As Children Die in Gaza, The NY Times Spotlights Israeli Fears

The New York Times informs us this week that Israelis near the Lebanese border fear the presence of Hezbollah tunnels near their homes. In a thousand word story, Isabel Kershner writes of mysterious noises at night, “palpable” fears of an across-border attack and the damage of such rumors to local tourism.

The article is a follow-up to an earlier front page report on the death of two Israeli soldiers in a Hezbollah assault, and it is a companion piece to a Times story this summer about Hamas tunnels from Gaza. It confirms once again the Israeli-centric bias of the newspaper’s reporting from the Middle East.

Both stories focus on the unsubstantiated fears of Israelis. Hamas fighters used the tunnels solely for troop engagements with Israeli forces during this summer’s conflict; they never emerged from underground to attack kindergartens or invade kibbutzim, as some Israelis fantasized. The Hezbollah tunnels remain nothing but rumors so far. No one had found one by the time the Times story went to press.

Moreover, the original Hezbollah attack story makes much of the two Israeli soldiers’ deaths—in the headline and in an above-the-fold photo—and mentions only well into the story one additional detail: that a Spanish member of a United Nations force also died during the clash, apparently from Israeli fire (although the Times fails to say this).

Last week, when Israel killed five Hezbollah soldiers (at least one of them high ranking) and one Iranian general in the Golan, the news appeared on page 4. In that story and subsequent articles, we learn the names of only two of the victims.

Now, with Israelis as victims, the Times reports their names and gives the story page 1 treatment, as well as a next day follow-up with a photo of grieving relatives, news of the soldiers’ funerals and speculation about tunnels underfoot.

We’ve seen several prominent stories about Israeli grieving and fears this month. After Jews died in a terrorist attack in Paris, the Times made much of a tenuous Israeli connection. In three separate articles the paper reported that Israelis linked the attacks “to their own struggles,” that four Parisian Jews were buried in Israel (this with a front page photo) and that French Jews find a “sociable landing spot” in the Israeli city of Netanya.

Meanwhile, children were dying in Gaza, and the Times barely noticed. The paper ran one page 3 story about the suffering caused by a winter storm, including the death of a 4-month-old girl.

Two days later, after two more infants and a young fisherman also succumbed to the cold, the Times published a brief, 300-word story online that never made it into print. A week earlier two other Gaza children died when a fire broke out during an electrical blackout. This news apparently found no mention anywhere in the Times.

As Gaza residents continue to suffer from the Israeli siege, the newspaper prefers to highlight the nightmare fantasies of nervous Israelis rather than examine Israeli culpability in Palestinian suffering. In the end, the Times is saying, it is Israeli deaths, Israeli fears and Israeli grief that are above all worth reporting.

Barbara Erickson

12 thoughts on “As Children Die in Gaza, The NY Times Spotlights Israeli Fears

  1. CONGRATULATIONS, Barbara. Yet again you nail the Times, Israel’s propaganda rag, to the wall, ceiling and floor! When it comes to “reporting” on the Palestine-Israel crisis, the Times shows no semblance whatsoever of “journalistic integrity” and “ethics”! Publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., shows himself to be an intractable protector, defender of indefensible Zionist Israel!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, as always. I do hope your essays are read widely and that they reach those who most need their illumination, starting with the editors and readers of the New York Times.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for showing the NYT’s lopsided reporting on this issue. Perhaps if the Israeli public is indeed nervous they should be pushing their government for peace instead of constant acts of war?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You might look at the comments posted in the NYT for the Rouden-Baker article suggesting equivalence in Obama and Netanyahu’s actions.
    Progress is being made slowly.
    You can now criticize Bibi without the “Protocols of Zion” being rolled out to attack you.
    Keep writing!

    Liked by 1 person

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