Fawning Over Barghouti

Dear HonestReporting Member,

Karen Laub of the AP wins the Lead Screed Award, for her fawning profile of Palestinian henchman Marwan Barghouti, entitled “Palestinian Uprising Has New Symbol” (November 19).

First some background. Barghouti is commander of the PA’s Tanzim militia, and a main organizer of the intifada. He is in charge of directing literally thousands of violent acts against Israelis, including selection of targets and providing of weapons. As reported by AP:

“Many Israelis are puzzled by Barghouti’s transformation from peace advocate to leader of a militia that has killed dozens of Israelis, including women and children, in West Bank roadside shootings… Barghouti said he considers any Israeli in the West Bank and Gaza a legitimate target…”

Indeed in March, Barghouti warned outright that any Israeli journalist who entered PA areas would be killed.

Barghouti has also called on Yasser Arafat to add Hamas and Islamic Jihad to the PA cabinet — groups responsible for suicide bombings and other heinous attacks against Israelis.

The New Yorker magazine (July 9, 2001) published a “Letter From Gaza,” where Barghouti was asked: What would Israel have to do to bring an end to the uprising? He replied:

“‘We need one hundred per cent of Gaza, one hundred per cent of the West Bank, one hundred per cent of East Jerusalem, and the right of return for refugees,’ he said. [It was] pointed out that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak had, at the Camp David summit last year, offered the Palestinians a series of dramatic concessions: a free Gaza, around ninety per cent of the West Bank, a capital in East Jerusalem, and so on. ‘No!’ Nothing less than a hundred per cent is acceptable, he said. And if you get a hundred per cent? Will that end the conflict? Barghouti smiled, and then said something impolitic for a Fatah man. ‘Then we could talk about bigger things,’ he said. Such as? ‘I’ve always thought that a good idea would be one state for all the peoples,’ he said.”

Here is Barghouti calling, in no uncertain terms, for the phased annihilation of Israel.

Barghouti Sounds like one scary murderous figure.

Enter the Associated Press. Laub’s report focuses on the fun, human side of Barghouti, describing him as a “peace-campaigner turned militia leader,” a “jovial man with fluent Hebrew,” who “returned to violence” after “a string of Israeli betrayals.” A favorite snippet:

“At home, Barghouti has gotten grief from his wife who doesn’t like to see civilians killed by Fatah gunmen. Barghouti said his wife was particularly upset about one recent Israeli victim, a mother of four. The militia leader also has four children.”

See the accompanying AP photo of Barghouti, where the lengthy caption mentions none of his murderous activity, but calls him “a peace campaigner that returned to violence because of disappointment over what he believes was a string of Israeli betrayals in years of stop-and-go peace negotiations.”

(If the URL does not fit onto one line of this e-mail, paste the parts into your browser, and remove any spaces that appear in the URL address field.)

If you wish to comment to AP, write to:

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, use the following letter as a basis.

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


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

To the Editor:

Karen Laub’s profile of Marwan Barghouti, “Palestinian Uprising Has New Symbol” (November 19), presents a very complimentary picture of a Marwan Barghouti. AP describes him as “jovial,” and gives ink to his lovely wife who just “doesn’t like” campaigns of terror.

Why don’t we hear more about the violent side: the man who is responsible for the killing of dozens of Israelis, including women and children, in West Bank bombings and roadside shootings? Or about Barghouti’s call to include Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the PA cabinet? Or about Barghouti’s frequent call for the phased annihilation of Israel?