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Eye On The PostARCHIVE AUG-DEC, 2004

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Molly Moore Again Falsely Reports that Israeli Soldiers Are Routinely Abusing Palestinians

War conditions inevitably create isolated instances of abuse. It is the job of a civilized society to investigate, punish the perpetrators and attempt to root them out. Israel does that. The Post continues to publish the serial exaggerations and distortions of Molly Moore in which she falsely portrays such abuses as routine in the Israeli military's treatment of Palestinians. (Israeli Soldiers' Testimony Supports Claims of Abuse, Top General Vows Probe of Alleged Wrongdoing, 12-11-04, A16) Ms. Moore peppers today's article with a handful of isolated but well publicized instances of abuse previously or currently under investigation, and intersperses them with her own overstatements, as well as quotes from agenda-driven individuals and organizations known to inflate and overstate their claims:

"... soldiers who contend that the long conflict is undermining basic concepts of decency in the Israeli Defense Forces."

" ' These are not exceptions, but the reality itself .... ' "

" ' Horrible and shameful as it is, this is the normative situation. ' "

" ' They don't understand the occupation has corrupted the soldiers and changed their mode of fighting. It's not fighting against an army, but policing among populations. ' "

" ' The IDF is compounding the problem because of the impunity with which soldiers kill Palestinians without proper investigations.' "

"... the first photographic evidence of allegations that Israeli soldiers routinely abuse the bodies of Palestinians killed during army operations."

We have no doubt that there are instances of abusive conduct by soldiers. The lie is in Ms. Moore's depiction of it as routine or commonplace. She makes no attempt to provide context by reporting the small number of soldiers involved in such incidents or by contrasting that figure against the size of the Israeli military and the length of the conflict. In quoting only a few politically active soldiers, she makes no attempt to report the views or facts as seen by the majority of soldiers. This false suggestion that widespread dissidence is surfacing in the Israeli military is magnified in the headline itself, which proclaims: "Israeli Soldiers' Testimony Supports Claims of Abuse." Ms. Moore virtually ignores the investigations that have found improper conduct and have resulted in severe disciplinary action, but doesn't hesitate to unquestioningly note that "[c]ritics contend that the Israeli military has a poor record of investigating and prosecuting allegations of wrongdoing by soldiers." She broadcasts her deception of routine abuses not only through this article, but by repeating over and over again the same several incidents widely reported in the news in recent times. We note above that Ms. Moore throughout this article "quotes from agenda-driven individuals and organizations known to inflate and overstate their claims," but in reality she and her employer have joined them.

Letter to the Editor:

To the Editor:

Perhaps Molly Moore is so engrossed in her numerous articles glorifying and sympathizing with Palestinian terrorists who have murdered and maimed innocent Israeli civilians that she misses the point of the Israeli Defense Forces'  investigations of abuse by its soldiers, which she discusses in "Israeli Soldiers' Testimony Supports Claims of Abuse" (news, December 11, 2004).

Unlike Palestinian society, which applauds its terrorists' atrocities, and unlike other armies, which attempt to hide their soldiers' abuses, the IDF has taken a proactive stance in investigating each and every allegation of abuse directed even against its barbaric foe, no matter how minor. And having conducted hundreds of investigations under the watchful eyes of a host of international and domestic human rights critics obsessed with finding Israeli wrongdoing, it has unearthed only one wrongful death, some isolated instances of abuse of bodies of Palestinians slain during military operations, and a bad guess by some soldiers as to whether a school girl approaching their frontline post in a closed military zone in the tense Gaza Strip had a bomb in her school bag.

Sure, it is ghoulish and makes good newspaper copy that some Israeli soldiers evinced their contempt for a suicide bomber who had killed and maimed a number of innocent victims by posing with his severed head after placing a cigarette in its mouth. But viewing that transgression against a dead body in the context of the heinous atrocity against the living that provoked it, leaves one underwhelmed by its moral implications. It is ungentlemanly behavior, Molly, but nothing to write home about.


Judge Herbert Grossman

Monday, November 29, 2004

Post's Molly Moore Uses Emotionally Charged Language, Exaggeration, False Statements and Unreliable Sources in Front Page, Above-the-Fold Article Portraying Israeli Soldiers as Abusers of Palestinians

The headline tries to moderate the top to bottom anti-Israel tone of the article by suggesting that checkpoints cause problems to both Palestinians and Israeli soldiers.. (Checkpoints Take Toll on Palestinians, Israeli Army, Civilians Describe Abuse; Troops Lament Conditions, 11-29-04, A01) But the very first sentence of today's front page, above-the-fold article by Molly Moore sets the tone of her latest opinionated report about Israel.  She states: "At a sandbagged military checkpoint on a bleak patch of asphalt in the West Bank, an Israeli soldier yanked 29-year-old Mohammad Yousef out of a Palestinian ambulance. When Yousef's medical papers were produced, the soldier waved them off and bellowed, 'I wouldn't let you in even if you brought God here with you!' " 

And that's all she said about this incident. There is no when, why or who ... no witness ... no context ... not so much as a mention of the multiple documented occasions of ambulances being used to ferry terrorists and bombs through checkpoints into Israel. So much for fair and balanced journalism. You'll get none of that from Ms. Moore.

What you'll get from Ms. Moore are judgmental and emotionally charged descriptions, such as her words describing the lines leading into the checkpoints as "concrete lanes resembling cattle chutes."

"...Israeli soldier yanked...."

"...soldier ... bellowed...."

"...Palestinians... jammed against a narrow turnstile...."

"...the most intimate contact between Israelis and Palestinians occurs over the barrel of a gun ..."

"...hundreds of cases of abuse by Israeli troops against Palestinians at roadblocks: beatings, shootings, harassment, humiliation and life-threatening delays...."

And then we have the following from Ms. Moore: "At least 83 Palestinians seeking medical care have died during delays at checkpoints, according to the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group."

Leaving aside for the moment the very important question of this group's credibility as a source,  Ms. Moore falsely cites a report by this group in support of the figure she notes above. The report does not assert that 83 Palestinians seeking medical care have died during delays at checkpoints. Rather, the report contains a total of 83 deaths anecdotally associated in any imaginable way with checkpoints and not necessarily by virtue of any delay in seeking medical care. Some of the anecdotes include shootings or other violence. Some say nothing about delays and give no cause of death. Many are miscarriages that were already in progress and may well have taken place before ever reaching the checkpoint. Many were simply heart attacks that took place at or near a checkpoint, without any attribution to delay in seeking medical care as a cause. Some anecdotes suggest the victims may have been involved with terrorist activity. For instance: "He died as a result of being shot at by an Israeli tank" and "He died of a heart attack after being pursued by the Israeli forces near the check point" and "Died as a result of tear gas while being chased by the IDF soldiers on the checkpoint." Some were deaths of Palestinians who deliberately avoided a checkpoint and blamed the checkpoint for causing the death. One anecdote attributes nervous shock at hearing shooting as a cause of death: "Died as a result of a nervous shock caused by the Israeli gunfire at Netzarim Junction/ Gaza Strip." Many use the same exact boiler plate wording, thereby casting further doubt on the veracity of the anecdotes. For instance, the exact wording of the following phrase was used in at least three reports: "The mother was stopped at a military checkpoint and prevented from reaching hospital on time and so the baby died as a result of arriving lat at the hospital." Even the word late was misspelled as "lat" in all three reports. The following exact wording was used on two reports five months apart: "He was prevented from crossing the checkpoint in an ambulance the ambulance was kept for several hours until his conditions became very critical and died." No medical evidence exists to support any of the anecdotes. 

The point is, Ms. Moore grossly misrepresented the report itself in terms of the number of such deaths it relates to delays in obtaining medical care at checkpoints. The number was far lower than 83. But more importantly, this report is of highly questionable veracity, and only a journalist with an agenda would have relied upon it. 

In the final analysis, the failure of this article is not just in the biased words, false statements and unreliable sources, but also in its lack of context and balance. In an article consisting of 38 paragraphs only one brief paragraph even mentions that Israel contends the checkpoints are necessary to reduce the flow of terrorists into Israel and have been effective in doing so. After extensive coverage given to claims of brutality by Israeli soldiers, the article then attempts a pretense of balance by noting the unpleasantness and stressfulness of checkpoint duty to Israeli soldiers. It even goes so far as to quote a soldier as saying: "'If you blame the soldiers, you miss the point. . . . These duties corrupt."  

That may well be so, but the article itself misses the point by completely failing to address the source of the problem and the solution as perceived by the parties. If the source of the problem is the terrorism that necessitates the erection of checkpoints, and if checkpoints are themselves stressful and dehumanizing, what is the solution? Certainly nothing as simple as providing more training to the soldiers at the checkpoints, a need to which the article alluded. Ms. Moore interviews several Israeli soldiers and attempts to give the impression that they are opposed to the checkpoints. But she conspicuously either never asked them whether the checkpoints are necessary to reduce the flow of terrorists into Israel or did ask them but is not reporting their responses. Good journalism should have prompted the author to ask this question of her sources and report their responses. Ms. Moore once again sadly reveals an agenda to depict Israel and Israelis in a negative light while downplaying and ignoring terrorism and its destructive effects.

Here are two letters to The Post on the subject of today's article:

To the Editor: 

In  "Checkpoints Take a Toll on Palestinians, Israeli Army" (front page, Nov. 29, 2004), Molly Moore details the horrific incident in which a Bedouin volunteer in the Israeli army beat a fellow Arab at a checkpoint for verbally abusing him. That incident and a few others detailed in the article were investigated by Israel. The sergeant was tried, convicted, sentenced to six months imprisonment, and reduced in rank to private.  

But in addition to the few detailed incidents that were investigated and appropriate action taken, Moore also reports that Palestinian, Israeli and international human rights groups have documented numerous other cases of abuse and Palestinians dying during delays at checkpoints. These self-named "human rights groups" are notorious for their anti-Israel agenda and distortions, their fallacious claims of a massacre in Jenin being a prime example.

In an army of varying backgrounds, abuses occur, especially with the crush of humanity at the checkpoints necessitated by the ongoing Palestinian suicide bombing campaign. Israel investigates and brings charges whenever the claims are credible, even of abuses against an enemy that views atrocities against Israelis as victories. 

To associate the unreliable claims by the so-called human rights groups of numerous abuses with the details of the few credible cases investigated by Israel, as Moore does in her report, gives those claims an aura of credibility that is unwarranted. 


Judge Herbert Grossman

To the Editor:

In describing scenes of frustration and humiliation in Palestinian areas, Molly Moore states that "the most intimate contact between Israelis and Palestinians occurs at the barrel of a gun at the 61 manned military checkpoints throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip." Not so. The most intimate contact occurs in a Jerusalem school bus or a Tel Aviv market when bits of flesh and blood from a Palestinian suicide bomber and his innocent Israeli victims are commingled in a lethal, and irreversible, embrace.

Unseemly episodes at military checkpoints are but a symptom of a terror-driven conflict. If a new Palestinian leadership were to put a permanent end to terrorist killings, there would be no need for checkpoints or security barriers to prevent Hamas and Islamic Jihad bombers from carrying out their murderous campaigns. The Post could do its part by exposing the real offenders instead of playing down their depredations and sanitizing their identities by referring to them as "attackers."

Leo Rennert

Thursday, November 25, 2004

The Post’s Virtual Endorsement of Marwan Barghouti, A Terrorist, for PA President ... Does The Washington Post Support Palestinian Terrorism? 

One of our readers and a friend recently wondered whether it might be a little over the top for us to suggest, as we did, that the Post's Middle East reporters actually support terrorism. We don't think so.

We can and did point out to him that the Post's purging of the words "terrorist" and "terrorism" from its vocabulary (they still quote or paraphrase others using those words) when reporting on events in Israel reflects a judgment by The Post that terrorists are the Palestinians' version of a military in their war against Israel, and to call them "terrorists" casts a negative light on them. The Post does not want to cast a
negative light on Palestinian terrorists or terrorism. In one particular article that provided a window into their thinking, they described the advent of suicide bombing as the development of an effective military weapon against Israel that somewhat leveled the playing field, giving short shrift to the distinction between indiscriminate, indeed deliberate, killing of innocent civilians and legitimate military conduct.

The Post claims it is remaining neutral and is just removing judgmental words from its lexicon. Not so. They actually support terrorism. We reminded our friend of a string of at least three articles by Molly Moore that were extremely sympathetic to terrorists. There was the piece about the dashed hopes and dreams of a career in the theater of a group of Palestinian high school friends, all but one of whom have since ended up in jail or dead for terrorist acts against innocent Israeli civilians. There was the piece about the so called de facto Sheriff of Jenin, Zakaria Zbeida, the head of the Al Aqsa Brigades in Jenin. In that article, Post reporter Molly Moore portrayed Zbeida as basically a good guy who is maintaining law and order in Jenin ... the "de facto sheriff," as she described him, who only turned to violence because of Israel's harsh actions against people close to him. And there was a lengthy piece quite some time ago about the terrorist leaders who Israel has killed ("assassinated" is the word the Post uses) personalizing them and portraying Israel's policy of targeted attacks in harshly critical terms. Ms. Moore began that article by noting that one of these poor men was killed while sitting on his roof at night reading the Koran and another of these poor men was visiting his sickly mother at the hospital, went out to make a phone call at a pay phone and was blown up in the phone booth by Israelis. One might argue that there is nothing wrong with showing the human side of terrorists, but if that is the point, they should also give equal time and equal sympathetic attention to the devastating impact on the victims of terrorism. The Post doesn't.

