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'New York Times' on Jerusalem violence: What occupation?

Bureau chief Jodi Rudoren’s new article doesn’t even rise to the level of false moral equivalence.

I don’t like to pile on in the left-wing criticism of the New York Times’ coverage of Israel/Palestine; as a rule I find it irritatingly “even-handed,” equating the violence of the subjugator with that of the subjugated, but this, after all, is a big step up compared to the coverage by so many other American media, which simply see the Palestinians as the aggressors and Israel as fighting back in self-defense. But yesterday’s article by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren about the violence in Jerusalem doesn’t even rise to the level of false moral equivalence; it frames the story completely as one of Palestinians attacking Israelis, now and before, without any provocation from Israel whatsoever.

The story, “In Jerusalem Unrest, Signs of a ‘Run-Over Intifada’ for the 21st Century,” is a long one, but except for one fleeting reference to the “Israeli occupation,” it makes no allusion to Israel’s rule over the Palestinians. It takes the trouble to define the word “intifada” (“shaking off”), but doesn’t say what the Palestinians might want to shake off, except the “status quo,” about which nothing is said.

It asserts that the burning of Mohammed Abu Khdeir was a “revenge attack” for the kidnap-murder of three Israeli teenagers, but doesn’t suggest that the kidnap-murders might have come in revenge for anything.

Rudoren writes that Arafat “directed” the violence of the second intifada, but doesn’t say who was directing the violence of the occupation at the time, because in her article there is effectively no occupation, nor any Israeli violence at all.

The story focuses on the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary, but makes only a passing mention that Israeli police are stationed on it – without making it clear that Israel is in control of the holy site, that Palestinians consider this to be a problem, and that Israeli control of the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary may have something to do with the current violence in Jerusalem.

The story ends, however, on an even-handed note with a quote about the extra-political problems faced by both Jews and Palestinians in Jerusalem, what Rudoren calls the city’s “deep challenges” – poverty, ultra-Orthodox Jews who don’t work or serve in the Israeli army, Palestinians who don’t vote in municipal elections.

Bravo. Finally, some “context.”

How Likud became the Almighty’s contractor at the Temple Mount
The fraud that is the Temple Mount movement
There are no good guys in Jerusalem

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    1. Pedro X


      “Israel is in control of the holy site, that Palestinians consider this to be a problem, and that Israeli control of the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary may have something to do with the current violence in Jerusalem.”

      Let us step back to when Muslims were in control of the holy sites. Jews had no access to the Temple Mount, the Kotel, the Tombs of the Patriarch, Rachel, Joseph or any other holy site in Arab held Jerusalem or Judea and Samaria.

      In fact the Arabs destroyed or desecrated all of the Jewish synagogues and used headstones from the Mount of Olives to pave roads and line latrines. This was Muslim and Arab religious tolerance.

      Every Jewish town, village and settlement conquered in the 1948 war was destroyed and cleansed of all Jewish life and institutions.

      Today Arabs allow other Arabs to pile up rocks, fire bombs and fireworks and to lay stretches of barbed wire at the Al-Asqa mosque to be prepared to riot at a moment’s notice.

      What we have today is Israeli police protecting the Temple Mount for Muslim worship and study while denying Jews the right to pray. The leader of the Arabs, Abbas, says that the mere presence of Jews on the Temple Mount is a desecration.

      Yet Derfner thinks Israeli control is the problem.

      Reply to Comment
      • David T.

        And now, Pedro X, tell us how many Arab villages were razed and mosques destroyed by Zionists since 1948. Was it more than 400, respectively 1000? I lost counting long ago.

        And by the way, what was the overall situation BEFORE Zionists planned to take over Palestine by war?

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          The Arabs used their villages as military bases from which they attempted to violently strangle Jewish life in Mandate Palestine. Their villages were destroyed in an existential war of their own making. So please no crocodile tears for the Arabs who suffered for their own wrongs.

          Israel allowed a large number of Arabs to remain in Israel and about 50,000 refugees to return to what became Israel. Unlike Israel which preserved a large Arab presence in Israel, the Arabs made the areas they controlled completely judenrein. This would have been the fate of all Jews if the Arabs had won the 1948 war.

          The situation before November 30, 1947 when Arabs began the civil war against their Jewish brothers and sisters was such that the Jews sought peace and partition of Mandate Palestine into two states, a Jewish state and an Arab state. Jewish diplomats traveled to every Arab state which would discuss the issue with Israel. The Palestinian Arabs eschewed peace in favor of war and attempted a second genocide of the Jews in less than 10 years.

          Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        “Every Jewish town, village and settlement conquered in the 1948 war was destroyed and cleansed of all Jewish life and institutions.” There was indeed a terrible Jewish Nakba in 1948, though in terms of absolute numbers it was small since the UN partition proposal was gerrymandered to give the Jewish state maximum land with minimum non-Jews whilst the Arab state was to comprise very few Jews (a mere 10,000 out of a total population of 735,000). During the so-called War of Independence Jewish forces extended their territory as far as possible beyond the partition proposal, to comprise as many Jewish settlements as possible. Thus Wikipedia cites 2810 as the number of displaced Jewish settlers (480 from the Gush Etzion bloc, 30 from Kfar Darom in Gaza and 2300 from East Jerusalem). Thus Jewish Nakba less than 3000 refugees; Palestinian Nakba more than 700,000 refugees. Number of settlements lost in the Jewish Nakba comfortably less than a dozen; number of Palestinian villages lost and razed to the ground to prevent return approximately 400. Pedro-X you have a sublime sense of balance. (See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_settlement#Demographics http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Arab_towns_and_villages_depopulated_during_the_1948_Palestinian_exodus)

        Reply to Comment
    2. Brian

      It’s good that you point this out, Larry. The chief preoccupation of the Right here is not only to equate the violence of the subjugator with that of the subjugated, but often to ignore the violence of the subjugator altogether. Then to tear their hair out, posing as moral philosophers. Thanks for pointing out the elephant in the room.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce Gould

      Pedro, could you kindly provide us with a list of who massacred who in 48, the numbers of dead, who expelled who, followed up by a list of massacres, expulsions, and assorted ethnic cleansing operations in the following 60 years? That way we’ll have a complete guide to work with….oh, wait, I think Benny Morris has already done that…

      Reply to Comment
      • Margot Dunne

        Yes, & Ilan Pappe has given us such a good guide to all this stuff that I don’t think he’s welcome back in Israel.

        Reply to Comment
    4. It is not true that Israel controls the Temple Mount. It is Jordan who has authority to monitor the site, with Israel currently asking Jordan to maintain the status quo. So far, that has been a prohibition against prayer on the mount by Jews. The few right wing extremists are inciting the violence we see now.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Margot Dunne

      Hello Larry, & thank you for your analysis. If you turn your gaze to Australia you will find that over here the Murdoch papers in particular clone the New York Times on the Israel/Palestine tragedy. Is the New York Times a Murdoch paper?

      Reply to Comment
    6. Margot Dunne

      This sort of media bias happens in Australia, too. Some commentators & editorial writers are such ardent cheerleaders for Israel-right-or-wrong that if you didn’t know better you could suspect they were being slipped the odd gift. This stifles & dumbs down public debate, & is nothing for a country to be proud of.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Richard Witty

      Not sure of the point.

      Reply to Comment