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‘Palestinians Had Nothing to Lose’: What Does New York Times Op-Ed Say About Hamas?

A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office, Feb. 7, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Carlo Allegri / File.

Author Megan K. Stack’s latest op-ed in The New York Times is worse than a hatchet job — it is a malicious screed masquerading as insightful analysis.

In “The View Within Israel Turns Bleak,” the conclusions that Stack invites readers to arrive at are obvious from the first paragraph, in which she quotes right-wing Israeli journalist Yehuda Shlezinger angrily proclaiming there should be “more rivers of Gazans’ blood.”

The right-wing journalist, Stack contends, is not “fringe,” nor would “Israelis would be shocked by his bloody fantasies.”

Indeed, Stack argues that the views espoused by Shlezinger are further evidence that “Israel has hardened” — now it is a nation of people who, regardless of their political leanings, have a “thirst for revenge” on the Palestinians.

But Stack ignores the fact that extreme remarks like Shlezinger’s are consistently condemned by both Israeli politicians and the public, as demonstrated when a junior government minister was suspended for saying Israel could drop a nuclear weapon on Gaza.

Instead, she suggests that her simplistic assessment is supported by statistics: a four-month-old survey found that 94 percent of Jewish Israelis felt the force used in Gaza was appropriate or insufficient.

No country in the world is perfect. But @Megankstack‘s hit piece in @nytimes deliberately sets out to create a one-dimensional portrayal of Israel as an irredeemable society void of any positives whatsoever.

Here’s just some of what’s wrong. https://t.co/3Npp1h5egk pic.twitter.com/U0eK3AkagP

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) May 19, 2024

Unrepresentative Interviewees

But the problem with Stack’s piece is not merely the use of an out-of-date survey. (Along with no questions about if the amount of force is actually sufficient to defeat the Hamas terror group — nor the fact that Israel has taken steps more than any nation in history to protect Gaza’s civilians). Rather, the main problem with Stack’s piece is that every single person, source, or piece of evidence she uses to illustrate Israelis’ supposedly genocidal intentions toward Palestinians is wholly unrepresentative of Israeli society.

Stack, for example, quotes several people in the piece: Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, Hassan Jabareen of the anti-Israel NGO Adalah, Diana Buttu, a former PLO legal advisor, and Daniel Levy, the president of the US/Middle East Project.

But how can Gideon Levy, who has repeatedly promoted the apartheid libel, or Daniel Levy, who has repeatedly downplayed Palestinian terrorism, be presented as impartial voices?

And how is it that Diana Buttu can be billed as a “Palestinian lawyer,” and quoted at length without Stack even mentioning that Buttu is also a former advisor to the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), a proscribed terror group?

Likewise, why are the words of Hassan Jabareen, of the Adalah organization, which aligns itself with terrorist-linked Palestinian NGOs, presented as the unadulterated truth when he alleges that Arab Israelis “live in fear” because the “police left no doubt that we were enemies of the state”?

Naturally, Stack didn’t reference another survey — taken after the start of the October 7 war — which found that the percentage of Arab Israelis who feel a kinship with the State of Israel had risen to 70 percent — up from 48 percent before the Hamas attack.

Israelis at Fault for Palestinian Violence

On the few occasions where Stack acknowledges Palestinian violence, she still circuitously finds Israel at fault. She argues that while the so-called “apartheid wall” that is the West Bank barrier “helped keep West Bank suicide bombers from penetrating Israel,” it has also allegedly acted as a “psychological barrier” separating Israelis and Palestinians and “piled extra misery on ever-more-constrained Palestinian civilians.”

We can, therefore, only assume that Stack thinks Israeli civilians dying in terror attacks is a small price to pay to remove the psychological barrier she has observed.

Similarly, when Stack references the Second Intifada, it is to say that when Israelis emerged from these years of carnage — characterized by suicide attacks, stabbings, and bombings — they did so with a “jaundiced view of negotiations and, more broadly, Palestinians, who were derided as unable to make peace.”

It is this “logic,” she argues, that sabotaged the peace process — and not the launching of the Second Intifada itself. The inference is that Israel should have continued negotiating with then-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat even as he incited attacks that murdered Israeli women, children, and men.

Stack also holds up the uneven death toll between Israelis and Palestinians to diminish the threat of Palestinian terrorism, arguing that since the construction of the Iron Dome, the “mathematics of death heavily favored Israel.” In Stack’s mind, even Israel’s defensive measures are a way to victimize Palestinians.

Meanwhile, Stack’s “evidence” that all Israelis are unrepentant racists and the country and apartheid state is supported by absurd pieces of “evidence,” including the fact that Arabs are ineligible for gun licenses, without noting that the majority of Israelis are also ineligible.

Israelis Driven by Hatred and Vengeance

The thrust of Stack’s entire argument could easily be distilled into a sentence: she believes Israelis are driven by hatred, a desire for vengeance, and a medieval-style thirst for blood.

Much of the piece is an exercise in how to omit facts to craft a particular narrative. For example, Stack claims the 460 Palestinians who have been killed in the West Bank since October 7 are proof of a “bloody campaign of terror” by soldiers and settlers, yet fails to note the proportion of those who were terrorists.

Any nuance and compassion are non-existent. She forgets or does not care that this is a nation of people still grieving the horrors of October 7, that hostages remain in Gaza, and that Israel has taken measures to avoid civilian casualties and minimize harm to civilians.

And that is why she concludes the piece with saying the October 7 massacre should have been a wake-up call for Israelis, who she claims had previously sealed themselves “off from Palestinians while subjecting them to daily humiliations and violence.”

Hamas on October 7, she suggests, acted like people with “nothing to lose,” apparently ignoring how the last seven months of the war in Gaza have demonstrated the exact opposite. Palestinians had a lot to lose, and Hamas didn’t care if they lost it.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post ‘Palestinians Had Nothing to Lose’: What Does New York Times Op-Ed Say About Hamas? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan leaves after attending a military parade to mark the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus in response to a short-lived Greek-inspired coup, in the Turkish-controlled northern Cyprus, in the divided city of Nicosia, Cyprus July 20, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Yiannis Kourtoglou

Greek Cypriots mourned and Turkish Cypriots rejoiced on Saturday, the 50th anniversary of Turkey’s invasion of part of the island after a brief Greek inspired coup, with the chances of reconciliation as elusive as ever.

The ethnically split island is a persistent source of tension between Greece and Turkey, which are both partners in NATO but are at odds over numerous issues.

Their differences were laid bare on Saturday, with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attending a celebratory military parade in north Nicosia to mark the day in 1974 when Turkish forces launched an offensive that they call a “peace operation.”

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis was due later on Saturday to attend an event in the south of the Nicosia to commemorate what Greeks commonly refer to as the “barbaric Turkish invasion.” Air raid sirens sounded across the area at dawn.

Mitsotakis posted an image of a blood-stained map of Cyprus on his LinkedIn page with the words “Half a century since the national tragedy of Cyprus.”

There was jubilation in the north.

“The Cyprus Peace Operation saved Turkish Cypriots from cruelty and brought them to freedom,” Erdogan told crowds who gathered to watch the parade despite stifling midday heat, criticizing the south for having a “spoiled mentality” and seeing itself as the sole ruler of Cyprus.

Peace talks are stalled at two seemingly irreconcilable concepts – Greek Cypriots want reunification as a federation. Turkish Cypriots want a two-state settlement.

Erdogan left open a window to dialogue although he said a federal solution, advocated by Greek Cypriots and backed by most in the international community, was “not possible.”

“We are ready for negotiations, to meet, and to establish long-term peace and resolution in Cyprus,” he said.

Cyprus gained independence from Britain in 1960, but a shared administration between Greek and Turkish Cypriots quickly fell apart in violence that saw Turkish Cypriots withdraw into enclaves and led to the dispatch of a U.N. peacekeeping force.

