How the NYT libels Israel
In its May 21 edition, the New York Times runs a four-column article by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren about the killing of two Palestinian teenagers during a violent confrontation with Israeli military forces (“Video Renews Questions on Palestinian Boys’ Death” page A9).
Rudoren’s lead paragraph reads as follows: “A human rights group circulated a video on Tuesday that renews questions about last week’s killing of two Palestinian teenagers by Israeli forces during a West Bank demonstration.”
The impression left on readers is that a couple of Palestinian teenagers were engaged in a seemingly peaceful demonstration when the IDF shot and killed them. After all, use of the word “demonstration” without any qualifications brings to mind peaceful “demonstrations” during the civil rights movement in the U.S.
In fact, this impression is reinforced in the second paragraph when Rudoren notes that “neither of the teenagers appeared to be engaged in provocative behavior at the time they were shot.” A couple of innocent kids, one would imagine, gunned down by trigger-happy Israeli military forces. At least the way Rudoren depicts the event.
And she’s not done. There’s more Israel bashing in the third paragraph when the usual anti-Israel suspects take center stage. Hanan Ashrawi obliges by condemning Israel’s “deliberate execution of the teenagers.” Ashrawi is identified as a member of the PLO executive committee; more accurately, she’s actually the Palestinians’ premiere propagandist -- the darling of the foreign press in Jerusalem.
Still blasting away at Israel in the third paragraph, Rudoren also brings on Rifat Kassis, executive director of Defense for Children International, who concludes that “neither child presented a direct and immediate threat to life at the time of their shooting.”
But how truthful was this presumptively incriminating video?
Well, for one thing, it turns out, it was edited by a pro-Palestinian group before it was handed to Rudoren and the Times. And for another thing, the video didn’t tell the whole story. For that, readers must wait until the eighth paragraph to be informed belatedly by Israeli officials that participants in the demonstration “had hurled stones and firebombs and ignored orders to disperse.” That pretty well destroys similarities with Martin Luther King, Jr., leading peaceful civil rights marches and demonstrations.
A neat journalistic trick by Rudoren, however, for waiting until the eighth paragraph to finally reveal the dirty little secret that a Palestinian-style demonstration involves hurling lethal stones and firebombs, while ignoring orders to disperse.
Because, at bottom, it all accords with Rudoren’s agenda to blacken Israel under the guise of “objective” news.
After all, how many readers, having been fed a big dose of anti-Israel poison pills at the start of the article, get as far as the eighth paragraph?
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers