The New York Times Diminishes Palestinian Terrorism

According to the New York Times, Israel is to blame for the latest round of hostilities between Gaza and Israel, having targeted Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Baha Abu al-Ata for assassination.  Palestinian terrorism and its role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, by contrast, is sanitized or erased.

Palestinian Islamic Jihad logo

In his contorted analysis of the current situation (“As Islamic Jihad and Israel Battled, Hamas, in a Twist, Sat on the Sidelines”),  New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger downplays Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) as a pesky gadfly to Gaza’s Hamas rulers —  in his sanitizing words,  “a nettlesome, unruly and heavily armed little group” that is hampering Hamas’ efforts “to keep a lid on its conflict with Israel”. 

According to Halbfinger, the problem with the PIJ’s “firing hundreds of rockets into Israel” is not the targeting of millions of innocent civilians, forcing them into bomb shelters, but the “sabotaging” of Hamas’ plans to “improve the abysmal quality of life of the Palestinians” under its rule by provoking Israel to “rain down destruction on Hamas’s own installations and men.”  Israel, in the New York Times, is ever the culprit.

What the New York Times assiduously ignores is that:

  1. PIJ is one of the most violent Islamist terrorist organizations in the world whose “Manifesto of the Islamic Jihad in Palestine” declares its goal is to “destroy Israel and to end all Western influence in the region.”
  2. PIJ’s enemies include the United States, labelled “the Great-Satan America.”
  3. The terror group rejects “any peaceful solution to the Palestinian cause” insisting that “Jihad” and “martyrdom”—i.e. terrorism – is the only way of achieving its goal of replacing the Westernized Jewish state with an Islamic one.   
  4. While Halbfinger cites “Israeli analysts” who accuse Islamic Jihad of being an Iranian proxy, he avoids pointing out that since September 2000, Iran has paid PIJ millions of dollars in bonuses for each successful attack carried out by PIJ; that it has provided PIJ with sophisticated weaponry that includes the Fajr-5 long-range rockets used by PIJ to target civilians deep inside Israel; that it has been helping PIJ  produce precision missiles known as “Ashkelon’s hell” that can reach Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Netanya and “even further.” Rather, Halbfinger mitigates these Iran-sponsored war crimes in vague, soft language about Iran’s use of the PIJ “to send Israel messages through relatively low-risk acts of violence.”
  5. Nowhere does the article indicate that PIJ’s armed Al Quds Brigades has taken responsibility for dozens of large-scale bombings of civilian targets– on buses, restaurants, shopping malls, markets, that it has established terrorist training camps for youth, that it boasts having mortars, RPGs, machine guns, .50-caliber sniper rifles, and explosives in its arsenal, that it is involved in digging cross-border tunnels to kidnap Israelis, smuggle weapons and carry out large-scale terror attacks inside Israel.
  6. Nor does the analysis make any reference to PIJ’s overtly anti-Semitic statements, Holocaust denial and threats of slaughter.
  7. The only mention of “terrorist” comes in Halbfinger’s statement that both PIJ and Hamas are “viewed as terrorist organizations by Israel and the United States” as if those two countries are alone in sharing a partisan perspective about PIJ.  What the journalist conceals is that numerous other countries, including Canada, the UK, the EU, Australia, New Zealand, Japan similarly count PIJ as a foreign terror group.

The New York Times correspondent does not bother to explain that the U.S. State Department has designated PIJ a foreign terrorist organization since October 1997, because of the group’s  commitment “to the destruction of Israel through attacks against Israeli military and civilian targets and to the creation of an Islamic state in historic Palestine, including present day Israel.” Nor does he note that  raining missiles down on Israeli civilians is itself a war crime.  

Instead, he loftily describes the terrorist organization as representing the “untrammeled id of the Palestinian resistance movement” — a movement that is elsewhere in the article described as “resistance to the Israeli occupation.”  The article thus misleads readers into thinking that the terrorist group’s goal is to resist an Israeli presence in disputed territories, when in fact PIJ declares its mission is to wipe the entire Jewish state off the map and is unwilling to accept Israel within any borders whatsoever.

In this way, the New York Times transforms Palestinian terrorism, war crimes, and attempts to annihilate the Jewish state into mere “resistance” against Israeli actions.  It is another example of how the newspaper covers up Palestinian responsibility for the conflict, blaming Israel instead.

Contrary to how the same newspaper covered the assassination of ISIS leader Abu Baker al-Baghdadi  just two weeks earlier, repeatedly referring to him and his organization as “terrorist,”  the New York Times scrupulously refuses to label Palestinian terrorists as such.   And if journalists slip and include a reference to Palestinian terrorist organizations, as CAMERA just documented, the newspapers’ editors make sure to scrub it from the record.   

This is not accurate or ethical journalism.  It is advocacy journalism that misleads the public about what is going on – and provides just another  illustration of the New York Times’ ingrained bias against the Jewish state.