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Eye On The PostARCHIVE FEB-JUNE, 2006

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Post Reporter Fancifully Elevates Fatah-Hamas Agreement Into Major Policy Shift - Claims Hamas Now Recognizes Israel - Virtually Ignores Hamas's Denials of Recognition of Israel and Affirmation of Its Goal to Eliminate Israel

The Washington Post, through its reporter, Scott Wilson, distinguishes itself from many news organizations by fancifully elevating the agreement between Hamas and Mahmoud Abbas into an implicit recognition of Israel and a major policy shift for Hamas, while failing to report most of the statements by numerous members of Hamas's leadership denying that the agreement explicitly or implicitly says or was intended to say that Hamas recognizes Israel and affirming Hamas's goal to eliminate Israel. Wilson states that "the agreement would signal a major shift by Hamas's political leaders, who for the first time would effectively endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." (Israeli Troops Move Into Gaza, Captured Soldier Sought; Palestinians Reach Political Pact, 6-28-06, A01) The Philadelphia Inquirer, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the BBC and other major news organizations all provided more incisive coverage by quoting numerous statements of Hamas's leaders denying any major policy shift. 

Since Hamas took control of the Palestinian government Mr. Wilson has injected into his news reports his opinion opposing the international community's suspension of aid to Hamas. Today's pro-Hamas cheerleading by Mr. Wilson continues his agenda supporting the resumption of aid to the Hamas led Palestinian government. 

The following letter by Judge Grossman discusses Mr. Wilson's continued effort to mislead readers into believing that Hamas is being transformed into a peace seeking organization:


From: Judge Herbert Grossman
To: The Editor, Washington Post
Date: June 28, 2006

To the Editor: 

In "Israeli Troops Move Into Gaza" (front page, June 28), Scott Wilson continues to promote the charade that a document proposed by terrorist leaders incarcerated in Israeli jails and now accepted by the Fatah and Hamas leaderships would "effectively endorse a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

It does nothing of the sort and, if it did, the Hamas leaders have made it clear that they would not have signed on. While the document does speak of establishing an independent Palestinian state on the territories "occupied in 1967," meaning the West Bank and Gaza, it couples the establishment of that state with the so-called "right of return," the claimed right of over four million descendents of Arabs who once lived in Israel to be given admission to that country. This, as the Palestinians well know, would destroy Israel from within. Could the U.S. survive if half of its population were composed of newly admitted, U.S.-hating, Arabs?

The document is far from the "two-state pact" that Wilson calls it. And, while it endorses continued armed operations against Israel in the territories, it does not call for "confining," but only focusing, them there, leaving the Palestinians free to attack within Israel proper -- no change in the current status, where all terrorist attacks against Israelis are fair game.

The document is offered merely as a fig leaf under which the international community can resume its massive aid and political support to the Palestinians under the guise that their genocide-seeking Hamas government accepts the continued existence of the Jewish state, when it actually continues to seek its annihilation. 

Why does Wilson assist in this transparent farce? 

Sincerely, 

Judge Herbert Grossman
[Herbert Grossman, author of the book "J'Accuse the N.Y. Times and Washington Post: Biased Reporting from the Middle East," is a full time Federal Administrative Law Judge]


Saturday, June 24, 2006

Post Minimizes Impact Of Daily Kassam Attacks On Sderot - Says "Real Problems" In Sderot Are Economic, Social And Israel's Fault

For a very long time a leading item on the Post's Israel agenda has been to advocate either no or minimal Israeli defense against terrorism... a "turn the other cheek" strategy. In pursuit of this agenda the Post has criticized targeted killings of the terrorist leadership. It has criticized the security fence erected to keep terrorists out. It has slanted its definition of Hamas to eliminate any reference to Hamas's avowed goal to destroy Israel. It has opposed international efforts to isolate and thereby compel a change in Hamas's focus now that it is in power. The Post won't even call terrorists what they are, "terrorists." The latest strategy of the Post has been to downplay and make light of the daily terrorist rocketing of Israel from Gaza. News reports by the Post often call Kassam rockets "homemade," when in fact they're made in machine shops. Post news articles give prominence and emphasis to the lack of accuracy of Kassam rockets. The fact that there have been Israeli civilians killed by Kassams has been downplayed and ignored in the same news stories that trumpet Palestinian civilian deaths as a result of Israel's defensive responses. A recent Post article phrased Israeli casualties in the negative by reporting that there have been no Israeli deaths from Kassams since Israel evacuated Gaza, arbitrarily picking the Israeli evacuation 9 months ago as a cutoff point, rather than reporting in the affirmative that there have in fact been a number of Israeli civilian deaths (mostly children) and many more injuries from these rocket attacks. 

"The missiles are highly inaccurate and have not killed any Israelis since Israel evacuated its settlements in Gaza last year." (Strike in Gaza Kills 3 Children, Palestinian Bystanders Say Israeli Attack Missed Targets, 6-21-06, A16)

We wrote to the Post several days ago asking why they ignored the deaths that have resulted from the rocket attacks and criticizing their arbitrary selection of a 9 month cutoff date for the reporting of Israeli casualties. Today's report is a slight improvement. 

"Before Israel evacuated troops and settlers from Gaza in September, Qassams killed five people from Sderot -- four of them children -- though no fatalities have been reported since."

Perhaps we should be grateful for even small concessions to accuracy and fairness, but it's not easy when it comes in the middle of an article whose headline and content so blatantly and outrageously inject the Post's biased opinions; opinions that (1) terrorists raining rockets on an Israeli city is a matter of minor importance and (2) the "real problem" of the residents of that city is not Palestinian terrorist fire but mistreatment by Israel itself. (Shellshocked by More Than Just Rockets, Israelis in City Targeted by Palestinian Fire Say Government Neglect Is the Real Problem, 6-24-06, A14)

Never one to hide his opinion in his reporting of the news, Post reporter (and would be sociologist) Scott Wilson thinks too much is being made of the daily Palestinian bombardment of the Israeli town of Sderot with Kassam rockets. Here's what he says:

"But the rocket fire, while a frightening phenomenon that has Sderot's leadership at sharp odds with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, only partly explains the empty market and the despairing view held by many of its residents.

Like most of Israel's peripheral cities, this one is struggling with the effects of changing demographics and economic reforms that have made many Israelis richer and even more of them poorer. The rockets have transformed into public protest long-held feelings of neglect that arose with this immigrant city's founding in the 1950s."

One would expect from these bold assertions by Mr. Wilson that he would make an effort to back up his thesis. When he describes "Sderot's social stresses," the reader can almost imagine that a sociologist is commenting. When Scott Wilson analyzes how immigration has caused Sderot to "[struggle] with language, cultural assimilation and a stumbling economy," we are sure we're about to see an expert surface in the article. When Scott Wilson says "unemployment and alcoholism run high here," we expect him to follow up with corroboration that will somehow tie these problems common to most cities to the daily bombardment of Sderot. The headline, by saying that "Israelis in City... Say Government Neglect is the Real Problem," leads the reader to expect a broad sampling of public opinion in Sderot indicating that the rocketing is not really the problem. We don't get it. Curious as to how many Israelis said this to Mr. Wilson? Only one, and she's not mentioned until the very end of the article. A beauty shop owner, who herself experienced a recent rocketing that left her sitting on the curb "'scream[ing] like a little girl.'" Mr. Wilson goes to great lengths to himself analyze problems he sees in Sderot - immigration, assimilation, language, a stumbling economy, unemployment, alcoholism. He does this because Mr. Wilson wants to believe and he wants his readers to believe that Palestinian rockets raining down on the city daily are not the "real problem." But Mr. Wilson's report is false. It's a shameful fabrication. It's propaganda.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Washington Post Reporter Continues Palestinian Advocacy Role - Tries To Rebut Israeli Investigation Showing Israeli Artillery Not Involved in Gaza Beach Explosions - Makes Major Factual Errors in Report

Yesterday we wondered whether and how the Post would correct its erroneous report saying Israeli artillery was behind the Gaza Beach explosions. It didn't. Post correspondent Scott Wilson did his best to bolster the Palestinian claim that Israeli artillery caused the deaths. He did this by his choice of language as well as by quoting one of those pro-Palestinian activists who call themselves "human rights activists," but who don't include Israelis among the humans with rights. Here is a sampling of Mr. Wilson's advocacy:

"Later in the day, the Israeli military said an internal investigation showed that it was not responsible for a deadly explosion on a Gaza beach last week that Palestinian officials have called a war crime." 
....

"According to U.N. humanitarian monitors, the Israeli military has killed 32 Palestinians since the beginning of this month, fewer than half members of armed groups at war with Israel. An additional 109 Palestinians have been wounded, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reported."
....


"On Friday, eight civilians picnicking on a beach here were killed in an explosion that Palestinian witnesses said was the result of an Israeli artillery shell. Israel has been firing artillery into Gaza, sometimes hundreds of shells a day, to put down the steady Palestinian rocket fire."

After having thus made clear his opinion that Israeli artillery killed the Palestinians on the beach in Gaza, Mr. Wilson reported on the press conference announcing the results of the Israeli investigation - results that found Israeli artillery not to have been involved. An impartial journalist might have left it at that, but for Mr. Wilson it wasn't enough. He sought additional sources to rebut the Israeli findings, and, as always, found one in a so-called human rights activist. What followed was a full 7 paragraphs reporting on a one man ad hoc "investigation" conducted by someone who Mr. Wilson described as a military affairs specialist and "human rights investigator." Mr. Wilson concluded his article with those 7 paragraphs, no doubt hoping he had blunted the strength of the IDF investigators' findings. To readers who are not aware of Mr. Wilson's opinionated, pro-Palestinian reporting, his mission was probably accomplished.

However, this article was not just about the Gaza beach explosions. Its primary purpose was to report on an Israeli air strike on Tuesday, June 13, on a terrorist van carrying Katyusha rockets on its way to launch them at Israel. (Israeli Airstrike Kills 11 Palestinians, Nine Civilians Among Dead; Israel Denies Role in Last Week's Fatal Beach Explosion, 6-14-06, A19) That was the headline on the print edition. The headline and text of this article have since been corrected on the online edition to show only ten deaths.

Readers should note two things about the correction of the death count as well as the headline and opening paragraph of this article. 

First, the headline and opening paragraph fail to say anything about terrorists or even the Post's euphemism for terrorists, "militants," (ridiculously called "gunmen" later in the article, although no guns were involved and for all Mr. Wilson or the Post knows, the terrorists in this particular van never touched a gun in their lives) who were the target of the Israeli air strike, instead focusing only on the deaths of "Palestinians." This is part of the Post's ongoing effort to downplay the real cause of the violence, the terrorists' unprovoked and constant bombardment of Israeli civilians with rockets.

Second, even the correction of the numeric count was made begrudgingly and inaccurately. The opening paragraph of the print edition says:

"An Israeli airstrike here Tuesday killed 11 Palestinians, including nine civilians, in the deadliest such attack this year." 

The opening paragraph of the corrected, online edition says: 

"An Israeli airstrike here Tuesday killed at least 10 Palestinians, including eight civilians, in the deadliest such attack this year."

Inclusion of the language "at least" in the correction, while arguably not significant, was clearly inaccurate - if there were more, report it - if not, report the correct count - and it is illustrative of the Post's habit of playing fast and loose with the truth by manipulating the terminology it employs to slant the impression it conveys.

But the biggest error of this article is Mr. Wilson's reporting that the van was carrying "homemade missiles of the kind Islamic Jihad has been firing into southern Israel." 

Wrong! The van was carrying far more accurate, long range and deadly Katyusha rockets, as demonstrated by film footage showing Palestinians removing the rockets from the van before the second Israeli missile struck. (IAF Strike in Gaza Hits Katyusha Cell, 6-13-06) The particular terrorists targeted by this air strike were from a cell that had launched three previous Katyusha attacks on Israel. What is extremely troubling is that this information was readily available well before Mr. Wilson's article went to press, and it continued to be available through the Post's correction of the numeric count of Palestinian deaths.