This past Thursday the Post's John Anderson, Molly Moore's husband, issued a virtual endorsement of a terrorist for the Presidency of the Palestinian Authority. (Fatah Panel Nominates Ex-Premier for President, Choice of Abbas to Lead Palestinians Underscores Dominance of Old Guard, 11-23-04, A25).  

Marwan Barghouti has been tried and convicted of murder in an Israeli court and was sentenced to five life terms in prison. In a Palestinian population that devotes so much energy to hating Israel and that contains so many extremists, it's not surprising that he has support in the Palestinian population. One cannot fault The Post for reporting that support. It's their job. But the Post does not simply report it. The Post does the most it can to bolster the image of Barghouti and to promote his candidacy, while at the same time saying little to nothing about what he has done to disqualify himself in the minds of many people. 

Throughout his article Anderson spins Fatah's decision to nominate Mahmoud Abbas as its candidate for the PA presidency as a decision "not to turn over the leadership to a younger generation." The Post casts the debate as "a major generational power struggle." Anderson doesn't report the practical problems that would have been created by a Barghouti nomination and that undoubtedly played a part in Fatah's decision. The Fatah decision could have been portrayed as a practical decision to avoid nominating a candidate residing in a "foreign" prison who would not be able to effectively lead from afar and would serve as nothing more than a symbol. 

And a symbol of what? Barghouti is an admitted architect of the latest "intifada." He himself has indicated that it was planned and timed and that he saw "a historic opportunity to ignite the conflict" when Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount. (The Trouble With Barghouti, Jerusalem Post, 11-24-04). He was "a founder of the al-Aqsa Brigades" and an admitted proponent of the very terrorism that under Arafat's leadership prevented resumption of peace negotiations. Barghouti's hands are drenched in blood. His nomination would send a bad message to Israel and might well frustrate peace efforts. 

The Post article only toward the end casually notes that Mahmoud Abbas, Fatah's nominee, has, on the other hand, opposed terrorism and has been "harshly critical of the Palestinians' turn to violence.

Portraying these events as a generational power struggle was The Post's choice. It is a choice of which the terrorists themselves would heartily approve. They would want to be seen as a new generation struggling for a political foothold against the entrenched old guard, with no mention of the fact that they are terrorists advocating continued violence against civilians by terrorist groups. The same events could just as easily be shown to be a struggle between those advocating cessation of terrorism in the name of a fresh start and possible peace with Israel versus those who want to continue the same destructive terrorism-driven policies of Arafat in the past.

In this article those who support Barghouti are in glowing terms called "Fatah's young reformist wing," yet less prominently readers are told these so-called reformists include "guerrillas from the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the Fatah military wing that has conducted a suicide bombing campaign against Israel.

The article provides quote after quote from Barghouti supporters. One wants to throw out all the old guard and "call a conference to elect a new leadership." Another says the current leadership has "no public support." Still a third from the "head of the campaign to get Barghouti released from jail" says they are not in the minority and that Barghouti has majority support.

Anderson in this article attempts to justify Barghouti's terrorism by claiming to know Barghouti's thoughts and motivations. Anderson states: "Barghouti began advocating violent resistance against Israel because of what he considered its pattern of breaking promises made in Oslo." Anderson couldn't possibly know Barghouti's real motivations, and the most he should be reporting is what Barghouti much later alleged motivated him. Also, note that terrorism is no longer referred to as just "militancy," the Post's favorite euphemism, but now has become "violent resistance against Israel."

And in a final display of its clear support of a terrorist and terrorism, the Post article quotes Barghouti himself from an op-ed piece written by him that the Washington Post published in 2002, in which he stated: "I am not a terrorist, but neither am I a pacifist. I am simply a regular guy from the Palestinian street advocating what every other oppressed person has advocated -- the right to help myself in the absence of help from anywhere else."

If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. This "regular guy" was convicted of active participation in the murder of five innocent Israeli civilians and was sentenced to five life terms in prison. Yet he has the support of the Washington Post. Is it over the top to say The Post supports terrorists and terrorism? No, it's not. It is The Post that is over the top, and it needs to be told as much.

Set forth below is a letter sent to The Post on the above article:

To the Editor: 

In much the same way that the Post polished the image of Yasser Arafat during his long and murderous career as the father of modern terrorism, it now conducts a campaign glorifying Marwan Barghouti, Arafat's lieutenant in charge of his terror apparatus in the West Bank. Barghouti is now serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison for the serial murders of five Israelis in terrorist attacks.

In "Fatah Panel Nominates Ex-Premier for President" (News, Nov.23, 2004), John Ward Anderson tells us that Barghouti began his violence because of what he considered Israel's pattern of breaking promises made in Oslo. If Anderson could read Barghouti's mind, as he presumes, it is doubtful that he would find that reason in it. Israel had complied with its obligations under Oslo before Arafat and Barghouti unleashed the intifada, primarily by withdrawing from populated Palestinian areas, and had then offered a settlement that astounded almost all with its generosity. 

It was the Palestinians who were breaking the Oslo promises by using the vacated territory as a safe haven for terrorist attacks, indoctrinating the population towards genocide against Israelis and Jews, and demanding the right to flood Israel with over four million of those genocidal Palestinians, a demand inconsistent with the two-state solution envisioned by the Oslo accords. That demand is equivalent to the U.S.'s admitting into this country over 200 million Al Qaeda, Taliban or Wahhabis, intent on slaughtering the infidels. Neither country, nor its inhabitants, could survive that influx.

Those promoting Barghouti's release and his possible candidacy for president of the Palestinian Authority, such as the two terrorists interviewed who admitted that they would turn against him if he gave up the demand of "return" to Israel, do not favor the survival of Israel (or reporting the news objectively).


Judge Herbert Grossman

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Post Focuses on News Casting Israel in a Negative Light

Yesterday the Post published an article devoted exclusively to rumor and conspiracy mongering in the Arab community about Arafat's death being the result of poisoning by Israel. (Conspiracy Theories Persist on Arafat's Death, Many Palestinians Still Assert Israel Poisoned Leader, 11-18-04, A36) But at the same time the Post did not report widely circulated rumors of Arafat's homosexuality and that he died of AIDS.  If unsubstantiated and vile rumors can ethically be repeated under the guise that such rumors are themselves news, why not at least do so with balance, especially since there seems to be more of a factual basis to support the homosexuality and HIV theories? (see e.g., Israel Considering Aids In Arafat's Death, Palestinians Set Up Team To Determine Cause Of Late PLO Leader's Illness, World Net Daily, 11-18-04) And to update this issue, the Post has such little interest in the real cause of death of Yasser Arafat that it failed to report today that France has now agreed to turn over Arafat's medical records to Yasser Arafat's nephew and the PA envoy to the United Nations, Nasser al-Kidwa. (Arafat Kin to Get His Medical Records, Washington Times, 11-19-04)

Today the Post reported about an incident yesterday in which IDF troops shot across the border killing 3 Egyptian policemen, mistaking them for a group of Palestinian terrorists who had been spotted nearby engaged in a terror operation. (Israeli Missile Mistakenly Kills Three Egyptian Policemen, World in Brief, A23) But the Post didn't report on another border operation in the news yesterday involving the IDF rescuing 3 Palestinians from a weapons smuggling tunnel that had collapsed on them. (Palestinians Saved From Collapsed Arms Tunnel and Arrested, Jerusalem Post, 11-18-04) Reporting the latter story would have given a more balanced picture of the reasons for and the dangers of Israel's military operations on the border.

Here's an excellent letter sent to The Post  yesterday about the article on the poisoning theories:

The Washington Post 

To the Editor: 

In the guise of a news article, "Conspiracy Theories Persist on Arafat's Death" (Nov. 18, 2004), John Ward Anderson has managed to plant another calumny against Israel in the public mind without claiming to endorse it, to wit, that Israel may have poisoned Yasser Arafat. Anderson tries to justify his reporting this unsubstantiated assertion by claiming that the suspicion of poisoning is not being peddled "just by a few conspiracy theorists, but by many," citing Arab sources. 

More Arabs than claim that it was the C.I.A. and Israel's Mossad that flew the planes into the World Trade Center? 

In the best tradition of sophists, Anderson adds to the preposterous allegation of Arafat's being poisoned, the even more absurd and equally unsubstantiated allegation by a Palestinian that if Arafat were poisoned, "most likely it was done by Israel" -- the same Israel from whom he had been totally isolated for over three years. 

Unmentioned in the article is the more prevalent rumor that Arafat died of an embarrassing "social disease," such as AIDS, whose complications sometimes mimic Arafat's reported symptoms. This rumor is harder to refute because his widow, who would most benefit from refuting it, refuses to release the medical reports. 

Her hateful diatribes against Israel and Jews are well-known, particularly the one preceding her notorious embrace by Hillary Clinton some years ago. If there were any substance to the poisoning claim, she would be loathe to pass up the opportunity to both clear Arafat of the social disease rumor and further malign Israel. 


Judge Herbert Grossman

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Lies, Eulogies and the Revision of Middle East History to Eliminate any Reference to the Palestinian Goal to Destroy Israel 

The Post yesterday and today continued to eulogize Yasser Arafat. In yesterday's paper there were no less than seven articles taking up six pages, including a front page, above the fold article and two photographs. Today the count was down to 3 articles taking up 4 pages, plus an editorial clearly demonstrating the Post's anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian agenda. 

On the front page of today's paper the Post engages in not just biased and opinionated reporting, but a bold faced lie. (Bush Goal: Palestinian State by 2009, 11-13-04, A01) The article states "President Bush set a goal yesterday of ensuring the creation of a peaceful, democratic Palestinian state alongside Israel before he leaves office in 2009." This was a shameless misrepresentation of a question and answer at the Bush-Blair press conference yesterday. In fact, the question and answer clearly show that President Bush was asked whether he had set his four year term as the goal for creation of a Palestinian state, and he indicated, when pressed, that it wasn't his goal but was, at most, a possibility. Here was the question and answer:

"Q Mr. President, can you say today that it is your firm intention that by the end of your second term in office, it is your goal that there should be two states -- Israel and Palestine -- living side-by-side? 

PRESIDENT BUSH: I think it is fair to say that I believe we've got a great chance to establish a Palestinian state, and I intend to use the next four years to spend the capital of the United States on such a state. I believe it is in the interest of the world that a truly free state develop. I know it is in the interest of the Palestinian people that they can live in a society where they can express their opinion freely, a society where they can educate their children without hate, a society in which they can realize their dreams if they happen to be an entrepreneur. I know it's in Israel's interest that a free state evolve on her border. There's no other way to have a lasting peace, in my judgment, unless we all work to help develop the institutions necessary for a state to emerge: civil society, based upon justice, free speech, free elections, the right for people to express themselves freely. The first step of that is going to be the election of a new president, and my fervent hope is that the president embraces the notion of a democratic state. 

I hate to put artificial time frames on things; unfortunately I've got one on my existence as President. It's not artificial, it's actually real. And I'd like to see it done in four years. I think it is possible. I think it is possible. 

I think it is impossible to think that the President of the United States, or the Prime Minister of Great Britain can impose our vision. I think it's unrealistic to say, well, Bush wants it done, or Blair wants it done, therefore, it will happen. But I think it is very possible that it can happen, because I believe people want to live in a free society. And our job is to help it happen."
[Source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2004/11/20041112-5.html]

So much for journalistic ethics and respect for the truth.

The Post's articles today about Arafat's funeral note the attendance of Arab leaders at the funeral service in Cairo, but they are conspicuously silent on the presence or absence of European or Western leaders or, in some cases, of the low level officials sent in place of leaders. One can certainly infer that Western leaders were absent from the Post's silence, but in a news article, rather than a eulogy, it would have been appropriate to report the truth. 

And in the "half truths and lies" department, the Post continues to ignore Arafat's prime goal of driving Israel from the Middle East and continues to recast the dispute as one merely for a Palestinian homeland, with Israel as the aggressor. 

Yesterday the Post reported that Arafat was "the embodiment of the Palestinians' fight for an independent state." (Arafat Embarks on Final Trip Home, West Bank Burial Will Follow Cairo Service; Four Successors Installed, 11-12-01 A01 ). That description stops a mile short of telling the truth by failing to note that Arafat's and the Palestinians' fight for an independent state has that independent state geographically located exactly in place of where Israel now sits. 

