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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler *Extra* New York Times op-ed Index summary July - December, 2012

Soccer Dad has put together an index of the New York Times op-ed's dealing with Israel for the second half of 2012.
Mideast Media Sampler *Extra* New York Times op-ed Index summary July - December, 2012

July, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 5 / Pro-Israel - 1
August, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 3 / Pro-Israel - 0
September, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 11 / Pro-Israel - 2
October, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 6 / Pro-Israel - 5
November, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 25 / Pro-Israel - 4 / Neutral - 5
December, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 11 / Pro-Israel - 1

Totals for July - December, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 61 / Pro-Israel - 13 / Neutral - 5
Totals for January - June, 2012 - Anti-Israel - 30 / Pro-Israel - 10
Total for 2012 - Anti-Israel - 91 / Pro-Israel - 23 / Neutral - 5

Since November provided nearly half the op-eds in this period, it's worth considering why so many opinion articles about Israel appeared. The majority of these opinion pieces (including a few cartoons) were either about Pillar of Defense (by my rough count, 13 articles, 10 of which were anti-Israel) or the Palestinian effort to gain statehood at the UN (5 articles, 4 of which were anti-Israel).

In this time, the op-ed that has the distinction of being the worst is Yousef Munnayer's America's failed Palestinian policy. The following sentences are shocking for their extremism:

By constantly condemning Palestinian armed resistance, and failing to condemn Israeli settlement expansion and repression of nonviolent Palestinian dissent, the message the United States is sending the Palestinian people is this: All resistance to occupation is illegitimate. No nation on earth would accept that, nor is it realistic to expect it to.
Munayyer sees nothing wrong with anti-Israel terror. To him it's justified "armed resistance" that ought to be tolerated. This is the level of discourse that is currently allowed on the op-ed pages of the New York Times.

Even when the New York Times got something right, it still got it wrong. An editorial with the promising title, Hamas's Illegitimacy argued:
Israel has a vastly more capable military than Hamas, and its air campaign has resulted in a lopsided casualty count: three Israelis have been killed. The Israelis claim to have done considerable damage to Hamas rocket targets, which should make a ground invasion of Gaza less likely. But military action is no long-term answer. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel had pursued serious negotiations on a two-state solution with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinians could have hope in a different future and Hamas’s nihilistic vision would have far less appeal. Mr. Abbas shares responsibility for this failure.
In other words, "Hamas's nihilistic vision" is Israel's fault. What's especially troubling about this paragraph is that Hamas has power because of Israel's disengagement from Gaza. Gaza was supposed to have been a laboratory for Palestinian self-government. (Even when Hamas won the 2006 legislative elections, "experts" told us not to worry, the shackles of governing would moderate Hamas.) Rather it became the base of a terrorist organization. To argue that Hamas's appeal is due to Israeli intransigence may be satisfying, but it shows an ignorance of history - recent history, in fact.

What the number (and ratio) of anti-Israel articles suggest is a campaign. When Israel is in the news, the New York Times' editors and columnists weigh in. Activists are recruited to write op-eds. The extreme bias demonstrated by the choice and number of op-eds and editorials reflects a very strong anti-Israel feeling in the editorial department of the New York Times. The op-eds of the second half of 2012 paint a very disturbing picture of what had once been a great and authoritative newspaper.

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