Anti-Israel journalists blasted as 'propagandists' for stunning letter
Reporters from CNN, New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets demand Israel be covered as 'apartheid' state
An open letter from journalists representing mainstream and left-wing media outlets this week called on other journalists to cover Israel as a violent and oppressive "apartheid" state — all in the name of "objectivity" and better serving Palestinians.
"For the sake of our readers and viewers — and the truth — we have a duty to change course immediately and end this decades-long journalistic malpractice. The evidence of Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinians is overwhelming and must no longer be sanitized," the signers wrote.
"We are calling on journalists to tell the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor, to recognize that obfuscating Israel’s oppression of Palestinians fails this industry’s own objectivity standards. We have an obligation — a sacred one — to get the story right. Every time we fail to report the truth, we fail our audiences, our purpose and, ultimately, the Palestinian people."
Among the signees of the letter include journalists, some of them anonymous, from the New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, BuzzFeed, the Associated Press, the Los Angeles Times, ABC News, NBC News, NPR, The Atlantic, The Boston Globe, and the Chicago Tribune. Other signers came from explicitly left-wing outlets like The Nation, The Intercept, The Daily Beast and HuffPost.
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The 645-word letter declared Israel guilty of "ethnic supremacy" and accused other journalists of ignoring a "total asymmetry in power" between Israel and Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist organization in control of the Gaza Strip. It cited the anti-Israel Human Rights Watch and acknowledged pressure campaigns from pro-Palestinian activists: "These terms — apartheid, persecution, ethnic supremacy — are increasingly gaining institutional recognition after years of Palestinian advocacy, and we, as journalists, need to examine whether our coverage reflects that reality."
The "apartheid" slam is a common left-wing talking point, likening the Middle East's only democracy to the racist South African regime that subjugated Blacks.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told Fox News the letter was part of a "fundamentally disturbing" trend in journalism which places feelings before facts.
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"We’re not talking about journalists anymore. We’re talking about propagandists," the rabbi said. "You have a set of beliefs and you go out and cherry pick whatever you want, whatever fits your world view."
Cooper rejected the apartheid comparison as an "old slur," noting Israel's new multi-ethnic ruling coalition includes Arabs.
Media coverage of Israel is frequently unfavorable, and last month's conflict between the country and Hamas offers more examples. Multiple outlets and onlookers declared Israel guilty of "war crimes" and suggested it defended itself too aggressively against Hamas rockets fired at Israeli civilians. Israel is routinely condemned in left-wing and mainstream media for its military responses to Palestinian-initiated violence.
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"Call that what you will, but you can’t call it reporting," Commentary's Noah Rothman wrote. "What these alleged journalists want isn’t journalism. They are on a ‘sacred' mission to promote 'contextualized truth.' Another way to say ‘contextualized truth' is 'lie.'"
Conservative Media Research Center Vice President Dan Gainor called the letter the latest example of journalists admitting to be "leftist agitators."
"Reporters are openly siding with the internationally recognized terrorist organization Hamas," he told Fox News. "It’s not surprising, but it is appalling. Not one of these journalists should be allowed to cover the Mideast after this. They can’t be trusted to deliver an accurate account. And if the organizations they represent don’t make that clear, they are declaring they agree with this garbage statement."
Former head of the Emergency Committee for Israel Noah Pollak quipped it was a "handy list of" BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement supporters. BDS is a far-left movement with advocates like Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., that advocates economic warfare against Israel. It's been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has called it textbook anti-Semitism for singling out Israel.
Sharp rhetoric against Israel last month from leading Democrats like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., and other Squad members was accompanied by a surge in anti-Semitic violence in the United States. One New York Times columnist fretted that the violence could benefit conservatives and pro-Israel advocates.
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"This is not an open letter by journalists," Cooper said. "This is the talking points of the Palestinian camp and their supporters, who want to take their beliefs and their talking points and make it into an orthodoxy for people who still call themselves journalists. It’s quite shocking, scary, and worrisome."