Not fit to print: The NYTimes on Sheikh Jarrah

by Phyllis Chesler

In a nearly full page article entitled “As Court Decision Nears, Battle Over Evictions Spikes in East Jerusalem,” the New York Times manages to describe Jews as “settlers” in Jerusalem nine times; as “far right” or “right-wing” twice; as “right-wing settlers” once (in case we did not already get this point); as “provocative,” as engaged in both “ethnic cleansing,” and “racism” once each.

Thus, Jews are described negatively at least fifteen times.

Not so the Arabs, including Hamas.

As for the Arab “protestors”—we are not told whether they are “violent” or “Islamist,” “provocative,” or “armed,” nor are we told whether they (or Martians, perhaps) set fire to the burning cars, or have drawn guns. The reporter, Patrick Kingsley, and contributors, Irit Pazner Garshowitz and Iyad Abuhweila, overlook or disappear that information.

However, the article leads with the Israeli police spraying “skunk water, a noxious liquid used to deter demonstrators.” They do not describe this as the use of non-lethal force.

The words these reporters use to describe Israelis: “Jewish settlers” and the Israeli police are buzz words, guaranteed to inflame readers and to encourage them to believe that “Israeli right-wing settlers” are white racist supremacists bent on “ethnic cleansing,” and as similar to white supremacists in America.

This is an example of propaganda, not objective reportage. It is certainly not fit to print.

For the real story of what happened this past week in East Jerusalem, click here. Note that the houses are on land legally owned by Jews from before the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948, when the small neighborhood was known as Shimon Hatzaddik because the grave of the 3rd century sage is located there. In Arabic, the area is called Sheikh Jarrah. It was overrun by Jordanian forces during the War of Independence and Arab squatters then took over the homes. In the 1967 Six Day War the area was returned to Israel.The Arab families have already been formally evicted by a lower court. Israel’s Supreme Court is expected to rule in the coming days on whether it will allow an appeal by four of the Arab families to go forward.

First published in INN.


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