28 April '14..
Readers of the Washington Post and New York Times beware when reading “news” dispatches from Jerusalem and Ramallah. Headlines and lead paragraphs reflect a decided Palestinian bent. Only if you dig deeper into such articles does it become apparent that messages conveyed at the top just ain’t so. All too often, subsequent qualifiers and outright corrections come too late, if at all.
Check out, for example, an April 27 report in the Post from Jerusalem by correspondent Ruth Eglash that carries the following headline: “Palestinians willing to continue peace talks.” What a wonderful stance by the Palestinian side at a moment when negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian are sinking fast.
The lead paragraph similarly throws a bouquet to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, who is depicted as ready to continue talks with Israel, “speaking two days after Israel broke off the latest round of peace talks.”
Well you get the message: The Palestinians are the good guys, ready to give peace another try, while Israel is turning its back on further peace negotiations. Or so one would deduce in reading both the headline and the first paragraph.
But is that the real, full picture? Well, not quite. Turn down to the eighth paragraph, which conveys a quite different impression and casts serious doubt on the headline and the lead paragraph. Now, finally, we are told that Abbas isn’t all that ready to resume talks. Au contraire. Eglash finally admits that Abbas’s grand peace gesture comes with a batch of poison pills -“Abbas said he is willing to continue ways to achieve peace under a nine-month-old U.S.-led initiative IF Israel agrees to release a group of veteran Palestinian prisoners, freeze settlement-building and present him with a map showing the borders of a future Palestinian state.”
Of course, Abbas, who has just thrown his lot in with the Hamas terrorist group’s lethal agenda to destroy the Jewish state, is making dead-on-arrival demands that he well knows Israel will not accept. Why would any sane government release more terrorist killers (euphemistically termed “veteran Palestinian prisoners” by Eglash), when the same Abbas embraces Hamas? And why would Israel freeze settlement-building before Abbas has made a single concession? Nor is Israel apt to resume negotiations only on borders of a Palestinian state – without any provisions for Israel’s security?
Thus, the unqualified headline, “Palestinians willing to continue peace talks,” is totally misleading. Given his marriage with Hamas, Abbas has just killed the peace process, not offered to revive it – as is made clear by the Israeli side – IF readers can get as far as paragraphs nine and ten.
First you dangle a wonderful offer by the Palestinians, only to discover later that it’s just a mirage.
The same trickery is evident in a piece in the same-day edition of the New York Times by Jerusalem bureau chief Jodi Rudoren with the following headline: “Palestinian Leader Shifts on Holocaust.” The lead paragraph similarly conveys the same message, as follows: “President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority planned to issue a formal statement on Sunday calling the Holocaust ‘the most heinous crime to have occurred against humanity in the modern era’ and expressing sympathy with victims’ families.”
What a nice fellow this Abbas is. The second paragraph also has him meeting with an American rabbi who gets Abbas to make his first offering of condolences to Holocast victims.
It is only in the third paragraph that readers of the Times are told that Abbas has a lengthy history about the Holocaust that doesn’t quite jibe with his latest remarks, going back to “his doctoral dissertation, published as a book in 1983, where he challenged the number of Jewish victims and argued that Zionists had collaborated with Nazis to propel more people to what would become Israel.” For taking this position, Rudoren writes that Abbas was “vilified.”
But who is or was the real Abbas when it comes to Holocaust denial –The Abbas of his doctoral dissertation, which he later published as a book? Or the Abbas who tries to soften his buddy-with-Hamas image by belatedly tossing condolences to Holocaust victims?
With Jodi Rudoren, it’s all about fashioning a trustworthy Abbas. She goes on at lengthy about how Abbas came to his present Holocaust position with an assist from Rabbi Marc Schneider, founder of the Hampton modern Orthodox Hampton Synagogue and the New York-based Foundation for Ethnic Understanding. In coaxing Abbas to make a statement about Holocaust remembrance, the rabbi assures Rudoren: “it was very heartfelt, very genuine.”
Permit me to come to a different conclusion.
Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers
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