Today the Post reports: "With the Palestinians in full revolt against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, Sharon launched a prolonged attack on the Palestinian Authority and its institutions, particularly official security forces and Palestinian militant groups." (Amid Gunfire and Chaos, Palestinians Bury Arafat, Thousands Storm Leader's Ramallah Compound, 11-13-04, A01). This historic revision ignores the fact that armed Palestinian attacks against Israel began before Israel's capture of the West Bank and Gaza in the '67 War, and, therefore, could not be merely a "revolt against Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza." It also implies that Israel attacked Palestinians as a direct response to this so-called "revolt," completely ignoring any reference to Israel's military actions having been a response to Palestinian terrorism. As one of our members notes in a letter to the Post: "To whitewash a war of terror by cloaking it with euphemisms like "uprising" or "revolt" is bad enough. To make it seem that leaders and groups conducting the intifada are merely trying to achieve a two-state solution distorts reality and history beyond recognition."

When six days ago we read Molly Moore's suggestion of Marwan Barghouti as a possible candidate for office among Palestinians, we thought that as usual Ms. Moore was pitching her own pro-Palestinian, pro-terrorist agenda in the hope that it would catch on and result in more pressure being placed on Israel to do what no government in the world would ever consider doing. (Rifts Among Palestinians Grow as Power Struggle Looms, 11-7-04, A26) Ms. Moore didn't note that Marwan Barghouti had already been sentenced to five life terms in prison for planning terrorist attacks. All she noted was that he denied the charges, was convicted and is currently imprisoned in Israel.

Today's Post editorial (Palestinians and Democracy, 11-13-04, A28) joins Ms. Moore's opprobrious suggestion that Israel free the murderer when it states: "the most popular Palestinian leader now sits in an Israeli prison, where he is serving a life sentence [sic - five life sentences]." Only one paragraph earlier the editorial noted that with the recent appointment of interim Palestinian "leaders who have opposed violence and endorsed the road map," Israel now has a negotiating partner. But the same could not be said of Barghouti. He has blood on his hands. So why would the Post seemingly support his being set free to run for office? Is the Post searching for another Yasser Arafat to give them twenty more years of violence upon which to report?

The editorial further urges Israel to immediately abandon some of the few effective measures it takes to protect itself against terrorists. The editorial absurdly argues: "Fair elections won't even be possible without Israeli steps to allow free movement and suspend its own assassination attacks." Never mind the so-called "roadmap," which requires Palestinians to take steps to reign in terrorism. In the eyes of the Post, unless Israel first abandons checkpoints and stops preventing the entry of terrorists into Israel, and unless Israel first stops directly targeting terrorists, fair elections won't be possible. Well, the Post knows that is not about to happen, and the Post also knows the Palestinians may well not be capable of conducting fair elections. After all, they couldn't even conduct a dignified funeral. So what better way for a biased media outlet such as The Post to deal with Palestinian failure than to position itself to blame Israel?

Thursday, November 11, 2004

The Post Air Brushes Arafat's Image

Yasser Arafat is dead. As predicted, The Washington Post is air brushing Arafat's image to soften and remove the stain of his murderous past. They are lionizing him, while downplaying his terrorist history. In their front page article today Molly Moore and John Anderson expound upon Arafat's "life-long dream of achieving an independent Palestinian state" and describe him as "beloved and revered by Palestinians as the symbol of their struggle for a homeland, which he nearly single-handedly kept alive for 40 years." A truthful and fair presentation would have noted Arafat's life long dream of destroying the State of Israel. A truthful and fair presentation would have noted that even the Palestinian people today recognize that he was corrupt, that he looted the Palestinian coffers of billions of dollars destined for his own people and that his ineffective to non-existent leadership is largely responsible for the destruction of the Palestinian economy over the last four years. A truthful and fair presentation would have given equal time and space to his 40 year murderous past, but Moore and Anderson conveniently forget the preceding 36 years of terrorism, mentioning only Arafat's conduct in the four years of the latest intifada. They say: "At the same time, the man who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Israeli leaders for forging the Oslo peace accords in 1993 was condemned by Israelis as a terrorist responsible for launching the Palestinian uprising and its campaign of suicide bombings more than four years ago." That's it folks. That's the extent of Moore's and Anderson's coverage in this article of the terrorist's 40 year legacy of murder. No mention of the 1972 Munich massacre of Israeli Olympic athletes. No mention of the 1985 hijacking of the cruise ship Achille Lauro, with the accompanying murder and dumping overboard of the elderly, wheelchair bound Leon Klinghoffer. Intelligence services intercepted direct instructions coming from Arafat's headquarters in Tunis during that one. But portraying Palestinian terrorists sympathetically and favorably is typical of The Post, and we are not surprised at the less than fair coverage. (Yasser Arafat Pronounced Dead in Paris, Leader Was Loved and Reviled, Headline Changed on Post Web site to: Palestinian Leader Arafat Dies in France, Burial in West Bank on Saturday, 11-11-04, A01)

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

How Will The Post Rewrite Yasser Arafat's Legacy As A Murderer Of The Innocent?

The Washington Post and other pro-Palestinian media outlets are just beginning the process of revising history to gloss over and downplay Yasser Arafat's past as a duplicitous, corrupt, terrorist murderer, a history that continued right up until his now imminent death. The Post will provide many paragraphs fawning over Arafat, and they will place these laudatory paragraphs much more prominently in their news articles than other, more accurate descriptions of Arafat's past. Today the Post, in a headline, calls Arafat an "Icon," and Molly Moore, a reporter who always portrays Palestinian terrorists sympathetically, refers to him as "a legend, the very symbol of the Palestinian people." (Fight Over Icon Has Plenty of Precedent, Deputies to Arafat Have Long Seen His Wife as Threat, 11-9-04, A18 ) Thanks to the research of CAMERA, we have an excellent timeline that does not gloss over Arafat's unbroken history as a terrorist. Readers should insist that the Post and other media outlets not sanitize Arafat's history as a ruthless terrorist who plundered the treasury of his own people. Here's the CAMERA timeline.

  • Aug 4, 1929: Arafat born in Cairo. Muhammad Abdel Rahman Abdel Rauf al-Qudwa al-Husseini is fifth child of prosperous merchant, Abdel Raouf al-Qudwa al-Husseini.

  • 1933 : Arafat's mother dies. He and his infant brother are sent to live with uncle in Jerusalem. 

  • 1948: Arafat runs arms to Palestine.

  • Late 1950s: Arafat co-founds Fatah, the "Movement for the National Liberation of Palestine."

  • Jan. 1, 1965: Fatah's first attempted attack in Israel fails. They had attempted to bomb the National Water Carrier.

  • July 5, 1965: A Fatah cell planted explosives at Mitzpe Massua, near Beit Guvrin; and on the railroad tracks to Jerusalem near Kafr Battir. 

  • 1965-1967: Numerous Fatah bomb attacks target Israeli villages, water pipes, railroads. Homes are destroyed and Israelis are killed.

  • July 1968: Fatah joins and becomes the dominant member of the PLO, an umbrella organization of Palestinian terrorist groups.

  • Feb. 4, 1969: Arafat appointed Chairman of the Executive Committee of the PLO 

  • Feb. 21, 1970: SwissAir flight 330, bound for Tel Aviv, bombed by PLO-group PFLP in mid-flight, killing 47. 

  • Sept. 6, 1970: TWA, Pan-Am, and BOAC airplanes hijacked by PLO terrorists. 

  • September 1970: In operation known as "Black September," Jordanian forces battle PLO, driving them out of Jordan, after the group's violent activity threatened to destabilize the kingdom. The terrorists flee to Lebanon.

  • Sept. 5, 1972: 11 Israeli athletes killed at the Munich Olympics by PLO-affiliated terrorists.

  • March 1, 1973 : Palestinian terrorists take over Saudi embassy in Khartoum. The next day, two Americans (including the United States' ambassador to Sudan, Cleo Noel) and a Belgian were shot and killed. James J. Welsh, an analyst for the National Security Agency from 1969 through 1974, charged Arafat with direct complicity in these murders.

  • April 11, 1974: 18 residents of Kiryat Shmona in Israel killed in their apartment building by Palestinian terrorist who infiltrated from Lebanon.

  • May 15, 1974: School in Ma'alot attacked by Palestinian terrorists who infiltrated from Lebanon. 26 Israelis, including many children, were killed.

  • June 9, 1974 : Palestinian National Council adopts "Phased Plan," which calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state on any territory evacuated by Israel, to be used as a base of operations for destroying the whole of Israel. The PLO reaffirmed its rejection of United Nations Security Council Resolution 242, which calls for a "just and lasting peace" and the "right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force."

  • Nov. 13, 1974: Arafat, wearing a gun, addresses U.N. General Assembly

  • 1982: Having created a terrorist mini-state in Lebanon destabilizing that nation, PLO expelled after Israel responds to incessant PLO missile attacks against northern Israeli communities. Arafat relocates to Tunis.

  • Oct. 7, 1985 : Italian cruise ship Achille Lauro hijacked by Palestinian terrorists. Wheelchair-bound elderly man, Leon Klinghoffer, was shot and thrown overboard. Intelligence reports note that instructions originated from Arafat's headquarters in Tunis.

  • Dec. 12, 1988: Arafat claims to accept Israel's right to exist.

  • Sept. 1993: Handshake with Israeli Prime Minister Rabin, inaugurating the Oslo Accords. Arafat pledged to stop incitement and terror, and to foster co-existence with Israel, but failed to comply.

Throughout the years of negotiations, aside from passing, token efforts, Arafat does nothing to stop Hamas, PFLP, and Islamic Jihad from carrying out thousands of terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians. With Arafat's encouragement and financial support, groups directly under Arafat's command, such as the Tanzim and Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, also carry out terror attacks.

  • Oct. 21, 1996: Speaking at a rally near Bethlehem, Arafat said "We know only one word - jihad. Jihad, jihad, jihad. Whoever does not like it can drink from the Dead Sea or from the Sea of Gaza." (Yediot Ahronot, October 23, 1996)

  • April 16, 1998: In a statement published in the official Palestinian Authority newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda, Arafat is quoted: "O my dear ones on the occupied lands, relatives and friends throughout Palestine and the diaspora, my colleagues in struggle and in arms, my colleagues in struggle and in jihad...Intensify the revolution and the blessed intifada...We must burn the ground under the feet of the invaders." 

  • July 2000: Arafat rejects peace settlement offered by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, which would have led to a Palestinian state.

  • Sept 2000: New "intifada" is launched. Arafat continues to incite, support and fund terrorism. 

Below are some of the attacks since Sept 2000 perpetrated by groups under Arafat's command:

  • May 29, 2001: Gilad Zar, 41, of Itamar, was shot dead in a terrorist ambush by Fatah Tanzim. 

  • May 29, 2001: Sara Blaustein, 53, and Esther Alvan, 20, of Efrat, were killed in a drive-by shooting south of Jerusalem. The Fatah Tanzim claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  • June 18, 2001: Doron Zisserman, 38, shot and killed in his car by Fatah sniper fire.

  • Aug 26, 2001: Dov Rosman, 58, killed in a shooting attack by Fatah terrorist.

  • Sept 6, 2001: Erez Merhavi, 23, killed in a Fatah Tanzim ambush shooting near Hadera while driving to a wedding. 

  • Sept 20, 2001: Sarit Amrani, 26, killed by Fatah terrorist snipers as she was traveling in a car with her husband and 3 children.

  • Oct 4, 2001: 3 killed, 13 wounded, when a Fatah terrorist, dressed as an Israeli paratrooper, opened fire on Israeli civilians waiting at the central bus station in Afula. 

  • Nov 27, 2001: 2 killed 50 injured when two Palestinian terrorists opened fire with Kalashnikov assault rifles on a crowd of people near the central bus station in Afula. Fatah and the Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility. 

  • Nov 29, 2001: 3 killed and 9 wounded in a suicide bombing on an Egged 823 bus en route from Nazereth to Tel Aviv near the city of Hadera. The Islamic Jihad and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  • Dec 12, 2001:  11 killed and 30 wounded when three terrorists attacked a bus and several passenger cars with a roadside bomb, anti-tank grenades, and light arms fire near the entrance to Emmanuel in Samaria . Both Fatah and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • Jan. 3, 2002: Israelis intercept the Karine-A, a ship loaded with 50 tons of mortars, rocket launchers, anti-tank mines and other weapons intended for the Palestinian war against the Israelis. The captain admits he was under the command of the Palestinian Authority.

  • Jan 15, 2002: Avi Boaz, 71, an American citizen, was kidnapped at a PA security checkpoint in Beit Jala. His bullet-riddled body was found in a car near Bethlehem. The Fatah's Al-Aksa Brigade claimed responsibility for the murder.

  • Jan 15, 2002: Yoela Chen, 45, was shot dead by an Al Aqsa Brigade terrorist

  • Jan 17, 2002: 6 killed, 35 wounded when a Fatah terrorist burst into a bat mitzva reception in a banquet hall in Hadera opening fire with an M-16 assault rifle. 

  • Jan 22, 2002: 2 killed, 40 injured when a Fatah terrorist opened fire with an M-16 assault rifle near a bus stop in downtown Jerusalem.

