Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Media’s “Hard-Line” on Israel’s Prime Minister

26 January '10

Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, who has called for immediate negotiations without preconditions and expressed acceptance of a Palestinian state that would not threaten Israel's security, is nevertheless often pejoratively called “hard-line” (as is the government coalition he leads) by the mainstream American media, especially the Associated Press. Conversely, the term “hard-line” or “intransigent,” is rarely, if ever, applied to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, who repeatedly refuses to enter peace talks with Israel despite compromises offered by Mr. Netanyahu.

For example, a January 21 Associated Press report, by Mohammed Daraghmeh, said: “The hard-line prime minister who leads a coalition largely opposed to territorial compromise had long hesitated to accept the concept of Palestinian statehood, capitulating only in June under heavy US pressure.”

Conversely, a January 22 AP report, by Dalia Nammari, while describing what amounts to an intransigent Mahmoud Abbas, failed to pejoratively characterize him as “hard-line” or “intransigent” or anything like that. The report said: “President Barack Obama's Mideast envoy failed Friday to lure Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas back to peace talks with Israel, as Abbas stuck to his insistence that an Israeli settlement freeze come first.”

The phenomenon of the use of “judgement terms” in Middle East reporting, such as the habitual characterization of Mr. Abbas and his Fatah party as "moderate," is the subject of a CAMERA Op-Ed in the Christian Science Monitor.

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