A Far Cry From the Basic Principles of Journalism

The insidious and well-documented history of anti-Israel bias in the pages of The New York Times has been a staple of that media giant for so long that it has long ceased to be a worthy topic for comment on this page.

But on Sunday, the Times broke its own record and placed in one of the most prominent places in their publication a 7,000-word feature that wandered so far from the basic principles of journalism that even the left-wing Haaretz called it a “pro-Palestinian manifesto.”

Written by a freelance journalist named Ben Ehrenreich, the article boasts two titles. One is “The Resisters” and the other is a question: “Is This Where the Third Intifada Will Start?”

It is clear that Ehrenreich, who, despite the Semitic-sounding name, isn’t Jewish, would dearly want that the Palestinian village of Nabi Selah, in which he lived for three weeks, should indeed be the starting place for another intifada.

Ehrenreich, who is also a novelist, exhibits the smooth power of persuasion of an accomplished fiction writer as he seeks to portray the Palestinians of Nabi Selah as peace-loving resistance fighters. In his distorted vision, these aren’t freedom fighters like those who rebelled against Britain and won America’s independence; rather, these are the “non-violent” type faithfully following in the path of Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King.

The author waxes eloquent about the suffering of the Palestinians and of the fortitude of the weekly “unarmed” demonstration held for the past four years.

Deep in the long piece — in the 45th paragraph — he describes for the first time what transpires at the demonstration:

“A few minutes of marching, tear gas fired, then hours of the village youth — the shebab, they’re called — throwing stones while dodging tear-gas canisters and rubber-coated bullets until the sun set and everyone went home. Or failed to make it home.”

The article, much of which described events that took place last summer, and begins with an anecdote that occurred on February 10, was likely written weeks ago. It would hardly be a stretch to assume that the timing of the piece has to do with the fact that President Obama is slated to visit Israel this week.

However, those who are fortunate enough to obtain their news from more reliable sources than The New York Times are aware of another news event, which the left-wing mainstream media unsurprisingly decided not to write about: the story of three-year-old Adele Biton, who was critically injured Thursday night on Highway 5 outside Ariel in Shomron after a rock hurled by a Palestinian smashed into the vehicle in which Adele, her mother, and her two sisters were traveling.

The tragic reality is that rocks, whether they are thrown by children or adults, maim and even kill. Even works of fiction ought to have a modicum of realism thrown in. But in the twisted code of journalistic ethics used by Ben Ehrenreich and his editors at The New York Times, rock-throwers, such as those who injured Adele last week and killed 25-year-old Asher Palmer and his infant son Yonasan near Chevron in 2011, are “nonviolent” and “unarmed.”

Later in the piece, Ehrenreich states: “In mid-November, Israeli rockets began falling on Gaza. Protests spread throughout the West Bank.”

What was left out of that sentence — and the rest of the article — was the fact that IDF military actions, targeting only top terrorist leaders, was a response to the continuous onslaught of Palestinian rocket fire from Gaza which was indiscriminately targeting the Israeli civilian population.

Indeed, rockets were falling — but they came from Gaza and fell on Israel. But in the eyes of the NYT writer, his gracious Palestinian hosts could do no wrong, and if it took an extreme revision of undeniable facts to put his friends in the right, so be it.

Only once in his long piece, while quoting his host Bassem, does the writer inadvertently lift the curtain on the true nature of the inhabitants of this village.

“In 1993, Bassem told me, his cousin Said Tamimi killed a settler near Ramallah. Eight years later, another villager, Ahlam Tamimi, escorted a bomber to a Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem. Fifteen people were killed, eight of them minors. Ahlam, who now lives in exile in Jordan, and Said, who is in prison in Israel, remain much loved in Nabi Saleh.”

One can only wonder why.

The Nabi Selah feature was only one of two hit pieces in the same issue of The New York Times. The other was a 1,388-word front page piece on just how the temerity of Jews to legally buy apartments in the eastern part of Yerushalayim “complicates” peace efforts. If this story would be depicting a situation being played out anywhere else in the world, especially if, instead of Jews, it would be some minority trying to settle among their distant cousins, there would be universal outrage. Furious charges of racism and harsh condemnations would pour in from across the globe.

But since they are Jews trying to live peacefully in their ancestral homeland, they are instead portrayed as rabble-rousers and troublemakers. After all, this is The New York Times.