  • Jan. 27, 2002: One person was killed and more than 150 were wounded by a female Fatah suicide bomber in the center of Jerusalem. 

  • Feb 6, 2002 - A mother and her 11 year old daughter were murdered in their home by a Palestinian terrorist disguised in an IDF uniform. Both Fatah and Hamas claimed responsibility. 

  • Feb 18, 2002 : - Ahuva Amergi, 30, was killed and a 60-year old man was injured when a Palestinian terrorist opened fire on her car. Maj. Mor Elraz, 25, and St.-Sgt. Amir Mansouri, 21, who came to their assistance, were killed while trying to intercept the terrorist. The terrorist was killed when the explosives he was carrying were detonated. The Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  • Feb 22, 2002: Valery Ahmir, 59, was killed by terrorists in a Fatah drive-by shooting north of Jerusalem as he returned home from work. 

  • Feb 25, 2002: Avraham Fish, 65, and Aharon Gorov, 46, were killed in a Fatah terrorist shooting attack south of Bethlehem. Fish's daughter, 9 months pregnant, was seriously injured but delivered a baby girl. 

  • Feb 25, 2002: Police officer 1st Sgt. Galit Arbiv, 21, died after being fatally shot, when a Fatah terrorist opened fire at a bus stop in the Neve Ya'akov residential neighbhorhood in northern Jerusalem. Eight others were injured.

  • Feb 27, 2002: Gad Rejwan, 34, of Jerusalem, was shot and killed by one of his Palestinian employees in a factory north of Jerusalem. Two Fatah groups issued a joint statement taking responsibility for the murder. 

  • March 2, 2002: A suicide bombing by Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade in an ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhood of Jerusalem killed 11 people and injured more than 50. 

  • Mar 5, 2002: 3 were killed and over 30 people were wounded in Tel-Aviv when a Fatah terrorist opened fire on two adjacent restaurants shortly after 2:00 AM. 

  • Mar 5, 2002: Devorah Friedman, 45, of Efrat, was killed and her husband injured in a Fatah shooting attack on the Bethlehem bypass "tunnel road", south of Jerusalem. 

  • Mar 9, 2002: Avia Malka, 9 months, and Israel Yihye, 27, were killed and about 50 people were injured when two Fatah terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at cars and pedestrians in the coastal city of Netanya on Saturday evening, close to the city's boardwalk and hotels. 

  • March 21, 2002: An Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bomber exploded himself in a crowd of shoppers in Jerusalem, killing 3 and injuring 86.

  • March 29, 2002: Two killed and 28 injured when a female Fatah suicide bomber blew herself up in a Jerusalem supermarket. 

  • March 30, 2002: One killed and 30 injured in an Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. 

  • April 12, 2002: Six killed and 104 wounded when a female Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade suicide bomber blew herself up at a bus stop on Jaffa road at the entrance to Jerusalem's Mahane Yehuda open-air market. 

  • May 27, 2002: Ruth Peled, 56, of Herzliya and her infant granddaughter, aged 14 months, were killed and 37 people were injured when a Fatah suicide bomber detonated himself near an ice cream parlor outside a shopping mall in Petah Tikva. 

  • May 28, 2002 - Albert Maloul, 50, of Jerusalem, was killed when shots were fired by Fatah terrorists at the car in which he was traveling south on the Ramallah bypass road.

  • May 28, 2002 - Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade terrorists killed Netanel Riachi, 17, Gilad Stiglitz, 14, and Avraham Siton, 17, three yeshiva high school students playing basketball. 

  • June 19, 2002: Seven people were killed and 37 injured when a Fatah suicide bomber blew himself up at a crowded bus stop and hitchhiking post in the French Hill neighborhood of Jerusalem. 

  • June 20, 2002: Rachel Shabo, 40, and three of her sons - Neria, 16, Zvika, 12, and Avishai, 5 - as well as a neighbor, Yosef Twito, 31, who came to their aid, were murdered when a terrorist entered their home in Itamar, south of Nablus, and opened fire. Two other children were injured, as well as two soldiers. The PFLP and the Fatah Al Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  • July 25, 2002: Rabbi Elimelech Shapira, 43, was killed in a Fatah shooting attack near the West Bank community of Alei Zahav. 

  • July 26, 2002: St.-Sgt. Elazar Lebovitch, 21, of Hebron; Rabbi Yosef Dikstein, 45, of Psagot, his wife Hannah, 42, and their 9-year-old son Shuv'el Zion were killed in a Fatah Al Aqsa Brigade shooting attack south of Hebron. Two other of their children were injured. 

  • July 30, 2002: Shlomo Odesser, 60, and his brother Mordechai, 52, both of Tapuach in Samaria, were shot and killed when their truck came under Fatah fire in the West Bank village of Jama'in. 

  • Aug 4, 2002: 2 killed and 17 wounded when a Fatah terrorist opened fire with a pistol near the Damascus Gate of Jerusalem's Old City. 

  • Aug 5, 2002: Avi Wolanski (29) and his wife Avital (27), of Eli, were killed and one of their children, aged 3, was injured when terrorists opened fire on their car as they were traveling on the Ramallah-Nablus road in Samaria. The Martyrs of the Palestinian Popular Army, a splinter group associated with Arafat's Fatah movement, claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  • Aug 10, 2002: Yafit Herenstein, 31, of Moshav Mechora in the Jordan Valley, was killed and her husband, Arno, seriously wounded when a Fatah terrorist infiltrated the moshav and opened fire outside their home. 

  • Sept 18, 2002: Yosef Ajami, 36, was killed when Fatah terrorists opened fire on his car near Mevo Dotan, north of Jenin in the West Bank. 

  • Oct 29, 2002: Three people, including 2 fourteen year olds, were shot to death by a Fatah terrorist.

  • Nov 10, 2002: Revital Ohayon, 34, and her two sons, Matan, 5, and Noam, 4, as well as Yitzhak Dori, 44 - all of Kibbutz Metzer - and Tirza Damari, 42, were killed when a Fatah terrorist infiltrated the kibbutz, located east of Hadera near the Green Line, and opened fire. 

  • Nov 28, 2002: 5 killed and 40 wounded when two Fatah terrorists opened fire and threw grenades at the Likud polling station in Beit She'an, near the central bus station, where party members were casting their votes in the Likud primary.

  • Apr 24, 2003 - 1 was killed and 13 were wounded in a suicide bombing outside the train station in Kfar Sava. Groups related to the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the PFLP clamied joint responsibility for the attack.

  • May 5, 2003 - Gideon Lichterman, 27, was killed and two other passengers, his six-year-old daughter Moriah and a reserve soldier, were seriously wounded when Fatah terrorists fired shots at their vehicle in Samaria. 

  • May 19, 2003: 3 were killed and 70 were wounded in a suicide bombing at the entrance to the Amakim Mall in Afula. The Islamic Jihad and the Fatah al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades both claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  • Aug 29, 2003: Shalom Har-Melekh, 25, was killed in a Fatah shooting attack while driving northeast of Ramallah. His wife, Limor, who was seven months pregnant, sustained moderate injuries, and gave birth to a baby girl by Caesarean section. 

  • Jan 29, 2004: 11 people were killed and over 50 wounded in a suicide bombing of an Egged bus no. 19 at the corner of Gaza and Arlozorov streets in Jerusalem. Both the Fatah-related Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades and Hamas claimed responsibility for the attack.

  • Mar 14, 2004: 10 were killed and 16 wounded in a double suicide bombing at Ashdod Port. Hamas and Fatah claimed responsibility for the attack. 

  • May 2, 2004: Tali Hatuel, 34, and her daughters - Hila, 11, Hadar, 9, Roni, 7, and Merav, 2 - of Katif in the Gaza Strip were killed when two Palestinian terrorists fired on an Israeli car at the entrance to the Gaza Strip settlement bloc of Gush Katif. Fatah and Islamic Jihad claimed joint responsibility for the attack

Monday, November 8, 2004

Jackson Diehl's Vilification of Sharon Continues 

To the Editor:

In "Sharon's Reason to Mourn" (column, Nov. 8, 2004), Jackson Diehl conjures up an alleged Sharon plan to divide Palestinian territory into islands separated by a security fence that does nothing of the sort. The security fence would put all of the Gaza Strip and approximately 90 percent of the West Bank on the Palestinian side, a remarkably generous concession to an enemy that has attempted to annihilate Israel over the course of six decades. The 10 percent of the West Bank remaining in Israeli hands would be predominantly along the Israeli-Palestinian border. Only in one area would the fence jut out significantly into the West Bank to enclose large Israeli settlements, but nowhere near cutting the West Bank into islands or even into two.

Whether the borders are determined unilaterally by Sharon under his disengagement plan for want of a sincere negotiating partner, or negotiated under the roadmap if he could find one, there is no basis for believing, as Diehl submits, that the division of land would or should differ. In neither case would Israel agree to the ethnic cleansing of a quarter of a million of its citizens from their homes in the West Bank from land that the Palestinians had never settled (the Jewish settlements were all built on vacant land) and claim as theirs only because of its conquest by Jordan in the 1948 war that the Arabs initiated.


Judge Herbert Grossman

Friday, November 5, 2004

The Post's Spin of Arafat's Image Begins

Yasser Arafat is either dead or dying. In meetings over the last two days the PA has designated current PA Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia to head the PA and current PLO second in command (and former Prime Minister) Mahmoud Abbas to head the PLO. Appointing two different people, and especially these two people, was the logical choice to make in filling the leadership vacuum in the two organizations, particularly since world leaders for over a year (including some within Palestinian society) have been pressuring Yasser Arafat to cede more control as a means of eliminating him as the principal obstruction to peace. But here's the Post's spin on the appointment of two men:

The selection of two men to replace Arafat reflects his status among Palestinians as the unrivaled symbol of their cause. No one else matches his stature and ability to unite the diverse factions and groups in Palestinian society. (Palestinians Choose Two To Assume Arafat Roles, Leader's Medical Condition Grows 'More Complicated,' November 5, 2004, A01)

Post reporters Anderson and Moore would have readers forget Arafat's utter failure to "unite the diverse factions and groups in Palestinian society," just as they downplayed and often completely failed to report instances of factional fighting, shootings, hostage-taking and kidnappings among members of Palestinian terrorist groups within and outside the PA over the past year. Widespread criticism of Arafat has also been downplayed and ignored by  these reporters. To credit Arafat with uniting diverse factions and groups within Palestinian society is nothing more than the continued whimsy of two reporters who have themselves lost the ability or will to remain objective.

We'll be seeing a lot more of this spin of Arafat's image in the coming days, and we fully expect the Post to downplay, bury,  ignore and even revise the history of Arafat as the king of all terrorists.

Tuesday, November 2, 2004

The Post Turns Deaf Ear To Palestinian Mother's Outrage

To the Editor:

After a 16-year-old Palestinian boy blew himself up in a Tel Aviv market, killing three Israelis, Palestinian leaders from Yasser Arafat on down issued the usual perfunctory condemnations. They worried that such attacks harm their cause, but pointedly refrained from denouncing terrorist slaughter of innocents as a despicably immoral act.

Unfortunately, the Post failed to report the reaction of the boy's mother, who blasted adult terror kingpins who sacrifice immature youngsters. "It's immoral," she said, "to send someone so young." Although her genuinely felt condemnation was widely reported elsewhere, the Post seems to have judged Arafat's meaningless response more significant than a mother's rebuke to the terrorists.

It wasn't too long ago that some Palestinian mothers gloried in offering their young as cannon fodder. Now, as more Palestinians are waking up to the self-inflicted horrors of Arafat's intifada, one would think their protests merit greater attention from the Post.

Leo Rennert

Sunday, October 3, 2004

The Washington Post Can Take a Lesson From The New York Times in Reporting Truthfully With Statistics 

The Washington Post continues to mislead its readers by reporting a blanket death toll showing 3 times as many Palestinians dead in the current intifada, while ignoring reliable statistics showing that of the dead, the percentage of innocent Israeli civilians is far greater than the percentage of innocent Palestinian civilians and the total number of Israeli women and elderly killed in the conflict is 2-3 times greater than Palestinian women and elderly. The author of the following letter, Leo Rennert, has called these statistics to the attention of the Post's foreign editor, but thus far The Post refuses to report the truth. 


To:  David Hoffman, Foreign Editor
CC: Donald Graham, Chairman of the Board
        Leonard  Downie, Executive Editor
        Michael Getler, Ombudsman
From: Leo Rennert
Date: October 3, 2004

Dear David:

If you haven't already seen it, you might want to take a look at Steven Erlanger's wrapup in today's NY Times on the four-year cost of the intifada, especially to Palestinians. It is accompanied by a box of statistical breakdowns of fatalities, which dramatically shows a far greater percentage toll of innocent Israelis being killed.

You have insisted in the past that The Washington Post was unable to find reliable figures to publish such a breakdown. Perhaps you now may want to take a second look, since the Times managed to find at least four different sources for its statistical summary and I can offer you again the research of the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, which can provide even greater detail.

