NY Times likens violent ‘fly-in’ agitators to Christian pilgrims in Bethlehem

July 13, 2011
Isabel_Kershner’s_NY_Times_report_on_Friday’s flytilla into Ben Gurion Airport made it sound as if the participants were brutally stopped from attending something on the order of a snoozy academic conference at the Hyatt Regency in LA. Those ‘peace loving’ flytilla ‘activists’ clashed with Israeli troops on Sunday at a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Or better still, as Christian_pilgrims landing expectantly in the Holy Land. Iran’s Press TV website published this photo. A similar but more brutal scene accompanied the NY Times article. Palestinians and international activists in Bethlehem on Sunday tried to force their way through a checkpoint separating the West Bank city from Jerusalem.

Among the protesters were activists who were onboard the so-called “flytilla” that arrived Friday at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Israeli soldiers prevented protesters from accessing the area and threatening to shoot anyone who approached the checkpoint, one of the main terminals connecting the occupied West Bank with Jerusalem.

Most were barred from boarding their flights in Europe as a result of a blacklist of suspected rabble-rousers Israel sent to airlines with a request to deny them passage, while others were arrested at Ben-Gurion and now await deportation back to Europe.
A few, however, trickled through Israeli security and promptly hooked up with violent Palestinian demonstrators who clashed Saturday with Israeli security forces at two West Bank checkpoints. According to Israeli media, one of the clashes that involved the hurling of stones at IDF troops included “fly-in” participants, thus justifying earlier warnings by Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials that Israel would not tolerate foreign “provocateurs” and “hoodlums” bent on entering the country to engage in public disorder.
Leftists in Israel and elsewhere, however, denounced Israel’s security precautions as excessive and draconian — a view also espoused by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner in a Saturday dispatch in the New York Times, “Israel Blocks Air Travelers to Palestinian Conference,” July 9).
Determined to depict intruding agitators as peaceful visitors, Kershner stationed herself in Bethlehem (her dateline reads “Bethlehem, West Bank”), where she awaited the arrival of these supposedly harmless air travelers for a week-long program of “fellowship.”
To underscore their supposedly peaceful bona fides, Kershner wrote in the second paragraph of her piece that, after all, “Israel has traditionally been welcoming of foreign tourists, including more than a million Christian pilgrims who visited this Palestinian city of the Nativity last year.”
Imagine her disappointment that Israel didn’t put out the welcome mat to these Gandhiesque “fly-in” pilgrims.
“There were persistent reports,” Kershner informed Times readers,” that the foreign visitors would try to create chaos and paralyze the airport, despite strenuous denials from the organizers of the campaign, who advocate nonviolence.” Kershner thus was confident enough to give these agitators and their hosts a kosher, non-violent stamp of approval.
But no sooner did her dispatch make it into the New York Times than Israeli media reported Palestinian clashes with IDF units at West Bank protests, including one demonstration where some of these allegedly non-violent guests participated in stone-hurling attacks on IDF troops.

Leftists in Israel and elsewhere, however, denounced Israel’s security precautions as excessive and draconian — a view also espoused by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner in a Saturday dispatch in the New York Times, “Israel Blocks Air Travelers to Palestinian Conference,” July 9).

what did you expect?


The New York Times’ Arrigoni hagiography

April 19, 2011

the New York Times manages to use 16-year old Daniel Viflic, who died on Sunday night as a result of wounds inflicted by an anti-tank missile fired by ‘Palestinian’ terrorists on April 7, to turn Arrigoni into a hero.

On the front page below the fold, Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner began their report with these sympathetic words:

For Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian pro-Palestinian activist who friends said fought peacefully for justice, the end was as violent as it was incongruous. (“Killing of Pro-Palestinian Activist in Gaza Deals a Blow to Hamas,” Apr. 16, 2011)

Supporting Hamas is fighting peacefully for justice? A few days ago, on April 7, Hamas fired a highly advanced and deadly anti-tank missile (a Russian supplied Kornet) at an Israeli school bus – a clearly marked yellow schoolbus – injuring the bus driver and gravely wounding the only passenger, 16-year-old Daniel Viflic.
Is this the peaceful justice that the Times credits to Vittorio Arrigoni by uncritically quoting his friends? And considering the extreme violence practiced by Hamas, not just against Israelis, but also against fellow Palestinians, such as those from the rival Palestinian Authority, how could the Times possibly term as “incongruous” any violence involving Hamas rule?

In contrast, the Times has quoted no such kind words about Daniel Viflic, the schoolboy who was so gravely wounded in the Hamas bus attack a few days ago. In fact his name has never graced the pages of the New York Times (according to Nexis and google searches). The Times did mention the bus attack in their article on Arrigoni, but only as a vehicle to generate more sympathy for the Italian, who was worried that the attack by his Hamas friends would provoke a response from the Israeli army:

In an e-mail to [a friend], he wrote, “I am very tense, exhausted, if [the Israelis] don’t kill anyone in the next 24 hours, I am getting out Thursday. Your V.”

So for the morally obtuse New York Times, a terror attack against a schoolbus that left a young boy fighting for his life ends up being used to evoke sympathy for a defender of the terrorists who carried out the attack.

Here’s hoping that those of you who still subscribe to the Times will cancel it.

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