Joel Greenberg, the Washington Post's Palestinian Propagandist

In its June 4 edition, the Washington Post carries a lengthy article by Jerusalem correspondent Joel Greenberg about Palestinian plans for another round of border demonstrations against Israel ("Palestinians plan news marches on border -- Israel boosts security as activists organize protests on many fronts," page A6).

The problem with Greenberg's piece is that it reads more like a Palestinian publicity release than a straightforward news account.  Palestinians are hailed as heroic, non-violent protesters, while Israel is depicted in dark, hawkish hues. 

For example, Greenberg labels Palestinian demonstrations on Israel's borders as "unarmed protests," paying scant attention to rock-throwing barrages hurled at Israeli security forces.

Taking a potshot at Israel's army, he writes that 14 people "were killed and scores were wounded May 15 when Israeli troops opened fire on marchers" as they surged across the border into the Golan Heights.  The suggestion is that Israeli troops killed these 14 people.  But Greenberg is careful not to attribute the killings directly to Israel -- "14 people were killed" -- because he apparently is aware of widespread reports that most of those fatalities were due to Lebanese forces firing on Palestinian protesters on their side of the border.  But Greenberg is determined to keep this a deep secret, preferring to let readers get the wrong, anti-Israel impression.

While Palestinian plans for widespread border protests on June 5 are really old news -- they've been reported for quite a while -- Greenberg buries one bit of real news in the eighth paragraph of his article.  Under strong pressure from the Lebanese government and army, Palestinians were forced to cancel demonstrations along the Lebanese-Israeli border.  Quite a setback for the Palestinian side that gets fairly short shrift in Greenberg's report.  Any reporter worth his salt would have fleshed out this news -- why would the Lebanese Army act so conspicuously against Palestinian interests?  Who exactly on the Lebanese side thwarted Palestinian plans?  Greenberg, however, is only interested in promoting Palestinian moves against Israel.  The Lebanese reverse doesn't fit into his agenda.

 But it 's when Greenberg delves in the history of Arab-Israeli wars that he really produces some howlers.

Israel's War of Independence becomes "the war that accompanied the creation of Israel in 1948."  In Greenberg's historical fiction, Israel was created in 1948 to the accompaniment of a war.  Who orchestrated and launched this war?  Total silence. Who attacked whom?  No mention that half a dozen Arab armies invaded the nascent Jewish state with the stated intention of eliminating it.  No mention that Israel's creation was a perfectly legal move consonant with League of Nations and UN decisions.  Instead, there's an intimation that Israel -- not Arab rejectionist regimes -- were responsible for the 1948-49 war.  It's standing history on its head.

Would the Post countenance an article that told readers that World War II began in 1939 with a "war between Poland and Germany "?  Would the Post also hide Hitler's aggression?

In a similar historical distortion, Greenberg describes the 1967 war -- another attempt by Egypt, Syria and Jordan to eliminate Israel -- as "the 1967 Middle East war, in which Israel captured the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and the Golan Heights."  Greenberg prefers to maintain total silence about the war's origin and causes -- Egypt's Nasser blockading the Strait of Tiran against Israeli shipping to and from the Red Sea and his movement of troops against Israel.  Instead, Greenberg selectively mentions only the end results of that war -- not that Israel thwarted the stated designs of its would-be destroyers. 

Greenberg devotes most of his article to interviews with organizers of the planned  Sunday, June 5, demonstrations, assuring readers of their peaceful intention.  He ends his peace with a guarantee from one organizer that the Israelis won't get "a chance to say that the Palestinians are violent and terrorists,"

 Attacks with deadly slingshots presumably don't count anymore as "violent" tactics.  Nor could there be any terrorists among the protesters since Greenberg alludes to Fatah and Hamas merely as "rival Palestinian factions" that have joined in a "reconciliation accord."  Hamas, a terrorist outfit dedicated to Israel's destruction, becomes in Greenberg's parlance merely one of two major Palestinian "factions." That's Greenberg's way of carefully scrubbing all terrorist fingerprints that might attach to the Palestinian side..

So why are Palestinians resorting to this new anti-Israel strategy of border demonstrations?  According to Greenberg, it's all Israel's fault -- an "impasse in peace efforts" (no mention that it's Mahmoud Abbas who refuses to negotiate), and "widespread disillusionment deepened by Netanyahu's hawkish statements during his recent visit to Washington."

Israel thus gets the pejorative "hawkish" tag, while Palestinians practice "the effectiveness of unarmed protests."

In the good old days of more objective, more balanced journalism, Ed Leahy, a legendary Washington correspondent, could define reporters as people "who march down the middle of the road, knocking out windows on both sides."

No more.  With the Greenbergs of the mainstream media, reporters now walk down the middle of the road, knocking out windows on just one side -- the Israeli side, while bending over backwards to shield the Palestinian side from any critical scrutiny, even if this means butchering real history in the process.

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