New York Times Doublespeak

Leo Rennert
George Orwell would be smiling in his grave -- if only he could subscribe to the New York Times.

In its July 15 edition, the Times runs an article by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner about dim prospects for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which makes its own scintillating contribution to Orwellian lingo ("News Analysis -- "Cheer, Then Gloom, on Mideast Talks" page A8).

Kershner starts by contrasting the upbeat atmosphere at the recent White House meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with lack of any actual progress to get Israeli and Palestinian leaders to sit together in the same room and hammer out a peace deal.

As to why the outlook is so dim, Kershner, in her 12th paragraph, writes that Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator "raised a new bar for the start of direct talks.  Alongside the long-standing demand for a complete freeze in settlement building, including in East Jerusalem, which the Israelis have refused, Mr. Erekat said talks should start from the point at which the last direct negotiations, between the Palestinians and the previous, centrist Israeli government, left off in December 2008."

Further quoting Ereakat in her 13th paragraph, Kershner adds that Erekat "also said the Mr. Netanyahu should state his readiness to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines."

All perfectly true.  As Kershner reports, the Palestinians -- before agreeing to direct talks -- have set three pre-conditions:  A complete Israeli building freeze in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, acceptance of a generous 2008 peace offer by former Prime Minister Olmert as a starting point for direct talks, and Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines before the Six-Day War.

But hold on. Kershner is not quite through explaining the Palestinian position on resumption of direct talks.

In the very next paragraph, the 14th paragraph, she writes that, despite Israeli rejection of Palestinian pre-conditions, "the Palestinians seem open to entering direct talks, and have been careful not to set firm pre-conditions."

After spelling out the triad of Palestinian pre-conditions in the 12th and 13th paragraphs, Kershner suddenly changes her mind and reports the very opposite -- that no Palestinian pre-conditions stand in the way of resumption of direct negotiations.  The bar to direct talks raised by Erekat in the first two paragraphs disappears in the next paragraph!

Aside from this Orwellian now-you-see-it, now-you don't semantic distortion and contortion by Kershner, the actual record shows that she's right in paragraphs 12 and 13 and flatly wrong in paragraph 14.  Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said zillions of times that he will not, repeat will not, sit down with Netanyahu unless Israel first agrees to his pre-conditions.  There isn't a scintilla of factual evidence that, as Kershner concludes, the Palestinians seem ready for direct talks without pre-conditions.

This is an article in which white is black, black is white -- all in tune with the Kershner-Times agenda of whitewashing Palestinian obstructionism to any meaningful pursuit of the peace process.

Pace, George Orwell.
George Orwell would be smiling in his grave -- if only he could subscribe to the New York Times.

In its July 15 edition, the Times runs an article by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner about dim prospects for direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, which makes its own scintillating contribution to Orwellian lingo ("News Analysis -- "Cheer, Then Gloom, on Mideast Talks" page A8).

Kershner starts by contrasting the upbeat atmosphere at the recent White House meeting between President Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with lack of any actual progress to get Israeli and Palestinian leaders to sit together in the same room and hammer out a peace deal.

As to why the outlook is so dim, Kershner, in her 12th paragraph, writes that Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator "raised a new bar for the start of direct talks.  Alongside the long-standing demand for a complete freeze in settlement building, including in East Jerusalem, which the Israelis have refused, Mr. Erekat said talks should start from the point at which the last direct negotiations, between the Palestinians and the previous, centrist Israeli government, left off in December 2008."

Further quoting Ereakat in her 13th paragraph, Kershner adds that Erekat "also said the Mr. Netanyahu should state his readiness to recognize a Palestinian state based on the 1967 lines."

All perfectly true.  As Kershner reports, the Palestinians -- before agreeing to direct talks -- have set three pre-conditions:  A complete Israeli building freeze in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, acceptance of a generous 2008 peace offer by former Prime Minister Olmert as a starting point for direct talks, and Israeli recognition of a Palestinian state on the 1967 lines before the Six-Day War.

But hold on. Kershner is not quite through explaining the Palestinian position on resumption of direct talks.

In the very next paragraph, the 14th paragraph, she writes that, despite Israeli rejection of Palestinian pre-conditions, "the Palestinians seem open to entering direct talks, and have been careful not to set firm pre-conditions."

After spelling out the triad of Palestinian pre-conditions in the 12th and 13th paragraphs, Kershner suddenly changes her mind and reports the very opposite -- that no Palestinian pre-conditions stand in the way of resumption of direct negotiations.  The bar to direct talks raised by Erekat in the first two paragraphs disappears in the next paragraph!

Aside from this Orwellian now-you-see-it, now-you don't semantic distortion and contortion by Kershner, the actual record shows that she's right in paragraphs 12 and 13 and flatly wrong in paragraph 14.  Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has said zillions of times that he will not, repeat will not, sit down with Netanyahu unless Israel first agrees to his pre-conditions.  There isn't a scintilla of factual evidence that, as Kershner concludes, the Palestinians seem ready for direct talks without pre-conditions.

This is an article in which white is black, black is white -- all in tune with the Kershner-Times agenda of whitewashing Palestinian obstructionism to any meaningful pursuit of the peace process.

Pace, George Orwell.