By Ari Lieberman
I think it’s fair to say that when it comes to anti-Israel reporting in the so-called mainstream media, the New York Times consistently takes top prize. Its writers have attempted to mainstream hate sites, romanticized rock throwing and have openly stated that they could not be impartial when writing about those pesky Jews. Given its current radical trajectory it’s safe to say that NYT will retain this dubious distinction for the foreseeable future. But another paper is giving the NYT a run for its money.
Led by its Jerusalem bureau chief, William Booth, the Washington Post has aggressively engaged in historical revisionism, propaganda and yellow journalism. On May 24, the paper featured an article called, “A Palestinian’s daily commute through an Israeli checkpoint.” The piece, which lacks balance as well as context, centers on a sympathetic Palestinian Arab named Taweel, and the “frustration humiliation [and] pressure” he must endure when entering Israel proper through a checkpoint called “Checkpoint 300.”
The article notes that Taweel, while working in Israel, earns double what he would earn working for a Palestinian employer. What the article fails to note is that there is a dearth of jobs in Palestinian Authority controlled areas. This is because the Palestinian economy is rife with corruption and graft. Well-paying government jobs are awarded through connections rather than competence. The same holds true for obtaining lucrative government contracts.
Private sector growth, innovation and healthy competition are virtually non-existent. The Palestinian economy, to the extent that one could call it that, is a beggar economy which has gotten used to living off the fat of the West. The PA receives billions in Western aid and much of that money gets siphoned off by government officials or those connected to them. Some of it is channeled as stipends to the families of imprisoned and dead Arab terrorists, neutralized or arrested while carrying out acts of barbarism against Israeli, American and British nationals.
By circumstances of their own making, Palestinians have been forced to seek work in Israel. To work in Israel, Taweel must enter through Checkpoint 300. Naturally, the depiction of Checkpoint 300 is unflattering to say the least. Hundreds or perhaps thousands of Palestinian laborers are pressed into cages and then must pass through turnstiles after which they must endure intrusive security checks.
But what Booth glaringly fails to note is that these checkpoints did not exist before Arafat unleashed his goons and suicide bombers on Israel’s civilian population. The security fence and most of the checkpoints were a direct outgrowth of the Oslo War, also known as the Second Intifada, which began in 2,000 and ended four years later. Booth seems to lack a rudimentary understanding of cause and effect.
Moreover, Checkpoint 300 is a crossing point between Judea & Samaria, and Israel proper. All nations have the right to screen and monitor foreign citizens who enter their territory and this is particularly true when those entering maintain visceral hatreds toward the country they’re entering. They also have the right to deny entry entirely, and Israel periodically and justifiably does this when the security situation warrants. For inexplicable reasons, Booth applies a different and impossible standard to Israel, and barely touches on Israel’s legitimate security concerns.
He also adopts Palestinian propaganda talking points, referring to Israel’s security fence as either a “barrier wall” or “separation barrier.” In fact, most of the so-called “barrier wall” consists of fencing. The pejorative term “separation barrier” is meant to imply the imposition of two separate systems, one for Israelis and the other for Palestinians – a subtle attempt to peddle the anti-Semitic apartheid narrative. Of course, the security fence did not exist prior to the Oslo War and concomitant deterioration of the security situation; again, cause and effect.
Booth pays scant attention to the 1967 Six-Day War and events preceding it. The history of the Six-Day War is well known and the aggressors, well established. It was not Israel who threatened to destroy the Arabs but rather vice versa. Arab anti-Semitic invective and blood-curdling shrill in the weeks preceding the war would have put the most ardent Nazi to shame.
Booth refers to Kiryat Arba, a Jewish community in Judea, as a “Jewish settlement infamous as the home to the American-born physician Baruch Goldstein, who massacred 29 Muslim worshipers with a machine gun at the Cave of the Patriarchs in 1994.” But he fails to note that the city of Hebron which abuts Kiryat Araba is the place where Arabs, inspired by ancient hatred, massacred 67 Jewish residents, including women and children. In fact, the 1929 Hebron massacre was so transformative and so etched in the collective psyche of Jews that at least one scholar has referred to it as “Year Zero” of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Why Booth notes one massacre without addressing the arguably more impactful other is anyone’s guess.
Booth also notes that the Tomb of Rachel, which is located near Checkpoint 300, is “a shrine sacred to Muslims and Christians and considered one of the holiest for Jews.” In fact, until very recently, Rachel’s Tomb held no significance for Muslims. It has always been recognized, even by Muslims, as a revered Jewish site, where Jews have prayed for 3,000 years. Nadav Shragai of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs notes that the sixteenth century Arab historian, Mujir Al-Din, wrote that Rachel’s Tomb was a Jewish holy place. During their occupation, the Muslim Ottoman authorities also recognized Rachel’s Tomb as a Jewish holy site. Indeed, the outrageous claim that the site operated as a mosque first surfaced barely 20 years ago.
Only recently has the PA transformed this revered Jewish site into a battleground of cultural appropriation. They have engaged in a relentless and extreme form of historical revisionism in a cynical political effort to sever the nexus between the Jewish people & their ancestral lands and places of worship. They’ve utilized various willing UN bodies, like UNESCO, and useful idiot journalists like Mr. Booth, to further their nefarious schemes to Islamisize traditional Jewish sites.
Lastly, when addressing the Arab-Israeli dispute, context is everything and that is something that Booth’s article sorely lacks. Had the Palestinians not rejected the Peel Commission’s findings and recommendations, they could have had a state in 1937. Had they not rejected partition in 1947, they would have had their state. Had they not attacked Israel in 1967, they’d still be living under Hashemite rule. Had Arafat not unleashed his suicide bombers against Israel in 2,000, the Oslo process would have progressed forward. Had he not rejected generous offers by Israel at Camp David and Taba he would have had his state. Had Abbas not rejected Olmert’s offer in 2008, the Palestinians would have had their state.
The Palestinians have shaped their own destiny and created their own misery and that’s the undeniable truth. Sadly, Booth’s article is sorely lacking in balance but contains an overabundance of bias. It is precisely this type of shoddy journalism that lends credence to the notion that elements within the mainstream media continue to propagate fake news.