What Nicholas Kristof Didn’t Mention

Nicholas Kristof criticizes both leaders of Israel and Hamas in his latest column for The New York Times. If you decide to read it, keep in mind the following two oversights and errors.

First, there’s one word he doesn’t use: occupation. Since 1967, *every* Israeli government has taken Palestinian land and built settlements. This isn’t just an action by conservative or “right wing” Israeli governments. Israeli settlement construction — and the brutality towards Palestinians involved — has been supported by both Labor and Likud parties.

Second, Mr. Kristof ignores the history of nonviolent campaigns by Palestinians that Israeli security forces have brutally repressed in the occupied West Bank. Get this: Under Israeli Military Order 101, it is illegal for Palestinians to peacefully protest the Israeli military occupation without an Israeli military commander’s permission.

The many indiscriminate rockets fired by Hamas into Israel are war crimes. The same is likely to be true for many Israeli attacks in Gaza. Gaza civilians are now reeling under the latest Israeli invasion and the seven years of an ongoing Israeli blockade. But American readers of The New York Times need to know that over the decades of US-armed Israeli occupation, there are other details to this sad story that should have been mentioned in Kristof’s latest piece.

Washington Post Journalists Repeat Israeli Claims as Fact

The Huffington Post
Posted: June 1, 2010
By Sanjeev Bery

In the June 1st edition of the Washington Post, journalists Scott Wilson and Laura Blumenfeld uncritically repeat Israeli claims regarding the Gaza aid flotilla as fact. Wilson and Blumenfeld should recognize that Israeli officials have a vested interest in discrediting the activists who challenged Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Instead, the reporters wrote a piece in which they presumed to know what Israeli officials were thinking — not just what they were doing.

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Lack of Coverage on Transgendered Pakistanis Shows Bias in U.S. Media

The Huffington Post
Posted: August 19, 2009 03:44 PM
By Sanjeev Bery

It probably wasn’t the first time that someone had organized an Independence Day cricket match in Pakistan. But it almost certainly was the first time that such a match occurred between a team of professional cricket players and a team of transgendered Pakistanis.

As the Pakistani newspaper Dawn reported, the transgendered team won.

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The Sovietologist Speaks

DD_image_communismA good book review is a platform for a skilled sweep of history and society.

Andrew O’Hehir’s Salon.com review of The Rise and Fall of Communism by Archie Brown rises to this standard.  The focus of O’Hehir’s write-up is the recent work of a retired Oxford Sovietologist and former informal adviser to Margaret Thatcher.

Despite having been affiliated with one of the biggest anti-communists of them all, Brown has some unorthodox views.  The review is worth a read, and the book probably is too.

Pirates, Propaganda, and CNN

-“Heroes and villians” — it is standard rhetorical fare for elected officials, media outlets, and the general public.  We all want our uplifting stories of freedom, set against the backdrop of immorality and danger.

The story of the Somali pirates is no exception.  This is not to say many of the pirates are in fact anything other than bandits.  When someone points a gun at someone else and take them hostage, the range of scenarios in which the gun-toter  could be considered anything but a criminal start to narrow greatly.

But the dominant narrative has obscured other realities on the ground.  Somalis are apparently quite angry at European ships, and with good reason.  In a widely circulated essay on The Huffington Post, Independent (UK) newspaper journalist Johann Hari spells out the gruesome details:

In 1991, the government of Somalia – in the Horn of Africa – collapsed … As soon as the government was gone, mysterious European ships started appearing off the coast of Somalia, dumping vast barrels into the ocean. The coastal population began to sicken…People began to suffer from radiation sickness, and more than 300 died. Continue reading

The Nonprofit Newspaper?

Good reporting on U.S. foreign policy requires good reporting, period.  As newspapers shrink and reporters get laid off, accurate American discourse about our actions in the world becomes less likely.

 

The best (worst) example is Iraq.  Even before the Obama Administration began, flagging public interest intersected with shrinking media budgets to result in Baghdad reporting cutbacks.

In less expensive parts of the world, we can expect more of the same. As newspapers go belly-up, the pool of funds available to hire foreign correspondents is declining as well.  Citizens of  the Superpower who depend on mainstream media are going to have even less information about America’s global footprint.

But instead of watching our for-profit media institutions go out of business, maybe we should stop thinking of them in business terms.   Liberal media critic Eric Alterman just published a fine column on a topic getting increasing play in some circles:  the nonprofit newspaper.

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