20 October '15..
Nathan Thrall’s recent New York Times column is an error-filled diatribe that has no place on the pages of any legitimate newspaper. Worse than simply misleading readers, his bottom line is frightening. He claims that efforts to restore calm and prevent violence are actually not constructive:
But what does seem guaranteed is that most Palestinians will continue to believe that if the occupation is cost-free, there will be little incentive to end it.
In other words, the path to peace lies in making the conflict more “costly” to Israelis rather than negotiating for peace. It is clear from the column (in which he cites the “success” of the previous Intifadas) that what Thrall means by “cost” is deadly violence against Israelis.
But let’s first count the lies which he uses to come to his poisonous conclusion.
1. “JERUSALEM — THE streets of Jewish West Jerusalem are eerie and still.”
FALSE: While there are less people out and about, to claim that the streets are eerie and still is simply not accurate. Disclaimer, I am writing this from the HonestReporting office in the center of Jerusalem. The streets outside our office are neither eerie nor still. (I’ll leave the fictional name Jewish West Jerusalem for now.)
2. “Jerusalem’s gun-wielding mayor has called on Israeli civilians to carry arms.”
PARTIALLY TRUE: Mayor Nir Birkat does indeed carry a gun. He spent six years as an officer in the Israeli Paratroops Division. He has called for former soldiers who have firearms training to carry their licensed weapons. Here is what he actually said:
Here we have trained combat soldiers, who, when they finish their army service, are still reservists,” Barkat explained. “They are well trained, and some of them have civilian licenses to carry weapons.”
These are not novices to warfare, these are “professionals,” he said.
“I am calling those professionals to carry their guns, because you don’t know where a terrorist attack can happen.
Thrall makes it sounds like the Mayor is calling for vigilante attacks against Arabs, which he is definitely not doing.
3. “Jewish mobs chanting “Death to Arabs” have paraded through the streets.”
FALSE: While we cannot attest to what every single individual Israeli has said in response to the terrorist shooting, stabbing, and ramming attacks, the idea that racist mobs are roaming the streets is patently false.
4. “Palestinian parents keep children indoors, afraid they will be arrested or shot.”
FALSE: The only Palestinians that have been shot are ones in the act of committing terrorism. Statements such as this support the lie that Israelis have been shooting innocent Palestinian children with no reason. Likewise, arrests have been made as could be reasonably expected as Israel responds to a wave of terrorism, promoted by Palestinian leaders.
5. “They had made clear to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he said, that a red line stands before Al Aqsa;”
MISLEADING: Israel has protected the status quo, forbidding Jewish prayer on the Temple Mount and has made no changes. It is the Palestinians who have used the mosque as a place to stockpile rocks and firebombs. The Palestinian Authority hires groups to harass Jews visiting the site. If anyone has crossed “red lines” it is the Palestinians. Again, Thrall supports the lie that is the main rationale for much of the current terrorism.
6. “Palestinians in Jerusalem and the West Bank will not indefinitely extend to Israel a period of calm while no corresponding reduction of the occupation takes place.”
MISLEADING: There has never been an extended “period of clam.” Constant incitement and glorification of terror attacks by the Palestinian Authority have led to violence against Israelis for years.
Thrall neglects to tell his readers that the path to peace is through negotiations, and it is the Palestinian Authority which has been boycotting the peace talks. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for direct negotiations again and again, only to be rebuffed by the PA.
Thrall’s piece is on the opinion pages, and he is entitled to his own opinion. But when he justifies his conclusions with one lie after another, the Times should not publish his work.
The New York Times has a responsibility to ensure that there are minimum factual standards for opinion pieces. Otherwise, his column is no more than propaganda.
In other words, Bull$h!t