's documentation of unlawful attacks against Israel to be far more newsworthy than unlawful attacks committed by Israel. It's rare that a media outlet's news standards can be tested so directly. The human rights group released separate reports on violations by both Hezbollah and Israel, charging each side with indiscriminate attacks on civilians. When the first report was released, the Times placed an 800-word story (8/31/07) under the headline "Rights Group Accuses Hezbollah of Indiscriminate Attacks on Civilians in Israel War," […]


Mid-East Blame Game

Leading papers ignore Israeli contribution to conflict

In the wake of the most serious outbreak of Israeli/Arab violence in years, three leading U.S. papers—the Washington Post, New York Times and Los Angeles Times—have strongly editorialized that Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon were solely responsible for sparking violence, and that the Israeli military response was predictable and unavoidable. These editorials ignored recent events that indicate a more complicated situation. Beginning with the Israeli attack on Gaza, a New York Times editorial (6/29/06), “Hamas Provokes a Fight,” declared that “the responsibility for this latest escalation rests squarely with Hamas,” and that “an Israeli military response was inevitable.” […]


No Children in Palestine

On January 4, NPR’s Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep noted that Palestinian presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas had described Israel as the "Zionist enemy." But the NPR anchor didn't tell listeners the context of Abbas' remark: Seven Palestinian children working in their families' strawberry fields had just been killed by Israeli forces. Abbas referred to the children as "martyrs who were killed today by the shells of the Zionist enemy in Beit Lahiya." NPR reported Abbas’ comment, but did not report on the killings themselves. Media critic Ali Abunimah of the website Electronic Intifada wrote to NPR about the piece, and […]


Ali Abunimah on Sharon's plan, Jason Vest on Iraq occupation

Download MP3 It was big news when George Bush endorsed Ariel Sharon's plan to permanently annex large parts of the Palestinian West Bank, refuse Palestinians the right of return, and pledge to withdraw from Israeli settlements in Gaza. However, this week's guest, Ali Abunimah of the website Electronic Intifada, says the Sharon plan and the US support of it represents little change, and doesn't see what all the fuss is about. Also this week: You often hear the allegation that the media are too pessimistic about the Iraq occupation. But a new report by journalist Jason Vest suggests that some […]


Euphemisms for Israeli Settlements Confuse Coverage

The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported in May (5/31/02) that the Israel Broadcasting Authority, at the behest of a member of the Israeli cabinet, has directed its editorial departments not to use the terms "settlers" or "settlements" on radio or TV. According to Ha'aretz, "it is not clear if the editors will obey the order." What does seem clear is that settlements--housing built on land illegally seized by Israel after the 1967 war--are such a contentious issue within Israel that the Israeli government would like to stop reporters from even saying the word. Nonetheless, the opinion pages of an Israeli paper […]