The New York Times’ Latest Act of Journalistic Malpractice Against Israel


by Hugh Fitzgerald

It is well-known that the New York Times slants its coverage of Israel – in its reports from the Middle East, in its editorials, and in the Op/Ed submissions it chooses to publish. Israel is so often the villain, the Palestinians so often the victim, In the Times’ presentation of the Arab-Israeli conflict. A discussion of the latest example of the Times’ bias Is discussed by Stephen Flatow here: “New York Times Covers Up for a Terrorist — and Smears Golda for Good Measure,” by Stephen M. Flatow,, March 9, 2021:

When is a Palestinian terrorist not a Palestinian terrorist? When The New York Times covers up her past and hopes nobody will notice.

I’m [Stephen Flatow] referring to a deeply troubling allegation contained in a major article in the Times on March 6, authored by its new Jerusalem bureau chief, Patrick Kingsley.

The article focused on a Palestinian disc jockey, Sama Abdulhadi, who was recently arrested by the Palestinian Authority for performing a concert near a mosque. Incredibly, Kingsley quoted Abdulhadi and others blaming “the Israeli occupation” for the mistreatment of Palestinian dissidents by the PA. I’m going to leave that absurdity aside because of an even more disturbing part of the article.

Sama Abdulhadi was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for the crime of performing a live concert near a mosque. There is also a suggestion that she is a “dissident” being punished not just for the decibel level of her music, but apparently for the anti-P.A. political message it contained. Israel had nothing to do with her arrest, but the Jerusalem Bureau Chief of the Times, Patrick Kingsley, reports without any questioning Abdulhadi’s preposterous claim that her arrest by the P.A. should be blamed on the “occupation” of the West Bank by Israel. How does that “occupation” – i.e., Israel’s presence in the West Bank — affect in any way the P.A.’s punishment of those who, like Abdulhadi, perform live music too close to a mosque, music whose lyrics, furthermore, may be perceived by the PA as “dissident” attacks on the regime?

In an apparent attempt to show the continuity of alleged Israeli misbehavior from generation to generation, Kingsley wrote that, in 1969, “the Israeli authorities expelled her grandmother, Issam Abdulhadi, a leading women’s rights activist.”

Kingsley mentions Sami Abdulhadi’s grandmother’s expulsion by Israel, more than fifty year ago, to make the case that the Israelis have a long history of oppressing Palestinians, as the Abdulhadi family’s treatment testifies. But he failed to check the reason she was expelled, preferring to accept uncritically Sama Abdulhadi’s claim that it had to do with her being “a leading women’s rights activist.”

That statement puzzled me [Stephen Flatow]. Could it be true? Since when is “women’s rights activism” a crime? Would Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir—herself the living embodiment of advocacy of women’s rights—have authorized the deportation of a Palestinian woman for being a women’s rights activist?

I don’t have the vast journalistic resources or investigative reporters that Patrick Kingsley and The New York Times have at their disposal. But I do have access to Google.

So, I Googled Sama’s grandmother, Issam Abdulhadi. I looked up several variant spellings of her last name, such as Abd el-Hadi, Abd al-Hadi, Abdul Hadi and the Times’ version, Abdulhadi. Even with all those variations, it took me about five minutes to discover the real reason that Sama’s grandmother was deported….

On a Facebook page called “The Uprising of Women in the Arab World,” I learned that “the Israeli authorities accused Issam of supporting and hiding the Palestinian guerrillas and their ammunition … .” Hmm. That sounds like considerably more than “women’s rights activism.”

Those “guerrillas” – i.e. terrorists – in 1969 would have been members of the PLO, the first of the Palestinian terror groups to be formed. Hiding terrorist murderers is quite different from being a ‘women’s rights activist.”

The website “Palestinian Journeys” offered a little more detail: Issam and her daughter “were charged with supplying the resistance with material aid and hiding freedom fighters wanted by the occupation authorities.

An interview with Issam, conducted by the Palestinian Women’s Research and Documentation Centre in 2006 (translated into English by the publication The Palestinian Revolution), is especially revealing. It shatters the Times’s claim that she was merely a “women’s rights activist.”

In the interview, Issam describes how in 1965, one year after the founding of the Palestine Liberation Organization, she and some of her friends decided that “we would form the women’s wing.” They called it the General Union of Palestinian Women; Issam was chosen as president.

Note the year: 1965. At the time, there were no “occupied territories.” There were no “Israeli settlements.” The “Palestine” that the Palestine Liberation Organization was trying to “liberate” was all of pre-1967 Israel—in other words, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Beersheva. The PLO didn’t even pretend that it was willing to live in peace with Israel. It was openly a terrorist organization and was unabashedly seeking the destruction of Israel. And Issam was in charge of its “women’s wing.”

Issam boasts in the interview that she was “one of the first female participants in writing the Palestinian National Charter.” Yes, the infamous charter that called for “armed struggle” to wipe Israel off the map. She also mentions that she was visited in her home by Yasser Arafat: “It’s true I received him in our house, we spoke, and we did what he and his group wanted … .”

Here’s what Issam says in the interview about her arrest in 1969:

“They accused me of many things, some of which were real while other charges were out of my league. The most important charge was providing financial assistance to the armed resistance and harboring fida’een [terrorists]. Harboring fida’een was the most dangerous thing; they don’t allow it.”

She continues: “A person should never admit; the most important thing is not to admit. I managed to deny many of the charges. Unfortunately, however, one of the [PLO] leaders who was related to me in one of the charges against me was the one to confess. … Now they had confirmation on this topic, supporting and harboring fighters.”…

This is a clear admission by Issam that, despite her proudly lying (“the important thing is not to admit…to deny many of the charges”), a PLO leader who “was related to me in one of the charges” confessed that Issam Abdulhadi had indeed taken part in “supporting and harboring fighters.”

Will the New York Times now take the trouble – five minutes of searching the Internet, no more – to discover that Issam Abdulhadi was expelled not because she was a “woman’s rights activist,” but because she was a member of the PLO (women’s division), who helped to support and hide its terrorists? Will Patrick Kingsley himself retract his false charge and apologize? Or will the Times continue to allow its readers to be misled, to be left thinking that those wicked Israelis expelled someone whose only “crime” was to work for women’s rights?

Who knows the answer to that? You know the answer to that.

First published in Jihad Watch

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