NYT Weeps for Vandalized Palestinian Olive Trees
It's harvest time for olives in the West Bank and, as usual, there are clashes between Israeli and Palestinian farmers. Olive trees get damaged and vandalized on both sides. It's a reprehensible state of affairs, no doubt. But this is not exactly how the New York Times reports it. As far as Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren is concerned, it's just another opportunity to bash Israelis, while glossing over Palestinian miscreants. ("In a Harvest, Palestinians Cast a Light on Hardship" Oct. 23, page A11).
Right from the start, Rudoren shows where her sympathy lies, focusing rhapsodically on a Palestinian farmer "who has picked olives each autumn with his family, the women and girls cooking a hot meal in the fields as the men and boys topped ladders to fell the black and green fruit onto large tarps. The olive harvest has been a beloved ritual for Palestinians for hundreds of years, as important to the culture as to the economy."
Well, you get the picture, including Rudoren falsifying history with the fiction that Palestinians have been around for "hundreds of years." Over that time span, one could find Arabs in the region -- not relative newcomer Palestinians. But never mind, why fuss over historical inaccuracy in pursuit of the Times' pro-Palestinian cause.
Still focusing her sympathy entirely on the Palestinian side, Rudoren tells Times readers that a new tradition has been added, "in which Palestinians and the advocacy groups that support them use the harvest to highlight hardships under Israeli occupation." And naturally, Rudoren is only too happy to sign up for this new tradition.
"The two major complaints (by Palestinians) have to do with access and vandalism," she reports. To back up her one-sided reporting, she cites statistics furnished by an anti-Israel UN monitoring group about numbers of Palestinian olive trees damaged or vandalized. No equivalent data of damaged Israeli trees. Natch.
Finally, far down in her piece, there appears a spokesman for the Israeli agency that oversees the West Bank who all too briefly is allowed to make the point that "there were also cases in which Palestinians damaged Israeli-owned trees, but that they were fewer." For Rudoren, this is apparently sufficient to exculpate Palestinian vandals.
And so it goes with the Grey Lady and all the pro-Palestinian news that's fit to print.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers