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Media Analyses





More Silence of The Times


Evidently, The New York Times has decided not to cover the statements of Mahmoud Abbas in Doha at the conference convened there on Jerusalem on February 26, 2012. A number of other media outlets (Associated Press, Reuters, Ha'aretz, among others) reported on Prime Minister Netanyahu's indignant response to the Abbas speech, citing various of the Palestinian leader's claims. But the influential paper has once more taken a pass when it comes to recounting hate-mongering, irredentist statements by the Palestinian leadership.
 
Readers won't be told about the extreme biases of the conference as a whole, nor especially the strikingly inflammatory, baseless accusations by Abbas charging Israel is, among other things, allegedly:
"erasing and removing the Arab-Islamic and Christian character of East Jerusalem, in order to Judaize the State of the occupation"
 
carrying out "excavations that continue to threaten to undermine Al-Aqsa Mosque, in order to extract evidence that supports the Israeli version of Judaism"
 
engaged in "ethnic cleansing" of Arabs
These and innumerable other absurd — though oft-repeated propagandistic charges — are directly contrary to the facts, as The Times'  Ethan Bronner and Isabel Kershner well know.
 
Islamic and Christian sites and shrines are obviously untouched, protected and safe. If they were to be harmed by individuals, Israeli officials would punish the perpetrators. The incendiary charge that Jews are undermining Al-Aqsa, one invoked historically to incite violence, is false. And, of course, the Muslim/Arab population of Jerusalem has been growing faster than the Jewish population for decades.  According to the Jerusalem Institute for Israel Studies, Jerusalem was 25.8 percent Arab in 1967. By 2009, the city's Arab population increased to 35.7 percent. The claim of ethnic cleansing is a lie.
 
It's hard to understand why The Times, so intensely focused on Israeli-Palestinian issues in some areas, is silent about inflammatory statements by the Palestinian leader.
 
Covering this story might actually help the cause of peace, encouraging the Palestinians to desist from the long practice of speaking in two voices — in English offering peaceful messages comforting to western ears while in Arabic inciting hatred and violence. Were the publication to tread off the beaten story line and cover the Jerusalem conference in all its lurid content, including the virulent speech of Mahmoud Abbas, the reporters might help a very troubled region avoid further bloodshed and suffering.
 
But readers accustomed to the terrain of Times coverage would not have expected attention to this important story.
 


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