Katyushas have a twenty kilometer range. They can reach Ashkelon and beyond and not just Sderot, as in the case of the Kassams, which Mr. Wilson erroneously claimed these rockets were. 

We've previously noted the Post's failure to report the escalation of the conflict by the Palestinian smuggling and launching of Katyusha rockets into Israel. This misreporting makes that omission even more conspicuous.

The Post in recent times has suffered a significant drop in readership, part of which is no doubt attributable to readers having learned from reports such as this that they can trust little of what they read in the Post to be accurate or fair. When will the Post get the message?


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

THE REPORT IS IN: ISRAEL DID NOT SHELL GAZA BEACH
When and How Will The Post Correct Its False Report That Israel Launched Artillery Fire at Gaza Beach?

The Washington Post's reporting on last Friday's Gaza Beach explosions is reminiscent of the lies reported by the Post and other anti-Israel media of a massacre in Jenin in April, 2002. Those lies, including stories about mass Palestinian graves being dug by Israeli soldiers, were reported with gusto by journalists too eager to accept without question Palestinian propaganda depicting Israel in a murderous light. The truth of Jenin eventually came out showing that Israeli troops had employed extraordinary restraint and, as a result, had sustained almost as many casualties as the Palestinians. The Post underreported and downplayed the truth when it was reported, and it never adequately explained why it had served as one of the leading purveyors of Palestinian lies and propaganda when events were unfolding in Jenin. 

This past Friday the Post lead with a headline that stated: "Israeli Fire Kills 7 Beachgoers in Gaza." The opening line of this article reported: 

"Israeli artillery fire targeting the northern Gaza Strip on Friday killed at least seven Palestinian civilians and wounded 30 others, Palestinian hospital officials and witnesses said." 

The article went on to quote Palestinians accusing Israel of a "massacre." Sound familiar?

Now that the investigative report has been issued (Report: IDF Didn't Shell Gaza Beach, 6-13-06) showing strong evidence that the explosions were not artillery fire from Israeli weapons and strongly suggesting a Palestinian source for the carnage, it remains to be seen whether the Post will report the truth with as much prominence and eagerness as it displayed in repeating Palestinian lies only four days ago.

Readers will be watching to see not only if the truth is reported, but how it is reported.


Saturday, June 10, 2006

Washington Post Seeks to Convey Impression That Gaza Beach Accident Was A Deliberate Artillery Shelling By Israel of Innocent Palestinian Civilians

In what appears to have been an accident, 7 Palestinians died and others were wounded in an explosion on a Gaza beach. This location is not where terrorists launch rockets into Israel. No air strikes or naval strikes were launched, and the Israeli authorities are baffled as to the source of what the Palestinians alleged was Israeli artillery fire. They are investigating. 

That wasn't good enough for the Washington Post. The Post in its headline and in the structure and some of the language employed in this article sought to convey the impression that the attack was deliberate. (Israeli Fire Kills 7 Beachgoers in Gaza, Military Suspends Anti-Rocket Assault To Conduct Probe, 6-1006, A12) The opening paragraph suggests it was a deliberate shelling of the beach. 

"Israeli artillery fire targeting the northern Gaza Strip on Friday killed at least seven Palestinian civilians and wounded 30 others, Palestinian hospital officials and witnesses said." 

The reader is not told how the Palestinian civilians on the ground could possibly have identified the explosion as "Israeli artillery fire targeting the northern Gaza Strip." 

The second paragraph reported that Israel is suspending what is described as Israel's "artillery assault on the strip" and that Hamas is ending what is asserted to have been a 15 month cease fire. There is no mention until much later in the article of the ample evidence that Hamas has been behind many of the rocket attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians. 

The next two paragraphs describe the "Palestinian families [who] were picnicking on a warm Muslim Sabbath afternoon" and the names and ages of the dead. 

The article then jumps back into its "deliberate-Israeli-attack" mode when it quotes in paragraph 5 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas calling it a massacre: 

"'No doubt what's going on in Gaza is a bloody massacre against our people, our civilians, without discrimination,'" 

It isn't until paragraphs 7 and 8 that the facts that suggest this was at most an accident are reported. By then the impression of a deliberate shelling of the civilians on the beach has already been indelibly inscribed on the consciousness of most readers. This article is a good example of how to report all the facts but arrange and express them in a one-sided presentation that subtly influences readers in favor of one side and against the other.


Monday, June 5, 2006

Post Continues to Distort Descriptions of Hamas - Depicts Hamas As Merely Jockeying For Some Land With Israel and Eliminates Any Reference to Hamas's Violent Past and Goal to Destroy Israel

The Washington Post's Israel correspondent, Scott Wilson, continues to distort Hamas's goals in his news reports. Mr. Wilson continues to conceal that Hamas's self-proclaimed goal is to destroy Israel, that it has a history of violence against Israel and that it continues to advocate violence in the future to achieve its goals. He attempts to portray Hamas as merely competing politically for some land with Israel. We previously corresponded with Mr. Wilson about this misleading portrayal. In order to show how deceptive Mr. Wilson's description of the Hamas platform is, we have set forth below his description from his news report today, followed by a Reuters Report and an AP Report on the same subject, reports that actually appeared on the Post's web site but not in the print edition:

Mr. Wilson's Report

"The clashes, which occurred in Khan Younis and Gaza City, followed word from advisers to Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas that he would give Hamas until Tuesday to endorse the creation of a Palestinian state on the land Israel occupied in the 1967 Middle East war or face a nonbinding referendum on the issue. Hamas, a radical Islamic movement now running the Palestinian ministries, envisions a larger Palestinian state on land that now includes Israel." (Four Palestinians Die In Factional Fighting, 6-5-06, A12)

Reuters Report

Hamas seeks to destroy Israel and has rejected Abbas's calls to hold talks with the Jewish state. (Abbas Eyes Referendum Date, Reuters, 6-5-06)

AP Report

Hamas was founded two decades ago with the goal of destroying Israel and establishing an Islamic state in its place. Israel, the U.S. and the European Union have branded Hamas, which has killed scores of Israelis in suicide bombings, a terrorist group. Since taking office in March, Hamas has come under heavy international pressure to renounce violence and recognize Israel. It refuses, despite cuts in international funding that have left the government unable to pay some 165,000 civil servants for three months. (Palestinian PM Rejects Referendum Call, Associated Press, 6-4-06)

The Post takes great pride in using its own correspondents, rather than wire service reports, in troubled regions of the world. This is one instance where this policy has not served the Post or its readers well. 


Thursday, June 1, 2006

The Washington Post Publishes Another Huge Front Page Pro-Palestinian Propaganda Piece Attacking Israel

On Tuesday, May 30th readers returning to work following a holiday weekend were treated to another huge (beginning on the front page and continuing over two interior pages) feature article bashing Israel by the Post's correspondent, Scott Wilson. (In the Village of Nowhere, a Fate Soon Sealed Wall to Enclose Palestinians Inside Jewish State, 5-30-06 A01) The article purports to be about a tiny group (barely big enough to justify being called a "village") of Arabs living on the Jerusalem border. They are alleged to have become caught up in a bureaucratic Catch 22 when their village was designated as outside of Jerusalem in the Israeli census taken shortly after the '67 war, but has been included by the Jerusalem municipal authorities as within Jerusalem for the purpose of requiring building permits to build homes. 

Sounds mundane enough, doesn't it? Wrong. The Washington Post is always ready to jump at any adverse Israeli governmental action affecting Arabs and portray it as oppression. Never mind that bureaucratic snafus surface in the administration of every government in the world, including the US. Never mind that Jewish Israelis suffer their own problems with bureaucratic red tape ... problems not prompting the Washington Post to run front page feature articles. To Mr. Wilson and to the Washington Post this particular administrative quagmire is deliberate and it is oppression. 

We don't have enough factual information to directly accuse the reporter, Scott Wilson, of exaggerating or reporting false or distorted factual information about this little "village." The reason we don't have that information is because the reporter never bothered to check with or obtain and report an authoritative response from anyone on the Israeli side and appears to have done nothing to even review the records of the litigation that has taken place over the years that has not supported the villagers' claims. The most we get is the obligatory but vague comment of an Israeli official unfamiliar with the details of the case. 

But most intelligent readers (if not reporters) should know there are usually two sides to most stories, so the absence of any mention of the Israeli side of this story is the first warning that it lacks credibility. The second warning comes with the reporter's effort to conceal that his principal informant is a member of a terrorist organization. The third warning is Mr. Wilson's hyperbole and unnecessarily one sided and sympathetic portrayals of the Palestinians with whom he communes, complete with Molly Moore-like descriptions of their "almond eyes." 

All of this points to the fact that this story was not really at all about one tiny enclave of Palestinians on the border of Jerusalem. That was just an excuse to once again slam Israel with accusations of abuse and oppression of Palestinians. The article masterfully delays or hides information from the reader. It employs terminology designed to cast Israel in the worst light possible and evoke as much sympathy for Palestinians as possible. We don't have enough space to illustrate here the many examples in this article of efforts to sway and mislead readers, but readers are warned that the article is overwhelming in its anti-Israel sentiment. We note several examples. 

The article starts with melodramatic language in the headline: 

"Fate Soon Sealed" 

"Wall to Enclose Palestinians Inside Jewish State" 

Mr. Wilson then proceeds to shamelessly propagandize. The very first sentence of the article calls forth ridiculous images of Arab cave men when it purports to trace these particular villagers to a time when they were cave dwellers: 

"For generations, first in caves hollowed from hillsides, then shepherds' tents and simple stone houses, the Shawarwa and Darawi families thrived here...." 

In the second paragraph Mr. Wilson introduces his informant, Jamal Darawi, an unassuming villager who provides much of the information for the article. Mr. Wilson weaves positive images of Darawi into his article early, then goes out of his way to reinforce them, withholding negative information until later, when many readers will have already stopped reading. It isn't until the sixth paragraph that Mr. Wilson drops a hint of who Jamal Darawi is by noting (after first calling him a "farmer" and "father") that Jamal Darawi is a "political activist." In paragraph 15 Mr. Wilson sees fit to describe Darawi as "holding the hand of his 5-year-old daughter, Yara." In paragraph 18 he describes Darawi as "tall and broad, round around the middle with thick hands and a smile that rarely appears unless his three children are nearby." And in the 21st paragraph Mr. Wilson finally sees fit to reveal to the reader that his trusty informant "joined the ranks of the Popular Front for Liberation of Palestine, a radical nationalist movement with a Marxist orientation" and has served "four stints in Israeli prisons." Of course, Mr. Wilson conveniently forgets to add that the PFLP is a terrorist organization or even (to use the Post's favorite euphemism for "terrorist") a "militant" organization and has sponsored many bombings and shootings, including the assassination of the Israeli Minister for Tourism, Rehavam Zeevi, in 2001. 

Mr. Wilson seeks to portray Darawi as a hero when he describes his proud resistance to the humiliations of the Israelis when they tried to force him, in front of his tiny son, to lift his T-shirt at a checkpoint: 

"As he returned home from Bethlehem with his toddler son, Suleiman, and some Palestinian laborers last month, Darawi said, soldiers at the checkpoint ordered them out of his Isuzu Trooper. The soldiers began a search and then told the men to lift their T-shirts, though Darawi refused as his son looked on. The others obeyed. "I have my dignity," he said. 'I have my self-respect and I won't take my clothes off for them.'" 

