Marwan Barghouti: New York Times Sanitizes a Terrorist

UPDATE

Following the publication of this post and in response to a great deal of public outrage and protests from numerous Israeli politicians, the New York Times has added the following to the Barghouti op-ed:

 

 

UPDATE 2

Israeli PM Netanyahu has made the following comment:

I read, on Sunday, the article in the New York Times that presents arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a ‘parliamentarian and leader.’ The paper recanted after we pointed it out to them. Calling Barghouti a ‘political leader’ is like calling Assad a ‘pediatrician.’ They are murderers and terrorists. We will never lose our sense of clarity because we are on the side of justice and they are on the side that is neither just nor moral.

 

UPDATE 3

The New York Times public editor Liz Spayd has responded:

This isn’t a new issue for the Opinion section. I have written before on the need to more fully identify the biography and credentials of authors, especially details that help people make judgments about the opinions they’re reading. Do the authors of the pieces have any conflicts of interest that could challenge their credibility? Are they who they say they are, and can editors vouch for their fidelity?

 

I see no reason to skimp on this, while failing to do so risks the credibility of the author and the Op-Ed pages.

 

In this case, I’m pleased to see the editors responding to the complaints, and moving to correct the issue rather than resist it. Hopefully, it’s a sign that fuller disclosure will become regular practice.

You can read Spayd’s full article here.


Did the New York Times deliberately time the publication of an op-ed to coincide with a Jewish holiday?

While official Israel and many Jewish organizations (and HonestReporting) were off for the final day of the Passover holiday, convicted Palestinian terrorist murderer Marwan Barghouti was given a platform to accuse Israel of various misdemeanors including torture of prisoners.

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Indeed the timing is no accident, as Barghouti leads an organized Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike meant to draw public attention and portray terrorists as political prisoners held by Israel to stifle Palestinian aspirations. And the New York Times has gone along with this charade by giving Barghouti a prime-time billing.

 

Marwan Barghouti (Image: YouTube / Fatah Youth Germany)

 

But the Times goes even further by sanitizing Marwan Barghouti who is described at the end of the opinion piece in the following terms:

 

 

Barghouti is no political prisoner as the Times would have its readers believe.

 

 

As Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) points out on Facebook:

The Times editors failed to mention that Barghouti was also the commander of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades during the Second Intifada and is directly responsible for the murder of many Israeli civilians.

 

By referring to him only as a political figure, the Times failed to point out that after a fair trial in 2004, Barghouti was convicted of murder and carrying out terrorist acts and was therefore sentenced to five life sentences and an additional 40 years in prison. Barghouti is a murderer of Israeli civilians.

You can see Barghouti’s terrorist activities, crimes and the full ruling in an Israeli civil court here.

In an op-ed in The Times of Israel, Israeli MK and leader of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid has slammed the New York Times:

Barghouti doesn’t only believe in violence, he also believes that its permissible to lie. He believes in the approach, which typifies terror organizations, that the West is weak and naïve and so our media and good intentions should be cynically abused to attack us from within.

 

The attempt by the New York Times “to be balanced” amuses Barghouti. He understands that this sacred attempt at balance creates equal standing between murderer and murdered, terrorist and victim, lie and truth.

 

So Barghouti tells horror stories about torture he underwent during Israeli investigations. There is no factual basis for these stories. The torture he describes is prohibited under Israeli law and even Israel’s greatest opponents must acknowledge that we abide by our laws.

 

The reality is that a convicted terrorist is inventing stories about those who imprison him, as prisoners do all over the world, including in the United States.

 

Instead of saying to him – as a responsible newspaper should – that if he doesn’t have a shred of evidence to support his stories then they can’t be published, the New York Times published them in its opinion pages and didn’t even bother to explain to its readers that the author is a convicted murderer of the worst kind.

HonestReporting Managing Editor Simon Plosker adds:

It’s bad enough that the New York Times believes in giving a platform to a convicted terrorist. It’s reprehensible that it has tried to pass off Marwan Barghouti as a political prisoner by failing to disclose the very good reasons for his imprisonment to Times readers.

 

Barghouti left a trail of innocent victims of terror and their bereaved families during the Second Intifada. Israelis still remember and live with the pain and trauma of that period even if the New York Times wishes to sanitize Palestinian terrorists. The Times owes its readers a clarification and Israelis an apology for this cynical and appalling behavior.

 

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