In the intense media coverage accompanying Yasser Arafat's death, the man known to many as the "father of modern terrorism" is benefiting from an "extreme make-over," as some news reports and columns airbrush history to exclude his actual deeds.
The media is focusing much attention on Yasir Arafat's legacy. Many of the historical briefs and timelines being published whitewash his decades-long involvement in terrorism. Below is a timeline of some of the key events and terrorist acts associated with Arafat.
Please continue your efforts to promote responsible reporting about Arafat and his legacy. Protest whitewashed reports and commentaries that ignore or minimize his decades-long involvement in terror, his goal of destroying Israel, and his siphoning of hundreds of millions of dollars from donations to the Palestinian people that went instead into his own private accounts. Commend fair and objective reporting that provides adequate context.
By Efraim Karsh
Grove Press, 2003
A riveting and invaluable new book that offers the first comprehensive account of Palestinian policy through the Oslo years.
Yasir Arafat is buried as he lived, in a shroud of lies. These include lies of commission, omission and of minor facts used to obscure larger truths. Common in coverage of Arafat's death, they stem from uncritical acceptance of conventional wisdom as much as from any intent to deceive. But they are nonetheless dangerous, contributing to revisionist Arab-Israeli history.
In the Philadelphia Inquirer's Nov. 11 front page story, "Yasir Arafat is Dead," reporter Carol Rosenberg did not shy away from certain truths about the departed Palestinian leader. She mentioned his hijackings, hostage-takings, and massacres, as well as his plans for the destruction of Israel. At the same time, the article contained a string of inexplicable errors and puzzling blunders.
In a column published by the New London Day ("Arafat's Legacy", Nov 7) and the Philadelphia Inquirer ("Arafat's reign", Nov. 3), syndicated columnist Gwynne Dyer included serious factual errors, as well as an implied endorsement of Arafat's terror.
In the final segment of its seven part series on Middle East history, National Public Radio covered the so-called second Palestinian Intifada. As in the previous segments, NPR once again offered up a highly skewed lineup of experts, with critics of Israel heavily represented and pro-Israel voices virtually absent.
More than a year ago (2001-2002), BBC posted on its Web site several profiles of Middle Eastern leaders and groups. The profiles whitewashed Palestinian terrorist figures while, at the same time, harshly disparaging the Israeli prime minister. Despite letters to BBC about its unfair and biased features, the profiles remain unrevised on the Web site. Unfortunately, the misinformation in these features has been quoted and repeated as fact in English language newspapers across the world. For BBC to post such blatantly biased profiles is a violation of its own ethical code of impartiality, accuracy and fairness.