With the Times now able and willing to show readers the different fatality patterns in this conflict, Post readers will be left to wonder: Is The Washington Post less capable than The New York Times in tracking down this information or does The Washington Post shy away from using these statistics, lest they belie its unceasing efforts to portray Israel as the heavy in its "news" columns?

Best regards,

Leo Rennert

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Lies, Lies and Statistics - How The Post Misuses Some Statistics and Fails to Report Others In An Effort To Mislead Its Readers

Yesterday, a female Palestinian terrorist bomber killed two border policemen at a checkpoint near a busy bus stop in Jerusalem. Along with its article covering the story, The Post featured an angelic, portrait style photograph of the female terrorist. (Suicide Bomber Kills 2 Police Officers in Israel, Young Woman Targeted Busy Jerusalem Bus Stop, the Scene of Previous Attacks, 9-23-04, A25) We wonder whether The Post's John Anderson or Molly Moore tried to get a photo of either of the two (19 and 20 year old) dead police officers or simply decided the 18 year old female terrorist was more worthy of a sympathetic portrayal. Arutz Sheva did offer photos of the two dead Israeli victims, and at the same time reported that the female terrorist was the hostess of a children's television show on a Palestinian station owned by her wealthy parents.  (Arutz Sheva, Suicide Bomber Was Children´s TV Show Hostess, September 23, 2004) This doesn't quite fit into The Post's depiction of terrorists as impoverished and desperate ... which is all the more reason for an honest newspaper to report it. 

More disturbing is The Post's use of statistics to mislead its readers. First, there is the superficial parroting of the statistic of 2750 dead Palestinians and 1000 dead Israelis since the onset of the latest intifada. The Post loves to cite this statistic in an effort to show an imbalance, but there is a much more revealing breakdown of these statistics that The Post deliberately refuses to report. Leo Rennert's letter below shows that the Post's foreign editor, David Hoffman, has been alerted to the availability of more detailed and reliable statistics showing a quite different picture of the demographics of victims on the respective sides, yet refuses to use them.

Today's article goes on to assert that Israeli "incursions and attacks [since the Beersheba bus bombings 3 weeks ago] have left 46 Palestinians dead, many of them civilians." It is tempting to assert that this number alone is a bald faced lie. Suffice it to say that there haven't been 46 Palestinian dead reported in either The Washington Post's pages or any other mainstream media outlet since the Beersheba bus bombings on August 31. Furthermore, the same sentence contains the lie that of the dead, "many [have been] civilians." The Palestinian dead since the bus bombings have overwhelmingly been terrorists, as can be seen from Herb Grossman's letter and analysis below. 

The article then goes on to assert: "In the past week, Israeli forces have killed 24 Palestinians." This statement is false. We've gone over The Washington Post's reports for the seven day period leading up to today's report, and here's what they reveal:

Wednesday, 9-22-04 -  No Palestinian deaths reported in either stand alone news articles or in the World in Brief section.

Tuesday, 9-21-04 - Two Hamas terrorists killed in a helicopter strike in Gaza - no other Palestinian deaths reported.

Monday, 9-20-04 - One terrorist described as a "senior leader of ... Hamas" reported killed in a helicopter missile attack on his car in Gaza. No bystander deaths.

Sunday, 9-19-04 - No Palestinian deaths reported in either stand alone news articles or in the World in Brief section.

Saturday, 9-18-04 - No Palestinian deaths reported in either stand alone news articles or in the World in Brief section.

Friday, 9-17-04 - No Palestinian deaths reported in either stand alone news articles or in the World in Brief section.

Thursday, 9-16-04 - 10 Palestinian deaths in two military confrontations. According to Israel, nine of the Palestinians were terrorists. One was an 11 year old girl. The Post reported that she was killed by Israeli fire, but there was no evidence to support that assertion, and we wrote about it.

The grand total reported by The Post for the one week period was 13 deaths. The figure of 24 dead Palestinians in the last week was a lie. The same author, John Anderson, recently reported that 40% of the land area of the Gaza Strip was occupied by settlers, and The Post was forced to issue a correction. We challenge editors at The Post to investigate, and if their investigation shows that this figure of 24 dead in the past week (or the figure of 46 dead since the 8-31 bus bombings in Beersheba) cannot be supported, to issue a correction.


To: Management Officials at The Post
From: Leo Rennert
Subject: Letter To The Editor About Lies, Lies and Statistics

The attached letter is self-explanatory. However, FYI, my statistics are garnered from the International Counter-Terrorism Institute, which maintains the most complete and reliable data base of fatalities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Contrary to dismissive statements by Foreign Editor David Hoffman that the institute gets its statistics from the Israeli Defense Forces, the truth is that the IDF goes to the institute to get a fuller picture of casualties. Also, institute researchers make extensive use of reports from Palestinian media and other Palestinian sources, often erring in close calls in favor of the Palestinian side to enhance their credibility. Its reports and statistical breakdowns are available on the Internet, as is the precise methodology it uses. If the Post really were interested in presenting an accurate picture of the conflict, it could do no better than plumb these data. Or if David Hoffman still has his doubts, he should present some credible objections instead of falling back on criticisms that have no basis in fact.

To round out some of the fatality breakdowns in my letter, let me add these interesting totals: From Sept. 27, 2000, until May of this year, 126 Palestinian females were killed in the conflict, compared with 285 on the Israeli side. In other words, the Israeli female fatality count in absolute numbers is more than twice that of the Palestinian female fatality toll. Perhaps one of your feminist reporters or editors might want to dig into these numbers. Among older people killed during the conflict, 82 were Palestinians, 226 were Israelis -- almost 3 times as many Israelis!

On the other hand, if you have an anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian agenda, why point out the true nature of the conflict and the respective means used by each side, when that would show readers the real asymmetry between the two camps -- a terror campaign pursued by Palestinians versus an Israeli response that, thanks to superior intelligence, is able to concentrate its fire on murderous terrorists.

Leo Rennert

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Leo Rennert 
To: letters@washpost.com 
Sent: Thursday, September 23, 2004 6:04 PM

To the Editor:

The Post gave new meaning to the old adage that lies can be presented as statistics in its report of a Sept. 22 suicide bombing in Jerusalem that killed two Israeli police officers. Summing up the four-year Palestinian uprising, the article stated that 2,760 Palestinians "have been killed by Israeli forces," while Palestinians killed nearly 1,000 Israelis. These numbers stray from the truth on two important counts.

First, Israelis are not responsible for the self-inflicted deaths of suicide bombers, would-be Palestinian bombers blowing themselves up in "work accidents," or Palestinians summarily executed by other Palestinians. These Palestinians certainly were not "killed by Israeli forces." Second, the nearly 3-to-1 Palestinian fatality ratio fails to account for a preponderance of combatants deaths on the Palestinian side, compared with a preponderant toll of innocent civilians on the Israeli side. 

Because Israel focused its attacks on Hamas and other terrorists (mostly young males), only 4 percent of Palestinian fatalities were female, as against a 30 percent total of female fatalities on the Israeli side. Similarly, only 3 percent of Palestinians killed in the conflict were of older age (45 and up), compared with a 25 percent fatality count for older Israelis.

Unlike the Post's misleading body counts, such breakdowns make clear the random, indiscriminate nature of Palestinian terror attacks -- a far cry from Israel's primary focus on eliminating terrorists, while trying to minimize non-combatant casualties.

Leo Rennert


From: Judge Herbert Grossman
To: The Washington Post

Let's be honest! The Israeli military did not describe their military operations as efforts to target "militants," as John Ward Anderson and Molly Moore report in "Suicide Bomber Kills 2 Police Officers in Israel" (news, Sept. 23, 2004). The Israelis said that they target "terrorists." "Militants" is the Post's euphemism for those who deliberately murder and maim defenseless Israeli civilians.

Nor is the article accurate in asserting that, of the 46 Palestinians killed in the Israeli operations since the Palestinians blew up two buses of civilians in Beersheba, "many" were civilians. It only appears that way because your news reports highlight the few civilians accidentally killed along with the many terrorists - excuse me, "militants."

For example, in "Israeli Forces Kill 10 in West Bank Attacks" (news, Sept. 16, 2004), when Israel killed nine militants, Moore reported on the death of an 11-year-old Palestinian girl purportedly shot in the head by Israelis in the gun battle, as alleged and described by Palestinians. Even if that death actually occurred and was caused by Israeli (rather than Palestinian) gunfire during the battle, a kill ratio of nine militants to one civilian in the densely populated area out of which the terrorists operated is impressive. If we add in the 14 Hamas militants killed by Israel while in a terrorist training exercise, with no civilian casualties, the ratio goes even higher. These actions demonstrate a precision and concern for civilian lives rarely seen in military operations that are not fairly reflected in your reports.

Don't tell us that "many" of the 46 killed were civilians. Give us the numbers.


Judge Herbert Grossman

Eye On The Post Editor's Note: Today's article contains the more romantic euphemism for terrorists of "guerrillas." The article states: "... Palestinian guerrillas and suicide bombers have killed 998 Israelis and foreigners." For the current group of Post reporters and editors, the challenge is to see how close they can come to saying "freedom fighters" without actually using those words.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Post Continues to Cite Hospital Officials For Facts Of Which They Couldn't Possibly Have Personal Knowledge

Yesterday an Israeli helicopter launched a missile at a car in Gaza containing a top terrorist leader, killing him. Six people were reported to have been injured in the attack. In today's World in Brief section, The Post reports: "Hospital officials said six people, all bystanders returning from a mosque, were wounded, two of them seriously." Who are these all-knowing "hospital" or "medical" officials to whom The Post returns time and time again for authoritative information, and how do they know details of events occurring long before their patients ever reach the hospital?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Molly Moore's and The Washington Post's Unchecked Anti-Israel Bias - The Deception Continues - Post Tries to Conceal That Victims Were Terrorists by Reporting Israel's Attacks As Being Against Palestinians Generally


To The Washington Post:

In today's edition, you carry a story by Molly Moore about 9 Palestinian terrorists and a Palestinian girl killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank. (Israeli Forces Kill 10 In West Bank Attacks, 9-16-04, A22) Unfortunately, this is not the way Ms. Moore reports what happens. Since she's always ready to legitimize Palestinian terrorism and put the onus on Israel, she inverts the events to make it appear that Israel was the heavy. Let's see how exactly she goes about twisting facts to suit her (and The Post's) agenda:

1. Reading her lead paragraph (which according to basic journalistic standards is supposed to give the reader the essence of the story), you would never know that Israel targeted terrorists or, for that matter, "militants," as The Post usually likes to refer to these wonderful people. Instead, her lead states that Israel killed "10 Palestinians" on the West Bank and Israeli officials warned that troops will continue attacks against "Palestinians." This is an outrageously false depiction of Israel's actions and intentions. It tells readers that Israel is engaged in a military offensive against ANY AND ALL Palestinians. Moore does not qualify the dead as including 9 terrorists -- not just any Palestinians -- nor does she qualify Israel's intentions as aimed at terrorists.

2. In the second sentence in the second paragraph, Moore does provide a quote from an Israeli official that Israel plans to continue attacks against the Palestinian terrorist infrastructure and leadership. But this is offered as a general policy statement, with no reference to exactly how many terrorists were killed on this particular day.

3. In the third graf, Moore finally gets around, in very gingerly fashion, to half-way identifying the Palestinian casualties. First, she quotes Palestinians as saying that 6 were "militants" and 3 were "security officials." After this super-toned-down roster of Palestinian fatalities, she gets around to quoting an Israeli spokeswoman as saying that all 9 were "militants." That, of course, is a PATENT LIE. The spokeswoman accurately described them as terrorists belonging to Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Both these groups are recognized by the United States as terrorist organizations. Their record for the last several years amply makes clear that they're out to kill as many innocent Israeli civilians as possible -- an activity which makes them terrorists, not "militants." But even if an Israeli official uses the term "terrorist," Moore will expunge the actual -- and accurate -- description, and substitute her own verbiage in an attempt to sanitize the actions and intentions of these groups.

4. Now let's see how Moore defines Al Aqsa. You'd never even remotely guess that these folks are engaged in terrorism. No, according to Moore, Al Aqsa is merely the "armed wing of Arafat's Fatah movement." Since legitimate police forces also are "armed," how can we possibly guess the quite different mission of Al Aqsa? As for the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, Moore describes its members as a "group active throughout the four-year-old Palestinian uprising." Active doing what? If Moore were to truthfully answer this question, her description would immediately self-destruct.

5. In the sixth paragraph, Moore gets back to the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel agenda of her lead by writing that the Israeli military have "escalated attacks against Palestinians in Gaza." Again, not escalated attacks against Palestinian terrorists, not even escalated attacks against Palestinian "militants," but just attacks against Palestinians in general. No wonder The Post refuses to publish actual breakdowns of intifada fatalities, which would show readers that most Palestinians killed in the last 4 years were combatants or died at the hands of Palestinians, while most Israelis killed were non-combatants. Better to perpetuate the fiction that Israel is making war on "the Palestinians" to help justify terrorist attacks against Israelis.

