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NY Times Tag

It is nearly a year since Iran's President Hassan Rouhani spoke before the United Nations General Assembly. Later this week he is scheduled to speak again before the General Assembly, but the enthusiasm expressed last year is nowhere to be seen. In the run up to his speech there was much excitement among the chattering classes. Take, for example, a couple of paragraphs from an editorial in The New York Times from September 22, 2013, a year ago today:
The next few weeks will be critical for capitalizing on a new sense of promise created by a recent flurry of remarkable gestures: Iran’s leadership has sent Rosh Hashana greetings to Jews worldwide via Twitter, released political prisoners, exchanged letters through the Swiss with President Obama, praised “flexibility” in negotiations and transferred responsibility for nuclear negotiations from conservatives in the military to the Foreign Ministry. Mr. Obama eased restraints on humanitarian and good-will activities, including athletic exchanges between the two countries. ... Mr. Rouhani has a sophisticated, Western-savvy team. His foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, received degrees from American universities and spent most of his adult life in the United States. Together they have raised expectations in a world eager to see Iran play a more constructive role, and the charm offensive is in full swing. Policy experts, journalists and business people are jockeying to attend a number of invitation-only breakfasts, dinners and meetings scheduled by Mr. Rouhani and Mr. Zarif while they are in New York. There’s a lot riding on their visit this week.
But the "remarkable gestures" that The New York Times cited were remarkable hollow.

According to Ynet nine soldiers were killed Monday in separate incidents. Israel also announced that one of the soldiers killed in Sunday's armored personnel carrier attack has not yet been accounted for. Although not all the circumstances are clear, it appears Hamas may have retrieved body parts and/or belongings to the dead soldier: Of the 27 Israeli soldiers killed so far in Operation Protective Edge, 6 of them have been killed inside of Israel, not Gaza. In separate incidents soldiers were killed by terrorists emerging from terror tunnels:

As Operation Protective Edge it's worth anticipating the likely response to Israel's latest war against Hamas. Israel will be accused of a disproportionate response and of not taking care to avoid collateral damage. Already there's been at least one incident in which a number of civilians were injured and and 7 were killed. Israel has a policy of letting civilians know when they are about to bomb a target to give them a chance to get of the way. One would assume that observers would be impressed that Israel gives up the element of surprise in order to reduce collateral damage. But that assumption would be wrong, if one judges by the reporting and analysis from the New York Times and Washington Post. Here's how the New York Times reports the incident:
The call came to the cellphone of his brother’s wife, Salah Kaware said on Tuesday. Mr. Kaware lives in Khan Younis, in southeast Gaza, and the caller said that everyone in the house must leave in five minutes, because it was going to be bombed. A further warning came as they were leaving, he said in a telephone interview, when an Israeli drone apparently fired a flare at the roof of the three-story home. “Our neighbors came in to form a human shield,” he said, with some even going to the roof to try to prevent a bombing. Others were in the stairway when the house was bombed not long afterward.
Israel warned the residents and people went into the building. The casualties here occurred because Gaza residents because people intentionally put themselves in danger. The New York Times then informs us:
The Israeli military said that targeted houses belonged to Hamas members involved in launching rockets or other military activity, and that they had been used as operations rooms.
As the Washington Post also reported the story we have an indication that in this case, the Israeli military was 100% correct. After describing the warning call, the "knock on the roof," and the entry of neighbors into the building, the Post reports:
Ahmed Kawarea said he ran home when he heard about the first rocket. The second missile hit when he was in the stairwell on his way to the roof.

The New York Times, in the past week, has twice drawn a false moral equivalence between Israeli society and Palestinian society. Last week after the killing of Mohammad Abu Khdair, Isabel Kershner of the New York Times wrote:
The two events exposed the extent to which parts of each side have dehumanized the other. After the kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers last month, messages posted on social networks by Palestinians celebrated the capture of “three Shalits,” in reference to Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas militants in Gaza, who was eventually released in exchange for 1,027 prisoners. A 17-year-old created the Facebook group calling for revenge for the kidnapping of the three Israelis, and an Israeli blogger, Ami Kaufman, pointed to a photograph submitted to the Facebook group by two smiling girls who held a sign reading, “Hating Arabs is not racism, it’s values!”
This was a sentiment repeated in an editorial in today's New York Times, Four Horrific Killings:

