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Another New York Times Journalistic Malpractice Case. Again, Libeling Israel

 
Filed under: Israel, Palestinians

Another New York Times Journalistic Malpractice Case. Again, Libeling Israel
Mohammad Zakarneh, the son of a grieving mother pictured in the New York Times, or an Islamic Jihad gunmen?
  • On April 16, 2022, the Times decried the Israeli “killings” of 14 Palestinians “in response” to attacks that killed 14 Israelis. Seemingly, a case of tit-for-tat. However, the vast majority of the 14 Palestinians were armed terrorists.
  • A very troubling question surrounds the Times’ article. How can the New York Times ignore the many armed terrorists, members of Palestinian terrorist organizations, when their local obituaries include the fighters’ pictures in uniform or with weapons?
  • The New York Times has been found guilty on other occasions of journalistic malpractice in its Israel-related reporting.

On June 24, 2021, The New York Times published an anti-Israel blood libel purporting to document “Gaza’s Deadly Night [in May 2021]: How Israeli Airstrikes Killed 44 People.” The deep dive was assisted by former employees of Human Rights Watch, members of the Hamas-run police, Hamas officials in the Gaza Health Ministry, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (affiliated with the PFLP terror organization), and local Gazan stringers, photographers, and “fixers.” They dispatched their findings and photographic “evidence” to senior writers of the Times sitting in Cairo, New York, Jerusalem, and Canada. With such unreliable sources, the Times’ screed listed dead Hamas fighters as civilians, failed to account for hundreds of Hamas rockets that fell short and hit Gaza, and ignored the hundreds of kilometers of Hamas tunnels, some containing arms depots, built under residences and roads that exploded or collapsed during the fighting. The only photo evidence of a Hamas tunnel was a Reuters video from 2014!

Reuters film clip from 2014
The Times’ 2021 documentary used a Reuters film clip from 2014 to shrink the massive Hamas tunnel network under Gaza (screengrab). See The Media in the 2021 Gaza War: The New York Times’ Journalistic Malpractice

Did the New York Times Avoid the Bias Pitfalls this Time?

The New York “Grey Lady” never corrected or apologized for its egregious 2021 journalistic malpractice. So, what did the newspaper do to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing screw-up? First, it hired Raja Abdulrahim in November 2021 as a correspondent in Jerusalem to focus on Palestinian affairs.

Raja Abdulrahim
The New York Times correspondent, Raja Abdulrahim

After her five years in Beirut and reporting from Libya, Syria, and Egypt for the Los Angeles Times and Wall Street Journal, the Arabic-speaking Ms. Abdulrahim was going to expand the New York newspaper’s ability to report on Palestinian affairs.

Unfortunately, in her recent article about “Israel’s Collective Punishment Raids,” on April 16, 2022, the reporter’s broad view of the region showed blinding myopia when it comes to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. Her article dripped with empathy and photographs of the Palestinian civilians, particularly the mothers and children, who fear the Israeli counterterrorist raids. Abdulrahim gave details of Mohammad Zakarneh, a 16-year-old boy (17, by most accounts) killed “heading home to break his Ramadan fast,” 47-year-old widow Ghada Sabteen shot in the leg as she ignored warnings from Israeli soldiers and approached their checkpoint near Husan, and lawyer Mohammad Assaf, 34, shot in Nablus when the IDF left the city under a barrage of firebombs and rocks after repairing the desecrated Tomb of Joseph. All three were shot under circumstances that require investigation. Was Sabteen a “suicide by soldier” case so that her children would receive Palestinian Authority stipends for martyrs’ families? Did Zakarneh participate in a gun battle with the IDF, and why was he wearing a Palestinian Islamic Jihad headband and holding a picture of himself with an assault rifle?

A Twitter posting by the Islamic Jihad organization of Muhammed Zakarneh and an Iranian Press photograph showed Fatah flags during the procession.
A Twitter posting by the Islamic Jihad organization of Muhammed Zakarneh and an Iranian Press photograph showed Fatah flags during the procession.