Mr. Wilson uses terminology to describe Israel's conduct during the 1967 war as that of a conquering power, rather than that of a small nation fighting what was a defensive battle against all of the Arab nations in the region. Lost is the fact that it was only after beating back an invasion that Israel advanced against the Arab invaders into the disputed territories. And in describing the disputed territories, Mr. Wilson jettisons historical accuracy. Rather than note that the green line over which Israel advanced in 1967 was simply the armistice line for the cessation of fighting in 1948 and that the Arab countries, Jordan included, rejected the armistice line as a final border, Wilson labels the location of this enclave of Palestinians on the edge of Jerusalem as part of Jordan prior to 1967: 

"In the conflict, Israel's army seized East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan."

"At the time the war broke out, the village was located in Jordan." 

Palestinians have enlisted the world's media to spread the outrageous lie that Israel is an apartheid state. Although Mr. Wilson has not yet gone so far as to call the security fence an "apartheid fence," as it has been dubbed by other enemies of Israel, he seeks to support their propaganda effort by dubbing the fence a "separation barrier." In doing so, he trivializes Israel's real purpose in constructing the fence, which was to keep out terrorists, and he imputes a discriminatory, ghettoizing motive to Israel in its erection of the fence. 

"But the Palestinian uprising that began in 2000, including suicide bomb attacks on Israeli civilians, led Israel to build a towering barrier to keep Palestinians out. The course of the wall, drawn by Israel, is now also separating thousands of Palestinians from their property and from each other."

That Israel's motives were never to exclude or keep Palestinians as a whole (as opposed to terrorists) out can be clearly demonstrated by the huge numbers of Palestinians who always traveled freely into and out of Israel from the disputed territories for jobs and the economic interdependence of the two peoples that existed for many years. But Scott Wilson's chosen terminology of a "separation barrier" and of keeping "Palestinians" out seeks to convey a different impression. It dovetails with the claims of Israel's enemies that Israel's motives in erecting the security fence are racist.

Mr. Wilson employs terminology seeking to convey misleading images of extreme danger and even death posed by the so called "separation barrier" when he hyperbolically proclaims: 

"But now their lives in the village are threatened. Israel's separation barrier is rising along the eastern edge of the village, sealing them inside the Jewish state." 

More of Mr. Wilson's hyperbole: 

"Soon, the 200 people will be cut off from the Palestinian territories where Israel says they live, enclosed within a state where they have no right to be. This is the village of nowhere." 

Consistent with the headline, Mr. Wilson seeds his article with images of impending doom: 

"In Jerusalem, the barrier has cast a shadow across the daily lives of thousands of Palestinians." 

He meanders into anecdotal claims by village children alleging intimidation at checkpoints and missed days from school caused by fear of the cruel Israeli soldiers. He offers unsubstantiated allegations of discrimination against Arabs by Jerusalem city officials in the granting or denial of building permits. 

This article delivers a huge dose of the deceptive, one-sided and agenda-driven anti-Israel reporting that has come to characterize the Washington Post's treatment of Israel. It is what happens when journalism loses its ethical bounds.


Saturday, May 27, 2006

Washington Post Spins Negatives From Israeli Prime Minister Olmert's Positive Visit - Publishes Distorted Front Page Photo Caption and Editorial Accusing Prime Minister Olmert of Insincerity, Ulterior Motives and Lack Of Desire for Peace

The Washington Post's displeasure over the successful visit this week of Israeli Prime Minister Olmert was evident. Despite the warm welcome of President Bush and the resounding applause showing approval throughout his speech to the US Congress, the Post's front page the day after the successful address featured a picture of Olmert with a caption that read: "On a day in which Israeli soldiers killed four people in Ramallah, he urged Palestinians to accept peace-talk terms." One would never know it from the sarcastic front page caption, but the four "people" referred to in the caption were members of a mob that surrounded and attacked Israeli troops who had arrested Mohammed Shubaki, the leader of Islamic Jihad in the West Bank. Note also the front page caption's distortion when it refers to Olmert having urged Palestinians to accept "peace-talk terms" rather than to simply sit down to peace talks. The suggestion is that Olmert dictated in advance, terms for peace and was foisting them upon the Palestinians in lieu of having actual talks. 

And on Friday the Post editorialized at length about the insincerity, ulterior motives and lack of a desire for peace of Prime Minister Olmert. (Israel's 'Realignment' 5-26-06, A20

"Despite his promise to pursue talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Mr. Olmert has made clear that he doesn't believe Israel will be able to work with the Palestinian Authority anytime soon." 

"Even if a credible partner appeared, Mr. Olmert might prove reluctant."

"Like his predecessor, Ariel Sharon, he opposes some of the compromises Israel would have to make to achieve a peace settlement."

"But he could also cripple the prospects for that settlement if he provides a U.S. imprimatur for a realignment that disregards essential Palestinian interests. Left to his own calculations, Mr. Olmert probably would settle on such a strategy."

This editorial demonstrates the anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bias that infects so much of the Post's news reporting about Israel.


Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Washington Post Fails To Report On The Constant Stream Of Vicious Anti-Semitism Preached And Taught Throughout The Arab World

The Washington Post's failure cover the constant stream of vicious anti-Semitism preached and taught throughout the Arab world should be a source of great shame to a newspaper that pretends to have a conscience. The following excerpt of an article from Frontpage Magazine by Kenneth Levin (Darfur, Arab Genocide and The New York Times, Frontpage Magazine, May 19, 2006), psychiatrist, historian and author of The Oslo Syndrome: Delusions of a People Under Siege, pertains to the reporting of The New York Times, but it is equally applicable to the reporting of The Washington Post:

Another related story untold by the Times is the murderous, indeed genocidal, hatred of Jews promoted for decades by Arab regimes, both religious and secular, in media, mosques and schools.

Bernard Lewis, the West's premier scholar of Middle East studies, wrote in 1986, regarding Jew-hatred in the Arab world, "The volume of anti-Semitic books and articles published, the size and number of editions and impressions, the eminence and authority of those who write, publish, and sponsor them, their place in school and college curricula, their role in the mass media, would all seem to suggest that classical anti-Semitism is an essential part of Arab intellectual life at the present time - almost as much as happened in Nazi Germany."

But again, despite the Times extensive coverage, in news reports and editorials, of Israel and the Arab-Israeli conflict, the newspaper is virtually silent on this aspect of the story.

No doubt this reflects Times biases on the subject. The Times prefers to depict the conflict as mainly a dispute over territory, with Israeli territorial concessions the key to resolution. Acknowledging the genocidal attitudes toward Jews rampant in the Arab world and promoted by Arab governments would cast doubt on this depiction. 

Indeed, covering the murderous Arab attitudes, and sympathy for genocidal campaigns, toward other ethnic and religious minorities living amidst the Arab world - minorities that do not enjoy sovereignty or even autonomy and are not engaged in border disputes with surrounding Arab populations - would render even less plausible the Times' slanting of the Israeli-Arab conflict, and this very likely figures in the Times failure to cover those other stories.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Carping At Israel Is Habit Forming - Post Prepares for Olmert Visit By Donating Op-Ed Space to Critics of Israel's Planned Unilateral West Bank Withdrawal

For almost 40 years critics of Israel have opposed West Bank settlements and have called for Israeli withdrawal. The Post has always been among the critics. It might be reasonable to expect that the current Israeli proposal to partially withdraw would meet with approval from these longtime critics. But instead, Israel is disparaged for her proposed withdrawal. Ironically, this places the critics of settlements in sync with long time supporters of the settlements in castigating the government for the withdrawal plan, albeit for different reasons. The Post continues to align itself with the longtime critics of Israel, who now fantasize that peace may some day be possible with the Palestinians, but only if it is negotiated.  They absurdly call for Israel to negotiate with a powerless Mahmoud Abbas. Alternately, these critics carp that the planned withdrawal is not enough. To them it will never be enough until Israel relinquishes every square inch of disputed territory, despite security issues and despite the practical impossibility of uprooting a quarter of a million people. Thursday's edition of the Post devoted Op-Ed space to one such critic. (Israel's Half-Plan, 5-18-06, A23) Judge Grossman's letter responds to that Op-Ed piece:


From: Judge Herbert Grossman
To: The Editor, The Washington Post
Date: May 18, 2006

To the Editor: 

In "Israel's Half-Plan" (Op-Ed, May 18), Gershom Gorenberg, criticizes the Israeli plan to evacuate settlements containing one-third of the (quarter of a million) Jewish settlers and unilaterally withdraw from 90% of the West Bank, according to his estimates. He claims that the plan lacks an incentive for Palestinians to return to the negotiating table because, if they "will get the same borders no matter what, why negotiate?"

I agree. As a unilateral plan, the Israeli withdrawal plan is much too generous! 

While Israel does not want to incorporate additional Arabs into its final borders, there are swaths of vacant land amounting to at least another 10% of the West Bank that Israel can retain pending a negotiated settlement or permanently, if the Palestinians continue to refuse to make peace. All of that land, after all, was part of the League of Nations Mandate from 1922 until the 1948 war, to be held in Trust as a home for Jews.

Gorenberg also complains that up to 30,000 Palestinians would remain under Israeli rule under the unilateral plan. But they would have the option of becoming full Israeli citizens, as did Arabs remaining in Israel after the 1948 war, or moving to the Palestinian area. Under the Israeli plan, approximately three times that number of Jews would be forced to evacuate their homes or face slaughter by the Arabs (as were the Jews captured in the 1948 war) if the Israeli government were to allow them to remain. 

Apparently, Gorenberg would go even further and forcibly evacuate even a greater number of Jews, perhaps the entire quarter of a million Jewish settlers, in a negotiated settlement or one imposed by the U.S., for the sake of those 30,000 Arabs who would have a choice of remaining as full citizens of Israel or moving.

What logic, humanity or even arithmetic supports this position? 

Sincerely, 

Judge Herbert Grossman
[Herbert Grossman, author of the book "J'Accuse the N.Y. Times and Washington Post: Biased Reporting from the Middle East" is a full time Federal Administrative Law Judge]


Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Washington Post Doesn't Just Report News, It Makes It - Post Campaigns To Reverse International Community's Suspension Of Direct Aid To Hamas

The Post has been using every opportunity to campaign for the legitimization of Hamas. They even create opportunities. An article by Glenn Kessler in today's Post masquerades as a news article, but contains no news at all. Rather, it reports on statements made by the Saudi Arabian envoy in a "meeting with a small group of reporters." (Saudi Warns Against Isolating Hamas, Envoy Says U.S. Will Release 16 Guantanamo Detainees, 5-18-06, A18) We wonder just how small this group of reporters was and how this "meeting" came about. No background is provided. Curiously, we find no reports of these comments in any other news outlet.

Although Kessler is based in Washington, this article conveys the same opinions we've seen injected into articles by the Post's Middle East correspondent, Scott Wilson. The Post gives voice to the arguments of Hamas, Arabs and Islamists that the suspension of aid to the Hamas-led government will not work and will only serve to radicalize the Palestinian populace -- as if a people who voted to be led by a terrorist organization that ran on a platform of never engaging in peace negotiations, never recognizing Israel, and never giving up armed conflict aren't already thoroughly radicalized. So, the very first paragraph of this article quotes the Saudi envoy asserting that the suspension of aid is based on "twisted logic" and "will end up only radicalizing the Palestinian population against a peaceful solution." Additional quotes of the envoy arguing the same points are stated throughout the article. The other side of the argument never sees the light of day. Nowhere does it appear that any of this "small group" of journalists (no doubt select and esteemed as well) ever asked the envoy whether such a policy might not influence the Palestinian people to demand flexibility of Hamas or vote differently in later elections. 

Kessler makes a poor effort to provide context in his explanation of who Hamas is. He says nothing at all about Hamas other than that the "State Department has labeled Hamas a terrorist organization." So has the President, the Congress and the US government. So has the European Union, representing 25 nations. So have other foreign leaders. Kessler says nothing of Hamas's past violence against Israel or its explicit goal to destroy Israel. In fact, his agenda becomes transparent when he deliberately avoids mentioning two out of the three conditions imposed by the International community on resumption of aid, namely that Hamas renounce violence and agree to adhere to the PA's past agreements. Kessler's says only: 

"The United States and the European Union have demanded that Hamas recognize Israel and meet other conditions before aid is restored." 

"Other conditions??!!" Is that how a responsible news source should describe the international community's effort to mainstream a terrorist organization by insisting on its renunciation of violence and adherence to past peace agreements .... peace agreements negotiated by the very government it now purports to represent?

This is typical of the Washington Post's activist, agenda-driven journalism, and it illustrates why readers should not expect full and balanced reporting by the Post.


Monday, May 15, 2006

Post Op-Ed Piece Advocates Appeasement Of Hamas

Given the Washington Post's long standing refusal to so much as use the word "terrorism" when referring to Palestinian terrorist attacks against Israelis and its effort to whitewash the terrorist groups, no one should be surprised to see the Washington Post making space for op-ed pieces from guest writers opposing the international community's demand that Hamas recognize Israel, renounce violence, and accept past agreements of the Palestinian Authority. In "For Israel and Hamas, a Case for Accommodation" (May 15, 2006, p. A17) the authors offer a heavy dose of sophistry in support of their ridiculous conclusion that Israel needs Hamas as much as Hamas needs Israel. They then advocate abandonment of the international community's three conditions for international aid and substitution in their place of a policy of appeasement toward Hamas. Judge Grossman's letter to the editor tells who the authors are and what is wrong with their plan:


To: The Editor, The Washington Post
From: Judge Herbert Grossman
Date: 5-15-06

To the Editor: 

Aaron David Miller and Robert Malley, whose policy as influential members of the Clinton Administration was to pressure Israel to appease Yasir Arafat, which led to the current bloody intifada, are back at it again.

Now, in "For Israel and Hamas, a Case for Accommodation" (Op-Ed, May 15), they recognize that Hamas, which heads the Palestinian Authority, is "sworn to Israel's destruction," has a "charter replete with anti-Semitism," and is "tethered to the use of violence."

So, they recommend that the international community merely loosen its standards for resuming aid to that government. Rather than insisting that Hamas give up its genocidal goal and tactics, it should merely be required to solidify a temporary cease-fire, restore law and order, deal pragmatically with Israel on issues of so-called mutual concern (presumably, the means of permitting the Palestinian economy to function successfully) and adopt a meaningless formula that promises to consider recognizing Israel if Israel would first take steps that it knows Israel would not even consider.

Obviously, Israel cannot be foolish enough to cooperate in facilitating the survival and entrenchment of a regime dedicated to its annihilation merely because that regime may temporarily operate behind a facade that fails even to partially obscure its genocidal goals.

Malley and Miller are merely calling for a continuation of their failed Oslo policy, of always supporting the Palestinians and pressuring Israel, on the mistaken notion that it is Israel that can make peace. In fact, it has always been the Arabs who have been able to, but refuse to do so, whether under the leadership of the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Yasir Arafat, or the most openly genocidal of all, Hamas.

If peace were really the goal, propping up the Hamas government and rewarding the Palestinians for again choosing genocide over peace cannot help.

Sincerely, 

Judge Herbert Grossman
[Herbert Grossman, author of the book "J'Accuse the N.Y. Times and Washington Post: Biased Reporting from the Middle East" is a full time Federal Administrative Law Judge]


Friday, May 12, 2006

Post Reporter Injects Own Opinion By Asserting, Without Adequate Support, That Withholding of International Aid is Causing Palestinians to Increase Their Support for Hamas

Friday's edition of the Post contained a front page feature article by its Middle East correspondent, Scott Wilson, about how Palestinians on the street are coping with the suspension of international aid to their Hamas-led government. (Out of Money but Not Resources, With Aid Cut Off, Palestinians Turn to Each Other to Get By, May 12, 2006, p. A01) The crux of the article is that in the one West Bank village Mr. Wilson wrote about, they give and receive credit and help from family, friends and benefactors. The article is, for the most part, well written and interesting, but this reporter, as usual, found an opportunity to subtly inject his own opinion. He is opposed to the suspension of aid to the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority, a view he has injected into his reports over and over again since Hamas took power, so in this article he asserts, without adequate support, that the suspension of aid is not working and is causing an increase in support for Hamas. He says: 

"Hamas and the secular-nationalist Fatah party that lost power in January roughly divided the vote here. But there is a growing solidarity behind Hamas, which began running the Palestinian government ministries six weeks ago." 

If Mr. Wilson's statement could be shown to be true, it would be informative and important, but he makes no effort to support it other than to quote one ambivalent Palestinian taxi driver saying "'I just don't know whether to blame [Hamas] or not'" and "'it seems like they haven't been given a chance.'" This is just one more clear illustration of Scott Wilson's effort to influence his readership by injecting his own opinions. A reporter seeking a more balanced picture might well have privately asked some of the folks he talked to whether they think Hamas ought to try renouncing violence, agreeing to abide by the Palestinian Authority's past agreements and accepting Israel's right to exist. It is possible that by now at least some of the Palestinian populace may be thinking twice about having elected an extremist organization. Mr. Wilson, your readers are interested in what the answers to those questions would have been.


Tuesday, May 9, 2006

On Eve of Quartet Meeting, Post Publishes Slanted Article Favoring Resumption of Funding of Hamas-Led Palestinian Authority - Conceals Hamas's Violent Past and Goal To Destroy Israel

Scott Wilson, the Post's Middle East correspondent, today demonstrated once again the Washington Post's long time pattern of slanted reporting on all issues involving Israelis and Palestinians. (Palestinian Says Ban Could Lead to Chaos, May 9, 2006, A19

The headline and opening paragraphs of today's article, rather than exhibit balance, quote the Hamas prime minister of the Palestinian authority, Ismail Haniyeh, predicting dire consequences of the failure to fund the Hamas-led government. "Chaos," "ban," "founder," "siege," and "collapse," are all emotion charged words appearing in the first two paragraphs of this article. The article comes on the eve of the Quartet's meeting in NY to discuss the issue of funding. It is a thinly veiled propaganda tool designed to influence the Quartet to change its prior decision not to fund the Hamas-led government. It reports nothing new. It is a platform for Hamas and Mr. Haniyeh. 

Mr. Wilson, in his selective reporting and placement of some facts and complete omission of other facts, makes clear his disapproval of the Quartet's decision not to Fund the terrorist-led government. Of course, he doesn't call it a terrorist-led government. He fails to note Hamas's past history of murdering thousands of Israelis and fails to tell readers that it is Hamas's admitted goal to destroy Israel. The most we learn from Mr. Wilson is that Hamas "advocates the creation of a Palestinian state across territory that includes Israel." This brief statement falls so far short of telling the whole truth about Hamas as to constitute a blatant deception. To report only Hamas's territorial ambitions, without any mention at all of Hamas's history of past violence and promise of future violence, is to deceive readers. Note Mr. Wilson's use of the word "advocates." Under Mr. Wilson's pen, blowing up bus loads of men, women and children becomes an energetic form of advocacy. 

But even this bleached version of Hamas's program is withheld from readers until the 11th paragraph of the article, long after most readers will have moved on to other news. Up until that paragraph the reader sees only the opening paragraphs trumpeting Mr. Haniyeh's warnings about collapse, followed by a sympathetic account of a Palestinian woman with her "head covered by a black scarf" selling her gold wedding ring. Mr. Wilson states: "Zayim said she needed the proceeds from her ring to buy diapers and milk supplements for her three children, including Hazem, 4, who tugged at her tunic in the afternoon bustle." 

Contrary to the references in the headline and first two paragraphs to a "ban," "cut off" or "siege," it isn't until the 11th paragraph that Mr. Wilson tells his readers that the Quartet's failure to fund Hamas is not really a flat out refusal at all. It is simply the imposition of a condition for the continuation of aid that Hamas "recognize Israel's right to exist, renounce violence and honor previous agreements with the Jewish state." And the delay in providing that important contextual information enabled Mr. Wilson to also delay until the 11th paragraph reporting that even as Mr. Haniyeh was interviewed for this article, he still refused to accede to this condition.

Mr. Wilson, you have in the past shown an effort to be even handed in your reporting, but that effort has certainly not been shown here.


Monday, May 8, 2006

Post Uses Terminology Portraying Terrorist Groups and Their Acts As Those of Legitimate Armies During Times of War - Continues to Airbrush Hamas by Omitting Any Reference to the Thousands of Israelis Murdered and Goal to Destroy Israel

The Post has long sought to depict terrorists in the disputed territories as the legitimate fighting force of the Palestinian people, morally equivalent in the Post's view to the Israeli army. Part of this effort is the Post's refusal to call a terrorist a "terrorist," by now well known to all. The euphemism of choice has been "militant." The Post's correspondent in the disputed territories, Scott Wilson, has a tendency to carry this moral equivalency a step further. He refers to Hamas as having long been "at war" with Israel, thereby cloaking the terrorist group's acts with the sad but acceptable aura of "acts of war." Another example of his effort to depict terrorists as a legitimate fighting force is to label them a "militia." (5 Palestinian Militants Die in Israeli Airstrike in Gaza " 5-6-06, A12) A bunch of terrorists together do not suddenly become a "militia," any more than the terrorists themselves become soldiers. Using the term "militia" in referring to the training camp of the terrorist group, Popular Resistance Committees, lends legitimacy to this group of terrorists. It implies they are a morally acceptable fighting force of the Palestinian people. 

On a related subject, Mr. Wilson seems to have forgotten that many thousands of Israelis have been murdered by the dastardly terrorist acts of Hamas. Rather than remind readers of Hamas's past, he refers only to Hamas's unwillingness to recognize Israel, as if that were the defining characteristic of this terrorist organization. This is Mr. Wilson's description of Hamas:

"Hamas, which does not recognize Israel's right to exist, has faced diplomatic isolation since taking charge of the Palestinian cabinet ministries in March." (5 Palestinian Militants Die in Israeli Airstrike in Gaza " 5-6-06, A12)

Perhaps Mr. Wilson needs to be reminded that Hamas is a terrorist organization that has killed thousands of Israelis, has publicly proclaimed its goal to be the destruction of Israel, and as recently as two weeks ago defended the Islamic Jihad terrorist bombing in Tel Aviv. While the Post not surprisingly failed to report it, just this weekend a Hamas conspiracy to assassinate the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was uncovered and foiled by Israel. (Israel Foils Plot to Kill Palestinian President, May 7, 2006)

Mr. Wilson, Hamas is not simply a group that "does not recognize Israel's right to exist."


Saturday, April 29, 2006

Post Columnist David Ignatius Sees Iran, Al Qaeda, Hamas and Hizbollah as Fighting A War Against The West For Dignity and Respect

It's only an opinion, but sometimes foolishness such as this needs to be shown for what it is. Washington Post Columnist David Ignatius has noticed that with militant Islam there seems to be no possibility of negotiating a settlement or a compromise. He points to Iran in its obdurate quest for nuclear weapons, Al Qaeda in its war against the West and Hamas and Hizbollah in their terror war against Israel. He even throws Yasser Arafat into the mix, showing that what he really is talking about is not militant Islam, but rather, militant Muslims. (Misreading the Enemy, What We Don't Grasp About Militant Islam, 4-28-06, A19) If you are familiar with his past writings, you might grow hopeful as you read this column that Mr. Ignatius has finally come to realize that this is an irrational and hateful enemy of everything Western. No such luck. What reasons does Mr. Ignatius assign for this militancy and intransigence and what solutions does he offer in dealing with what he now recognizes to be an implacable enemy? Mr. Ignatius now says the Muslim quest is really one for "dignity" and "respect" that can't be negotiated and that, indeed, "negotiation with a powerful adversary can itself be demeaning." He says Arafat's intransigence is what made him "a symbol of pride and resistance." So, how does Mr. Ignatius say we should deal with this group of folks who want to fight and who shun reason, dialogue and peace? We give these baby killers, these mass murderers of innocent civilians, "respect." We give those who explicitly and unabashedly threaten millions of Israelis with nuclear genocide "dignity." That's the ticket...


To: The Editor, The Washington Post
From: Judge Herbert Grossman
Date: April 28, 2006

David Ignatius, in "Misreading the Enemy" (op-ed, April 28), correctly assesses the Iranian government and militant Islam, in general, as implacably opposed to negotiations and compromise with the West and contemptuous of it, based on their perceived mandate from God, which would not allow them to even bargain with the devil. Inexplicably, however, he then concludes that, as the Muslim world gains a greater sense of dignity and respect in its dealings with the West, the "fundamental[ist] weapon of Iran, al-Qaeda and Hamas will lose much of its potency."

If he is suggesting that the West make unilateral concessions as a means of affording that respect, it would work about as well as did the West's giving Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland to Hitler at Munich. Every concession would only embolden the monster, whet its appetite for more, and give it even greater confidence that, if it remains totally unyielding, it will get it all, in accordance with its imagined God-given mandate. 

We have read Ignatius's prescriptions in the past, usually containing suggestions that we concede Israel's strategic interests to placate the Islamists. Is he now even proposing that we concede our own? It has no greater logic to commend it, but at least it is ecumenical.

Sincerely, 

Judge Herbert Grossman
[Herbert Grossman, author of the book "J'Accuse the N.Y. Times and Washington Post: Biased Reporting from the Middle East" is a full time Federal Administrative Law Judge]


Saturday, April 1, 2006 

Washington Post Fails to Report Terrorist Launch of Katyusha Rocket Into Israel

On March 28 Palestinian terrorists from Islamic Jihad launched a Katyusha rocket into Israel. It had been smuggled across the border from Egypt. News services around the world reported this launch, because it marked a major escalation in the terrorists' attacks against Israel. The Washington Post's web site ran a number of articles containing wire service reports about the escalation, but the Post's paper edition failed to report it at all. That it was a story of importance is shown by the Post mentioning it in an editorial two days later. 

"In the meantime, Israel will still exchange blows with Palestinian militants, who fired a Katyusha rocket this week from Gaza into Israel for the first time." (A Decisive Election, 3-30-06, A22

This event called for news coverage for two reasons. First, it supported the arguments of some that Israel was unwise in caving in to US pressure to relinquish control of the border from Egypt into Gaza. Second, the terrorist's ability to do significant damage to Israel by launching rockets from Gaza will, if unchecked, almost certainly necessitate Israel responding much more forcefully, possibly even reentering Gaza. We have no doubt the Post will  cry out in moral outrage when and if Israel is forced to do so. For years the Post has attempted to downplay the threat to Israel of the Kassam rockets launched by the terrorists by frequently noting that the Kassams are homemade and inaccurate. Now that the terrorists' rocketing capability has been significantly upgraded one would think it would warrant prominent coverage. Israel's eventual defensive response will seem unjustified to Post readers kept in the dark about the terrorist escalation. That was probably not the reason for the Post's failure to cover the story, but the Post's long time underreporting and downplaying of many successful and thwarted terrorist attacks against Israel has had that practical effect.


Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Serial Deceptions Mark The Washington Post's Reporting on the Israeli Operation to Capture The Jericho Six

On Tuesday, March 14, 2006 Israeli Defense Forces surrounded a prison compound in Jericho and captured five Palestinian terrorists responsible for the murder in October, 2001 of Rehavam Ze'evi, Israel's former Tourism Minister. Included among the five was Ahmed Sa'adat, the head of the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine) and mastermind of the terrorist operation. In addition, the IDF captured Fuad Shubaki, the ringleader of the Karine A arms smuggling operation perpetrated by the Palestinian Authority under the regime of Yasser Arafat. In April 2002 all six of these criminals were cornered in the Mukata, Arafat's compound in Ramallah, by the IDF, and the siege was lifted only after an agreement was reached in which the PA promised to transfer them to the Jericho prison, keep them in prison and allow British and American guards to watch over them. Israel launched yesterday's operation only after (1) Hamas repeatedly announced that it intended to release the prisoners, (2) Mahmoud Abbas announced he would not oppose the release and (3) the British and American guards withdrew from the prison. The guards were withdrawn by the US and UK, because their security was threatened, and Mahmoud Abbas, despite being repeatedly warned over the past month, refused to do anything to protect them. British officials have stated that they have been complaining to the PA about its default in providing security to the monitors since the inception of the agreement four years ago.

Those were the central facts of the story, but the Post, in its typical fashion, did its best to conceal, downplay, bury and garble the important facts so as to soften its narrative about the Palestinians and point an accusing finger at Israel. (Palestinians Captured in Israeli Raid On Prison, U.S. and British Monitors Withdraw, Triggering Retaliation on Foreigners, March 15, 2006, A13)

The first deception of this article was in its delay until the 3rd paragraph identification of the targets of the Israeli operation as anyone other than "Palestinians." The headline and first two paragraphs identify them only as "Palestinian prisoners," yet at the same time the author, the Post's Scott Wilson, found room to prominently complain that the operation was an "aggressive push into a West Bank city" - a "10-hour assault that reduced to rubble much of the Palestinian jail compound," thereby setting off "a furious response by Palestinians across the West Bank and Gaza Strip." 

And in the second paragraph, before even identifying the targets of the operation, Wilson implies that the whole thing may have been an Israeli election ploy: "The operation, coming two weeks before Israel's national elections, left at least two Palestinians dead." Wilson doesn't tell the reader that the two Palestinians left dead were actually PA security men inside the prison trying to protect the terrorists from capture. His use of the phrase "left at least two Palestinians dead" gives the impression they may have been innocent bystanders.

So, up to this point in the article the reader is left thinking that Israel, for no good reason other than as an election gambit, launched an operation against a Palestinian prison, destroyed the prison, and in the process of all this violence, killed two unidentified Palestinians.

The second deception of this article was in the way it both minimized the importance to Israel of the captured terrorists and at the same time sought to cast doubt on their actual guilt. In paragraph three Wilson finally reports that the main target of the Israeli operation was the terrorist leader and mastermind of the Ze'evi murder, Ahmed Saadat, but in doing so he employs terminology to suggest that Saadat himself may have been imprisoned solely because he was the leader of the group that asserted responsibility for the murder, and the other four terrorists were merely "implicated" in the murder: 

"The main target of the raid was Ahmed Saadat, head of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, which Israel holds responsible for the October 2001 assassination of Tourism Minister Rehavam Zeevi. Since April 2002, Saadat had been held with four other front members implicated in the killing, guarded by a team of U.S. and British monitors." 

Note Wilson's use of the word "which" rather than "who" to suggest that it is only Saadat's leadership of the group that has him in this hot water. Later in the article he again attempts to give the impression that the guilt of these terrorists is still an open question when he refers to them as "allegedly involved in Zeevi's killing..." What Wilson doesn't tell readers is that all five of these terrorists have actually been tried and convicted by a Palestinian tribunal. One of the convicted terrorists wielded the gun that was used in the murder.

The sixth prisoner targeted and captured by Israel in this operation was Fuad Shubaki, the Palestinian Authority paymaster who ran the Karina A weapons smuggling operation. The importance of the Karine A affair was in its proof that Yasser Arafat and the PA were nose deep in illegal weapons smuggling. But Wilson, in an effort to downplay the importance to Israel of keeping these prisoners from going free, doesn't mention the Karine A affair by name at all, and he doesn't mention the involvement of the Palestinian Authority. His description of Shubaki completely conceals his importance to Israel as a prisoner: "The sixth man Israeli forces sought was Fuad Shobaki, a member of Abbas's Fatah party implicated by Israel in arms smuggling." Again, note Wilson's suggestion that Shubaki was just a suspect by his use of the phrase "implicated by Israel." Wilson doesn't reveal that Shubaki, too, has been convicted by a Palestinian tribunal.

The third deception of this article was to suggest that the upcoming Israeli elections prompted the Israeli operation. Having thus sought to downplay the importance of these prisoners to Israel, Scott Wilson then attempts to develop his theory that the election was behind the launch of the operation. He purports to rely on several unnamed Palestinian officials for this allegation, but then quotes only a hospital administrator. Why a hospital administrator would be considered an expert or an authoritative source on political or military operations is not revealed. "'This was a demonstration for the Israeli elections and no more,' said Hassan Barqawi, the general director of Jericho's hospital. 'They could do this operation in 15 minutes. But to take 12 hours, well, it is only election propaganda for the Israeli voters.'"

The fourth deception of this article was to present in a piecemeal and disjointed fashion core facts providing the context necessary for readers to understand the Israeli operation, namely (1) that Israel previously gave up an opportunity to capture these prisoners in April 2002 when it had the Mukata surrounded, in return for a formal agreement between Israel and the PA to transfer the prisoners to the Jericho prison, keep the terrorists in prison, and allow US and British monitors to guard the prisoners, (2) that Hamas made clear its intention to breach the agreement by releasing the prisoners and Abbas made clear his intention not to oppose the release and (3) that Abbas ignored repeated warnings by the United States and Britain that their monitors were in danger, weren't being adequately protected and would be withdrawn if security was not increased. Most of this information was broken up and served in bits and pieces throughout the article so that readers were not likely to understand the context of Israel's action to recover the prisoners.

The last of this article's deceptions was in its description of Hamas. Scott Wilson calls it "the radical Islamic group at war with Israel...." Use of the phrase "at war with Israel" is designed to give Hamas's violence legitimacy. Everyone knows all is fair in love and war. Terrorist acts are no longer illegitimate, because they become acts of war. The suicide bomber becomes a legitimate military weapon used to wage war. 

The United States and indeed most of the civilized world have declared war on terrorism, but would Wilson ever consider it appropriate to describe Al Qaeda as a radical Islamic group at war with the US?


Saturday, March 11, 2006

Post Correspondent Now Reports that Hamas's Charter Calls for the Destruction of Israel

We previously posted here an email exchange with Washington Post correspondent, Scott Wilson, in which he stated he felt it unnecessary to report that Hamas's goal is to destroy Israel. He stated that he believed it was sufficient to state that Hamas "seeks the creation of a Palestinian state on land that now includes Israel." 

We've noted before that Mr. Wilson's reporting from Israel is a definite improvement over the reporting of the previous Post correspondents stationed there. It appears that following our email exchange with Mr. Wilson, he kept an open mind and reconsidered his position. On March 8, 2006, in a dispatch from Israel, he stated: "Hamas, whose charter calls for the destruction of Israel, is designated a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union." Mr. Wilson should be commended for remaining open to ways in which to provide more accurate reporting of events from Israel and the disputed territories.


Friday, March 10, 2006

Washington Post Fails To Report Saudi Arabia's Violation of Conditions of World Trade Organization Admission to Give Up Boycott of Israel

Three months ago Saudi Arabia was admitted to the WTO (World Trade Organization) on condition that it cease its participation in the Arab League boycott of Israel and treat Israel, also a member of the WTO, in an equal manner. The WTO's rules require Saudi Arabia to act in a nondiscriminatory manner toward all WTO members, including Israel. Saudi Arabia agreed. Next week Saudi Arabia will host - yes, not just participate but host - a meeting of Arab officials of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, the group that runs the boycott, to strengthen the boycott of Israel. US officials are investigating the Saudi violation. The Washington Times considered this news important enough to report on its front page. (Saudi Meeting Eyed For WTO Violation, 3-9-06, A1) The Washington Post failed to report it at all.


Monday, March 6, 2006

Washington Post Falsely Portrays Israel as Mistreating Its Arab Citizens, Driving Them To Support Hamas

To: Scott Wilson, The Washington Post
From: Leo Rennert
Date: March 5, 2006

It pains me to have to tell you this, but after a promising start as the Post's Jerusalem correspondent when you gave the impression that you would be fairer and more even-handed in your coverage, you've now lurched into a conspicuous anti-Israel, pro-Hamas mode.

The clincher for this impression is your Sunday, March 5, article, "Israeli Arabs See Lesson in Hamas Victory." In it, you portray in sweeping terms Israeli Arabs as a downtrodden minority, while you bend a sympathetic ear to the politics of Israeli Arab Islamists who profess solidarity with Hamas.

With regard to your portrayal of Israeli Arabs, you content yourself with the following: "Though citizens of Israel, they face discrimination in immigration policy, land ownership, education and public employment, either explicitly or in the application of the law."

This is not only a gross oversimplification, it is distortion with a capital D. What you completely overlook is the positive side of Arab conditions in Israel, of which there are many outstanding examples. While the glass is more than half full, you report only the less-than-half-full side. What would you think of a foreign correspondent stationed in the U.S. who did a piece about African-Americans and Hispanics focusing only on their lot in urban ghettos and barrios? Or if that correspondent interviewed only Farakhan as a worthy spokesman for black America? Would that be a fair, even-handed, complete picture of minorities in our country?

Specifically, you omit any reference to progress in Arab socio-economic integration in Israel. Go to Haifa and report on the most integrated city in Israel. Go to Israeli colleges and universities -- Haifa University, Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University -- and look around at the great numbers of Arab students and integrated faculties. Go to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem and watch Jewish and Arab physicians and surgeons work side by side. Go to the hospital's admission wing and wards where Arab patients are treated on an equal level with Jewish patients. Go and interview gay Israeli Arabs or professional Arab women and ask them if they would prefer living in Saudi Arabia. Go and visit Israel's Supreme Court and interview its Arab member. Check out Israel's civil service and interview an Israeli Arab who serves on a high-level panel that selects Israel's top civil servants. Check the overall economic, public health and educational opportunities of Israeli Arabs and you will find that they far exceed living conditions in neighboring Arab countries. In fact, Israeli Arabs, despite some lingering discrimination, enjoy more rights than Arabs anywhere else. Why blank all that out?

You also do Israel an injustice when you write that Israeli Arabs are viewed with suspicion by Israeli's security services, who fear they might be a Palestinian fifth column -- and leave it at that. An even-handed account would have told Post readers that there in fact has been a rising pattern in the last several years of the intifada of some Israeli Arabs assisting suicide bombers from the West Bank to reach their targets in Haifa and Tel Aviv. Some Israeli Arabs have been arrested and tried for facilitating such attacks. The reality is that there are some fifth-column Arab cells in Israel, just as there were and still are in Britain and other parts of Europe. If home-grown terrorists are a problem in Europe, why be surprised that it's also a problem in Israel? Instead, you make it seem that Israel's security services are just picking on Israeli Arabs for no good reason at all. Also, Israel's government and security services are not focusing with suspicion on all Israeli Arabs, but only likely accomplices of terrorists, of which there fortunately are only a few.

Your entire story is based on carefully selected incidents intended to slam Israel, while totally ignoring compelling evidence of Israeli Arab progress and integration.

Finally, after doing your best to humanize and legitimize Hamas since before the Palestinian elections, you've now reached a new Orwellian plateau in describing this terrorist organization. As far as your latest story is concerned, Hamas is merely an "anti-Israel group." No longer even a "militant" or "radical" group -- only "anti-Israel." If that's so, it puts Hamas in the same category as the Post's news coverage. Is that what you want to convey -- Hamas and the Post in the same "anti-Israel" league?

Regards,

Leo Rennert


To: Editor, The Washington Post
From: Judge Herbert Grossman
Date: March 6, 2006

In "Israeli Arabs Reflect on Hamas Win" (news, Mar.5), Scott Wilson makes it appear as though 13 Israeli Arabs were killed by Israeli security forces at the beginning of the current intifada in the fall of 2000 because they had "erupted in protest" at "discrimination" against them. 

Israeli Arabs constitute the only religious or ethnic minority in the Middle East that is not regularly attacked by the majority, does not live in fear of massacre, and has full democratic rights. They are treated better and more fairly than Arabs living in Arab-ruled countries, who only wish to suffer the same "discrimination."

"Erupting in protest" is a strange term to describe the motivation and activities of gangs of marauding Arab youths who roamed the streets for seven straight days at the start of the intifada, attempting to murder Jewish Israelis, in solidarity with their fellow Arabs in the territories who were doing the same.

That they managed to kill only one is attributable to the strong response by the Israeli police, who are now being criticized for using deadly force. But deadly force or overwhelming numbers are the only effective means of controlling lynch mobs, and no one had foreseen the threat and mobilized a large police presence. All had underestimated the murderous hatred of Jews and disloyalty to the state that continues to pervade this Arab minority community that the tolerant Jewish majority community treats so fairly.

They know better now.

If Israeli Arabs, in the next election, were to vote overwhelmingly for an Islamist party like Hamas, as Wilson speculates, it should surprise no one. Their current, somewhat more secular, representatives already espouse Hamas's genocidal philosophy towards Jews and Israel or they wouldn't have been elected (in free elections, by this supposedly discriminated-against society).

Sincerely,

Judge Herbert Grossman


Monday, February 27, 2006

Is the Washington Post Downplaying Hamas's Violent Intentions Toward Israel? 
Post Correspondent Scott Wilson Responds to Charge That He Doesn't Use Terminology Reporting That Hamas Seeks the Destruction or Elimination of Israel

Those who are following the Post's reporting on Hamas have noted that consistent with its past refusal to refer to Hamas as a terrorist organization, the Post appears to be downplaying the violent nature of Hamas. Instead of reporting that one of Hamas's goals is to destroy or eliminate Israel, the Post euphemizes Hamas's violence by reporting only that Hamas "does not recognize Israel" or "seeks the creation of a Palestinian state on land that now includes Israel." EyeOnThePost recently wrote to the Post's correspondent in Israel, Scott Wilson, challenging him on this terminology. We received responses explaining his position. Readers might find the following exchange with Mr. Wilson informative. With his permission, we have set forth the exchange verbatim to enable readers to judge for themselves.


Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 10:19:02 -0500
To: Scott Wilson
From: EyeOnThePost, Inc.
Subject: A Half Truth That Softens Hamas's Image

Hi Scott. Why do you keep reporting only that Hamas "does not recognize Israel," when in fact Hamas actively seeks the destruction of Israel? If your problem is in the terminology and you don't want to use the word "destruction," you could say Hamas's goal is the "elimination" of Israel. Hamas explicitly acknowledges that this is their goal, so why do you not report it as such?

Robert G. Samet
Chairman, EyeOnThePost, Inc.


To: EyeOnThePost, Inc.
From: Scott Wilson
Subject: Re: A Half Truth That Softens Hamas's Image
Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 11:24:01 -0500

Mr. Samet:

Thank you for your note and valid question. I use several phrases to describe Hamas: does not recognize Israel, at war with Israel, designated a terrorist organization by the United States and European Union, and seeks the creation of a Palestinian state on land that now includes Israel. These usually appear all in the same story. I believe they give a good description of the group; the last, in particular, is in my opinion a more descriptive way of saying what you are recommending. But I will certainly keep in mind your recommendation and opinion on this as I continue refining this description.

Best regards,
Scott


Date: Wed, 22 Feb 2006 21:31:58 -0500
To: Scott Wilson
From: EyeOnThePost, Inc.
Subject: Telling The Whole Truth

Scott:

While we're debating whether telling the whole truth in reporting would require a statement that Hamas seeks to destroy Israel or whether it's sufficiently accurate to report, as you have been doing, that Hamas "doesn't recognize Israel" or seeks to create a Palestinian state on land that includes Israel, how about taking a close look at these two web sites. They're the English and Arabic versions of the same web site, the so called military wing of Hamas, the Ezzedeen Al Qassam Brigades

http://www.alqassam.com/arabic/ 
http://www.alqassam.com/english/
[Hamas has since removed the animated graphic showing the mushroom cloud/nuclear explosion superimposed over the Star of David]

Notice the graphic on the Arabic site. Notice it has a nuclear explosion, including a mushroom cloud, blowing up the Star of David. In the upper left corner you can click on a button to go to their English homepage. You can verify it is their official site by looking at the "About Us" page.

Notice that the the same graphic is not on the English site. Ask yourself why.

Ask yourself whether you should be reporting that Hamas seeks to destroy Israel.

Robert G. Samet
Chairman, EyeOnThePost, Inc.


Subject: Re: Telling The Whole Truth
From: Scott Wilson
To: EyeOnThePost, Inc.
Date: Thu, 23 Feb 2006 01:22:35 -0500

Dear Mr. Samet:

Thanks much for the links. I've actually seen them many times before. I am not disputing that Hamas' charter calls for the destruction of Israel, only that I am glossing over this point. Saying that Hamas wants to create a state on land that now includes Israel is, in my view, saying the same thing in a more useful way for readers, who might otherwise be left asking
without it: Destroy Israel for what? But I will keep your valid opinion in mind.

Best regards,
Scott


Sunday, February 26, 2006

The Washington Post's Molly Moore - A Terrorist Sympathizer When She Reported From Israel and Now a Muslim Sympathizer Reporting From France About Muslim Anti-Semitic Attacks

What follows is an excellent critique by Judge Herbert Grossman of an article by the Post's Molly Moore in which she seeks to downplay the Muslim and anti-Semitic elements of the kidnapping, torture, ransom attempt and murder of Ilan Halimi, a Jew in Paris. In addition to the areas of Judge Grossman's criticism, Ms. Moore implies that the only reason there is a suspected Muslim connection to the kidnap-torture-murder of Halimi is that the leader of the gang escaped to a Muslim neighborhood in Ivory Coast, West Africa. She states: "Many have cited the torture and reports that the gang's suspected leader was later arrested in a Muslim neighborhood in Ivory Coast, in West Africa." She doesn't tell readers that the leader of this group, Youssouf Fofana, whose name was not mentioned by Ms. Moore, has been confirmed by French police to be a Muslim of North African orgin. According to the Los Angeles Times, one of his nicknames in the gang was Mohamed.

Ms. Moore doesn't tell readers that Islamic fundamentalist and pro-Palestinian literature was found during the arrest of some perpetrators. Ms. Moore doesn't inform readers that during early phone calls from the torturers to the victims parents, Halimi was heard screaming in the background while the perpetrators read out verses from the Quran. She doesn't tell readers that one of the arrested suspects admitted to torturing Halimi with a burning cigarette because he was Jewish

And she doesn't mention that French Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy ultimately concluded that "the murder had anti-Semitic motives."


To: The Editor, The Washington Post
From: Judge Herbert Grossman
Date: February 26, 2006

To the Editor:

In "Killing in France Seen as 'Wake-Up Call'" (news, Feb. 25), Molly Moore, ever the apologist for Muslims killing Jews (a mindset that was all too apparent in her four years of reporting from Israel, where she sympathized with suicide bombers and glorified their terrorist leaders), now reports on the savage murder of a Jewish youth in Paris who had been kidnapped by a Muslim gang.

According to her article, "family members, Jewish organizations and a French magistrate labeled the killing a hate crime." Ms. Moore, in discussing the surge in anti-Semitic attacks in France, states that most of them were "blamed on Muslims."

Only "labeled" a hate crime? Where the victim died from three weeks of torture, including the amputation of fingers and parts of his ears, as reported elsewhere? And, anti-Semitic attacks only "blamed" on Muslims? Does Moore believe that the victims' reports may have been falsified?

Moore paints this incident as merely a kidnapping for ransom gone wrong that was perpetrated by residents of a low-income housing project with high unemployment, crime and substandard living conditions. 

It is a clever tug at our heartstrings, not unlike her sympathetic reporting on suicide bombers from Jenin in the West Bank, where, she had offered, hardships led them to kill Israeli-Jews. Obviously, as she sees it, economic hardship naturally leads to the murder of Jews anywhere in the world, torture included, and let's not be judgmental about the perpetrators.

Moore's writings are not out of place in the European and Muslim societies she reports on, with their centuries of persecutions. Between them, the two societies effectuated one Holocaust and now promote another, with each assisting the other. 

Does Moore's reporting also capture the essence of the Washington Post?

Sincerely,

Judge Herbert Grossman


Monday, February 20, 2006

The Washington Post Gives Hamas A Facelift

To: The Editor, Washington Post
From: Leo Rennert
Date:  2-20-06

Reading the Post's coverage of Hamas as the new power in the Palestinian territories, one could easily forget that this is the same terrorist outfit responsible for the murder of some 500 Israelis -- a toll that, proportionate to population, is eight times more than the total U.S. fatalities on 9/11. Or that Hamas still glories in this record and will not renounce its barbaric tactics.

Ismail Haniyeh, the new Hamas prime minister, is described as "popular" and a "relative moderate," while his complicity in Hamas suicide bombings is brushed out. The Post's standard brief mention of Hamas as a "terrorist organization" is carefully circumscribed as a view held only by the United States and the European Union, not necessarily by the Post. Israel, on the other hand, is portrayed as resorting to "harsh" economic sanctions just for defending itself against a terrorist regime committed to its extinction.

Missing entirely from your reports is any coverage of the genocidal, Nazi-type anti-Semitic sections of the Hamas charter, which makes the killing of Jews a religious imperative. Despite vows by its leaders not to change their stripes, the Post seems determined to give Hamas a facelift. At the rate of its metamorphosis in the Post, Hamas soon should be able to join the Boy Scouts.

Leo Rennert


Saturday, February 18, 2006

Washington Post Reporter Softens Hamas's Image and Argues for Acceptance of the Terrorist Group and Continued Support of the Palestinian Authority as Hamas Takes Power

The Post's correspondent in Israel and the disputed territories, Scott Wilson, has been issuing news reports that soften Hamas's image, imply that Israel's responses to the Hamas takeover are excessive or unreasonable and argue against discontinuance of aid to a Hamas controlled Palestinian government. His reports eliminate crucial information about Hamas, thereby causing Israel's responses to appear without context. Hamas is not accurately defined for what it has been and still is, but most importantly, insists it will remain. Mr. Wilson doesn't explain the dangers Israelis perceive in a Hamas led government. He doesn't explain the rationale for Israel's proposed policies, including the importance of some of the proposed security measures. He gives lip service to the fact that the US and EU consider Hamas a terrorist organization, but does this in a manner that clearly conveys that he doesn't necessarily agree. He eliminates any reference to Hamas's history of deliberately killing and maiming thousands of innocent Israeli civilians. Hamas's avowed goal to destroy Israel, something that doesn't just appear in its Charter, but which it has also consistently repeated in its public declarations and worked to achieve, is completely eliminated in Mr. Wilson's reporting or so softened as to appear as nothing more than an obligatory political position and not a real goal. 

Articles by Wilson yesterday (Hamas to Choose Top Gaza Figure As Prime Minister, 2-17-06, A14) and today (Israelis Poised For Ascent Of Hamas, Palestinians Face Range of Measures, 2-18-06, A01) amply illustrate Wilson's effort to soften Hamas's image in his reporting. 

Today's article expresses Wilson's sense of alarm as he outlines at length the actions being debated by Israel as a response to the Hamas takeover. In the very first paragraph he trumpets that Israel is about to undertake "a series of steps that would effectively isolate the Gaza Strip and deprive the nearly bankrupt Palestinian Authority of funding once the radical Islamic group forms a cabinet." In today's report there is no reference to Hamas's violent past, promise of a violent future and repudiation of any past treaties or agreements negotiated by the PA with Israel, and it isn't until the 10th paragraph that he even notes that Hamas "has refused international demands that it renounce violence, recognize the Jewish state and abide by previous agreements." That is the extent of Mr. Wilson's definition of precisely who Hamas is today. 

In yesterday's article Hamas's goal to destroy Israel was softened to a brief statement that Hamas "does not recognize Israel's right to exist." Wilson seeks to portray Hamas as taking moderate positions by saying Ismail Haniyeh, its choice for prime minister, is "considered a relative moderate," but he doesn't say who considers Haniyeh moderate or on what issues he is considered moderate. Wilson fails to reveal that Haniyeh's moderation is limited to internal Palestinian political matters involving Hamas-Fatah relations, and that on matters involving Israel, Haniyeh has not yet shown moderation. Readers of the Washington Times were told the truth about Haniyah when in an article in today's edition it is stated: "Mr. Haniyeh, 43, is considered a pragmatist who has preferred conciliation rather than conflict with Fatah. But he has never indicated any flexibility on changing Hamas' rejection of Israel's right to exist. 'He has a good tone domestically. But when it comes to the principles of Hamas, he is committed,' said Mohammed Yaghi, a Ramallah political analyst. 'Would he recognize the two-state solution? Up until now we haven't heard anything from him.'" (Hamas to Take Over Reins of Palestinian Parliament, The Washington Times, February 18, 2006, A06)

This is supposed to be a news report, but in today's article Wilson opines at length against a cutoff of aid to Hamas. He says: 

"While taking a hard line against Hamas may be politically popular, the strategy risks causing the Palestinian Authority to collapse." 

He injects his own opinion that if the PA collapses Israel will have a moral and legal obligation to support Palestinians, because in his view, which has not been accepted by Israel or the major powers, Israel will be an occupying power under International law: 

"As the recognized occupying power in the Palestinian territories, Israel is responsible for the welfare of the 4 million people who live there." 

He opines that withdrawal of aid will be an abandonment of Abbas, who he argues still retains significant power: 

"But the Israeli moves under consideration would mark a sharp break with the Palestinian Authority and largely abandon Abbas, who as president of the authority maintains explicit control over its security services and has the power to fire the Hamas-appointed prime minister."

There was a time when Scott Wilson made an effort at fairness and balance in his reporting, but that effort seems to have been neglected as Palestinians now face the consequences of their election of a terrorist leadership. We are hoping for a return of his drive for fairness in reporting.

The following letters from Leo Rennert written directly to Mr. Wilson point out some of the problems with his reporting of late, as well as provide a valuable reminder of the history and legal status of the disputed territories:


To: Scott Wilson, Washington Post
From: Leo Rennert
Date: 2-17-06

There's an interesting as well as jarring juxtaposition of two formulas you use in today's story to describe Hamas and its leadership.

On the one hand, when you identify Hamas, your write that it is "DESIGNATED a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union." This is a familiar Post formula. It sends a couple of signals, not mutually exclusive, to readers: As an objective news organization, the Post wants to be careful about telling readers who considers Hamas to be a terrorist group and thus feels that attribution for such designation is perfectly proper, even journalistically required. At the same time, it also signals to readers that perhaps Hamas is NOT a terrorist group, that it's only the U.S. and the EU who say so, but what the heck they could be wrong.

On the other hand, when you identify Ismail Haniyeh as the prospective Hamas prime minister, you show no such semantic scruples. In describing him, you and the Post show no reluctance to paint him in positive colors -- without attribution to somebody else. Haniyeh is "considered a RELATIVE MODERATE." No attribution of any kind for this Kosher seal of approval. As far as readers are concerned, you and the Post have determined that he's on the "good" side of Hamas. Many people, including this writer, might argue that Hamas is Hamas is Hamas (pace Gertrude Stein) and that the group is not two-headed at all. But since you see no apparent need for you or the Post to spell out by whom he's "considered a relative moderate," readers are left with the impression that you are reporting a universally recognized view of Haniyeh as a "relatively good" guy. 

So what are we left to ponder and comprehend when reading these two side-by-side descriptive formulas? When a bad label is attached to Hamas (i.e. terrorism), the Post automatically puts some distance between itself and such a designation. But when it comes to identifying the top Hamas leader in Gaza who headed the Hamas slate of candidates in the parliamentary elections and obviously was considered a terrorist by Israel when it tried to kill him in 2003, you and the Post nevertheless stamp him, against voluminous evidence to the contrary, as a "relative moderate." Has he renounced the Hamas charter? No. Has he recognized Israel? No. Is he ready to have Hamas put down its weapons? No. Is he prepared to negotiate a two-state solution? No. So what makes him a "moderate" or even a "relative moderate." Here's a guy who's climbed to the top of a blood-stained terrorist group that has killed more than 500 Israelis and wounded thousands of others, but somehow he's not "radical," "extremist," or "terrorist" but a "relative moderate" -- as now certified by you and the Post.

Please explain.

Leo Rennert


To: Scott Wilson, Washington Post
From: Leo Rennert
Date: 2-18-06

In today's Washington Post you wrote a quite lengthy and comprehensive article about the new realities in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as Hamas ascends to power and Israel plans counter-measures. I thought that you pretty well covered the full terrain. Except for one assumption you make on your own about Israel's responsibilities to the Palestinian population, and a salient omission about how the Palestinian Authority has spent its aid money. Let me explain:

You write: "As the recognized occupying power in the Palestinian territories, Israel is responsible for the welfare of the 4 million people who live there." The first part of that sentence unmistakably suggests a legal basis for your claim that Israel is an "occupying" power. The word "recognized" certainly infers that. Now this perhaps may be the view of the Palestinians or of non-binding resolutions of the U.N. General Assembly, or other institutions and people who support the Palestinian cause. They may argue that Israel is an "occupying power," but that doesn't mean that, as a matter of law, they are correct. Or that the Post should accept their view. Israel certainly rejects any notion that it is, de jure, an "occupying" power for the simple reason that for one nation to be so legally recognized it has to be occupying land that it conquered from a previously existing sovereign nation. During World War 2, Germany was a de jure "occupying" power in France. Immediately after the war, the U.S. was a de jure "occupying" power in Germany and Japan. France, Germany and Japan were sovereign nations before WW2. But this is not the case in the Palestinian territories. The last sovereign there was the Ottoman Empire and it disappeared after the First World War. After that, these territories were part of a League of Nations mandate that gave temporary authority to Britain pending emergence of a new sovereign entity. The United Nations tried to fill this legal gap in 1947 with its two-state partition plan, but the Arab world rejected it, leaving only Israel as a sovereign nation under U.N. decree, while the West Bank and Gaza were "occupied" respectively by Jordan and Egypt until 1967. Until this day, there has never been a sovereign Palestinian state that can be said to be "occupied" in a de jure sense.

Now for a bit of history: What I find interesting is that the world did not badger Jordan and Egypt from 1949 until 1967 to act as legally obligated to take care of the welfare of the local population. In fact, Jordan and Egypt did a miserable job taking care of the Palestinian people under their rule. How many Gazans were welcomed in Egypt and given jobs there? How many West Bank Palestinians were allowed to work in Jordan? Had it not been for U.N. relief, they would have starved. As to their welfare, it was in a pitiable state, with neither Jordan nor Egypt providing rudimentary public-health and educational facilities. It was only after Israel captured the territories that universities multiplied in Gaza and the West Bank, and the general welfare of the local population rose appreciably. Personal income also rose as tens of thousands of jobs became available in Israel. So did foreign investments. Even after the first intifada and more than five years after the start of the second intifada, Gaza and the West Bank had a HIGHER standard of living than Algeria, Syria and Egypt, according to the United Nations. Just check the 2005 Human Development Report of the U.N. Development Program, which provides a global report card on living standards, based on public health, education, and income criteria. The report ranks the Palestinian territories ahead of the above-named Arab countries, which were not held back by the misery brought about by a war of terror.

So while Israel was not legally obligated, as you indicated, to provide for the welfare of 4 million Palestinians (if that were so, why does the U.N. still field a separate and unique agency to provide a safety net for them?), Israel nevertheless acted in a civilized manner and expanded income, investment, health and educational opportunities for the Palestinians.

