New York Times using the Palestinian playbook

CAMERA has an illuminating article by Giliead Ini on how the New York Times is arguing the “return to negotiations” argument from the Palestinian point of view.

As he writes here 

” peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been frozen, and replaced with debate over which side is to blame for the impasse. The Palestinians insist Israel’s settlement policy is the reason for the derailment of talks. Israel responds that, unlike the Palestinians, it wants direct talks to resume immediately, and that the issue of settlements, like other areas of dispute, can only be solved by way of peace talks. Meanwhile, the New York Times, which is expected to report this news in an impartial manner, has instead become a participant in the blame game.

One could argue that fault is in the eye of the beholder. Ultimately, since the Palestinians are the ones who refuse to talk, direct responsibility for the stalemate clearly lies with them. But because Palestinian leaders condition the resumption of face-to-face negotiations on an extension of Israel’s settlement moratorium, something which Israel has resisted doing, then from the Palestinian perspective it is Israel’s stance that indirectly prevents talks.

By that logic, though, the ball was returned to the Palestinian court when Israel suggested it would resume the moratorium in exchange for Palestinians recognition of the Jewish state. The Palestinian refusal to do so took on the role briefly played by that Israel’s refusal to extend the settlement moratorium — it became the indirect reason for the continued stalemate.

Whatever the rights and wrongs of the parties’ respective positions, the diplomatic maneuvering is not unexpected from diplomats whose job is to pursue what they see as their national interest. The New York Times, on the other hand, is expected on its news pages to report on the maneuvering without advocating for one side’s position. This it hasn’t done.”

As Ini writes

“In a series of news stories about the state of negotiations, the newspaper has promoted the idea that Israeli settlements — and not, for example, Palestinian obstinacy or their refusal to recognize the Jewish state — are primarily at fault for the stalemate.  Since September, the month during which direct talks both started and stalled, the Times published no fewer than five headlines or subheadlines fingering only Israeli building as being responsible for “stymying,” “snagging,” or “clouding” peace talks.”

In contrast, the New York TImes either ignores or impunes the reason behind any Israeli steps such as the need for recognition of the Jewish state. 

He writes “It seems that, just as the Times struggles with attributing responsibility to the Palestinians for the negotiations impasse, the newspaper also has trouble imagining that the Palestinians, too, are capable of trying to “shift the burden of failure” with their negotiating tactics. Nor does the newspaper consider that Israel might see Palestinian acceptance of the Jewish state as a key confidence building step, one that would convince skeptics who doubt Abbas’s commitment to the concept of two states for two peoples.”

It’s an example of one-sided reporting – too common unfortunately, but at least exposed in this article as a foul play.

Here are some better ones.



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