Blind New York Times Continues Attacks on Jimmy Carter
Blind New York Times Continues Attacks on Jimmy Carter
The assault on Jimmy Carter and his new book which criticizes Israeli policy,
If Carter is â€œtone deaf,â€ Bronnerâ€™s review provides yet more evidence that The New York Times is willfully blind to Palestinians. New research detailed below shows that Timesâ€™ news reports from Israel/Palestine, which Bronner supervises, privilege the Israeli narrative of terrorism, while marginalizing the Palestinian narratives of occupation and denial of rights. Bronner himself has quoted eight times more words from Israelis than from Palestinians in 18 articles he wrote for the Times since mid-2000.
The Times paved the way for Bronnerâ€™s review with two news articlesand a blog posting.While allowing Carter space to defend himself, the articles and blog posting focused on attacks on Carter by eight public figures, and included defenses by just two people. As usual, no Palestinians were permitted to comment. The Timesâ€™ blog posting noted that the controversy was unfolding during a holocaust denial conference in
In his review, Bronner constructs a deceptive sense of balance by rejecting both sidesâ€™ more controversial positions. He writes that Carterâ€™s use of â€œapartheid with its false echo of the racist policies of the old South Africaâ€ constitutes â€œoverstatementâ€ that â€œhardly adds up to anti-Semitism.â€
Bronner derides Carterâ€™s book as characterized by â€œmisrepresentationsâ€, and having â€œa Rip Van Winkle feel to itâ€, while simultaneously acknowledging that â€œCarter rightly accuses Menachem Begin â€¦ of deception regardingâ€ settlement expansion, and that â€œhis chapter on the endless humiliation of daily life for the Palestinians under Israeli occupation paints a devastating and largely accurate picture.â€
Yet Bronner still minimizes Palestiniansâ€™ â€œendless humiliationsâ€ by devoting just two sentences to them, and he writes, with no sign of irony, â€œthat Carter is right that insufficient attention is being paid, but perhaps that is because his picture feels like yesterday's story, especially since
Most of the world recognized that
Palestinians would be justifiably outraged to learn that their continued daily hardships are â€œyesterdayâ€™s story.â€ Mirroring elements of the arguments of Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League,Bronner seems to see â€œtodayâ€™s storyâ€ as radical Islam and terrorism, as he laments that Carterâ€™s book on Israel/Palestine fails to also cover the Iranian revolution, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Saddam Hussein, the Talibanâ€™s rise, Al Qaeda and Iranâ€™s nuclear ambitions.
One can only imagine the hysterics that would have arisen at the Times had Carter not ignored the right of return of Palestinian refugees and
Bronner has written 18 articles on
During the same period, Amira Hass, an Israeli reporter for Haâ€™aretz Daily living in Ramallah, was comparing the situation to that before the outbreak of the first intifada, warning against the assumption that â€œconfrontation is not feasibleâ€, and arguing that â€œRebellion is not planned from above, and the moment could come when the people who were not afraid of IDF rifles will not be put off by those wielded by Palestinian police.â€
In 2003, Bronner wrote a glowing review of The Case for Israel by pro-Israel hatchetman Alan Dershowitz.Assessing Dershowitzâ€™s book, alongside a book by Yaacov Lozowick, Bronner called them â€œintelligent polemics.â€ He offered not a single criticism of Dershowitz, saying his book made many â€œwell-argued points,â€ and Dershowitz â€œknows how to construct an argument.â€ He described Dershowitz as a â€œliberalâ€ â€œon the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.â€ In contrast, Professor Norman Finkelstein devoted an entire book, Beyond Chutzpah, to documenting the errors, fabrications and outright plagiarism in The Case for Israel. â€œLiberalâ€ Dershowitz defends torture, and suggested
Itâ€™s no surprise then that the news reporting Bronner oversees leans heavily on the Israeli narrative. Searches with Lexis-Nexis Academic identify 935 articles published between
Israeli abuses of Palestinian rights are even harder to find than Israeli occupation in New York Times news reports. Over two years, the Times used the word illegal (as defined by international law or Israeli law) in just 55 articles to describe Israeli offenses against Palestinians(5.9%). International law relating to Israel/Palestine was mentioned in only 14of 935 articles (1.5%),the Geneva Conventions in one article (0.1%),collective punishment in 12 articles (1.3%), right of return for Palestinian refugees in 14 articles (1.5%), discrimination against Palestinians in four articles(0.4%), and apartheid in three articles (0.4%). Though settlement(s) were mentioned in 318 articles (34%), as noted above, they were infrequently described as â€œillegal.â€ Settlement expansion and settlement growth appeared in just six articles each(0.6%). Even Palestinian poverty and unemployment were mentioned in only 13 and 18 articles respectively.
In short, the entire Palestinian experience is marginalized in New York Times news reports from Israel/Palestine. The words and concepts that Palestinians continually invoke to describe their lives, including apartheid, are almost never found in the Times. Jimmy Carter claims that Americans are poorly informed about Israel/Palestine in part because â€œthe major newspapers and magazinesâ€ exercise â€œself-restraintâ€ in their reporting. Therefore, anything other than denial of Carterâ€™s thesis by the Times would constitute an admission of its own failure.
Despite a facade of balance and moderate positions, Ethan Bonnerâ€™s review of Jimmy Carterâ€™s book represents yet another example of the mainstream US mediaâ€™s willful blindness on Israel/Palestine. Bronner wields the Timesâ€™ power in a bid to restrict acceptable discourse on Israel/Palestine by hiding the Palestinian experience from the American public.
Patrick Oâ€™Connor is a New York City-based activist with Palestine Media Watch (www.pmwatch.org) and the International Solidarity Movement (www.palsolidarity.org).
 Carter View Of Israeli' Apartheid' Stirs Furor, Julie Bosman, The New York Times,
 Carterâ€™s Rhetoric of Apartheid, Tom Zeller,
 Judging a Book by Its Cover and Its Content, Abraham Foxman, Anti-Defamation League,
 It could be asserted that Bronner is unfairly penalized for reviewing four books by Israelis and one book by a Palestinian. However, eliminating those five reviews worsens his ratio, yielding 1045 words quoted from Israelis, and 97 words quoted from Palestinians.
 Reporting from Ramallah, Amira Hass,
 The New New Historians, Ethan Bronner, The Book Review, The New York Times,
 380 by Steven Erlanger, 438 by Greg Myre, 51 by Dina Kraft, 29 by Ian Fisher, 26 by Craig Smith, four by John Kifner and four by James Bennet.
 499 articles mention attack(s). A review of each one revealed that 359 mentioned Palestinian attack(s), 136 mentioned Israeli attack(s), and 73 mentioned Hezbollah attack(s).
 112 articles mentioned the word illegal, but only 55 were about Israeli actions related to Palestinians.
 International law appeared in a total of 21 articles, 14 of which were related to Israel/Palestine. The rest were related to
 For more examples of this problem see International Law not Fit to Print, The New York Times and Israel/Palestine, Patrick Oâ€™Connor and Ahmed Bouzid,
 The Geneva Conventions were mentioned in a total of three articles, but one article was about
 The word discrimination appeared in seven articles, but only four articles related to Israeli treatment of Palestinians.
 These six articles included also the variants, expansion of settlements, and growth of settlements.
 Impoverished was mentioned in 18 articles, and unemployed in 12 articles.