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Middle East Issues





The Washington Post Covers For Palestinian Anti-Semitism and Rejectionism


(Note: A slightly different version of this article, appeared as an Algemeiner Op-Ed on Jan. 18, 2018)

The Washington Post is treating anti-Semites as credible sources and purposefully omitting hate-filled remarks by Palestinian leaders.

On Jan. 14, 2018, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas gave a two-hour harangue before the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) Central Council. Not for the first time, the President of the Palestinian Authority—bound by the Oslo accords to recognize the Jewish nation of Israel—denied the Jewish people's connection to their ancestral homeland. And not for the first time, The Washington Post gave him cover.

As Palestinian Media Watch noted, Abbas exhorted:

"'The significance of Israel's functional character is that colonialism created it in order to fill a specific role; it is a colonialist project that is not connected to Judaism, but made use of the Jews so they would serve as pawns, and they were, under the motto 'the Promised Land' and 'the Beloved Land,' and they brought them here.'”

According to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Abbas traced Jewish history in the Middle East to 1653 and the English ruler Oliver Cromwell, who came up with the idea of “transferring the Jews from Europe to the Middle East, this region, because they wanted this region to become an advanced outpost.” In addition to propagating conspiracy theories, Abbas said that Jews had a history of persecution “because of their social function, not because of their religion,” and “blessed” Iraqi leaders who expelled Jews from their country following Israel's 1948 War of Independence.

Yet, a Jan. 14, 2018 report by The Washington Post merely referred to the conspiracy-laden diatribe as “combative” and “brimming with colorful insults.” Only in the final sentence of the final paragraph in a 711-word article did the paper state: “In a comment widely reported by Israeli media, he [Abbas] quoted an Egyptian philosopher who had said that Israel's quest for a national home for the Jewish people is a ‘colonialist project' that has nothing to do with the Jews (“Palestinian leader attacks Trump, calling his peace deal the ‘slap of the century”).'”

As the blogger Elder of Ziyon has noted, that “Egyptian philosopher” is a man named Abdelwahab Elmessiri, whose works include the Encyclopedia of Jews, Judaism and Zionism, which, among other things, dismisses the Jewish people's connection to Israel as irrelevant.

Recent weeks have evidenced similarly poor reporting from The Post.

As CAMERA noted in the Algemeiner, The Washington Post failed to detail Abbas' Dec. 13, 2017 claim—made before reporters and others attending the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Istanbul—that Jews “are really excellent in faking and counterfeiting history (“World Media Silent as Mahmoud Abbas—Israel's ‘Peace Partner'—Undermines Talks,” Dec. 17, 2017).”

Sometimes The Post uses more than omissions to provide cover.
 
Whitewashing Abbas' praise for terrorism

A Jan. 5, 2018 Post report claimed that Fatah movement leader and PA President Mahmoud Abbas “has rejected armed conflict with Israel.” Yet, as CAMERA pointed out to The Post, Abbas not only incentivizes anti-Jewish violence via payments and other laurels, he has lauded terrorist attacks.

As The Post itself noted in a Jan. 25, 2016 report, Abbas “praised” terror attacks, exhorting: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah.” Abbas' Sept. 16, 2015 speech was delivered amid the so-called stabbing intifada, in which Palestinians attacked Israelis with rocks, clubs, vehicles, knives, and guns, among other weapons. A video of Abbas' remarks was sent to The Post's staff. Yet, the paper has refused to correct their false claim that Abbas “has rejected armed conflict with Israel.”

In a Dec. 13, 2017 report, The Post uncritically quoted Rev. Mitri Raheb, who claimed, “The Bible originated in Palestine.” That “Palestine” has never existed and Raheb is more than a “Lutheran preacher” was omitted. Raheb is, in fact, an anti-Semite and an activist with the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that seeks to delegitimize and destroy the Jewish state.

According to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an organization that specializes in combatting antisemitism:

"In speeches given to various religious symposia and church summits (including the infamous 2004 US Presbyterian assembly that approved a boycott and divestment campaign against Israel), Raheb promoted a ‘Palestinian theology' that purports that Jews are not the Chosen People and therefore have no right to the Holy Land."

Recent Post reporting has also obfuscated on the antisemitic nature of BDS.

In a Jan. 7, 2018 report The Post falsely claimed that BDS “stands for ''boycott, divestment and sanctions,' aims to pressure Israel into complying with international law vis--vis its policies toward the Palestinians [emphasis added]. The movement discourages the purchase of Israeli goods, pressures international companies not to conduct business in Israel and urges celebrities not to visit or perform in the country. [emphasis added]”

This too, is but more whitewashing:

BDS leaders—including the movement's self-identified co-founder Omar Barghouti, whom The Post quotes—have called for the end of the Jewish state of Israel. And, contra to The Post's misleading definition, BDS has targeted non-Israelis performing outside of Israel, including the Jewish-American singer Matisyahu when he performed in Spain.
 
Relief for the fact weary

Other recent Post reports have been similarly cavalier with the facts.

As CAMERA has noted (“The Washington Post Whitewashes UNRWA,” Jan. 5, 2018), the paper's Jan. 3, 2018 dispatch failed to fully detail the United Nations Relief and Works Agency's (UNRWA) of support for Palestinian terrorists—only to make the same omission in a Jan. 17, 2018 article (“A death sentence: Palestinians slam U.S. decision to cut aid as U.N. pleads for new donors”). The latter noted Palestinian complaints over the U.S. cutting UNRWA funds, and, like its predecessor, uncritically quoted UNRWA officials. Both failed to inform readers of UNRWA's role in perpetuating the Arab-Israeli conflict and the antisemitism behind it.

In both 2016 and 2017, The Post failed—amid dozens of reports on the “peace process”—to note that Palestinians leaders have rejected U.S. and Israeli offers for a state in exchange for peace with the Jewish state, in 2000 at Camp David, 2001 at Taba and 2008 after the Annapolis Conference, among other instances. That trend looks likely to continue, with zero mention of these rejected opportunities in 2018—including in recent articles where it was clearly pertinent information (for example, “Pence says U.S. Embassy to make Jerusalem move next year on faster timetable,” Jan. 22, 2018 and “Prospects of peace elusive as Pence wraps up visit to Middle East,” Jan. 23, 2018).

The Washington Post is failing to provide readers with the full story. If, as their masthead proclaims, “democracy dies in darkness,” good reporting dies from one-sided omissions and seemingly purposeful distortions.


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