Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The NYTimes and its Cynically-Timed Non-News about American NGOs and the West Bank: politics by other means

The only "news" conveyed in the ridiculously long lede piece from yesterday's NY Times is the paper's decision to publish the piece on the day Netanyahu came to DC for a much-awaited meeting with Obama.  The story is so stale that anti-Zionist bloggers are not sure whether to be pleased with or resentful of the Times for publishing the story as "news" just now--and without giving them credit to boot!

As Uriel Heilman notes, when Abbas came to town, the Times said nothing about the PA's failure to end state-sponsored incitement against Israel and the Jewish people, a stipulation of previous agreements.  Yet  the paper apparently considers its journalistic responsibilities to include fomenting tensions between the U.S. and Israel precisely on the day when the two governments are trying to solidify relations. 

And while I am extremely suspicious of conspiracy theories, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that Times' staff members are participating in the (demonstrably) coordinated efforts of far-left Jewish organizations in Israel to challenge the 501c3 status of other Jewish organizations they don't like. Much of the information in the Times story, and the angle taken, parrots the multi-year campaign of Gush Shalom and others to lobby the IRS to de-tax-exempt the competition. It's not just charities funding rec centers and bullet-proof vests for settlements that they are targetting: mainstream organizations like Nefesh B'Nefesh, The Israel Project, and StandWithUs also make their hit list.

Finally, in what is perhaps the major mark of a partisan agenda in this story, the writers brush past the reality that dozens of U.S. charities promote controversial policies/projects in the Middle East, which are arguably more fundamentally opposed to U.S. policy and more destructive to the peace process, i.e. incitement against Jews, demonization and delegitimization of Israel, and the one-state agenda. See Marc Tracy's discussion of this point at Tablet Magazine's The Scroll. In a press release calling attention to the partisan imbalance in the Times' story, NGO Monitor mentions just a few of the anti-Israel groups with tax-exempt status: International Solidarity Movement, Birthright Unplugged, and Free Gaza (a group closely involved with the flotilla debacle).

For more, see
"Half the Truth Fit to Print," Gerald Steinberg. Hudson New York. July 14, 2010.

"Times tries to drop settlements funding bomb on Obama-Bibi meeting," Uriel Heilman. Jewish Telegraph Agency. July 6, 2010.

"All the Tax-Exempt Charities," Marc Tracy. Tablet Magazine--The Scroll. July 6, 2010.

 "Conspiracies?" Elder of Ziyon. July 7, 2010.

"NY Times Shocker: Colluding with Radical NGOs to Upstage White House Summit," July 7, 2010.

See also B'Tselem's politically-timed press release, specifically "embargoed" until the day of Netanyahu's meeting with Obama.