Patrick O’Connor

The New York Times Covers Up Discrimination against Palestinian Citizens of Israel

March 28th’s Israeli elections saw the sudden rise of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party to become the fourth largest Israeli party, advocating transferring some Palestinian towns in Israel to PA control, thus revoking the Israeli citizenship of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.  The results of a poll released last week showed that 68% of Israeli Jews would refuse to live in the same apartment building as a Palestinian citizen of Israel, and 40% of Israeli Jews believe the state needs to support the emigration of Palestinian citizens. However, because of the way Israel is portrayed in the mainstream US media, such blatant discrimination would likely surprise the US public. 

Gaza is still a prison

The media reports that the Gaza Strip is no longer under Israeli control, but two weeks ago I was blocked from entering Gaza from Egypt by Israeli agents. The day before, two French citizens were prevented from entering for a sister city project in Gaza. Israeli authorities invoked “security reasons” and false claims of links to terrorism, a typical strategy used against foreign supporters of Palestinian rights. Despite the fanfare over Israel’s August “Gaza disengagement”, Gaza remains a prison, with no visitors allowed. My case provides one small example, thousands of which are repeated every day, of how the Israeli government has exploited the cover of real security concerns to continue to control Gaza, denying Palestinians freedom and trapping them in poverty. Opportunities for progress through Israel’s Gaza withdrawal were squandered, and American promises on the Middle East were again shown to be empty. 

Israeli and Palestinian voices on the US op-ed pages

In the US media, Palestinians generally aren’t allowed to speak for themselves or to articulate their historical narrative. Israelis, however, are permitted to speak, to explain the Israeli experience and even to explain about Palestinians. As a result, the Israeli story is known in the US while Palestinians are dehumanized. This report exhaustively details the extent to which Palestinian voices have been silenced in the op-ed pages of major US newspapers for the past five years. This report compares the number of opinion pieces published by Israeli writers with those published by Palestinian writers between September 29, 2000, and December 31, 2005, in the op-ed pages of The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and The Washington Post, the five US newspapers with the greatest circulation. 

US Corporate Media Erases Israeli Role in Rise of Hamas

The US corporate media has started to examine Hamas’ victories in Palestinian municipal elections last Thursday. However, if The New York Times’ coverage is any indication, an honest evaluation of Israel’s role in increasing Hamas’ popularity is unlikely. Revelations over the last year have forced the US corporate media, with the New York Times at the forefront, to re-evaluate their role in promoting the Iraq war and occupation. Sadly, no such re-evaluation is underway with respect to Israel/Palestine. Israeli occupation, expansionism and human rights abuses still generally pass without comment. 

The invisibility of Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance in the New York Times

The fact that thousands of Palestinians and hundreds of Israelis are together employing nonviolent tactics similar to those of the U.S. civil rights movement and the South African anti-Apartheid movement would come as surprising and welcome news to most Americans. Americans are largely unaware of the struggling but vibrant grassroots nonviolent movement in Palestine, because the U.S. corporate media prefers a simple, flawed story of Palestinian terrorist attacks and Israeli retaliation. 

An Interview with Israeli Activist Jonathan Pollak

Jonathan Pollak is an Israeli activist who grew up in Tel Aviv and lives in Jaffa. He has been involved in nonviolent direct action in the West Bank for the last two-and-a-half years, participating in more than 200 protests with Palestinians in the West Bank with the Israeli nonviolent direct action group Anarchists Against the Wall and with the International Solidarity Movement. On April 3, 2005 an Israeli soldier shot Jonathan in the head with a teargas canister from an M-16 from a distance of approximately thirty meters at a peaceful protest against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in. Bil’in is one of tens of West Bank Palestinian villages losing land because of Israel’s wall construction. Pat O’Connor interviewed Jonathan Pollak by telephone on 7 April 2005. 

Israel's Criminalization of Nonviolent Protest

14 February 2005 — According to Israeli authorities, one reason for my arrest two weeks ago in Biddu and my denial of entry into Israel in 2003 is that I “organized and participated in illegal demonstrations.” Israeli authorities frequently use the term “illegal demonstrations” to describe peaceful protests against Israeli government violations of international law. This twisted reasoning needs to be exposed and rejected. What is legal often does not completely correspond to what is moral. However, when what is moral is described as illegal, there is a major problem. 

Letter from Prison: My Interview with Israel's Shin Bet Intelligence Agency

Recently the Israeli authorities have begun searching for and arresting experienced International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and international activists. My arrest and attempted deportation is another example of this. Evidently the Israeli authorities find nonviolent resistance and active support of Palestinian rights to be threatening. Pat O’Connor has managed humanitarian aid programs in the Middle East and Africa, and volunteered with the International Solidarity Movement in the West Bank supporting non-violent Palestinian protest against the Wall. He is currently in detention at Maasiyahu prison in Ramle awaiting deportation. 

The US Media and the Wall: Thomas Friedman and 60 Minutes

The self-imposed US media blackout on the Wall’s construction finally began to lift last August when President Bush mentioned the problems created by Israel’s wall “snaking its way through the West Bank.” Last December, a year and half after bulldozers began cutting the Wall’s path through Palestinian villages, Thomas Friedman hosted a Discovery Channel program in association with The New York Times, and Bob Simon anchored a CBS 60 Minutes segment introducing the controversy surrounding one of the world’s largest construction projects. David Bloom, Patrick Connors, and Tom Wallace examine the two programs.