6. To round out her bias, Moore omits a key fact. In the Nablus incident, Israeli commandos -- to SPARE THE LIVES OF THE TERRORISTS -- first asked them to surrender. It was only after they refused and fired on the commandos that the commandos opened fire. To have mentioned this, however, would have presented Post readers with a totally different picture -- i.e. Israeli forces trying to apprehend, not kill, terrorists, instead of Moore's preferred fictional portrait of Israeli forces mowing down indiscriminately "Palestinians."

7. Finally, there was the headline. I know reporters don't write headlines, but in this instance it was perfectly justified by Moore's virulently biased article: "Israeli Forces Kill 10 In West Bank Attacks." As you well know, whether on your web site or with your printed editions, many readers scan headlines and don't even read the lead paragraph (not that this would have enlightened them in this instance). So, since Post editors are not only supposed to properly edit Moore's writings, but also the work of headline writers, it's quite logical to conclude that Moore's bias infuses the entire newspaper.

Leo Rennert

Eye On The Post Editors Note: The article reports that the 11 year old girl was in her house when shooting broke out and was struck by a stray bullet. Since The Post acknowledges that the terrorists were "gunmen," one wonders why The Post reporter would accept and report, without question, Palestinian claims that it was an Israeli bullet that struck her. In addition, this article continues The Post's frequent reliance on Palestinian medical officials as sources for facts of which they could not possibly have personal knowledge. Examples: "Palestinian medical officials identified the dead as ... six militants and three Palestinian security officials" and "...Maram Nahleh, 11, who was inside her house about 15 feet from the garden where the shooting erupted, according to Palestinian hospital officials...." Finally, we would note the imbalance in The Post abandoning  use of the phrase "Moslem extremists" when referring to Hamas, Hezbollah, and a host of other Moslem extremist groups, but having no hesitation in this article in referring to "Jewish extremists" as posing a threat to Sharon.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Post Fabricates "New International Peace Plans" and Says Sharon's Gaza Withdrawal is Seeking to Preempt Them

This little paragraph at the end of today's World In Brief section shows how even on a slow news day The Post looks for and finds opportunities to misrepresent facts and portray Israel and its leadership in a negative light:

"Sharon wants to pull out of all 21 Gaza settlements and four small ones in the West Bank in 2005, removing 8,500 settlers from their homes. After four years of conflict with the Palestinians, Sharon says the moves are needed to improve security and preempt new international peace plans."

What "new international peace plans?" With this misrepresentation, The Post portrays Sharon's Gaza disengagement plan as an effort to avoid peace.


This recent letter to The Post points out another instance of The Post attempting to conceal or downplay facts that would show Israel's military action in Gaza as defensive: 

To the Post: 

In typical fashion, in "Six Palestinians Killed in New Fighting in Gaza, West Bank" (Sept. 10, 2004, ), the Post highlights the killing of Palestinians, with detailed descriptions of the casualties and the Israeli attack that caused them, before it discloses the reason for the military action. Then, buried a third of the way through the article, is the (ever so brief) disclosure that Israel was trying to stop the Palestinians from firing rockets into "Israeli communities just outside the Gaza Strip" (i.e., into Israel itself, for those unfamiliar with the geography).

Even the New York Times, no great friend of Israel's, begins its reporting of the military action that day by telling us up front, in the first sentence, that the Israeli action was taken "to suppress rocket fire into Israel."

Is there any country that would not take military action to prevent the unrelenting bombardment of its communities? Would the Post also report the casualties that might ensue from such a defensive action by any country other than Israel as though they were unprovoked and gratuitously inflicted?


Judge Herbert Grossman

Thursday, September 9, 2004


Are Russia and Israel In The Same Boat?
By Leo Rennert

The carnage in Beslan with its accompaniment of horrific pictures of terrorists murdering children has underscored a picture of jihadism on a global rampage. Comparisons have been drawn with terrorist attacks in Israel and elsewhere. Two days after the siege at the Russian school, Russia's foreign minister was in Israel, bolstering the impression that Russia and Israel are now in the same boat when it comes to dealing with Islamic and/or Arab terrorism, as practiced by separatist groups.

But comparisons of this nature often tend to be simplistic and one-dimensional. Yes, the murderers of Beslan children are in the same category as the killers of Israeli children in Maalot. Yes, the fanatical jihadists targeting Israel and Russia are part of the same terrorist web and culture of death that cannot be justified, rationalized or in any way viewed as less than diabolical evil.

But here the comparison ends. Where commentators all too glibly have drawn an utterly false parallel between Russia and Israel is in equating their respective treatment of Chechens and Palestinians. The all-too-facile and entirely false analogy is that, yes, Russia has been brutal in its treatment of the Chechens just as Israel has been brutal in its treatment of the Palestinians, but there is absolutely no excuse or justification for what happened in Beslan.

While you can analogize the Chechen terrorists as being of the same ilk as Hamas & Co., it is demonstrably false to equate Russia's behavior in Chechnya with Israel's actions vis a vis the Palestinians. The notion that Yeltsin-Putin equals Barak-Sharon is utterly and mindlessly wrong. In dealing with Chechen separatism, both Yeltsin and Putin responded with an iron fist, brutalizing a civilian population and rejecting any real option of autonomy for the Chechens, let alone a chance to break away from Mother Russia. Russian troops indiscriminately pillaged, raped and murdered hundreds, if not, thousands of Chechen civilians. In sharp contrast, Israel for decades has extended olive branches to the Palestinians. Time and again, it has propounded political initiatives to end the conflict with a genuine two-state solution -- exactly what Moscow has NOT done with regard to Chechnya. But despite multiple peace overtures, Israel has been rewarded with an unrelenting war of terror aimed at eliminating the Jewish state. Even when the Palestinians turned to terrorism, Israel has bent over backwards not to respond, as the Russians did, with massive, indiscriminate attacks against entire civilian populations. There have been real massacres in Chechnya. There was no massacre, at the height of the latest intifada, in Jenin. Israel has behaved responsibly against an enemy that wants to eliminate it. Russia has responded irresponsibly against an enemy that fights not to destroy Russia but to become a separate country.

Bottom line: Yes there is a valid comparison between the terrorist threats faced by Russia and Israel. NO, there is no comparison between how Russia and Israel have responded and still respond to this very day. If there is absolutely no sane rationale or justification for Beslan -- and there is not -- there can be no sane rationale or justification 10 times over for suicide bombings in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv or Beersheva.


A $10 Million Bounty On Arafat's Head
By Leo Rennert

Russia today announced a $10 million bounty for the arrest or killing of two Chechen "rebel" leaders in the aftermath of the bloody school siege in southern Russia. All media reports so far have mentioned this news in matter-of-fact fashion. Reporters apparently haven't rushed out to obtain interviews to criticize Moscow's action.

Now, suppose that Israel had offered a $10 million bounty for the arrest or killing of Yasser Arafat, whose decades-old involvement in terrorism is more solidly documented than the actions of the two Chechen leaders. Do you think the New York Times or the Washington Post would report this matter-of-factly or instead rush out and collar the usual suspects -- from Human Rights Watch to Yossi Beilin -- to denounce Israel's "hard-line" policies, to portray Sharon as a bloodthirsty vigilante, to issue warnings that this is no way to end a conflict and to predict that his would only embolden the "militants."

Enough said. When it comes to Israel, the global double standard knows no bounds.

Wednesday, September 8, 2004

Trivialities Serve As Post's Latest Pretext to Keep Spying Allegations Against Israel in the News

So intent is The Post on tainting Israel and AIPAC with a steady flow of prominent reports about anonymous spy allegations, that despite the absence of anything new to report today, the Post published an article about an email and about an anti-Israel ad, using this minutiae as a pretext to keep the story in the public eye. (AIPAC Says U.S.-Israel Ties Are Under Attack, Group Denies Wrongdoing Amid Probe, 9-8-04, A10) AIPAC sent its supporters an email yesterday again denying any basis for the supposed investigation, and The Washington Post made a news article out of it, including repeating the key text of an ad in The Washington Times by a fringe group bashing Israel. Some might wonder about The Post giving free publicity to a group that gave its advertising dollars to The Washington Times, but what's a little free advertising between kindred spirits on this issue of Israel bashing? Maybe tomorrow The Post will publish a story reporting the absence of any new developments in the investigation.

Letter to Post About Terror Column 

To The Post: 

I hesitate to criticize one of the few Washington Post articles that condemns Palestinian terrorism, or even calls it by that name, but Anne Applebaum misses a critical difference when she compares it to Chechen terrorism, and a critical point about both terrorist movements, in "The Irrationality of Terror" (column, Sept. 8, 2004).

She considers the terrorism, including the deliberate and brutal slaying of children, as merely a tactic in wars against injustice and based on emotional responses such as hatred and revenge. In both cases, however, she fails to consider that the tactic of slaughtering the innocents is based also on the logic, perverse as it may be, of the fundamentalist Islam that drives the conflicts, in which these victims, children included, are not innocents as we perceive them. They are subhuman infidels whose lives and sufferings are irrelevant and worthy only of contempt.

In the case of the Chechens, where their ultimate goal may be independence, it is possible for them to refine their tactics, notwithstanding their hatred and contempt of the Russian infidels, in the interests of achieving that goal. 

But with the Palestinians, where the goal and the tactics are identical, the annihilation of the Jews, a refinement of the tactics to eliminate the intended slaughter would be a basic contradiction of the goal itself.


Judge Herbert Grossman

Letter to Post About Its Sanitizing of Hamas' Goals in News Article

A reader who didn't want his identity revealed sent this letter to The Post

To The Post:

Only part of the communiqué from Hamas regarding their double bus bombing in Beersheba was included in Suicide Bombings Kill 18 in Israel [Sept 1, 2004]. The part printed was: “Hamas claimed responsibility for the attacks… saying they were retribution for Israel's assassinations of top Hamas leaders in Gaza last spring and the poor treatment of Palestinians in Israeli jails ….” 

Conspicuously absent was the rest of the communiqué: it stated “…the operations were a message to the newly arriving Zionist immigrants that they would meet the same fate if they insisted on staying on the usurped Palestinian lands." [http://www.palestine-info.co.uk/am/publish/article_7618.shtml] In reading the Hamas manifesto, there is little doubt about what "usurped Palestinian lands" means: it means the entire state of Israel (i.e. their true goal is the destruction of Israel). By omitting an important part of the stated motive for this bombing - one of the deadliest terrorist attacks ever in Israel - The Washington Post makes it clear that they don't want their readers to know the full story of the Palestinian Arab war against the Israelis. Facts are routinely deleted or distorted if they conflict with The Washington Post version that depicts an oppressed Palestinian Arab community that seemingly only wants a country of their own in the West Bank and Gaza, rather than a group of terrorists who wants to replace Israel with themselves.

If the Post would just tell the complete story of the Middle East conflict, not an edited version which omits facts, then they could give their readers the opportunity to decide on their own the truth behind the conflict. 

A Reader

Sunday, September 5, 2004

The Post Uses The Pentagon-AIPAC Investigation As An Excuse to Write Critically About Jewish Power, Money and Influence in the USA

On Thursday when we last wrote, The Post was up to 5 articles in 6 days on the non-story, supplied by anonymous sources, of an alleged leak of a relatively unimportant document about US policy on Iran from a Pentagon official, Lawrence Franklin, to an AIPAC member and then allegedly on to Israel. We said then that this is a story The Post loves and does not want to let go, even if it turns out that their overly enthusiastic and redundant stories were predicated upon nothing more than vapor. As of this past Thursday they had falsely reported that an indictment was imminent and had speculated, almost gleefully, about whether Lawrence Franklin might be allowed to plead guilty to a lesser crime. There was no new news to report when we wrote about the count being 5 articles in 6 days, and there is no new news to report today, yet the count has now climbed to 9 articles in 8 days. 

But the tone of the articles has changed. Today The Post, apparently in search of a real hatchet job, imported Molly Moore from the foreign desk to write an article that is nothing but a thinly veiled and unfair portrayal of AIPAC (and the American Jewish Community, which the article notes contributes to AIPAC's success by "extensive civic participation") as extraordinarily powerful, unduly aggressive and getting its way whenever it wants. (Pro-Israel Lobby Has Strong Voice, AIPAC Is Embroiled in Investigation of Pentagon Leaks, 9-5-03, A10) The investigation was given just a few passing comments and served as the excuse for writing what was really on the authors' minds. This article is a subtle attack, not only on Israel and AIPAC, but on American Jewry as well. The article starts out by portraying AIPAC as the "most powerful pro-Israel lobbying organization in the United States" and "one of the capital's toughest and most effective behind-the-scenes lobbies." According to the authors of this article, the fact that a large number of Congressmen and public officials in both parties have come to AIPAC's defense since the investigation was first reported, is a testament, not to the quality or loyalty of the organization or the confidence it has earned in public officials, but rather, to its raw power. The article raises the anti-Semitic slur that Jews' may not be loyal Americans by quoting a Congressman's concern over "'the issue of dual loyalties'"... as if to say "We wouldn't say it, but some people are afraid others will say it." AIPAC is a nonpartisan organization, yet the article delves into the issue of Jewish money and influence by providing extensive details of some AIPAC board members' personal contributions and their private activities outside of AIPAC in serving as fund raisers in both parties. It then notes two instances in which it suggests Jews, including AIPAC board members, contributed to the defeat of anti-Israel Congressional candidates by making donations to the opponents of the candidates. It is strange how closely this article resembles the anti-Semitic canard that Jews, through their money, control the US government. We wouldn't say that about such an upstanding organization as The Washington Post, but we're concerned that someone else might.

