Rocky Mountain Lie

Dear Friend,

Holger Jensen may not be a household name for most newspaper readers, unless you live in Denver, Colorado. Jensen has been a correspondent and editor for more than 30 years, reporting for Newsweek and Associated Press from Moscow, Vietnam and Beirut. Today, Jensen serves as the international editor of the Denver Rocky Mountain News, where — from his perch high atop the Rockies — he takes potshots at Israel.

Jensen recently unleashed another salvo in a column entitled, “Occupation by Israelis, violence solidly linked.” Jensen’s column is replete with imbalanced reporting and distortion of facts. His thesis — that Palestinian violence is caused by Israel’s occupation — is summed up in the following excerpt:

“[Palestinian] schoolchildren and grandmothers are as actively involved in this uprising as the gunmen and suicide bombers. Why? Because every Palestinian, young and old, hates living under Israeli occupation. And no Israeli peace terms, however generous, ever offered to give back all their land.”


Jensen fails to mention that today, 95 percent of the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza now live under the Palestinian Authority’s civilian rule as a result of previous Israeli withdrawals. And under the very generous proposals of former Prime Minister Barak, 95 percent of the land was offered to Yasser Arafat, with the remainder made up from Israel’s Negev.

Arafat’s rejection of Israel’s offer may in fact prove Jensen correct: “no Israeli peace terms ever offered to give back all their land” — since in Palestinian eyes, that land includes Haifa, Netanya, Jaffa, and Jerusalem.

In this latest column, Jensen quotes extensively from a March 27 Ha’aretz column by Baruch Kimmerling: “The continuing circumstances of occupation and repression give the [Palestinians], by any measure, the right to resist that occupation with any means at their disposal and to rise up in violence against the occupation.” By Kimmerling’s definition, the Palestinians have the right to unleash sniper attacks and suicide bombers against Israeli civilians.

Who is Kimmerling that Jensen relies on so heavily for source information and quotes?

Kimmerling is on the farthest fringe of Israeli political thought. In an October 4, 2000 column in Ha’aretz, Kimmerling questioned whether “a Jewish temple might or might not be buried under” the mosques on the Temple Mount. In a January 30 column, Kimmerling accused Prime Minister Barak of “state terrorism” against the Palestinians. And “Le Monde Diplomatique” (February 15, 1998) reports that “Professor Baruch Kimmerling of Jerusalem University considers the epithets ‘Jewish’ and ‘democratic’ to be contradictory.”

Jensen gleefully quotes Kimmerling who accuses Israeli authorities of “indiscriminate killing,” “personal terrorism,” and “war crimes.” Jensen requotes: “A state that regards itself as enlightened cannot behave like a terror state…”

For more background info, CAMERA, the respected media watchdog, wrote a lengthy report on Jensen’s bias in January 2001. Read the CAMERA report at:

If you feel the Jensen column shows bias, send your complaints to the editor. The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, you may cut-and-paste the critique below.

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You can CC Holger Jensen at:

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


To the Editor:

As a concerned reader, I believe that Holger Jensen’s columns severely damage the credibility of your news organization. Jensen’s columns are consistently filled with violations of media objectivity. Because of Jensen, the Rocky Mountain News has gotten a widespread reputation for inaccurate and biased reporting.

Jensen’s March 29 column, “Occupation by Israelis, violence solidly linked,” Jensen quotes extensively from Israeli academic Baruch Kimmerling, who stands at the outer fringe of Israeli political thought, and who accuses Israeli authorities of “indiscriminate killing,” “terrorism,” and “war crimes.”

By quoting Kimmerling as his “Jewish source,” Jensen is falsely leading readers to believe that this is representative of sentiment in Israeli society.

In a gross distortion of facts, Jensen charges that “[N]o Israeli peace terms, however generous, ever offered to give back all their land.” In fact, under the very generous proposals of former Prime Minister Barak, Arafat was offered 95 percent of the West Bank and Gaza, plus sections within Israel to compensate for the other few percentages, plus parts of Jerusalem, and a limited return of refugees to pre-1967 Israel. However that was not enough for Arafat, who apparently seeks to “liberate” all of Israel.

Jensen charges that Israel bulldozed “thousands of acres of crops to deny hiding places to snipers. Thousands of Palestinians now live in tents.” This is simply not true. While Israel has cleared some trees that provide cover to snipers, it certainly does not amount to “thousands of acres.” As for the charge that “thousands of Palestinians live in tents,” can Jensen provide any documentation for this charges?

In one last outrageous statement, Jensen cites Kimmerling’s suggestion that Palestinians use “any means at their disposal and to rise up in violence.” Presumably that includes sniper attacks and suicide bombers against Israeli civilians. Is the Rocky Mountain News willing to stand behind this and other outrageous assertions from its international editor?