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March 06, 2019

NY Times Reporter David Halbfinger Editorializes Israel as "Brutal"


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New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger


Israel, according to the New York Times, is a brute.

A March 3 news analysis piece—not an opinion piece—by the newspaper's Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger uses that word when broadly charging the Jewish state with "brutal treatment of the Palestinians":

Running as Israel's indispensable man, Mr. Netanyahu argues that he is the only one who can keep Israel safe when Iran is making aggressive moves from nearly every direction. Because of him, he says, Israel's tech sector has become the envy of much of the world, formerly hostile capitals have opened to Israeli diplomats, and a thorough debunking has been administered to the idea that Israel, with its brutal treatment of the Palestinians, had to choose between its security and international acceptance.

This isn't reporting, and certainly isn't reporting "without fear or favor," as the newspaper repeatedly promises. It's anti-Israel activism.

It is true that, ever since its independence, Israel has been mired in a longtime conflict with neighboring countries and with violent terror organizations committed to the destruction of the state. Yes, it has fought wars with Hamas in Gaza in order to stop relentless rocket attacks on Israeli towns and cities. Wars are indeed destructive.

It did respond to a deadly wave of Palestinian suicide bombings in cafes, pubs, and pizzerias with a military operation and a separation barrier. It protects its borders and uses checkpoints to stop potential attacks. Its settlement policies are controversial, and a right-wing government has been in power ever since Israelis despaired of reaching a peace agreement with Palestinian leaders who have repeatedly rejected peace offers and embraced violence.

Israel's critics, and certainly those who support the aims and tactics of the country's adversaries, might choose to characterize all of this as "brutal" treatment of "the Palestinians." But that's clearly not a fact. It's an opinion, and one that, to put it mildly, many serious observers would strongly dispute. It's troubling enough that the man largly responsible for New York Times coverage of Israel seems to think about the conflict in such simplistic terms. But the failure to recognize or care that this view is just that—a view, an opinion—is outrageous.

(It's worth noting what else the newspaper's foreign desk has described as "brutal" this year: most frequently, dictatorships like North Korea's Kim Jong-un regime or attacks by Islamic State and Al Qaeda affiliates and other terror groups — situations like "thousands of civilians forcibly displaced following a scorched earth policy in which the parties to the conflict are attacking villages, torching homes, killing civilians and also raping women and girls" in South Sudan, or ISIS "beheading journalists, enslaving and systematically raping women from the Yazidi minority and burning prisoners alive.")

Posted by gi at March 6, 2019 01:53 PM

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