Saturday, September 6, 2014

How New York Times Twists Gaza news


How the New York Times Twists Gaza

Relatives mourn Palestinian children killed in Israeli airstrike (photo: Wissam Nassar/NYT)  
The New York Times published this photo of Palestinian women mourning children killed in an Israeli airstrike under the heading "Telling Blows Against Hamas." (photo: Wissam Nassar/NYT)
Though it has faded somewhat from the headlines, Israel's war on Gaza is still going on, with a round of airstrikes that killed dozens this week.  And how was this reported in the New York Times? As Hamas breaking a cease-fire agreement.

Jodi Rudoren's dispatch (8/21/14) begins with a rather astonishing lead:
Hamas is the party that keeps extending this summer's bloody battle in the Gaza Strip, repeatedly breaking temporary truces and vowing to endlessly fire rockets into Israel until its demands are met.
The idea that it has been Hamas that has "repeatedly" broken cease-fire agreements is deeply misleading. An August 1 agreement, for instance, broke down under disputed circumstances (FAIR Blog, 8/6/14), with Hamas claiming that its attack on Israeli soldiers inside Gaza came before the cease-fire was to start. The Israeli reaction was a massive attack on Rafah that killed dozens.

But declaring Hamas to be the party that rejects good faith efforts to stop the fighting is common (Electronic Intifada, 7/15/14), while little attention is paid to Hamas offers of a cease-fire or truce, one of which came very early in the war (Mondoweiss, 7/16/14).  And when there is evidence that Israel has violated a new cease-fire agreement–as was the case on August 4–media reports do their best to obscure this fact (FAIR Blog, 8/6/14).

On a more fundamental level, Israel's insistence on maintaining a blockade on Gaza is itself an act of war–meaning that most discussions about "ending" the conflict are really about how to extend a state of war against Gaza.

As is often the case, what caused this week's breakdown is in dispute. As the Guardian reported (8/19/14):
Israel accused Hamas of violating the latest of a series of temporary ceasefires after rockets were launched from Gaza, triggering a swift military and political response. More than 25 airstrikes hit Gaza in response to rocket fire, killing a woman and a two-year-old girl, and wounding at least 15 others in Gaza City.
The paper added: "The Hamas spokesman in Gaza, Sami Abu Zuhri, denied knowledge of the rocket fire which Israel said had breached the truce."

Whatever the immediate cause, the effect has been another round of devastating attacks. But in the Times, not only was Hamas to blame, but they also wanted readers to know that this round of attacks was especially careful:
In contrast to the earlier phase of the war, Israel this week deployed its extensive intelligence capabilities and overwhelming firepower in targeted bombings with limited civilian casualties less likely to raise the world's ire.
Jodi Rudoren, on Facebook Jodi Rudoren
Now, it's theoretically possible to make the argument that when compared to a month of attacks that killed 2,000 people, the majority of them civilians, this latest round of attacks is less deadly. But the piece itself presents plenty of evidence that civilians are still being killed. In describing an attack on the home of Hamas military leader Mohammed Deif, the Times reports:
Mr. Deif's fate remained unknown Thursday, though the body of his 3-year-old daughter, Sara, was recovered from the rubble of the Gaza City home where five one-ton bombs also killed Mr. Deif's wife, baby son and at least three others.
This was not the only such incident. As Rudoren reported:
Several of Thursday's attacks targeted men on motorcycles or in cars who Israel said were militants, though Palestinian witnesses also reported that five people, three of them children, were killed while watering a Gaza City garden, and five others while digging a grave in the Sheikh Radwan cemetery.
Instead of dwelling on this, the paper felt the need to reiterate that this was "a limited air campaign" that was avoiding "the large-scale collateral damage that has provoked international outrage." That assessment, in the reporter's own voice, stands in contrast to this: "The Gaza Health Ministry said Israeli airstrikes had killed at least 60 people since the collapse on Tuesday of cease-fire negotiations in Cairo."

One could just as easily write a piece about how a terrified and suffering civilian population has found itself facing another round of attacks, with dozens of new deaths in a matter of a couple of days.  But that's not the story the Times wanted to tell. It wanted to let readers know that the new attacks are all Hamas' fault–but that Israel is being especially precise this time around.
Filed Under: Israel/Palestine, New York Times Tagged With: ,

About Peter Hart
Activism Director and and Co-producer of CounterSpinPeter Hart is the activism director at FAIR. He writes for FAIR's magazine Extra! and is also a co-host and producer of FAIR's syndicated radio show CounterSpin. He is the author of The Oh Really? Factor: Unspinning Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly (Seven Stories Press, 2003). Hart has been interviewed by a number of media outlets, including NBC Nightly News, Fox News Channel's O'Reilly Factor, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and the Associated Press. He has also appeared on Showtime and in the movie Outfoxed. Follow Peter on Twitter at @peterfhart.
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Last reply was 16 minutes ago

