Letters to the Media

Don't take right to education for granted

In your article “A model for EU-Israel integration” published in the English online version of Haaretz (17 January 2007), you argue that a closer relationship between the EU and Israel in the field of scientific and academic exchange would be of mutual interest for EU and Israeli citizens, as well as for its research communities and consumers. Building on the successful European experience of encouraging research collaboration and financially supporting those who want to study or research abroad, you are inviting Israeli researchers to apply for and participate in the new Seventh Framework Programme that will be funded with 55 billion Euros. 

Dennis Ross' curious maps problem

Dennis Ross’s [“Don’t Play With Maps,” 9 January 2007, The New York Times] concern over President Carter’s use of maps in Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid is curious. The first of the maps on page 148 does indeed resemble an Israeli map — one presented at Eilat in May 2000. The Palestinians rejected it categorically then. Perhaps it was also presented in July 2000 at Camp David. That Israel should have presented it at all shows audacity — and little Israeli interest in peace. That it might have been presented again boggles the mind. 

New York Times joins slander campaign against Carter book

The New York Times has now joined the slander campaign against President Jimmy Carter following the release of his book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. (The paper gets the title wrong — there’s a colon.) Just how ignorant does the Times think its readers are? All of the “critics” cited — Kenneth Stein, Alan Dershowitz, David Makovsky and the Wiesenthal Center — are unqualified apologists for Israel and its occupation. The paper claims that Stein’s “criticism is the latest in a growing chorus of academics who have taken issue with the book”. What chorus can the Times have in mind if the only critics it can find just happen to be pro-Israel anti-Arabists? 

Lee Kaplan's distortions

Reading Lee Kaplan’s various articles, in a variety of publications over the last several months, on the supposed links between organizations that work for Palestinian freedom, my primary reaction is how severely and routinely they are riddled with basic factual errors. He clearly knows next to nothing about what he is writing about. Where there is not error, there is speculation that bases its trajectory on error… One obvious reason that has given rise to all of this is that Kaplan has never once picked up the phone to ask myself or anyone else at EI the usual questions that journalists are supposed to ask before they put pen to paper. 

Israel and Apartheid South Africa: A response to Guardian series on the relationship between the two

Last week, The Guardian (UK) published a two-part series by its reporter Chris McGreal comparing Israeli policies vis-a-vis its own Palestinian citizens and those living under its occupation in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) and Gaza Strip to that of apartheid-era South Africa. The following is a letter to The Guardian editor from a peace activist who has been a part of society and the struggle for human rights in both countries who finds that the questions posed by The Guardian necessary for ensuring a truly secure future. 

Israeli apologia in the Sunday New York Times

“Daniel Okrent’s attempt at further Israeli apologia in the Sunday NY Times (“The Hottest Button: How the Times Covers Israel and Palestine”, April 24, 2005), in which he pretends to summarize the ‘criticisms’ of the paper of record, conveniently ignoring the crucial aspect of anti-Arabism visible throughout regular Times reports.” Dane Baker submitted this response to the article in New York Times. 

Star Tribune praises President Bush's commitment to a human rights violation

The Star Tribune’s editorial (“Aiding Abbas”, Feb 12th) lauded President Bush’s “remarkable new initiative, a $350 million fund for Palestinian humanitarian and security projects, which would give the peace process important new momentum.” The problem is that part of the money is earmarked for human rights violations. Glenn Kessler noted in the Feb 6th Washington Post, that “A White House official said $50 million of the $350 million that Bush announced in his State of the Union address to ‘support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms’ could be given to Israel for [checkpoint] terminals because faster passage through Israeli checkpoints is presumed to be a help to the Palestinian economy.” EI’s Nigel Parry challenged the Star Tribune in this unpublished letter. 

Palestinian Authority election excludes most Palestinians

EI’s Ali Abunimah responds to an editorial in Ha’aretz, and points out that the majority of Palestinians, those living in exile, were not permitted to participate in the Palestinian Authority election, and that “a Palestinian Authority leader preselected by the international community on the basis of his willingness to surrender to Israel’s insatiable demands, and not elected by the vast majority of Palestinians, has absolutely no mandate to negotiate away our rights and will never be able to do so.” 

Challenging NPR's cunningly worded "correction"

On Morning Edition on 6 January 2005, NPR issued the following correction: “In a story about upcoming Palestinian elections, Presidential candidate Mahmoud Abbas was quoted as labeling Israel as the “Zionist enemy.” We could have given more context for his statement. We said it was in response to violence, but did not specify that the violence was an Israeli tank shell that killed seven Palestinians.” In a letter to Jeffrey Dvorkin, National Public Radio’s Ombudsman, Nigel Parry challenges NPR’s cunningly worded correction. 

NPR hides an atrocity but highlights the reaction

NPR’s Morning Edition featured a report about the upcoming election for Palestinian Authority president in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip. The report highlighted that PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas described Israel as the “Zionist enemy,” but omitted any mention of the context — reaction to the killing that day of seven Palestinian children by Israeli occupation forces in the northern Gaza Strip. This continues a pattern of bias long-documented in NPR’s reporting.