AJC Criticizes Middle East Coverage in Today’s New York Times

May 27, 2010

NEW YORK, May 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — AJC criticized Middle East coverage in today’s New York Times. Specifically, the global advocacy group called attention to a large photograph, by Said Khatib of AFP, and the accompanying headline and caption, in the middle of p. A10.

The headline read “Airstrikes Hit Two Towns In Gaza Strip.” The full caption stated: “Palestinians inspected the wreckage of a disused airport on Wednesday after an overnight Israeli airstrike in Rafah, a town in the southern Gaza Strip. No one was wounded, emergency services officials said. A second overnight Israeli airstrike, in the northern Gaza town of Beit Hanoun, left two people seriously wounded, according to Palestinian medical officials.”

AJC pointed out that there was no further account in the Times of the two episodes.

“Here is a glaring example of one-sided coverage,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris. “Whether by an act of omission or commission, no context was provided for these two Israeli airstrikes, leaving the reader with the false impression that these were wanton acts of violence on Israel’s part.

“In reality, facing repeated missile and mortar attacks from Gaza, and planned terror plots originating in the Hamas-controlled territory, Israel has stated that it will now respond to every such instance, which is exactly what these two airstrikes were meant to do. They followed the firing of several mortar rounds from Gaza into Israel and the explosion of a Gazan donkey cart laden with dynamite near the border with Israel.”

Harris continued: “Let’s be clear in distinguishing between provocation and response. Israel has repeatedly stressed that its withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 was meant to be final, leaving the people of Gaza, for the first time in their history, the chance for self-rule. Tragically, that today translates into the use of Gaza as a platform for striking Israel. Israel, like any other nation faced with threats to its own citizens, has the right to defend itself and punish the aggressors.

“Unfortunately, the New York Times neglected to offer the rationale for the two airstrikes or any explanation from an Israeli official. We hope the paper will offer an apology and take additional oversight measures to ensure that its coverage of the Middle East is appropriately balanced.”

SOURCE American Jewish Committee

Source: newswire

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