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January 10, 2011
New York Times ignores an inconvenient truth
If the New York Times did some serious journalism about changing demographics in Jerusalem instead of focusing only on new housing for Jews, it would discover that Israel's capital is far more Arab today than it was in 1967 after the Six-Day War when Israel captured East Jerusalem, including the Old City, ending 19 years of Jordanian aggression and occupation.
In the four decades since 1967, Arab population in the unified city has soared from 26 percent to 34 percent. By 2020, it is expected that Arabs will comprise 40 percent of the city's population. And demographic studies indicate that Arabs may reach population parity with Jews in Jerusalem as early as 2035. Why this Arabization of the capital ? Because of high housing costs and the lure of better jobs for Jews elsewhere in Israel, while hundreds of millions of dollars have been spent by Arab regimes and the Palestinian Authority to bankroll construction of thousands of Arab homes -- many of them without legal permits.
The Times, however, is not interested in the steady Arabization of the capital, because this would contradict its make-believe agenda that Jews are proliferating in East Jerusalem, where supposedly they have no business to be, including in areas where Jews resided for many centuries before they were expelled by Jordan at Israel's founding.
So, the Times ignores the reality of Arabs building homes in Jerusalem at a far faster rate than Jews, and focuses only on political theatrics when leftists organize protests against occasional new Jewish developments in the city's eastern neighborhoods. The underlying premise of its reportage is that it was OK for Jordan to make East Jerusalem "Judenrein" for 19 years before the Six-Day War, but scandalous for Israel to let Jews recoup court-recognized property titles or buy residential properties from willing Arab sellers.
This anti-Israel bent by the Times again is in full swing in a Jan. 9 dispatch by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner about demolition of the Shepherd Hotel a short distance north of the Old City on the slope to Mt. Scopus to make way for 20 apartments for Jewish families ("Israeli Demolition Begins in East Jerusalem Project")
In her lead paragraph, Kershner writes:
Expanding on these Palestinian condemnations, she uncritically quotes Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator and Mahmoud Abbas's propaganda minister, as declaring that "Israel continues to change the landscape of Jerusalem, aiming to change its status and turn it into an exclusive Jewish city."
If this were really Israel's intent, it botched it up royally. In 1967, after the unification of Jerusalem, the Arab population of Jerusalem totaled about 70,000. Today, there are a quarter of a million Arabs in Jerusalem. And according to demographic forecasts, the city will be home to some 360,000 Arabs at the end of this decade.
Yet, the Times spends lots of ink reporting Erekat's bald lie that Israel is changing Jerusalem into an "exclusive Jewish city."
In relating the history of the Shepherd Hotel, Kershner accurately reports that it was built in the 1930s as a villa for Haj Amin al-Husseini, the grandmufti of Jerusalem. Unfortunately, her only description of Husseini is that he "notoriously aligned himself with Hitler." That doesn't begin to do him justice. There were far more nefarious aspects to Husseini than merely aligning himself with Hitler. Kershner fails to report that Husseini ginned up Arab pogroms in the early half of the 20th Century that killed many hundreds of Jews. It was Husseini who goaded Arabs in the 1920s to drive all Jews out of Hebron, killing scores and desecrating their synagogues and cemetery, It was Husseini who lined up the Arab world to further Hitler's Final Solution.
For a reporter and a newspaper, which are so quick to document Palestinian pain, to omit how much Jewish blood Husseini had on his hands again points up the double standard of Times coverage -- when it comes to the Holy Land, spotlight Palestinian suffering, brush out Jewish suffering.
Kershner's euphemistic deletion of Husseini's blood-soaked record -- that he was, in Kershner's words, only "aligned with Hitler" -- leaves readers without a context for her quote of Daniel Luria, a spokesman for an organization supporting more Jewish housing in eastern Jerusalem, who remarks that demolition of the Shepherd Hotel is "beautiful poetic justice."
Luria's entire quote was that witnessing the end of the Shepherd Hotel was "beautiful poetic justice" precisely because, as the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Husseini was implicated in the killing of massive numbers of Jews. The Jerusalem Post reported the entire Luria quote. Kershner did not. She dropped Luria's reason for savoring "poetic justice" -- Husseini's orchestration of multiple massacres of Jews.
Holocaust history demands that such crimes never be forgotten. And that especially goes for the New York Times.