CAMERA Op-Ed: Innocent Abroad?

The New York Post’s outspoken columnist Andrea Peyser was blunt about Adam Shapiro, the American Jew who slipped into Yasser Arafat’s Ramallah compound to lend a hand to the wounded and to share breakfast with the Palestinian leader while outside Israel fought to crush the support systems of terror embedded in West Bank cities.

“He makes me sick,” she wrote of the man she had dubbed the “Jewish Taliban.” Peyser was outraged at Shapiro’s comparing Israel to the Nazis and at his leveling reckless charges of “summary executions” by the military – charges he could not substantiate when Peyser asked for proof. Several other major media outlets have also challenged Shapiro, who identified himself as an activist with the International Solidarity Movement. CNN’s Kyra Phillips, for example, wanted to know whether he had, while visiting with Arafat, used the opportunity to “say to Yasser Arafat, why not come and condemn what is going on, come out and make a statement in Arabic…”

Shapiro’s response was to claim that “President Arafat after every terrorist incident, every suicide bombing, after every action, has condemned this loss of life, of civilian lives on both sides.”

This, of course, is ludicrous. Arafat condemns violence against Israelis only under extreme duress, usually at the demand of the Americans and most often only in English. His overwhelming message to his people is exhortation to continuing violence.

In that same CNN exchange Shapiro accused the “Sharon government” of “raping the (Palestinian) cities” and of “carrying out terrorist actions, going house to house much like Nazis did in World War II…” He said “this is a terrorist government funded, by the way, by the United States government…” But Phillips let all that go, saying “You have quite an interesting story.”

FoxNews’s John Gibson took a tougher line, asking Shapiro, “Whose side are you on?” He repeatedly pushed him to explain why “Yasser Arafat,…(blew) up another kid inside Israel.” When Shapiro claimed he did not know where the terrorists got their explosives, Gibson retorted, “But we’re not really confused about that, are we?”

Other influential media outlets found Shapiro, the Jewish fan of Arafat and invoker of Israeli-Nazi connections, an irresistible, even romantic, figure. Among these were the New York Times and National Public Radio. The Times devoted at least three stories entirely to Shapiro, with a particularly adulatory one by Joel Greenberg on April 18 entitled “Only label for American in Ramallah is ‘human being.'” A photo of Shapiro in a bandana, earring and stubbly beard, with his “Palestinian- American” fiancee, accompanied the story, which accentuates their supposedly selfless work in assisting Palestinians. Greenberg couches Shapiro’s Nazi statements among passages devoted to the good works of the man and his Palestinian girlfriend.

National Public Radio’s up-close story by Linda Gradstein began: “Amid the violence in Israel and in the West Bank, an American Jew and a Palestinian-American Christian have fallen in love and decided to marry.” Again, the indignant public response to Shapiro was treated not as a point from which to inspect the hypocrisy of Shapiro’s defending Arafat, the paymaster and mastermind of suicide bombers, but rather as a part of his being embattled in “non-violent resistance” for the Palestinian cause.

It is noteworthy that NPR’s own foreign editor, Loren Jenkins, has in past writing lauded Arafat and linked Israelis to Nazis.

In their fawning and deceptive characterizations of Shapiro, media outlets such as the New York Times and NPR render themselves less sources of news than fellow travelers in this campaign to whitewash Arafat’s terror and promote his violent agenda.


Appeared in the Jerusalem Post on this date

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