Israel’s Reputation Lies in Ruins: The NY Times Puts Up a Smoke Screen

A perfect storm of protest has converged in recent days, all fueled by outrage over Israeli attacks in Gaza. It ranges from the highest levels of the British government to demonstrators on the street, but The New York Times today has turned its back on all of them.

Rather than inform readers of these developments, the paper has chosen to help Israel by muddying the waters regarding the issue of civilian casualties. Casting doubt on carefully amassed United Nations statistics that show 85 percent civilian deaths (the Times uses older data showing 72 percent), writer Jodi Rudoren gives deference to undocumented Israeli claims that half the deaths were combatants.

It seems that this is meant to distract us from the international outcry over innocent deaths in Gaza and recent accounts that show just how far Israel has managed to “delegitimize” itself in the eyes of the world. The Times runs stories about Israel’s pull-back from Gaza, Hamas politics and efforts to stifle dissent in Israel, but there is only cursory mention of international condemnation far down in the ceasefire article.

Nowhere in the Times is there any detailed look at the outcry against Israel that is coming from all levels in the international community. Readers, however, can look elsewhere, and here are some of the stories they will find in other media outlets:

Senior British cabinet member, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, minister of state for foreign and commonwealth affairs, resigned yesterday citing the government’s failure to condemn the attack on Gaza. She wrote, “Our approach and language during the current crisis in Gaza is morally indefensible, is not in Britain’s national interest and will have a long term detrimental impact on our reputation internationally and domestically.”

A group of distinguished British jurists wrote to the International Criminal Court, urging it to launch an investigation into crimes committed in Gaza, including the destruction of homes, hospitals and schools. The letter was signed by the chair of the British Bar Council’s human rights committee and signed by a host of senior barristers and law professors.

Human Rights Watch issued a news release saying that Israeli forces shot and killed civilians fleeing from fighting in the town of Khuza. It cited “several incidents” from July 23 to July 25.

Amnesty International appealed to the United States government to halt a shipment of fuel to the Israeli military “as evidence of war crimes mounts.” The group has also asked for an arms embargo on Israel.

The British National Union of Students voted to boycott companies that support Israel, stating, “NUS does not employ or work with companies identified as facilitating Israel’s military capacity, human rights abuses or illegal settlement activity, and to actively work to cut ties with those that do.”

A group of nine activists in the United Kingdom shut down a factory run by a subsidiary of the Israeli arms firm Elbit. The group said in a statement, “By allowing this factory to export engines for killer drones to Israel, the UK government is providing direct support and approval to Israel’s massacres.”

The American group Jewish Voice for Peace, which opposes military aid to Israel as long as the occupation remains, has reported a spike in its membership and also in support on social media since the attacks on Gaza began. The number of Facebook likes has tripled, the number of Twitter followers has doubled and dues paying membership increased 20 percent in one month.

These are disastrous developments for Israel, which devotes funds and organizational effort to promote its standing in the international community, but Times readers hear none of it. Rather than report the news in whole, the newspaper has chosen once again to place Israel’s reputation above the right to know.

Barbara Erickson

2 thoughts on “Israel’s Reputation Lies in Ruins: The NY Times Puts Up a Smoke Screen

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s