New York Times Anti-Israel Bias in Editorials As Bad As Ever

CAMERA has repeatedly demonstrated the deeply entrenched editorial bias against Israel at the New York Times. Whether Israel employs military tactics to protect itself from terrorist attacks,  or the peace process is stalled, or it is simply not progressing as quickly as the editorialists would like, even while Israeli civilians are being blown up by Palestinian terrorists, New York Times editorial writers stick to their consistent message—blame Israel and whitewash Palestinian responsibility.

In “Nourishing the Palestinian Police” (July 28, 2005), the editorial writer casts blame for the weak and problematic Palestinian security forces on Israel’s leadership. Following up on Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger’s balanced report on a recent survey of the Palestinian security environment (“Palestinian Security Forces Are Found Unfit” July 26, 2005), the editorial writer by contrast ignores Palestinian responsibility for the dire state of its policing system.

Erlanger reported that the “essential problem for the Palestinian Authority,” according to the report, is that its security forces were established on “an ad hoc basis without statutory support and in isolation of wider reforms,” which he notes is “a lasting legacy of Mr. Arafat’s policy of duplication and promoting rivalry within his organization.” The editorialist, however, faults only Israel’s response to Palestinian violence; according to the editorial, the Palestinian initifada was nothing more than “ill-advised” but the real culprit responsible for the “tattered nature of Palestinian Authority security forces–including police officers and soldiers” is Ariel Sharon’s response.

True to New York Times editorial form, the Palestinian leader is described as a “moderate” whose success has nothing to do with him taking concrete steps against the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure which his predecessor helped construct (in fact, one of the requirements of the Road Map). Instead, Abbas’ future is predicated upon Israel having “to start taking the steps that will allow him to make the case to the Palestinian people that his way–the path of negotiations over violence–will yield the results they want.”

That Israel does not wish to allow the Palestinian security forces to re-arm is unsurprising. After all, Israel has already learned from bitter experience since the Oslo agreements that allowing the Palestinians to arm their security forces proved deadly for Israelis. The intifada spiraled into lethal violence as Palestinian security forces, police and armed militia began employing Katyusha rockets, mortars, anti-tank land mines, and Kassam-2 surface-to-surface rockets against the Israeli army and civilians. Palestinian security forces have been involved in numerous terrorist attacks that have claimed Israeli lives. Hundreds of members of the Palestinian Authority security services have participated in violence against Israel during the intifada. But the New York Times editorial characterizes this Israeli decision not to re-arm the Palestinian security forces as “adding insult to irony.”

The editorial advises that “Mr. Sharon should not even consider exchanging Gaza for more settlement in the West Bank,” and that he should help the Palestinian leader “by announcing a freeze on all settlement activity.” There is no specific advice for the Palestinian leader.

As CAMERA has repeatedly indicated, the New York Times editorials follow a pattern of blaming Israel, ignoring Palestinian violations of the Road Map, and whitewashing Palestinian terrorism and extremism. The template was aptly summarized in a recent Mediacrity blog entry.

1. Whatever the problem, blame Israel.

2. Ignore Palestinian Flouting of the Road Map

3. Promote the Myth of Palestinian “Moderation.”

4. Whitewash terror groups.

5. Palestinian failures are caused by Israel.

6. The U.S. Must Pressure Israel.

Even as the Times‘ news coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has become more balanced and nuanced over the past few years, its editorial bias remains as bad as ever.

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