The New York Times is reporting on the current war between Israel and Gaza. Its coverage captures the moment, but then becomes tainted with pro-Hamas, anti-Israeli opinion.
Note the following:
Nearly four years after Israel’s Operation Cast Lead killed about 1,400 Gazans in three weeks of air and ground assaults in response to repeated rocket fire, this new conflict has a decidedly different feel, and not just because Israel has said that it has tried to limit its attacks to precision strikes.
This time, Israeli forces are fighting a newly emboldened Hamas, supported by the regional powerhouses of Qatar, Turkey and Egypt, and demonstrating its strength compared with a weak and crisis-laden Palestinian Authority.
After months of mostly holding its fire as it struggled to stop other militant factions from shooting rockets across the border, Hamas has responded forcefully to Israel’s killing on Wednesday of its top military commander, Ahmed al-Jabari. It sent more than 300 rockets into Israel over 24 hours, with several penetrating the heart of Israel’s population center around Tel Aviv; three civilians were killed in an apartment building about 15 miles north of Gaza, and three soldiers were wounded in a separate strike.
For Hamas, the goal is not necessarily a military victory, but a diplomatic one, as it tests its growing alliance with the new Islamist leadership of Egypt and other relationships in the Arab world and beyond.
First, note well that the “newly emboldened” Hamas is enjoying the support of Qatar, Turkey and Egypt.
These three Islamist nations are important American allies. The Obama administration has gone out of its way to develop good relationships with the Islamist governments in Turkey and Egypt. Obama's first post-inauguration foreign trip will be to Turkey.
The Times is telling us that Obama’s foreign policy, supported by a vast majority of American Jews, helped provoke the conflict. To me this feels like a fair assessment of the state of mind of Hamas and the role that the Obama administration has played in creating it.
So far, so good.
Then, amazingly, the Times exculpates Hamas for the rocket attacks that precipitated the conflagration.
The third paragraph begins: “After months of mostly holding its fire as it struggled to stop other militant factions from shooting rockets across the border…”
The Times is saying that Hamas has no responsibility for the attacks on Israel. It portrays Hamas as having been engaged in a valiant effort to stop the attacks.
The sentence is filled with weasel words. What does it mean to "mostly" hold its fire? Surely, it suggests a placid, not a belligerent temperament.
If Hamas was not responsible for shooting rockets into Israel,then the Israeli assassination of the military leader of Hamas was an unprovoked act of aggression.
Obviously, this is the Hamas party line. But, why would the New York Times, in a news story, defend Hamas?
The Times is right to say that Hamas is engaged in a diplomatic war against Israel. Hamas wants to cement its alliances with its friendly neighbor in Egypt while also upgrading its alliance with Turkey.
Yet, the propaganda war sets the groundwork for the diplomatic war. When the New York Times suggests that Hamas is innocent it is saying that Israel is the guilty party, the aggressor.
In its reporting the Times has favored Hamas.