A very troubling question surrounds Abdulrahim’s article. How can the New York Times ignore the many armed terrorists, members of Palestinian terrorist organizations, when their local obituaries include the fighters’ pictures in uniform or with weapons? Nevertheless, the correspondent, Abdulrahim, never used the word “terrorist” or even “terror” to describe the gunmen’s cold-blooded killings of Israeli civilians in Beersheba, Hadera, Bnei Brak, and Tel Aviv.

Islamic Jihad terrorists from Jenin
Three Jenin gunmen were intercepted and killed on their way to a terrorist attack. (Watanserb)

Portraits of the three Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorists intercepted by Israeli forces on March 31 as they left Jenin en route to an attack appeared on Twitter, and a tribute also appeared in the Iranian press. The first photo appeared in a Tweet with the caption, “It is destined for my people to bleed for the nation to live.” One of the men left a handwritten will in the car signed in the name of the Islamic Jihad, encouraging his colleagues to continue their attacks.

Shadi Najm and Abdullah al-Hosary
Shadi Najm and Abdullah al-Hosary were killed in clashes with the IDF in the town of Burqin near Jenin. Al-Hosary was buried in PIJ shrouds (Twitter, social media).
Insignia logo on the gravestone
It would be easy for reporters to discover the terrorist affiliations of the Palestinians killed in firefights with the Israeli army. Visit the cemeteries, such as this one in Jenin, and note the insignia logos on the gravestones. (Al Jazeera screenshot)

A 24-year-old woman, Maha Kathem Awad Zaatari, attempted to stab a soldier at the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Matriarchs in Hebron. She was shot and killed.

The knife attacker, a 24-year-old woman, was shot outside of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron
The knife attacker, a 24-year-old woman, was shot outside of the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron (screenshot)

Another Hebron resident was killed as he threw a Molotov cocktail on April 1, 2022. Ahmed al-Atrash was eulogized in Palestinian social media as the “Molotov hero,” and his mourning notice was published by Hamas.

A youth throwing a firebomb in Hebron on April 1, 2022
A youth throwing a firebomb in Hebron on April 1, 2022. In Husan, 16-year-old Qusai Hamamrah was shot and killed on April 13, 2022, while throwing a firebomb. (Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center)

Mohammad Ali Ghneim, a 21-year-old from al-Khader, a town near Bethlehem, was shot during riots on April 10. He was affiliated with Fatah, as seen by his waving the Fatah flag and a Fatah obituary notice. He was buried with military honors.

Mohammad Ali Ghneim
Mohammad Ali Ghneim was affiliated with Fatah. (Social media and WAFA)

The New York Times’ Photo Propaganda

Abdulrahim’s long article includes a photo of a martyrs’ wall in Jenin, taken by a New York Times photographer, Samar Hazboun. The caption of the photograph is disturbing. It claims that some of the poster notices are of fighters, and “some are civilians.” Upon enlarging the picture, not one civilian can be found. All 14 poster obituaries showed the dead men holding weapons or belonging to various terrorist organizations or standing in Jerusalem to defend the Al Aqsa Mosque. (Ironically, all of the pictures of the “mosque” show the more picturesque Dome of the Rock structure, which is not a mosque.)

Posters in Jenin of Palestinians killed by Israel
“Posters in Jenin of Palestinians killed by Israel — some of them members of Palestinian militant groups, some of them civilians.” [Emphasis added.]
enlarged posters in the New York Times’ photo
A sample of the enlarged posters in the New York Times’ photo – definitely not civilians.

Theater of the Absurdly Dangerous

Correspondent Raja Abdulrahim interviewed several Jenin residents who work at the Freedom Theater. What is the significance of the theater? One of the enterprise’s most famous sponsors was Zakaria Zubeidi, an infamous terrorist who headed the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade and was responsible for multiple bombing and shooting attacks against Israeli civilians. He was arrested in February 2019 and was one of six convicted terrorists who escaped from the Gilboa Prison in September 2021. He was captured five days later.

Zakaria Zubeidi
Zakaria Zubeidi of Jenin is now back behind bars. (Madar Arab News)

The New York Times correspondent found the theater so fascinating that she quoted several workers there, including the manager and an accountant.

In hiring a new correspondent to cover Palestinian affairs, the New York Times will continue to produce its usual anti-Israel narrative but one with supposedly authoritative and knowledgeable credentials. Unfortunately, it will still be the same old, same old.