Saturday, December 17, 2005

Sanitizing Hamas

The Hamas 'Military' In Action--Slaughtering Civilians

UPDATE, Dec. 21: Times editors explain why they whitewash terror groups. The reason: They do nice things! I kid you not.

Hamas won big on Friday in local elections on the West Bank, and that whirling you hear is the washing machine in operation -- the white-washing machine on 43rd Street. Media coverage of the elections uniformly downplayed Hamas's murderous character, but only the New York Times managed to write an entire front-page article on this group's victory without mentioning its claim to fame -- suicide bombings that slaughter civilians.

Yep. This needs to be emphasized: Every single media outlet that I located managed to mention Hamas's record of suicide bombings--except the Times. The Times has previously gone out of its way to whitewash Hamas -- see my item on a Steve Erlanger atrocity last month--and it will happen again. Hey, it's Times policy.

While tastefully omitting any mention of suicide bombings, the Times's Greg Myre turned over the podium to a Hamas "spokesman," who ranted that the election "shows that the Palestinians support reform, resistance and loyalty to the blood of the martyrs."

Myre, not to be outdone, said that Hamas had nominated "well-educated candidates with reputations for probity and piety" -- making them seem more like the College of Cardinals than a terror group that slaughters civilians. They're really good eggs: "Hamas runs many educational and charitable organizations financed with money from outside."

Oh, and all that "terrorism" stuff is just... well, it is just a matter of opinion, that's all. Hamas, Myre said, "is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the United States and the European Union." Rest assured that the Times doesn't feel that way in the least.

You see, the Times believes that turning sixty-year-old women into hamburger is a "military" activity. Myre points out that Hamas "also has an active military branch, which it refuses to disarm." How naughty of them!

That's right, folks. In the view of the Times, suicide bombings against buses and discos and Passover seders, and firing inaccurate rockets into civilian areas, are "military" activities, pretty much as you may have experienced in the service. You know: rifle inspection, close-order drill, map exercises, blowing yourself up in discos, that kind of thing. Soldier stuff.

The Times just loves the "military"-- when it can use that word to sanitize Palestinian terrorists. (What's that old expression? "Send a salami to your boy in the disco-bombing army"?)

Meanwhile, over at Reuters, a hack named Mohammed Assadi portrayed Hamas as a cross between the Better Government Association and the United Way, praising its "corruption-free reputation as well as its charity network." However, even Reuters was able to squeeze in a reference to the group's "dozens of suicide attacks against Israel" -- a little bit of trivia that escaped the Times's attention. Ditto for the AP. Ditto for the Chicago Tribune. Ditto for the Washington Post. Ditto, ditto, ditto -- except at the Times and, I suppose, al-Jazeera and other Israel-basing news outlets.

Mind you, I'm not tossing laurels at any of these hacks. The AP, for instance, inserted a gratuitous reference to Hamas's "fierce resistance to Israel's occupation" -- glamorizing murder missions against civilians in places like the Tel Aviv beachfront. But even the AP managed to mention that Hamas is "responsible for dozens of suicide bombings." And only the Times sanitized the Hamas murderers as "the military branch."

As a matter of fact, disregard what I said earlier about al-Jazeera. (Just setting you up for the punch line.) Even the notoriously pro-Palestinian, pro-terrorist al-Jazeera acknowledged that "the group had carried out numerous deadly attacks against Israel" and "carried out several bombings in Israel during more than five years of fighting." Congratulations, Greg Myre and the Times. You've moved out ahead of al-Jazeera in sanitizing terrorists.

As has been my usual practice when the Times bites the big one, I'm sending a copy of this item to the Empty Suit, New York Times spokesman (a/k/a "public editor") Barney Calame. Something else for you to ignore, Barney, while you shill for management and focus on trivia. On Sunday, Barney focused on the Times book review, and did his usual great public-editor parody.

UPDATE: In a dreadful piece in the Sunday paper, Times Jerusalem Bureau Chief Steve Erlanger picked up where Myre left off, in what was little more than an extended love poem to Palestinian terrorism. As he has done before, Erlanger pays homage to Yasir Arafat, noting the terror chieftain's "binding charisma" and generally rewrites history, Times style.

"Arafat's decision to recognize Israel and negotiate with it over the 1993 Oslo accords, which allowed him to return from exile, did not produce a Palestinian state." What a pity. Gee, did maybe wave after a wave of terrorism, which turned the whole Oslo process into a joke, have something to do with that?

But Erlanger reserves his most flowery tributes for Hamas, with its "reputation for piety, its social-welfare network and its military wing." Again that word, Times-speak for blowing up civilians. Erlanger then proceeds to rewrite history again, adding that the "military wing" "carried out attacks on Israeli soldiers and civilians."

Note the two lies here. "Carried out" -- as if it's history, and not an ongoing process thwarted by the Israeli military. And "soldiers and civilians." Hamas attacks are almost exclusively aimed at civilians, through that "suicide bombing" thing Myre wouldn't mention and Erlanger likewise tastefully leaves out.

It goes on and on like that, with Erlanger slanting his piece into a pro-Palestinian polemic, loyally mentioning the "troubled road map" but not mentioning why it is "troubled" -- the Palestinians won't dismantle terror groups as it requires.

Once again, the Times proves that when its ace Israel-based hacks are on the job, it can actually out-al-Jazeera al-Jazeera, and rewrite history in a manner worthy of Counterpunch.