“A precipitous Israeli overreaction” is what a January 15, 2005 New York Times editorial labelled Israel’s decision to end all contact with the Palestinian Authority (PA) until it begins to take action against the type of terrorism unleashed against Israel on January 13.
On July 11, the Washington Post editorial editor treated its readers to an opinion column, "Aggression Under False Pretenses," by Hamas leader and Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Readers would not know Hamas is a terrorist organization responsible for the murders of hundreds of Israelis and others, or that Haniyeh a leader or even a member of a terrorist entity.
A familiar quality of unreality pervades much of the news and commentary about the ascendance of Hamas in recent Palestinian elections. Note is endlessly made of the fact that Hamas, with its clinics and other welfare operations, is less "corrupt" than the old-guard Fatah chieftains. But as to why Palestinians en masse are comfortable choosing a leadership engaged in the defamation and murder of innocent Jews -- including children, teenagers and the elderly -- very little is said.
May 18 update follows. Yet again the media has ignored a hate-filled sermon by a Palestinian sheik (a paid PA employee) that was broadcast on official Palestinian television. In the sermon, Sheik Ibrahim Mudeiris labelled Israel a "cancer," the Jewish people a "virus resembling AIDS," and called upon Muslims to "finish off every Jew."
The wish to see a resolution of the grueling Arab-Israeli conflict is both understandable and perilous for journalists. During the Oslo period, wishes all too often stood in for facts, with a constant blind eye turned to the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate industry spawned by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority.
Daniel Okrent is soon to conclude his tenure as the New York Times' Public Editor (ombudsman). In his post, he often listened seriously to reader comment and on occasion concurred with criticism of the paper.He also encouraged systematic corrections on the opinion pages. Given this independent-minded approach, Okrent's April 24 commentary on Middle East coverage disappointed on many counts, omitting or glossing over tough issues and resorting ultimately to platitudes about how difficult it is for the paper to "walk down the middle."
Akiva Eldar, the Ha'aretz journalist who recently transformed Palestinian propagandist Hanan Ashrawi into the "Enemy of Incitement," weighs in again on Palestinian incitement. In a BBC interview March 15, he repeats the old canard that the offending Palestinian texts are outdated Jordanian and Egyptian books, and concludes that anyway, "the focus on incitement is very wrong and it's in a way irrelevant as long as we are fighting."
In a news feature item in the Thursday edition of Ha'aretz, Akiva Eldar discusses Palestinian spokeswoman Hanan Ashrawi, her organization MIFTAH, and incitement. Interestingly, his only mention of the word "propaganda" relates to "Israeli propaganda" originating from the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and the Ha'aretz writer has not a word to say about incitement originating from Ashrawi and MIFTAH themselves.
Roger Avenstrup, an international education consultant, made a startling claim in the International Herald Tribune: Palestinian textbooks do not, in fact, contain incitement against Israel. His astounding conclusion is partly based on distortions and selective quotations from studies of the Israel/Palestine Center for Research and Information, as well as on misrepresentations of the outcomes from a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing and a European Parliament political committee.
To better understand Muslim rejection of Israel -- and more broadly, hatred of the West -- Americans must look beyond the arguments of those who use Israel as a scapegoat, citing this or that Israeli policy.