  1. Any minute now, the trolls from the Lame Stream Media shall wander and 'defend' Israeli by claiming we are just making this all up.
    Have we considered the possibility that the Israeli Government is simply following our lead, like Baby Doggy attacking (Gaza) when Daddy Doggy attacks the others in the middle east with drone strikes.
  2. Israel has been precise throughout this attack, just as it has for decades.
    Its aim has been to destroy any chance for the Palestinian people to live in dignity
    Or, for so many, to simply live.
    In that, it's been dead on target, hasn't it?

  3. Jeff
    Pieces like the New York times wrote on this make reporters less safe by militants abroad.

  4. The lead by Jodi Roudan will go down as one of the worst journalistic leads in the history of NY Times. Now instead of being taught as a professional newspaper, NYtimes will be taught in the category of how not to do a lea

  5. Eric
    Sixty-five years of expulsion and dispossession from Israel's initial borders, 47 years of military occupation, hundreds of assassinations from the air and by other means, missiles and artillery attacking civilians, destruction of vital water and electrical installations, consistent violations of ceasefires and massive over-reactions by the blockading power …

    But forget all that. The New York Times blames the victim for resisting, however feebly. The paper has updated the old saw about journalism's job: not just to come down from the hills after the battle and shoot the wounded, but coordinate propaganda attacks with the most powerful military aggressor — against the most vulnerable.
    Speaking half-truths for power. Could anything be different among the propaganda organs — oops, media — of the world's remaining military superpower?

  6. You are correct of course, NYT does much to support the Israeli cause. But I disagree with your suggestion that Israel is being more precise this time round.
    Instead they are getting closer to their overall objective. See my article Israel wins, Gaza and Hamas Lose, part on my website

  7. William
    Hart's latest piece is misleading for any number of reasons. Here are a few:
    1. For years Hart has blasted Israel for having the audacity to defend itself. Of course civilian casualties have been an unfortunate product of Israel's wars of self-defense, as in any war. In an August 12 article, Hart finally acknowledged what most would consider a truism, "Wars kill people, many of them civilians. That much we know for sure." But now Hart is back to his old tricks, attempting to indict Israel merely because "civilians are still being killed."
    2. Of course the reason the war has resumed, and so civilians are again inevitably suffering, is that Hamas broke the cease-fire. Hart doesn't deny this, but claims that maybe Israel broke a cease-fire in the past. However, this question is ultimately irrelevant because, according to Hart, any cease-fire is really about "how to extend a state of war against Hamas." In other words, Israel is evil if it breaks a cease-fire, and Israel is evil if it does not.
    3. Hart makes much of Hamas' offer of a 10-year truce. What he fails to mention is that Hamas made it clear that this "truce" was not meant to be a peace agreement, but merely a prelude to battle, the purpose of which is to destroy Israel. Not surprising, given that Hamas' charter explicitly calls for the destruction of Israel and genocide against the Jews.

    4. Most embarrassing for Hart is that he insisted that Hamas, choir boys that they are, had nothing to do with the kidnapping of the 3 Israeli teenagers that triggered the current conflict. Now that Hamas has taken credit for the kidnapping, Hart will do anything to draw attention away from this inconvenient fact – hence the idiotic article above.
    ."Not long ago Hart opening an article by pointing out that civilians die in any conflict. Here he

  8. “If we don't end war, war will end us.”
    By H. G. Wells

    You can't say civilization don't advance… in every war they kill you in a new way.
    Will Rogers

    “I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”
    ― Albert Einstein

    Mid East, South East. Ukraine and Russia, or you can say, in the most part of the world, always human is killing human, using the fame of humanity, to secure the future of human. Do we have any other opportunity for the human existing under the shadow of Nuclear Weapons?
    The world leadership and the U N body are just leaping with this lethal issue for their political beneficence. The lading religious foundations are already embroiled in the mazes of their own religious definitions. So it doesn’t mean that we should not try to reach a “unanimous conclusion” of these most complicated issues.
    Changes are the essential part of the Natural process, and our leadership is an embodiment of our perception that navigates our life according to their ethics that helps them to lead their community or sect professionally
    So I have started the petition "A policy for United Nation, to save our existence from the destructive war, by the unification of all the religious definitions within scientific insight and history" and needs your help to get it off the ground.
    Will you take 30 seconds to sign it right now?
    Here's the link:

    Here's why it's important
    The dark aspects of our scientific achievements (Destructive Weapons), the contemporary political issues of the world and the weaknesses of current world leadership do not have the potential to uproot the basis of terrorism and prevent the wars based on religious conflicts in the Middle East. Currently humanity is divided by religious boundaries and political issues. Though our scientific achievements have already brought us close to each other, we are far away from understanding the facts that separate our existence. Even now we are living under the shadow of Nuclear weapons all over the world as a result of nuclear proliferation.

