January 12, 2009

Dear New York Times; you're racist

Dear New York Times,

I find it stunning, and remarkably racist of the New York Times that, on the very day that Israel strengthened its apartheid legislation by banning Arab parties from participating in the upcoming Israeli elections (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1054867.html), Ethan Bronner of the New York Times wrote an article about Israeli public opinion on the current war in which he forgot to even mention that there are Palestinian citizens of Israel (aka, Arab Israelis).

Bronner's article, as of this moment posted first in the IHT (http://www.iht.com/articles/2009/01/12/mideast/israel.php) as "Israeli Public Broadly backs the War Against Gaza" and not yet posted on NY Times website, notes that "among the Jewish population" there is broad support for Israel's war on Gaza. The article fails to explain anywhere, however, that there is anything other than a Jewish population in Israel. There is not even a single word in the article about Palestinian citizens of Israel (aka, Arab Israelis), 20% of the country's population. Nor has the Times found it fit to note that at least 700 citizens have been arrested (http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3654471,00.html) by Israel, in a move widely seen at attempting to crush anti-war protests by Palestinian citizens of Israel (http://www.thestar.com/World/Columnist/article/568594). Could this crackdown not also be a major factor in why there have been few large protests, as Bronner notes, against the assault on Gaza?

It's not even explained if the polls Bronner quotes showing "nearly 90 percent support for the war thus far" are polls of Israeli Jews only? As another example, Bronner writes, "Ask people anywhere how they feel about the army's ban on journalists going into Gaza and the response is, Let the army do its job." Does Bronner truly mean "anywhere" in Israel, or does he mean anywhere in Israel where there are no Arabs? It is difficult to imagine that the Times would report on unanimity in public opinion or polls in another country, while totally omitting 20% of the country's population.

By failing to ever mention any citizens of Israel but Israeli Jews, Bronner reinforces the appearance that Israeli Jews are the only people of significance in Israel. Sadly, this is all too typical of past Times' reporting. While on the one hand the New York Times and International Herald Tribune could quickly correct this glaring omission, on the other hand it might be best to let it stand as a monument to racist reporting on Israel and Palestine, and to complete blindness as to the existence of another people with rights living within Israel.

Name withheld

Addendum: the letter writer notes: "in response, the Times seems to plan to add the point to this story, and claims it will do a separate story."

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