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Kansas City Star purveyed Palestinian anti-Israel propaganda

The Kansas City Star’s Oct. 17 Op-Ed, “Hanan Ashrawi is a Palestinian peacemaker,” contained numerous misleading and false claims, potentially inciting hate and violence against Jews and supporters of the Jewish state.

 

Melinda Henneberger, Star columnist and editorial board member, quotes Palestinian official Ashrawi, “This is not a religious conflict” referring to the Palestinian-Israel conflict. Henneberger seems to endorse the claim. But it is contradicted by various realities. First, “Muslims believe that Islam supersedes Judaism and Christianity” (John L. Esposito, professor of religion and international affairs at Georgetown University, academic expert on Islam). Accordingly, Palestinian leadership, including the Palestinian Authority (P.A.), has for many years repeatedly inflamed the passions of Palestinians and Muslims with the battle cry, “Defend Muslim Holy Sites.”

This is exemplified by P.A. President Mahmoud Abbas’ 2015 declaration apparently triggered by a false rumor that Israeli officials planned to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque located on Israel’s Temple Mount. The Wall Street Journal noted on Oct. 18, 2015: “Mr. Abbas, the PA president, said the following on Palestinian television on Sept. 16: ‘We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem. This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr [murderer of Jews] will be in heaven, and every wounded will get his reward.’ ”

Henneberger claims, “… it’s true that the dominant media and political and religious narrative in this country is overwhelmingly Israel’s view.” On the contrary, the dominant (or mainstream) media’s widespread antipathy toward Israel has been documented. Examples are plentiful dealing with pillars of the news outlets such as Time magazine, New York Times and CNN. 

Among numerous CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) online reports on the matter are these: “Time Magazine Ignores Facts to Denigrate Israel,” “New York Times Opinion Bias by the Numbers,” and “Amanpour Again Misleads CNN Viewers About Israel.”

Likewise, Henneberger misleads concerning America’s religious establishment and politicians. 

For example, the World Council of Churches, an umbrella organization of approximately 350 Protestant and Orthodox church organizations founded in 1948, the year of the re-establishment of Israel, has largely been hostile to the Jewish state for whatever reason (perhaps replacement theology). WCC membership includes numerous Protestant church organizations, including the Anglican (Episcopal) Communion, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and several united and independent churches.

Political leaders are generally in accord with the majority of Americans who, in spite of the media’s mainly anti-Israel bias, supports Israel as has repeatedly been shown in opinion polling. Gallup’s World Affairs Poll on Israel (2017) notes, “Just over seven in 10 Americans have a favorable opinion of Israel. That represents the fourth straight year that Israel’s favorable rating has been 70 percent or higher.”

And then there’s Ashrawi’s false claim that “Under the Trump administration, the situation has only become worse: This is the first administration that has not stopped settlements or called them illegal.”

The United States, while criticizing the settlements (constituting less than 6 percent of the West Bank) as an obstacle to peace, has always refrained from making a legal determination. This is for good reason. The international legal right of the Jewish people to reconstitute their own state in their ancestral homeland (including the West Bank) was granted by the Allied Powers of World War I at the 1920 San Remo conference. And the Jewish presence in the territory was recognized as legitimate in the Mandate for Palestine adopted by the League of Nations in 1922, which provided for the establishment of a Jewish state in the Jewish people’s homeland. Note that during the period 1948-1967 when Jewish communities were absent from the West Bank, a state of hostilities existed against the Jewish state based on the desire to destroy Israel. So, the settlements issue as an obstacle to a peace agreement is a bogus one. The land is not “Palestinian.” It is disputed. Hence the need for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. 

Henneberger’s article is an instance of journalistic malpractice.

Myron Kaplan is a senior research analyst for CAMERA, the 65,000-member Boston-based Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.