    Thus, it is important for all peoples of this world, to promote the sources that bring science and theology together for the unification of our perception in one idea, to perpetuate the path to peace. I have designed a simple method in a literary form, to tackle the complexities of this issue. Now it’s the prime responsibility of the world literate community to raise new hopes by working towards a common citizenship of all peoples and all faiths that is based on social responsibility and global solidarity. This is the most urgent contemporary need and most important issue of this current period.
  9. Darius Sarrafi
    How does an occupying entity "defend" itself? That defies all logic!

  10. Truthwillout
    So I am amazed that rational people as you seem to be can simply side with an organisation whose declared intention is to eradicate a nation state and it's people( Jews, or presumably all Arab Israelis as collaborators, and infidels). Where is your moral compass? You should be ashamed of yourselves. And read your history. Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. What did that achieve. Gaza launching war on Israel. You reap what you sow. Grow up people. There are other causes you can harrumph about if you enjoy your pious wankjobs, but siding with an organised crime entity like Hamas just makes you come across a bit thick

  11. Darius Sarrafi
    The same can be said about you for backing an illegitimate state that has been artificially built on indigenous people of Palestine's land based on a supposed 5000 year old promise from the greatest real estate agent of all (god). A state that has been occupying and ethnically cleansing the rightful residents of that land for decades in defiance of several UN resolutions.

  12. Lydia
    Depraved indifference on the part of the press.

  13. William
    Top reasons Hamas has failed to amend its genocidal charter:
    1. Too busy lobbing missiles at Israel's civilian population.
    2. Stiff competition from up-and-coming Islamic terrorists like ISIS.
    3. Can't figure out how to soft-pedal genocidal intentions.
    4. Can't find any new quotes from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
    5. Apparently somebody already wrote Mein Kampf.
    6. The existing charter has that line about the stones and trees demanding that Jews be killed. How can you top that?

  14. Bob Walton
    What's "fair" about Peter Hart pillorying Israel for 2K Gazan deaths that occurred because HAMAS, GAZA's army, likes to launch rockets at Israel from the yards of civilian homes, hospitals and mosques while virtually ignoring 200K dead Syrian Muslims who died at the hands of other Syrian Muslims. It's FAIR for MUSLIMS to kill other MUSLIMS but unfair when Israelis kill muslims to protect themselves.

  15. it is fascinating to see presumably sane people explaining away the brutality with which Israel is deliberately murdering women and children in Gaza on the grounds of self defence. here is a brief list of their targets:
    medical clinics
    most if not all of the overseas currency earning factories
    the only cardboard box factory
    fishing boats
    the Electricity generating plant
    the water distribution system
    crops and arable land and olive trees
    municipality buildings
    the emergency phone call system
    houses and apartments
    Israel's secondary purpose was to target people as well. The concept behind this was to undermine the popular support of Hamas. Even now that goal seems to have eluded Israel. But they have killed and wounded thousands.
    whole families
    women and children
    individuals by snipe fire
    prominent people in Gaza
    and of course “officials” associated with Hamas in any capacity

