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26 May 2016

Journalists blast NY Times for pro-Israel bias and “grotesque” distortion of illegal occupation of Palestine

Glenn Greenwald condemned the New York Times' "cowardice" on Israel, accusing it of "journalistic malfeasance"

“This is journalistic malfeasance at its worst: refusing to describe the world truthfully out of fear of the negative reaction by influential factions.” -- Glenn Greenwald

Advocates for Palestinian human rights, journalists and progressive media watchdogs have long accused the New York Times of biased, pro-Israel coverage.

The Times regularly fails to mention that the Palestinian territories have been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. It often uses euphemistic language to describe Israel’s illegal activity, dubbing lands unlawfully seized by Israel in violation of international law “disputed” territory.

Rights activists have been so frustrated by the publication’s skewed reporting that, in February, activists from progressive Jewish human rights groups created a very convincing-looking fake edition of the Times to protest its coverage of Israel-Palestine.

Criticism was reignited on Thursday, after the U.S. newspaper of record once again called into question Israel’s illegal occupation.

Two of the members of the Democratic Party’s platform drafting committee who were appointed by Bernie Sanders criticized Israel on Wednesday, condemning its occupation and war crimes in Gaza and calling for a more even-handed approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict.

In its report on the comments by the committee members — Cornel West, the renowned scholar and activist, and James Zogby, a longtime pro-Palestinian advocate and president of the Arab American Institute — the Times misleadingly implied that there is debate around Israel’s almost five-decade-long military occupation.

In reality, the entire international community, including the U.S., has acknowledged since the occupation began in 1967 that it is illegal.

This did not stop Times reporters Jason Horowitz and Maggie Haberman from writing the word “occupation” in scare quotes in the article, leading to backlash from journalists.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald slammed “The New York Times’s (and Clinton campaign’s) abject cowardice collusion on Israel” in an article in The Intercept, calling the use of the scare quotes “grotesque.”

On social media, Greenwald and other journalists called out the Times and its reporters.

“The refusal to use the word occupation without scare quotes is one of the most cowardly editorial decisions the New York Times has made since refusing to use the word ‘torture’ because the Bush administration denied its validity (a decision they reversed only when President Obama in 2014 gave them permission to do so by using the word himself),” Greenwald wrote in his article.

“This is journalistic malfeasance at its worst: refusing to describe the world truthfully out of fear of the negative reaction by influential factions,” he added.