As for the real, legal status of the territories today, I refer you to U.N. Security Council Resolution 242, the only internationally binding law about the status of these areas. Nowhere does 242 recognize a Palestinian sovereign entity in the territories. Neither for that matter did the Oslo accords. These were -- and still are -- de jure "disputed" areas whose sovereign status remains to be decided in final-status negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Under subsequent Oslo agreements, these territories were divided into Areas A, B and C, depending on whether Israel had total control, shared control with the Palestinian Authority, or handed over administrative rule to the Palestinian Authority. In the latter part of the last decade, before the outbreak of the current intifada, more than 90 percent of all Palestinians lived under Palestinian rule. So not only is there no legal basis for your assertion that Israel is an "occupying power," had it not been for Arafat launching the second intifada, Israel wouldn't even be today a de facto "occupying power" in many Palestinian areas. And, of course, there isn't a single Israeli soldier left in Gaza.

As to the salient omission in your story, I didn't read anything about the vast sums stolen from the coffers of the Palestinian Authority by a corrupt regime which may have diverted BILLIONS (according to the Palestinian attorney general) into their own pockets. Since you write about the Palestinians' need for basic welfare protection, shouldn't you have mentioned that much of the money destined for them never reached them? And that, whatever the size of current or past PA budgets, a new Palestinian government run by honest folks will obviously require far less money to provide the same or perhaps even better services? Why put the monkey only on Israel's back?

Regards,

Leo Rennert


Monday, February 13, 2006

Moslem Violence Results in Media Censorship and Threat to Freedom of Speech

To:  The Editor, Washington  Post
From: Judge Herbert Grossman
Date: February 9, 2006

Dear Editor:

If you believe that there was no threat to freedom of speech from the protests over the Danish cartoons because the European governments did not impose censorship, as you state in "The Uses of Cartoons" (Editorial, Feb. 8), I would not want you defending my freedoms.  That only one newspaper in this country (The Philadelphia Inquirer) and few in Europe have reprinted any of the cartoons, even though they are at the heart of the controversy, suggests otherwise.

Your rationalization that reprinting the drawings would demonstrate insensitivity or hostility to diversity in society is a lame excuse for suppressing discussion, which the cartoons would provoke, of the uses of Islam to promote terrorism and murder, an all too-common current phenomenon.  Criticizing a philosophy because of its hostility to diversity to the point of murder, which is what the cartoons do by way of satire, is just the opposite of a demonstration of hostility to diversity. 

That your newspaper, in its reporting, ignores all connections between calls for genocide by those prominent in the Islamist community (the Iranian president and ayatollahs, Hamas, al Qaeda, Muslim clerics, etc.) and the religious teachings that inspire them, suggests more of moral, intellectual and journalistic failings on your part than sensitivity to diversity - and perhaps, too, of a failure of courage.  Fear of publishing the truth, even the fear of offending, is incompatible with freedom of the press.

Sincerely,                                             

Judge Herbert Grossman



Columnist Does African Americans a Gross Disservice by Comparing Their Reaction to Racial Slurs to The Violence of Muslim Rioters In Response to Cartoons

To:  Editor, Washington Post
From: Judge Herbert Grossman
Date:  February 11, 2006

To the Editor:

In "Hope Beyond the Rage" (op-ed, Feb. 10), David Ignatious commiserates with the Muslim rioters responding to the Danish cartoons and compares their rage to that of African Americans in their reaction to racism and slavery.  Ignatius travels to Muslim countries and says that he is astonished at how every current injustice is magnified by the weight of past ones.

What those past injustices are, he doesn't tell us.  Presumably, he refers to the million-plus Muslims slaughtered in the Iraq-Iran war, the hundred thousand others slaughtered in Algeria, and the tens of thousands additional in Iraq, Syria, Sudan, and Afghanistan, together with the Muslims deprived of basic liberties throughout the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia ­ all by fellow Muslims!

Take some time off from work, Ignatius, to rid yourself of your irrational thoughts and excessive emotionalism, and do some traveling ­ perhaps to visit those raging Muslims you defend with such passion.  Visit with the suicide bombers in Gaza and the West Bank, the beheaders in Iraq, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, the Janjaweed rapists in Darfur, and the jihadists throughout the Muslim world.

But take heart, Ignatius, and do not despair. You can visit, too, with those Muslims in the heart of the Muslim world who have lived in freedom for the past 58 years and have been treated with dignity and respect by their government and fellow citizens. They do not fear the knock on the door, the disappearances, and the torture.  They have no excuse for rage.

Visit with them in Umm el Fahm, Jaffa, and the Arab villages in the Galilee -- all in the democratic State of Israel.

Sincerely,

Judge Herbert Grossman


Saturday, February 4, 2006

The Washington Post Gives Hamas A Free Platform and Huge Audience to Spread Its Propaganda and Lies

The Post should be embarrassed by its blatant support of the terrorist group Hamas. In the immediate wake of the Hamas election victory the Post published an op-ed piece by Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, deputy political bureau chief of Hamas. (What Hamas Is Seeking, January 31, 2006 A17) He is under indictment in the US for money laundering and racketeering in support of murder, kidnappings, assaults and passport fraud by Hamas. But the Post, in providing a brief resume of this criminal at the conclusion of the article, noted that he had been indicted for racketeering and money laundering, but omitted the part about murders, kidnappings, assaults and passport fraud, seeking instead to bolster his credentials by noting that he has a US doctorate in engineering. On the Post's online site it ran an AP news article about these pending criminal proceedings the very same day, but the paper edition, containing the shameful Marzook op-ed piece, did not contain the news report. (Chicago Judge Urged to Open Hamas Hearing, January 31, 2006) In the AP piece Marzook is noted to be accused of participating in a "15-year racketeering conspiracy to provide money and weapons to Hamas" to be "used for murder, kidnappings, assaults and passport fraud.

Lest the Post argue in defense of running this article that giving this illustrious emissary a pulpit (one that would cost Hamas $50,000 to run as a propaganda advertisement) added to the body of useful information for its readers about this organization, the article did no such thing. It was a shamefully deceptive piece, replete with lies about the organization's peaceful intentions and hiding its terrorist atrocities and its goal as stated in its charter of destroying Israel and replacing it with an Islamic state. The Post was oblivious to the deception contained in this piece. Marzook denies the undeniable, that an Islamic state is its goal and that for Hamas Israel in its entirety is "occupying" Arab land. Marzook's ridiculous renaming of the organization passed under the Post's radar when he made the following statement: "Last week's victory of the Change and Reform Party in the Palestinian legislative elections signals a new hope for an occupied people." Rather than provide Post readers with useful information, this piece added to the growing body of misinformation the Post offers up as part of its long term campaign of slanted coverage of the Israeli Palestinian conflict. 

That slant continued on Saturday, February 4th with a lead editorial celebrating the Hamas election victory. (Democracy's Consequences, Saturday, February 4, 2006, A16) In this editorial the Post opines that the election of Hamas is a good thing, because the Fatah leadership was corrupt and ineffective, and the Post believes Hamas will do a better job. The editorial goes on to say that it doubts Hamas will turn the Palestinian territories into an Islamic state and believes Hamas will work "out a modus vivendi with Israel." But extreme naiveté is not the only thing wrong with the Post's analysis. The editorial rewrites the history of the past two years when it erroneously suggests that the reduction in terrorist attacks should be to the credit of Hamas in participating in a cease fire, nowhere noting that Israel's security efforts to combat Hamas terrorism, including the erection of the Security Fence and targeted killings of Hamas' leadership, was the key motivating force behind the so-called cease fire. The Post says that this election victory elevating Hamas to a leadership role in the disputed territories "ensured that Hamas would recommit itself to a cease-fire that has led to a dramatic reduction in bloodshed and returned normality to Israeli cities." After speciously crediting Hamas with imagined peaceful intentions, the editorial goes on to suggest that Israel should be afraid to withhold tax support for the new terrorist led government for fear that Hamas might resume its terrorism. 

But there is one potentially positive position espoused in this editorial. The Post supports the withholding of direct aid to the terrorist government elected by the Palestinians. The editorial, in setting forth what it thinks Hamas positive program will be, notes: "It should have to try this without direct Western aid or diplomatic recognition." The comment is so brief as to signal what may be Washington Post embarrassment at withholding its full 100% support for Hamas. Any bets on how long it will take the Post to back off this position and start urging resumption of aid to the terrorist leadership?

The following are letters dealing with the Marzook op-ed piece discussed above: 


From: Judge Herbert Grossman
To: Editor, Washington Post
Date: 2-3-06

Dear Editor:

If you are going to publish an in-their-own-words piece on Hamas to show what its policies are and who it is that Palestinians knowingly voted for, "What Hamas is Seeking" (Op-Ed, Jan. 31), written by Hamas's political P.R. man and crafted for a Western audience, was a poor choice. It is merely a propaganda tool that tells us nothing about Hamas's real intentions.

Where, instead, is your long-awaited piece on Hamas's charter, which makes no bones about its dedication to the extermination of Jews, and your reporting on its proselytizing to do just that, in its schools, mosques, and media?

That is what Hamas is all about – not providing efficient street cleaning, as the press currently suggests to explain away its electoral triumph, nor empowering people, facilitating freedoms, and protecting civil rights, as the article claims. Those latter claims are especially ludicrous, considering the fundamentalist Islamist religious code sharia that Hamas intends, eventually, to impose as civil law.

The Palestinians knew full well whom and what they were voting for. They were informed of that every day, although your readers are not.

Publishing a propaganda piece that you know is untruthful about Hamas's and the Palestinian voters' intentions would not even be justified to allow the "other side" to have its say when you have already made the truth known, but you haven't as yet even done that.

Judge Herbert Grossman


From: Warren A. Manison
To: Editor, Washington Post
Date: 2-1-06

A disturbing vision of Hitler's Goebbels came to mind when I read the article by Mousa Abu-Marzook in the Jan. 31 Washington Post. Like Goebbels, Marzook, a Hamas bureau chief, uses sanitized propaganda to camouflage his true agenda. Like Goebbels, Marzook adopts a strategy of repeating lies and distorting history, thinking that if repeated enough times, more and more people will accept them as truths.

Marzook claims that the "quality of life deteriorated for Palestinians as the occupation solidified its grip under the auspices of peace agreements". In fact, their quality of life started to deteriorate TWO years after the end of the (Oslo) peace process because of Palestinian terrorism. He distorts the Hamas agenda when he writes: "alleviating the debilitative conditions of occupation, and not an Islamic state, is at the heart of our mandate." This is deceptive. Palestinians consider ALL of Israel as occupied Arab land. Alleviating "occupation" means eliminating the State of Israel. It is interesting that in an American newspaper, Marzook would claim their goal is not an Islamic state, but the Arab world is told exactly the opposite, and in all of what is now Israel.

He claims that Muslims have always celebrated pluralism and have a stake in preserving the Holy Land for all three "Abrahamic" faiths. He fails to note that the 1,500 year history of Muslim relations with nonbelievers is pitiful. Yes, non-Muslims lived under Muslim rule, not as equals, but as second-class citizens subject to the whims of the Muslim ruler at the time. His definition of "pluralism" differs from that accepted in the Western world. As for preserving the Holy Land, the record is not enviable. The 20th Century witnessed periodic attacks on Jews even before the establishment of the State of Israel. The Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem was destroyed under Arab occupation. Christian populations in various areas of the Holy Land have been declining due to Palestinian abuse. Prior to Oslo, Bethlehem, the site of the Church of the Nativity, was 80% Christian. Today, under Palestinian domination, it is about 15% Christian.

There would appear to be two Mousa Abu-Marzooks. One, the author of the referenced flowery article, and the other, an individual with a sordid 15-year history of association with organizations tied to terrorism. One of these organizations was cooperating tactically with al-Queda operating under the banner, "International Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders." It is amazing what a Google search can turn up. 

Warren A. Manison


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