Thursday, Israel's internal security service, the Shin Bet, released the names of two suspects in the abduction of Gil-ad Shaar, Eyal Yifrach and Naftali Fraenkel two weeks ago. The suspects were said to have disappeared prior to the abductions. The two kidnappers are Amer Abu Aysha, a 32 year old locksmith who is married with three children, and Marwan Kawasme a 29 year old barber. Both have long associations with Hamas and, according to a report published in The Times of Israel, both attended the same mosque. Yaacov Lozowick observed: 2014-06-27_024146_Lozowick While Abu Aysha's mother described her son as a devoted family man, she also told the Times that "if her son did take part in the kidnapping, she was proud of him and hoped he would continue to evade capture." Abdullah Kawasme, an uncle of the latter, was killed in a fight with Israeli security forces in 2003. The IDF blog tells more of the ties both suspects had to Hamas:

When Mahmoud Abbas's "moderate" Fatah movement first reached out to make an agreement with the terrorist Hamas movement, the response in the United State was "mostly nonchalant." Now that the two sides have announced the creating of a unity government, the response has continued to be muted. Certainly not outraged. Last week, of course, the administration didn't wait a day before endorsing the blatant violation of the American sponsored peace process. This was disappointing but hardly surprising given Barry Rubin's observation last September that the United States had gone to "backing the 'bad guys.'” In major American newspapers there was little initial editorial comment. However later in the week, the Washington Post endorsed the American response as did the New York Times. Though, surprisingly, the Times actually qualified their endorsement warning that "the United States has to be careful to somehow distinguish between its support for the new government and an endorsement of Hamas and its violent, hateful behavior," without actually offering a practical suggestion how distinguish that support. There are three main reasons why the administration was wrong to support the unity accord. 1) It is unpopular in the United States In the middle of May, The Israel Project conducted a poll of likely voters and their views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. One question dealt with the formation of the Fatah-Hamas unity government. When those originally saying they were undecided offered an opinion, the poll showed a massive rejection of the Palestinian reason for the cooperation.

The NY Times ran an editorial on June 5, The Rush to Demonize Sgt. Bergdahl, excoriating Republicans for hypocrisy as to condemnation of the exchange of 5 top Taliban Gitmo detainees for Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. There are many all-too-typical Times sleights of hand, such as referring to Bergdahl as:
... a free-spirited young man who asked many questions but gave no indication of being a deserter, let alone the turncoat that Mr. Obama’s opponents are now trying to create.
In condemning a rush to judgment as to Bergdahl by critics, The Times Editors rush to an alternative judgment. More important, the centerpiece of the Editorial, with which it begins, is a quote from John McCain (emphasis added):
Four months ago, Senator John McCain said he would support the exchange of five hard-core Taliban leaders for the release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. “I would support,” he told CNN. “Obviously I’d have to know the details, but I would support ways of bringing him home and if exchange was one of them I think that would be something I think we should seriously consider.”
NY Times Rush to Demonize Sgt Bergdahl 6-6-2014 9 30 am I've underlined the words "Obviously I’d have to know the details" because those words were not in the original versions of the Editorial.  Rather, it was a late correction which significantly scales back the notion that McCain previously supported this exchange deal. I've tracked the changes in the Editorial through a very useful service, NewsDiff.  The NewsDiff archive history page for the Times Editorial reflects that the Editorial originally had a less aggressive title, and also did not include the part of McCain's quote I've highlighted.  In omitting that language from the quote, the Times made it seem as if McCain supported the same deal that Obama struck.  That supposed support was the foundation for the Editorial, but when the foundation shifted, the Times made like nothing changed. Here's the edit history of the intro paragraph via NewsDiff:

Who among us is surprised by this report by Alana Goodman at The Washington Free Beacon about Team Billary trying to impress upon the NY Times the importance of LEAVE HILLARY ALONE! Hillary to New York Times: Back Off:
Some of Hillary Clinton’s closest aides blasted the New York Times for what they said was unfair coverage of the former first lady during a recent secret meeting with the paper’s Washington bureau, the Washington Free Beacon has learned. Sources said the meeting included Clinton advisers Philippe Reines and Huma Abedin, as well as Times Washington bureau chief Carolyn Ryan and national political reporter Amy Chozick, who has been on the Clinton beat for the paper. During the closed-door gathering, Clinton aides reportedly griped about the paper’s coverage of the potential 2016 candidate, arguing that Clinton has left public office and not be subjected to harsh scrutiny, according to a source familiar with the discussions.
Even CNN mocked control freak Billary (via IJR Review):

