The Bottom Kernel in NYT's Israel-bashing Bag
You know the New York Times has run out of news pegs to bash Israel when its Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren, has to lead off with an all too predictable tirade against the Jewish state by Saeb Erekat, the Palestinian minister of propaganda (aka ''chief Palestinian negotiator") When Western reporters want to take a poke at Israel, dependable Erekat is always ready with a juicy quote.
Thus, in the June 28 edition, Erekat doesn't disappoint and furnishes the requisite pronouncement to get Rudoren off on her Israel-slamming mission. And in the bargain he also gets a two-column headline, "Palestinian Criticizes Israel Over Construction."
With Erekat's ammunition, Rudoren tells Times readers that "The Chief Palestinian negotiator condemned Israel on Thursday for moving closer to constructing 69 apartments in a Jewish neighborhood on territory seized in the 1967 war even as Secretary of State John Kerry arrived for a fifth round of meetings in his intensive push to revive Middle East peace talks."
Hardly earth-shattering. We've seen this movie before with all its anti-Israel spin. Oh, and this "Jewish neighborhood on territory seized in the 1967 war" is Rudoren's convoluted euphemism for eastern Jerusalem."
Having blackened Israel, Rudoren then has to acknowledge that the 69 apartments were approved years ago and issuing of permits was a routine matter. But by then, the anti-Israel damage has been done -- in the headline and the lead paragraph.
Moving on, Rudoren hammers away that Erekat's denunciation, along with "outrage" from the usual anti-settlement groups, "underscored the delicacy of the moment," disturbed only by Israel.
Actually, there was a far more newsworthy development in the run-up to the June 28 edition, which would have made for a more telling reason about the fragility of the peace process -- Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas proclaiming that Israel plans to destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque atop Temple Mount and denying Israel's 3,000-year history in Jerusalem to boot.
Abbas's vile incitement to violence -- Al Aqsa is the third holiest site in Islam -- and his historical revisionism about Jerusalem pose a far greater challenge to Kerry's efforts to get Israeli-Palestinian negotiations back on track than 69 apartments in the Har Homa neighborhood of Israel's capital. But Rudoren and the Times persistently refuse to take notice of Abbas's dark side.
The anti-Israel bias in the paper's news columns is patently obvious, especially when Erekat's propaganda is accorded lead-off status in both headline and alleged "news" article.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers