Monday, October 13, 2014

Devious New York Times' Reporting

The New York Times' Jodi Ruderon reports on the Temple Mount today after the UN's Ban Ki-Moon made a provocative statement.

Here it is:

"while rebuilding is important, we must tackle the root causes of instability," Ban said.  "We must give renewed attention to the West Bank.  "I once again strongly condemn the continued settlement activity by Israel," the UN chief said...'I am also deeply concerned by repeated provocations at the holy sites in Jerusalem. These only inflame tensions and must stop," Ban said.
That is provocative because the root causes existed before 1967 and before 1947 for that matter and they are not connected to "West Bank settlements" or "Israel's occupation".

But there is something good in those words in that they prove to PM Netanyahu that no matter how much he does not want to "initiate a religious war", it is with us and has been for decades.  Ignoring it won't make it go away.

Last February we read this

“The policy of the government of Israel has been and continues to be the maintenance of the status quo at the Temple Mount, including freedom of access for all faiths to the holy sites,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, told The Jerusalem Post. “The government has no intention of changing this policy.”

Two years ago in May, we read this, however:

 "I have doubts, to put it mildly, that if we deposit the Temple Mount with foreign forces, we will not [?] very quickly slip into a religious sectarian war," he said. "Only under Israeli sovereignty, the accessibility and freedom of worship for all religions is a certainty, and will remain a certainty. Only under Israel are peace and quiet maintained."
That claim is not at all a certainity.

More recently, Netanyahu added something and announced to the Hebrew press that he would definitely not change any status quo reality at the Temple Mount for fear of "igniting a religious war", unfortunately echoing the most extremists of Arabs, including Mahmoud Abbas and also what the Pope heard, as well as now, Ki-Moon.*

Be that as it may, what perturbed me about the NYTimes' story was this:

“Allowing extremist Israeli settlers to raid Al Aksa compound protected by the Israeli police is a further proof of the belligerent agenda of the extremist Israeli government,” the P.L.O. said in a statement, referring to Mr. Feiglin, who lives in a West Bank settlement. “Such actions are part of the Israeli goal to turn Jerusalem into an exclusive Jewish city.”

Writing this

  referring to Mr. Feiglin, who lives in a West Bank settlement. 

is being a bit devious for, as Ms. Ruderon knows, or should know, having done a previous story on the Temple Mount activism, at least half the Jewish visitors are not "settlers" and a significant element aren't even religious, like the students' group.

In other words, she is 'excusing' for that above PLO statement.  Instead, she could perhaps have noted that the renewed pro-Jewish rights advocacy is not solely a "settler" affair and that the PLO is seeking to disparage and slur the whole project by simplistically referring to all Jews involved as 'settlers". Or, perhaps, she could have informed her readers that since the PLO views any Israeli presence in Jerusalem across the former Green Line as one of "settlers", including the more than 200,000 Jews in the neighborhoods there, then by perforce Jews who enter the Temple Mount compound are to be defined as "settlers".

But, in leaving all that out, and her editors are also at fault, she is covering for the PLO and definitely not reporting in an objective comprehensive fashion and not presenting background or highlighting the violence initiated by Muslims.

That is being devious.



From PM Netanyahu's Remarks at the Start of his Meeting today with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)

Prime Minister Netanyahu added regarding the violence on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem]:
"I’m committed, and Israel is committed, to maintaining the status quo exactly as it’s been for many decades.
What we’re seeing are Palestinian extremists who are instigating violence through incitement. The incitement is spread by false and baseless rumors that we are threatening the Muslim holy places.  Nothing could be further from the truth.
Israel scrupulously maintains the protection of the holy sites, the right of all religions to worship in their holy places, and will continue to do so, maintaining order, maintaining freedom of worship."

P.S.  Read Evelyn Gordon's oped.


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