Or rather, on this woman:
New York Times executive editor Jill Abramson was abruptly fired from the paper Wednesday, sources familiar with the news informed POLITICO. Managing editor Dean Baquet will take over as executive editor, effective immediately... “I choose to appoint a new leader for our newsroom because I believe that new leadership will improve some aspects of the management of the newsroom,” Sulzberger said. “This is not about any disagreement between the newsroom and the business side.”... Throughout her tenure, Abramson suffered from perceptions among staff that she was condescending and combative... The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta reported that Sulzberger had grown frustrated with Abramson after she pushed for more pay upon learning that her salary was significantly lower than that of her male predecessors.
Abramson apparently alienated some of those with jobs above her and below her. The key figure above her appears to have been Sulzberger. Among the ones positioned below her was the man who has ended up replacing her, Dean Baquet, an African-American who is reported to have been well-liked at the Times and in his previous job. The Abramson firing has caused a big brouhaha and engendered many articles and much blog commentary. But perhaps the most informative is a piece that appeared in New York Magazine. It describes a situation in which Sulzberger never wanted Abramson anyway and gave her the job reluctantly at the outset, only to become more annoyed by her. Much of his annoyance seems to have stemmed from her bluntness in telling some people (one of them being Baquet, whom Sulzberger seemed quite tight with) that they weren't doing their jobs all that well:

On May 14, 1948 David Ben Gurion declared Israel's independence and the modern state of Israel was born. And every year at this time the Palestinians commemorate Nakba. Not surprisingly, Jodi Rudoren, Jerusalem bureau chief of the New York Times spent May 14, writing about the iNakba app which was launched by the Israeli NGO, Zochrot. In Rudoren's account:
Zochrot, Hebrew for “remembering,” has for 13 years been leading tours of destroyed villages, collecting testimony from aging Arabs, and advocating the right of return for millions of Palestinian refugees and their descendants. But it preaches almost exclusively to the converted. Israel is a country where government-funded organizations can be fined for mourning on Independence Day, and where the foreign minister denounced as a “fifth column” thousands of Arab-Israeli citizens who marked the Nakba last week by marching in support of refugee return.
The disconnect in this paragraph is unbelievable. Rudoren writes blithely about the Palestinian "right of return" and suggests the lack of Israeli acceptance of the right of return is due to the close-mindedness of Israeli society. But there is nothing benign about the right of return. It means the destruction of Israel as a Jewish state. In fact a founder of Zochrot is rather explicit about his intent. (Strangely Rudoren hasn't reported that a Palestinian professor who took his student to Auschwitz was ostracized by the union at his university.) People aren't usually receptive to ideas that involve their own destruction. This is the New York Times so I hardly expect to read a corrective article. Maybe the paper will deign to publish a few dissents in the letters sections, but the case that Israel's war of independence is an ongoing disaster will remain the prevalent view at the New York Times.

In the wake of Fatah's embrace of Hamas earlier this week there has been a very interesting reaction. Actually, the reaction has been interesting because it's been mostly non-existent. Though the New York Times and Washington Post have reported on Fatah's betrayal of the American sponsored peace process, neither has published an angry editorial denouncing Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas for endangering or destroying the peace process. Few news events shatter perceptions more clearly than when a supposed moderate embraces extremism. And even given the fraught history of past Fatah-Hamas agreements the symbolism here is unmistakable. A week before Secretary of State John Kerry hoped to have a framework agreement, the Palestinian Authority came to an agreement with the terrorist Hamas organization and not with Israel. Let's do a few comparisons. Exhibit A: New York Times  In March 2010, when Vice President Joe Biden was visiting Israel, Israel's Interior Ministry announced plans to build houses in Ramat Shlomo. Even though Ramat Shlomo is part of Jerusalem and a part of Israel's capital that everyone expects will be part of Israel in any final agreement with the Palestinians, the announcement precipitated a diplomatic crisis between Israel and the United States. An editorial in the New York Times two days later stated about the announcement, "And it is hard to see the timing as anything but a slap in the face to Washington." In 2010, the Israeli announcement didn't and wouldn't change anything about the Middle East materially and yet the New York Times criticized the Israeli action. That Fatah-Hamas agreement, on the other hand is a game-changer. Israel dropped its objections to the PLO when the PLO renounced terror. Of course, under Arafat that declaration was meaningless as he encouraged terror against Israel even after Oslo. Abbas was supposed to be the peaceful one. But now he's embraced a terrorist organization.