Thursday, September 2, 2004

The Washington Post Versus Israel and AIPAC - Keystone Reporters - No News is Transformed By The Post Into Big News

They can't even get the name of the organization right. It's the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and not the "American Israel Political Action Committee," as reported in the opening paragraph of today's Post article. (Leak Probe More Than 2 Years Old, Pro-Israel Group's Possible Role at Issue, 9-2-04, A6)

The non-story of a supposed spy in the Pentagon broke last Saturday, August 28, 2004. The Post ran it on the front page that day and the next day. And just in case you were away for the weekend, they ran it again on Monday. And just in case a reader took a long weekend and didn't read the paper Saturday, Sunday or Monday, they ran it again on Tuesday. There was no new news on any of these successive days; just repetition of the same suspicion and innuendo. They skipped yesterday in deference to the 16 Israelis killed and 100 wounded in the dual terror attacks in Beersheba, but today it's back to business as usual. Five prominent articles in six days. This is a story The Post loves and does not want to go away, even if it turns out they were just grabbing at vapor. One is reminded of Jenin. Regardless of how it turns out, however, The Post's coverage of this story has been blatantly shabby.

The story has been transformed by The Post's journalists from whispers by unnamed sources of imminent criminal charges: "...arrests in the case could come as early as next week...." to one in which "the government does not expect to bring charges against anyone this week or next." On Tuesday the Post's article shamefully inferred that others might be criminally charged when it said that Franklin "could be among those arrested," and went so far as to wonder whether Franklin would be allowed to "plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for cooperation." That little gem didn't come from a source. It came directly from the author of what was supposed to be a news article.

There have been comments designed to appeal to the anti-Israel and even anti-Semitic among readers, such as constant repetition that Lawrence Franklin works "under" (far under, we would note) Douglas Feith, known by informed readers to be Jewish, glossing over the fact that he actually works in the office of William J. Luti, who runs the section on Near East and South Asian affairs, and "under" Donald Rumsfeld and George Bush, none of whom are Jewish. And Franklin isn't Jewish, but that is not mentioned. 

Molly Moore's article on Monday repeatedly used the phrase "Israeli espionage" and asserted this is the second allegation of "Israeli espionage against an ally," referring to the recent allegation in New Zealand that a Mossad agent tried to obtain a fake passport. To Ms. Moore, trying to obtain a fake passport is "Israeli espionage against an ally."

The headline of last Sunday's front page article announced: "Analyst Who Is Target of Probe Went to Israel." Someone reading that headline might have thought Franklin is alleged to have traveled to Israel as part of his nefarious spying in order to pass the fruits of his efforts to the Israelis. Well, that was the point of the headline, to give that misleading impression, wasn't it? Readers would have to read the article to learn that he didn't just go to Israel. He worked at the US embassy there a long, long time ago.

In an excuse to keep the non-story alive, today's Post article reports on the supposed existence of a general counterintelligence probe of AIPAC going back more than 2 years. The problem is, there are no facts; just the supposed existence of an investigation. Because there are no facts to report, the two journalists who wrote this article had to give the impression of facts, so they littered the article with possibles, maybes and could haves. The authors mention the "possible transfer of intelligence more extensive" than the Iran policy directive Franklin is supposed to have shared. The authors assert the FBI is investigating "whether highly classified material ...was also forwarded to Israel." They allude to "AIPAC as a possible conduit for information to Israel..." But nowhere does the article tell us how common such counterintelligence investigations are in the FBI or how many countries or organizations lobbying on behalf of countries at one time or another are the subject of FBI snooping in an effort to protect the US. Nowhere does the article tell us the extent of this supposed investigation, whether one FBI agent was assigned to periodically sniff around, involving only 20 hours of work over two years, or whether a much more extensive investigation has been undertaken. There is no context given, because the purpose of the article was to smear AIPAC and Israel simply by reporting the existence of such an investigation, even if it turns out to be nothing more than the suspicions of an Inspector Clouseau or two at the FBI. Nowhere does the article tell us that these esteemed journalists, who can't even accurately report what the acronym AIPAC stands for, did not learn of anything substantive being turned up by this investigation, other than the non-story about Franklin, which they once again rehash.

This is irresponsible and slanted journalism. It is a non-story being repeated by The Post over and over again, as part of a smear campaign against AIPAC and Israel. The real story here may yet turn out to be who in the government conspired with The Post to wage this smear campaign and why.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Another Front Page Terrorist Propaganda Piece by Molly Moore - She Says The Terrorist is Really Just The "De Facto Sheriff" and Mayor of Jenin

The Washington Post's pro-Palestinian agenda has as one of its goals to win over readers to the Palestinian terrorist cause by treating them sympathetically, downplaying their evil deeds and vilifying Israel. On July 19 the Post published a front page, above-the-fold, Molly Moore piece depicting, in sympathetic tones (describing one terrorist as "a towering man with limpid eyes the color of rich toffee"), the dashed dreams of a group of terrorists who grew up together as teenagers, hoping to go into the theater, but who then chose the path of terrorism. (In Jenin, Seven Shattered Dreams Boyhood Hopes Forged on Theater Stage Dissolve in Reality of Intifada, 7-19-04, A1) Most of them were, with sadness, noted to be dead or in jail. We wrote about that article.

Today The Post's Molly Moore does it again with a major front page, above-the-fold, photo and article sympathetically portraying the wanted commander of the Jenin branch of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, Zakaria Zbeida. (Refuge Is Prison For Hunted Palestinian, De Facto Sheriff Is Wanted by Israelis, 8-23-04, A01) The photo caption (showing the terrorist, who she describes in the article as having "skin ... the color of roasted pecans") and headline of the article say nothing of the fact that he's a terrorist. They don't even use the term "militant." The caption depicts him only as someone who "mediates disputes and punishes accused criminals," without saying anything about the fact that he plans and supervises bombings, the most recent of which took place only two weeks ago and killed and wounded numerous Palestinians and Israelis. The headline says only that he is a "de facto sheriff" and that in having to hide all the time, he is living in a "prison." 

Much has been written in other publications about the vigilantism of the terrorist groups in Palestinian towns and the havoc they are wreaking on the lives of Palestinian citizens. Not in The Washington Post. This vigilante is a Molly Moore hero who has only been forced into his role by the bad Israelis, who he says "destroyed all the Palestinian Authority institutions." Ms. Moore says he is a "self-appointed sheriff and unofficial mayor," but those are her carefully chosen labels, and there are numerous other, far less complimentary, tags she could have applied had she not been seeking to bolster his image. Only as an afterthought does she note that in the past he oversaw the burning of PA offices, the shooting of an accused rapist in the leg and the kidnapping and beating of the governor of Jenin in public. She provides only his official explanation for these actions and ignores other news accounts to the effect that some of the bullying by Al Aksa members in Jenin has been because of dissatisfaction with the houses being built by UNWRA for its members, particularly the ones doing the bullying. Political opponents are often attacked and falsely accused of vile crimes in order to cover up the true reason for the attacks. One Palestinian was murdered by the terrorists for collaborating with Israel, but they threw in, for good measure, an allegation that he molested his daughters. So, exactly how Ms. Moore was able to make judgments about the credibility of her sources, thereby enabling her to attach complimentary labels to Zbeida, is not revealed. 

In order to create the false impression that there has been a turning away from terrorism caused by Israeli security operations, Ms. Moore goes into great detail to show that the Jenin branch of Al Aksa has not carried out a successful terrorist attack inside pre-1967 Israeli borders since the November, 2002 election day attack (planned by Zbeida) on Israeli voters, in which 6 Israelis were murdered. In doing so, however, she subtly distinguishes between terrorist attacks on settlers and terrorist attacks within pre-1967 Israel. Presumably, to Ms. Moore that makes a difference. Zbeida, by his own admission, has continued to successfully launch terrorist attacks on settlers. In addition, Moore completely ignores the many thwarted terrorist attacks coming from Jenin, so it's not as though Zbeida, the terrorist, hasn't been trying. 

This brave man is quoted by Moore as saying he could not be a suicide bomber, not because he's afraid to die, and it's much easier to talk gullible adolescents into blowing themselves up, but because suicide bombers are no longer looking for a remedy, and he still hopes for the time when the Palestinian people stop being oppressed. Ms. Moore, by her unquestioning quoting of this pap, would have us believe this man is a visionary. Never mind that the article begins by quoting him as saying: "' Every minute, I fear death.'"

That's the hero Ms. Moore puts forth for her readers. He's no Wyatt Earp. Why does he do what he does? Because, he says, Israelis shot him in the knee and put him in jail for five years as a teenager for nothing more than throwing rocks. He also says that Israelis killed his mother as she stood in the window during the Jenin operation in Spring, 2002. Yes, that's the same Jenin operation that was launched after six days of terrorist bombings in Israel during Passover, 2002. Ms. Moore refers to the Jenin operation only as: "Israeli forces attacked the Jenin refugee camp in response to suicide bombings in Israel." It's also the same Jenin operation in which Palestinians across the board lied and fooled the press into thinking a massacre took place. So, why does Ms. Moore take with a grain of salt the allegation that his mother was standing in a window during all this fighting and was shot? Why does she take with a grain of salt the allegation that his mother was shot by Israelis, rather than in crossfire? Because Wyatt Earp told her so.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

Are You Tired of Getting Only Half the News From Israel?
Here's Another Example of The Half The Post Won't Report

Post Fails to Report US Acceptance of Settlement Growth Within The Construction Line

The New York Times and most other news organizations worldwide reported yesterday that the US has now quietly agreed that new construction in West Bank settlements is acceptable as long as it is within what is being called the "construction line," meaning areas already developed. This is consistent with and elucidates President Bush's April 14 speech accepting "new realities on the ground" that would make it "unrealistic" for Israel to abandon West Bank settlements that have become major population centers. The Washington Post, always willing to report negatively about settlement activity, failed to report this news. Major news services such as Reuters, AP and The New York Times News Service reported it, and Post readers would have been able to read the story had they read the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Atlanta Journal Constitution, The Boston Globe and many other newspapers, but not in yesterday's or this morning's Washington Post. This continues The Post's longstanding pattern of ignoring news that may reflect favorably or may show support of Israel. Whether The Post will ever get around to reporting this story is doubtful, but if it does, we're sure it will do so in a manner critical of US policy.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Arafat Resists Change, Sharon Advocates It, Yet The Post Continues Its Deceptive Effort to Liken The Two

The Post is becoming quite adept at comparing apples to oranges. Again today in the World in Brief Section, the Post continues its effort of yesterday to portray Sharon and Arafat as similarly situated. In fact, in today's article, the snippet is headlined "Sharon, Arafat Resist Demands for Change."  This headline is so dishonest as to constitute a lie. The reverse of the headline is actually true about Sharon. While Arafat does, in fact, continue to resist change in his leadership of a corrupt and ineffectual PA, Sharon is not resisting change at all. Sharon is, in fact, vowing to forge ahead to bring about change by implementing his Gaza withdrawal plan, and he is being resisted by a faction within his own party. So, while Arafat is resisting demands for change, Sharon is resisting efforts to prevent him from bringing about change. Someone (or two) at The Post must hate Ariel Sharon. Readers are asking whether The Post has so little respect for the truth as to deliberately slant the news to make Ariel Sharon look bad.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

More Invalid and Amoral Comparisons By Post - Opposition to Arafat Based On His and PA Corruption is Compared to Likud Opposition to Sharon Seeking a Unity Government With Labor

The Post routinely makes invalid and amoral comparisons attempting to portray equivalency between various aspects of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. The comparison of terrorist aggression to Israel's defense against terrorism is only one example. 

The headline of today's article itself reveals the seriously twisted perspective of The Washington Post in misleading its readers into believing that things are much the same with the leadership on each side of the Israeli Palestinian dispute. (Sharon, Arafat Face Challenges in Ranks, Israeli Party Rejects Leader's Proposals; Palestinian Acknowledges Corruption, 8-19-04, A16) The article continues the author's theme of an alleged equivalency between Sharon and Arafat's respective situations.

Where is the comparison? 

Ariel Sharon is trying to form a coalition with Labor to achieve sufficient support to withdraw from Gaza. This is being done because he wants to implement his plan to pull out of Gaza. In doing so he encounters opposition from the right within his own party. 

