Christian Century, the house organ for mainline Protestantism in the
The code of ethics of the Society of Professional Journalists states quite clearly that reporters have an obligation to “test the accuracy of information from all sources” and to give “subjects of news stories … the opportunity to respond to allegations of wrong doing.” Neither the Christian Century nor the ABP fulfilled these obligations.
The article, which appeared in the
, Carter said that Palestinians in Cairo University are being “starved to death” and that they receive fewer calories daily than people in the poorest parts of Gaza Africa.
The notion that
It is a lie.
To be sure, Palestinians are suffering in the Gaza Strip as a result of a catastrophe of Hamas’ making, but anyone who asserts that people are starving to death in the territory needs to offer proof. Carter offers none. There is however, ample evidence to demonstrate that humanitarian goods have flowed steadily into the Gaza Strip since the fighting came to an end in January.
The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains a website detailing the flow of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip. This site reports that as of
Carter’s allegation that the Palestinians receive fewer calories than people in the poorest parts of
In 2008, the International Food Policy Research Institute issued its annual “World Hunger Index.” According to IFPRI, “The Democratic Republic of Congo scored the worst on the Index, followed by
This is not to say conditions are wonderful in the Gaza Strip, but it’s a pretty steep hill to climb to prove that hunger is more rampant in the Gaza Strip than it is in Ethiopia where according to a 2008 report from CNN, children are dying daily from a lack of food. To be sure, there are reports of children in the Gaza Strip suffering from anemia, but no reports of famine-related deaths, as Carter asserts take place.
Images from the Gaza Strip do not provide any evidence of starvation or of famine related deaths, as they have in other parts of the world. For example, this image, displayed by the BBC on
These are not the images one expects to see of a people experiencing a famine.
Instead of attempting to ascertain the truth about life in the Gaza Strip, the article continues to quote Carter’s allegations without challenge or scrutiny:
“It’s an atrocity what is being perpetrated as punishment on the people in
,” said Carter, as quoted in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz. “It’s a crime. . . . I think it is an abomination that this continues to go on.” GazaIsrael imposed a blockade two years ago when Hamas, an Islamist party that supports attacks on Israel, won elections in Gaza and thus gained control of the government there. Fatah, the more moderate of the two main Palestinian parties, retained control of the West Bankterritories. says that its aim is to weaken Hamas, but critics say that the blockade punishes Israel ‘s civilians and increases their anger toward Gaza . IsraelUnited Nations officials have reported that months after fierce fighting between Hamas and ended in January, Israeli officials are still allowing only basic necessities like food and medicine into Israel . Gaza“Never before in history has a large community been savaged by bombs and missiles and then deprived of the means to repair itself,” said Carter, a Nobel Peace Prize winner.
The fact that the article quotes Haaretz’s reporting does not absolve the ABP or Christian Century of their obligation to give Israeli officials the right to respond to allegations leveled against their country. The article only appears to give
No individual Israeli is quoted, raising the question: Exactly who said these things?
Did the ABP actually talk to someone about these issues or is it merely providing atmospherics to portray itself as “evenhanded”? If ABP reporter had actually talked to an Israeli official, he might have mentioned the thousands of rockets that had landed in
In fact, the article makes no mention whatsoever of these attacks. The word “rocket” appears nowhere in its text. Mentioning these rocket attacks would give some badly needed context to
And if the ABP reporter had actually talked to an Israeli, as opposed to merely reporting that “
In the past, some cement and other materials intended for civilian construction projects in
“We can’t allow Hamas to rearm itself with materials coming from
It’s an obvious point, one crucial to Israeli decision-making, but one left out of the article altogether.
And If the reporter from the ABP had spoken to an actual Israeli, he might have learned that
While the journalists at the Associated Baptist Press wrote article, it should never have appeared in the pages of Christian Century which is ultimately responsible for the content that appears on its pages. At the very least, the magazine should have done some reporting of its own to give Israeli officials the opportunity to respond, in detail, to Carter’s allegations.
Stories like this insult readers and minimize suffering experienced by famine victims in