  16. William
    Peter, I see you write doggerel about the Palestinians. I have an idea for your next masterpiece!
    You could wax eloquent about Kassem Shabir – he received praise from Abbas and a special stipend from the Palestinian Authority. His great accomplishment? Murdering a Holocaust survivor with an ax.
    I'm sure you can find a way to make him out to be an epic hero!
  17. debra mcdaniel
    To truthwillout…having compassion for Palestinians has nothing to do with feelings toward Hamas. Israeli supporters try to conflate empathy for Paletinians with support for Hamas. I have nothing but contempt for the right wing Zionists that have pushed for genocide but that doesn't mean I dislike all Jews. Talking about Hamas while including the civilian Palestinians as all being evil is disingenuous but the media buys and reports whatever the Israeli government says without question. I' so tired of hearing the same bullshit from Netanyahu every time he violates international human rights laws. He has more economical excuses as to why it is necessary to KILL Palestinian civilians and how he isn't targeting them. Everyone knows this is propaganda to keep our government from having to admit they are backing yet one more repressive government that breaks international laws The U.S. even breaks its own laws for the criminal country Israel.We should not be giving weapons to a country where users them against civilian populations.. But hey anything for the Zionists, right?
  18. Israeli teenagers: Racist and proud of it
    Ethnic hatred has become a basic element
    in the everyday life of Israeli youth,
    By Or Kashti | Aug. 23, 2014 | 12:20 PM | 10
    “For me, personally, Arabs are something I can’t look at and can’t stand,” a 10th-grade girl from a high school in the central part of the country says in abominable Hebrew. “I am tremendously racist. I come from a racist home. If I get the chance in the army to shoot one of them, I won’t think twice. I’m ready to kill someone with my hands, and it’s an Arab. In my education I learned that … their education is to be terrorists, and there is no belief in them.
    I live in an area of Arabs, and every day I
    see these Ishmaelites, who pass by
    the [bus] station and whistle.
    I wish them death.”
  19. […] with limited civilian casualties” in recent attacks that killed numerous Palestinian civilians, as documented by Peter Hart of FAIR. They include Ali Abunimah and Greg Mitchell ridiculing The Times for labeling an Israeli […]
  20. In today's military approach to conflict, missile and drone strikes are now judge, jury and executioner. We read endless reports of strikes on "suspected" militants, but does anyone really know? And does it even matter if a hammer is the solution to every problem? And if you happen to live or be near where the hammer strikes, pray that you are not caught up in the collateral damage.
    Of course the US is no better. We save our troops by conducting joystick combat missions. And then we wonder why the Middle East hates the West, or why it is so easy for militant organizations to recruit members.
    Part of what's so dangerous about this kind of warfare is that it's almost impossible to record what "progress", if any, is made toward a mission's goal. How do you measure militants killed when you aren't even sure who you're targeting?
  21. Chris Condon
    I subscribe to two European channels on my cable television, TV5 (French) and Deutsche Welle (German). Both channels show graphic pictures of the destruction wrought by Israeli attacks on Gaza. I see whole blocks leveled. From what I can tell, it does not appear that Israel is making much of an effort to avoid civilian casualties. The European channels, by the way, present a much less flattering picture of the Israeli attacks than you see on American television.
  22. Darius Sarrafi
    People who still buy into the idea that Hamas, Al Qaeda, IS, etc. are terrorists buy into the idea that people who are defending their land against colonialist occupiers are somehow evil.
    We may not like their ideology, but they are doing exactly what we would if we were occupied by outside bullies. Islam is often used as a unifying ideology in that region because Jihad ("struggle" for justice) is one of its principles that is taken seriously and practiced by the zealots (like Europeans did with Christianity in the medieval era). This is why any resistance in the Muslim world takes the form of fundamental Islam.
    It would be a cold day in hell before this argument becomes part of public discourse on the liberal/leftist media, let alone the MSM.
  23. William Fuller
    I hope the author is not surprised by what she reads in the NYT. The NYT is a propaganda machine for Israel. That is the truth and anyone who reads its editorials for the past few years will see that. Now the religious fanatics will howl and scream anti-Semitism at anyone who fails to defend Israel at all times. Fact: there is no independent U.S. media. There is only the Israel First media. No? When is it not?
  24. The American media from its inception were one sided even during the native American tried to stave off the genocide of 43million of their brothers and sisters the media were on the side of the aggressors and in Vietnam/ Iraq the directive was shoot anything that moves.
  25. TeeJae
    @Darius- I don't know, I think most of the "liberal/leftist media" (if you are referring to independent media) and its followers (like most of us here) would actually agree with you.
  26. Follow this Facebook page to learn all about the attacks in Gaza!
  27. […] with limited civilian casualties” in recent attacks that killed numerous Palestinian civilians, as documented by Peter Hart of FAIR. They include Ali Abunimah and Greg Mitchell ridiculing The Times for labeling an Israeli […]
  28. […] with limited civilian casualties” in recent attacks that killed numerous Palestinian civilians, as documented by Peter Hart of FAIR. They include Ali Abunimah and Greg Mitchell ridiculing The Times for labeling an Israeli attack […]
  29. […] the New York Times Twists Gaza News To Favor Zionist Israel !  by Peter Hart, FAIR,  Though it has faded somewhat from the headlines, Israel’s war […]
  30. Robert H. Stiver, Oahu, Hawaii, USA
    Such despicable "journalism." The Fourth Estate is "entangled" in the claws of Zionists, with the NYT and WAPO leading the cast of miscreants and liars. Viva Palestine!

  31. Controlling the media means you determine what people feel, think, and how people act.
    The Jewish Zionist have learned this from the Nazis as well as the Hutu's in Rwanda.
    The Zionist have hatched this diabolical plan three war assaults on Gaza by blaming Hamas as terrorists.
    Now Obama is poised to invade Iraq and Syria based on a 911 false flag beheading.
    Once this turned warmonger got the taste of blood by droning an American he seems to like it a lot

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