A corrupt Yasser Arafat, facing Palestinian violence in the streets, including demonstrations, seizures of government offices and kidnappings, apologizes to the Palestinian Legislative Council for his and other PA leaders' years of corruption, and in doing so he is jeered. The article ignores the recent report of the Committee appointed by the same Palestinian Legislative Council heavily criticizing Arafat and the PA for the turmoil currently taking place in the territories. This is no surprise, because The Post has, to this day, never reported anything about the recent issuance of that Committee's findings. Even in this article's summary of the criticism of Arafat there is still no mention of the Palestinian Legislative Council's recent report.

So, Sharon's purely political opposition within his own party to his effort to move Likud more toward a peaceful disengagement from the Palestinians is compared to Arafat responding to violence in the streets and across the board criticism both within and outside of Palestinian society of his corrupt and ineffectual leadership. 

The comparison of Arafat and Sharon posited by Molly Moore in this article exists in only one superficial realm. With leadership comes opposition. Question: Was this an intelligent comparison for a journalist to make? Did we need to be told this? Answer: Only if the journalist's real purpose was to deceive readers into (1) overlooking the significance of PA corruption and the turbulence now threatening to throw Palestinian society into anarchy and (2) overlooking the significance of the Israeli leader's effort to unilaterally bring about movement toward an eventual no or low violence state of affairs between Palestinians and Israelis, because that will be the result of unilateral action on Israel's part to disengage from Palestinians. 

We can see the author's goal in this article to downplay the violent uprising now going on in Palestinian society against Arafat and PA leadership. The article itself conspicuously avoids mentioning any of the recent violent events in the territories, and it conspicuously avoids mentioning the abundant criticism Arafat has also received from outside Palestinian society, from other Arab regimes and from long time European and UN friends. Ms. Moore reports only that Arafat has been subjected to "unprecedented criticism from within his Fatah political movement," that "young leaders demand a greater share of political power" and that the Aksa Martyrs Brigades recently "called on Arafat to relinquish some of his powers." It is tempting to speculate about whether Ms. Moore is knuckling under to recent PA threats to journalists not to report these recent violent events. But that would be to ignore the author's purpose, in common with Yasser Arafat himself and the PA, to portray what is going on in Palestinian society right now as nothing more than political growing pains comparable to Israeli politics. It was simply expedient for the author to completely ignore the violence in the streets, the external criticism of Arafat, including that by long time friends and allies and the criticism of the committee appointed by the entire Palestinian parliament. Portraying Arafat's dilemma as comparable to Sharon's political dilemma serves that purpose. Molly Moore is so willing to support Yasser Arafat and the PA by downplaying their threatened collapse as to ridiculously quote the manager of an internet site as saying " ' While Arafat could probably afford to ignore the challenges ...Sharon will do so at his peril...." This is dishonest, opinionated and agenda-driven journalism.

Sunday, August 15, 2004

A Washington Post Columnist Speaks Out -- In Sharp Contrast To The Paper's News Coverage

While reporters and editors at The Post continue to remain loyal to Yasser Arafat by doing everything they can to downplay and suppress news reflecting Arafat's long overdue political demise, Post columnist, Jim Hoagland, today wrote an excellent column about the well-deserved marginalization of Arafat. But one thing he didn't touch upon was the media's own contribution to Arafat's long tenure and the death and destruction he wrought on Israelis and his own people. The Post led the pack in lionizing Yasser Arafat and deserves a good sized share of the blame. The following letter to Mr .Hoagland was from a Post reader:

Dear Mr. Hoagland:

Your Sunday column about Arafat's bitter legacy and what should come next hit the nail on the head. As you point out, Arafat led his people on a murderous path that betrayed their aspirations and real interests. I also agree that greater U.S. support is needed for pragmatic Palestinians who forgo self-victimization (one of Arafat's major cards) in favor of real results.

But I'd also like to add a footnote. Arafat had great help from the Washington Post and most Western media in fostering a climate of self-victimization among his people. Post correspondents played into his hands by looking for any conceivable news peg to portray Palestinians as victims, by portraying Arafat as a dashing and heroic figure (long after it was obvious that he was up to his hips in corruption and terrorism), by looking almost entirely for abuses on the Israeli side, and by virtually ignoring a rising tide of courageous Palestinian politicians, commentators and other reformers who voiced sharp criticism of the Palestinian Authority and demanded a basic change away from self-victimization toward policies that might enable Palestinians to shape their own fate.

About the only time such reformers recently got even a cursory mention in the Post was when things finally exploded in Gaza and then only in the context of one set of Palestinians battling with another set, where the emphasis was on violence and only secondarily on reform agendas.

The Post's Jerusalem correspondents have been stuck in a mental rut that admits of no basic alteration of their picture of Palestinians as poor victims -- with Israel entirely responsible for their plight. Just one recent example: Last week, the Palestinian Legislative Council released a report of an official inquiry by a committee of five lawmakers who examined the PA's implosion and its consequences. The committee took extensive testimony from a wide range of PA officials and cabinet members. Its report was scathing in its criticism of Arafat's governance, accusing him of providing no clear political and security policies nor any real way out of the current mess. The report called for an end to rocket attacks from Gaza, an end to attacks inside Israel, the resignation of Prime Minister Qereia and his entire cabinet, and general elections. Not a word of this was reported by the Post!

And one can extrapolate this blind eye to genuine pressures for reform to the Post's coverage of the entire region, where the operative paradigm is to highlight Arab grievances about colonialism and imperialism, but to pay scant attention to rising demands for internal changes and a growing recognition that blaming others won't solve these countries' problems. It seems that Post editors and reporters are steeped in Edward Said, whereas they should pay a bit more attention to Bernard Lewis.

Again, thanks for a very perceptive column. I hope Post editors and ombudsman Michael Getler absorb its message, but I doubt it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Are You Tired of Getting Only Half the News From Israel?
Here's Another Example of The Half The Post Won't Report

Three Items - Post Fails to Report Palestinian Legislative Council's Condemnation of PA Rule - Post's Report of Kalandia Checkpoint Bombing Downplays Palestinian Terrorist's Remote Detonation of Bomb in Presence of Palestinian Civilians - Biased Film Review About Palestinians

  • On August 10 the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC), after taking testimony from witnesses for over a month, released an investigatory report lambasting the Palestinian Authority for the chaos that prevails in Palestinian administered territory, calling for a halt in the firing of Kassam rockets into Israel and calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia followed by elections. Washington Post readers were kept in ignorance of this important development. Washington Times readers found it reported on the front page, above the fold. (Palestinian Panel Puts Blame on Authority, Washington Times, August 12, 2004, A1) Even the Arab press widely reported it. Google News shows over 100 articles written by various media outlets around the world. How can such an omission be justified by The Post's editors? As one Post reader noted in pointing out the pro-Palestinian, anti-Israel double standard of The Post, if Israel's chief legislative body had commissioned such an inquiry and this type of report had been issued, it would have been plastered all over the front page of The Post. 

  • Another example of The Post's slanting of the news to protect the image of Palestinian terrorists was Molly Moore's report of the Kalandia checkpoint bombing yesterday. Six Israeli border policemen were wounded. In Palestinian circles it was controversial, because the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades terrorists ( a branch of Yasser Arafat's Fatah organization) admitted to having remotely detonated the bomb in the presence of a large number of Palestinians, with the resultant large number of wounded and dead civilians. A six year old Palestinian boy is in a coma. But Moore did not report the terrorist admission, and she did not report anger within the Palestinian community over this attack. Deep within the article she briefly notes only that Israelis suspected it had been remotely detonated. (Bomb Kills Two Palestinians Near West Bank Checkpoint, 8-12-04, A17). Media elsewhere had no trouble learning and reporting that the head of the Jenin branch of the Al Aksa Brigades, Zakaria Zubeidi, admitted to having deliberately detonated the bomb after plans to take it into Jerusalem failed. He apologized for the Palestinian deaths and injuries.

The Middle East for Dummies


So says Philip Kennicott in his biased review of what promises to be an equally biased HBO film, "Death in Gaza." (Gaza, Land of Lost Lives, An Unblinking Look at the Cost of Conflict, Washington Post, 8-12-04, C1). In the same stroke of genius Kennicott criticizes the Western press for providing the convenient filter of viewing the conflict as "between democracy and terrorism." The naiveté and foolishness of casting the conflict as one of "haves versus have-nots" can be illustrated by noting that historically the Jews of Palestine were attacked by the Arabs of Palestine well before they had anything resembling prosperity, and that Israel's relative prosperity has been earned through hard work, blood, sweat and tears. All of this hard work has taken place in the midst of and despite Arab attacks seeking to expel Jews from the region. Further, Yasser Arafat and the Palestinian leadership in September, 2000 at Camp David voluntarily and willingly cast aside the relative Palestinian prosperity of the Oslo years by rejecting Barak and Clinton's offer of 95% of the disputed territories for a Palestinian nation and by returning to terrorism, despite the virtual certainty of an Israeli response that would bring about the complete destruction of the Palestinian economy.

Kennicott says this film is "remarkably evenhanded." Coming from someone with so little historical perspective that he could view this conflict as between poverty and prosperity, we doubt it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2004

The Question Washington Post Journalists Won't Ask - Why Would A Palestinian Accused Of And On Trial For Collaborating With Israel Confess In Open Court?

The Post today reported that Palestinian militants on Monday tracked and killed two Palestinians accused of collaborating with Israel as they lay in hospital beds following an earlier grenade attack in their jail cell. (World in Brief, Palestinians Track, Kill Convicted Collaborators, 8-3-04, A14)  Notice how the word "convicted" was inserted in the headline so that readers would know they weren't just accused collaborators. The article specifically notes that they "confessed during their trials." Very interesting, but Post readers are most curious to learn whether there is a Palestinian Perry Mason at work on the prosecution side in Gaza, capable of deftly wheedling open court confessions out of accused collaborators. The Post's esteemed Middle East journalists, Molly Moore and John Anderson, can be counted on to find the "human rights" angle when it can be used to cast Israel in a negative light, but when it comes to Palestinian conduct, "hear no evil, see no evil" is par for the course in Washington Post journalism. A little balance might prompt The Post to ask: What trial? When? What court? How was it conducted? Did the accused have attorneys? What were the circumstances of these open court confessions, and what happened behind the scenes to prompt them? Moore and Anderson constantly rely upon so called "human rights" groups as sources. Perhaps these sources can shed some light on the questions one would expect of quality journalists. We'll never know, however, because The Post won't ask.

Sunday, August 1, 2004

Washington Post Ombudsman Defends Coddling Of Terrorists, Attacks Pro-Israel Letter Writers

Letter to Michael Getler, Ombudsman, Washington Post

Your ombudsman column of Aug. 1 again shows that your pro-Palestinian feelings trump your assignment to take seriously readers' well-founded criticism.

As a Post reader who weighed in about Molly Moore's tearful account of a group of young Palestinian would-be actors who eventually became terrorists, I don't buy your rationale that this was an example of impeccable journalism. As I wrote you and David Hoffman at the time, Moore should have demonstrated a minimum of professional integrity by also interviewing a few relatives or friends of Israelis who became victims of these young Palestinians.

You say yourself that "this is what reporters do. They try as best they can to get inside all sides in a conflict." But this is exactly what Moore did NOT do. Where was the other side -- the Israeli victims' side -- in her article? Their actions had consequences -- not only for themselves, but for others as well.

You also betray your own ideological blinkers in dealing with this conflict when you refer to terrorists in Iraq, Chechnya or the West Bank, as the "resistance." "Resistance" has a nice ring to it. As someone who lived in Nazi-occupied Europe during World War 2, I remember the valiant work of French and other "resistance" fighters who attacked Nazi soldiers and the Wehrmacht's infrastructure. These "resistance" fighters risked their lives in engaging Nazi forces. But their targets were military targets. In contrast, when young men deliberately set out to kill innocent civilians in direct pursuit of a political agenda, they are NOT "resistance" fighters. They are "terrorists." I know that you and the Post prefer mangling the English language rather than stating the obvious -- that a terrorist is a terrorist. But don't pretend that you can camouflage the involvement of these young Palestinians in terrorism by using a politically correct, but factually incorrect, term like "resistance." In doing so, you insult not only readers' intelligence, but your own as well.

Finally, instead of taking your readers' criticism a bit more seriously, you cavalierly dismiss it with a gratuitous slap at letters sent to the Post that are "generated in part by pro-Israel U.S. organizations that analyze such articles and tell their members where and to whom to write." First of all, nobody and no group tells me what to write. And I'm sure many other readers belong in the same group. Second, I'm also sure that many environmental and countless other interest groups encourage members to weigh in to further their agendas by sending letters to the Post. But that shouldn't be a criterion for automatically shrugging them off. Sometimes, their content actually may be highly pertinent and right on target. I would think that editors, in their treatment of readers' letters, would be more interested in the substance of their arguments, than in what particular group they might belong to. How odd, how interesting that, as someone on the receiving end of letters bearing on a vast range of topics and issues, you would only single out for opprobrium pro-Israel organizations that encourage members to exercise their First Amendment rights?

Leo Rennert

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