Fatah and Hamas have reached an agreement to put their differences behind them and form a unity government. The New York Times reports:
The two groups — the Palestine Liberation Organization, which runs the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank, and Hamas, the militant Islamist group that dominates the Gaza Strip — have reached similar accords before that were never carried out. But the latest deal comes as the fragile American-brokered peace efforts between the Palestinians and Israel are approaching an April 29 deadline without a resolution in sight. People familiar with the discussions have said the Israeli and Palestinian sides were far apart even on how to extend the talks past the deadline.
The Times article ends in typical understatement.
Analysts remained skeptical about whether the Palestinian reconciliation efforts would lead to a tangible change on the ground, because neither of the factions has shown interest in genuine power-sharing in the past, and they have deep differences over how to deal with Israel, which Hamas does not recognize. Even so, some experts said that the latest effort at reconciliation appeared more serious than past attempts, because both factions are under growing pressure. Gaza under Hamas has been severely weakened by an Egyptian crackdown on the smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border and an Israeli blockade. And Mr. Abbas, for his part, has faced growing criticism from West Bank residents about the negotiations with Israel and his own legitimacy, with Palestinian elections long overdue. He has threatened to dissolve the Palestinian Authority, which exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank, if the talks with Israel end in failure.
No Hamas does not recognize Israel. It is also a genocidal terrorist organization devoted to destroying Israel. Note terror is not mentioned.

Previously we noted that the New York Times has a tendency to play up the successes of the BDS movement and to play down the true nature of the BDS movement. The New York Times has since carried two more articles about BDS; one in the news section and one op-ed. Surprisingly, the opinion article took a critical look at BDS. Unfortunately the news story was consistent with previous New York Times coverage of the issue. In the news section, Jerusalem bureau chief, Jodi Rudoren wrote West Bank Boycott: A Political Act or Prejudice? For the most part Rudoren treats the issue "evenhandedly," giving each side equal time and not judging either side. In the course of the reporting Rudoren interviews BDS activist Omar Barghouti.
“He can say anything he wishes, but immoral? Resistance to his immoral policies can never be immoral,” Mr. Barghouti said of Mr. Netanyahu. “The litmus test is are you boycotting a group of people based on their identity, or are you boycotting something — an act, a company, a business — that you disagree with. “We have three reasons,” Mr. Barghouti said, citing the movement’s goals of ending the occupation; ensuring equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel; and promoting the right of return for Palestinian refugees. “End the three reasons and we won’t boycott.”
Barghouti, who got a degree from Tel Aviv University is a pretty good example of equality of Israel's minorities. That degree also makes Barghouti a hypocrites as his boycott would affect Tel Aviv University too. Rudoren ignores these inconsistencies. She also remains silent about Barghouti's demand for the right of return. Everyone knows that the point of that "right" is the destruction of Israel. In fact, Barghouti's claim confirms that the  the goal of the BDS movement is an assault on Israel's right to exist is correct. Rudoren doesn't appear to grasp this. Oddly, it is columnist Roger Cohen who got things right about BDS. In The B.D.S. Threat, Cohen writes:

Professor Jacobson made a very good point last week:
The BDS movement presents little real threat to Israel currently, while the European governments do present a potential threat, but it is a diplomatic, not boycott, threat.  Kerry, and the boycott movement, conflate the two.
The problem is that despite the fact that there's no evidence that the BDS movement is gaining mainstream acceptance there are many who pretend that it has. Let's look at the New York Times coverage of some recent BDS activity. Last May the paper reported, Stephen Hawking Joins Boycott Against Israel:
The academic and cultural boycott, organized by international activists to protest Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians, is a heated and contentious issue; having Dr. Hawking join it is likely to help the anti-Israel campaigners significantly.
There are two items of note. The first is that the BDS movement is described in terms of being a "protest" against "Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians." It is not described as a movement to delegitimize Israel. The second is the assertion that Hawking's action "is likely to help the anti-Israel campaigners significantly." This is a judgment, but it is also somewhat quantifiable. Will subsequent reporting use similar standards? The article later noted that the Oxford student union overwhelmingly voted against an academic boycott of Israel. Later that month when Alicia Keys announced that she would defy the anti-Israel activists two months later, the New York Times reported:
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