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Media Analyses





New York Times Again the Picture of Bias


Since the days in the 1980's when he was the Times' Jerusalem correspondent, David Shipler has been known for never forsaking an opportunity to establish moral equivalence between Israeli victims and Palestinian or Arab attackers. So it was in his book, Arab and Jew: Wounded Spirits in a Promised Land, and so it is in his October 15, 2000, Times Week in Review article, "Forsaking Trust, the Middle East Hurtles Backwards," where he instructs readers that:

Only recently, after 50 years of statehood, has Israel felt able to begin teaching its own history honestly enough to acknowledge the victimization of Palestinians.

Does he mean the victimization that occurred when the Palestinians rejected the Partition Resolution that would have created a state of Palestine next to Israel? Does he mean the victimization that followed that rejection, when the Palestinians joined with five Arab armies that invaded Israel and tried to destroy it in a war which left 6000 Israelis dead, fully one percent of the newly-born state's population? Or does he mean the victimization that occurred after that war when Egypt and Jordan took for themselves land that might have become a state of Palestine?

Nor is that the end of Shipler's malignant moral equivalencies. He even equates the bloodthirsty lynching of two Israelis by a Palestinian mob with Israel's response, surgical missile strikes against Palestinian installations including the "police station" that was the scene of the lynching. Missile strikes that were announced to the Palestinians three hours ahead of time so that the buildings could be safely evacuated. Missile strikes that led to no fatalities. Ignoring these salient facts indicative of Israel's continuing restraint, Shipler piously instructs that:

Recognizing the authenticity of the other in that land comes hard in the midst of conflict. Yet the conflict cannot end without that recognition.

Perhaps appropriately, the article featured two photographs with captions that were emblematic of all that is wrong with Shipler's approach and that of the Times:

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An Israeli facing stone-throwers in Hebron.   At the burial of a Palestinian killed in the Gaza Strip.

On the left an Israeli soldier is shown with his automatic rifle in firing position, supposedly facing mere unseen stone-throwers (mere because the Times does not often acknowledge that stones can kill, unless that is, they are flung in the New York metropolitan area). On the right a Palestinian holding an automatic rifle is described as attending a funeral in Gaza. Evidently, in the world of the Times, Palestinians are only armed with AK-47's, M-16's and other automatic weapons at funerals. After the funerals they dutifully put their guns away and go back to throwing harmless stones at menacing Israeli soldiers.

 

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