Deja Vu in Dallas

Dear HonestReporting Member,

Dallas Morning News writer and columnist Timothy O’Leary has written a scathing attack against Israeli policy and characterized the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo as “an obstacle to peace.”

In November O’Leary participated in the biased, one-sided tour of the region conducted by the National Conference of Editorial Writers (NCEW). In the article, however, O’Leary failed to disclose the nature of his visit and that he toured with other journalists.

HonestReporting exposed the NCEW tour in our November 15 communique, “Innocents Abroad – Or Bias Afoot.” We called on the NCEW to disclose the itinerary and the participants of the tour, where columnists wrote how Yasir Arafat is, well, “charming.”

In the Dallas News column, O’Leary calls IDF actions “indiscriminate rage.” But his biggest guffaw is in describing Arafat’s handling of Palestinian terrorists. O’Leary writes:

“I was with Mr. Arafat in Gaza City on the evening of the day that the Israeli army moved. He appeared to be earnestly trying to do just what Mr. Sharon wanted. During our hour-and-a-half interview, an aide handed him a note. ‘Ten arrests in Gaza, six in the West Bank,’ Mr. Arafat announced. Moments later, he rose to take a telephone call. ‘Three more arrests,’ he said.”

Perhaps months ago, Arafat still had some believers. But in today’s reality, O’Leary sounds out of touch. On January 25, President Bush declared, “I am disappointed in Yasir Arafat. He must make a full effort to rout out terror in the Middle East. In order for there to be peace, we’ve got to rout out terror.”

Bush’s spokesman Ari Fleischer told reporters on December 6, 2001: “The President remains very concerned about the position of the Palestinians and Palestinian jails and the arrests. The President still is concerned that Palestinian jails are built with bars in the front and revolving doors in the back. And that is not a way to demonstrate a long-term commitment to peace, in the President’s opinion.”

* * *

O’Leary also devotes considerable ink to Gilo, a neighborhood in southern Jerusalem that has been targeted by Palestinian snipers from Beit Jala. O’Leary regards Gilo as “an illegal settlement” on land “that Israel conquered in 1967 from Jordan. I don’t doubt to who it ought to belong.”

We invite O’Leary to read a December 22, 2000 article in the Israeli Ha’aretz newspaper. Reporter Hila Altshuler points out that the land under Gilo was purchased from Beit Jalla. “The national honor of Beit Jala is tainted by the sale of the lands. It is an open secret here that Jabra Hamis, a former mayor of Beit Jala, sold Israelis the land on which parts of the Gilo neighborhood were built. The fact that he is a Christian only reinforces the view of many Muslims that the Christians prefer the Israelis over them as rulers.”

Or to: Letter from Readers, The Dallas Morning News, Box 655237, Dallas, Texas 75265

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, use the sample letter below.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.

HonestReporting.com

========== SAMPLE LETTER OF COMPLAINT ============

To the Editors:

Timothy O’Leary’s column on the Middle East conflict distorts several important issues and facts. The column fails to reveal that O’Leary was a participant in the controversial tour of the National Conference of Editorial Writers in November.

O’Leary writes with pride of Yasir Arafat arresting terrorists. But what O’Leary believed about Arafat months ago has been widely disputed since. President Bush expressed disappointment in Arafat on Dec. 25: “I am disappointed in Yasir Arafat. He must make a full effort to rout out terror in the Middle East. In order for there to be peace, we’ve got to rout out terror.” The President’s spokesman described Arafat’s jails as “built with bars in the front and revolving doors in the back.”

O’Leary also characterizes the Jerusalem neighborhood of Gilo as an “illegal settlement.” But long ago, Ha’aretz newspaper (Dec. 22, 2000) revealed that Jabra Hamis, a former Arab mayor of Beit Jalla, “sold Israelis the land on which parts of the Gilo neighborhood were built.”

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