The crisis left Greek Cypriots running the internationally recognized Republic of Cyprus, a member of the European Union since 2004 with the potential to derail Turkey’s own decades-long aspirations of joining the bloc.

It also complicates any attempts to unlock energy potential in the eastern Mediterranean because of overlapping claims. The region has seen major discoveries of hydrocarbons in recent years.

REMEMBERING THE DEAD

Cypriot President Nikos Christodoulides, whose office represents the Greek Cypriot community in the reunification dialogue, said the anniversary was a somber occasion for reflection and for remembering the dead.

“Our mission is liberation, reunification and solving the Cyprus problem,” he said. “If we really want to send a message on this tragic anniversary … it is to do anything possible to reunite Cyprus.”

Turkey, he said, continued to be responsible for violating human rights and international law over Cyprus.

Across the south, church services were held to remember the more than 3,000 people who died in the Turkish invasion.

“It was a betrayal of Cyprus and so many kids were lost. It wasn’t just my son, it was many,” said Loukas Alexandrou, 90, as he tended the grave of his son at a military cemetery.

In Turkey, state television focused on violence against Turkish Cypriots prior to the invasion, particularly on bloodshed in 1963-64 and in 1967.

Turkey’s invasion took more than a third of the island and expelled more than 160,000 Greek Cypriots to the south.

Reunification talks collapsed in 2017 and have been at a stalemate since. Northern Cyprus is a breakaway state recognized only by Turkey, and its Turkish Cypriot leadership wants international recognition.

The post One Part of Cyprus Mourns, the Other Rejoices 50 Years After Split first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Putin Jails US Reporter Gershkovich in Sham Trial

A Russian secret court found U.S. reporter Evan Gershkovich guilty of espionage on Friday and sentenced him to 16 years in a maximum security penal colony in what his employer, the Wall Street Journal, accurately called “a disgraceful sham conviction.”

Gershkovich, a 32-year-old Jewish American who denied any wrongdoing, went on trial in the city of Yekaterinburg last month after being accused of trying to gather sensitive information about a tank factory.

He was the first U.S. journalist accused of spying in Russia since the Cold War, and his arrest in March 2023 prompted many U.S. and other Western correspondents to leave Moscow.

U.S. President Joe Biden said Gershkovich did not commit any crime and has been wrongfully detained.

“We are pushing hard for Evan’s release and will continue to do so,” Biden said in a statement. “Journalism is not a crime.”

Video of Friday’s hearing released by the court showed Gershkovich, dressed in a T-shirt and black trousers, standing in a glass courtroom cage as he listened to the verdict being read in rapid-fire legalese for nearly four minutes.

Asked by the judge if he had any questions, he replied “Nyet.”

The judge, Andrei Mineyev, said the nearly 16 months Gershkovich had already served since his arrest would count towards the 16-year sentence.

Mineyev ordered the destruction of the reporter’s mobile phone and paper notebook. The defense has 15 days to appeal.

“This disgraceful, sham conviction comes after Evan has spent 478 days in prison, wrongfully detained, away from his family and friends, prevented from reporting, all for doing his job as a journalist,” the Journal said in a statement.

“We will continue to do everything possible to press for Evan’s release and to support his family. Journalism is not a crime, and we will not rest until he’s released. This must end now.”

Gershkovich’s friend, reporter Pjotr Sauer of Britain’s Guardian newspaper, posted on X: “Russia has just sentenced an innocent man to 16 years in a high security prison. I have no words to describe this farce. Let’s get Evan out of there.”

Friday’s hearing was only the third in the trial. The proceedings, apart from the sentencing, were closed to the media on the grounds of state secrecy.

Espionage cases often take months to handle and the unusual speed at which the trial was held behind closed doors has stoked speculation that a long-discussed U.S.-Russia prisoner exchange deal may be in the offing, involving Gershkovich and potentially other Americans detained in Russia.

The Kremlin, when asked by Reuters earlier on Friday about the possibility of such an exchange, declined to comment: “I’ll leave your question unanswered,” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Among those Russia would like to free is Vadim Krasikov, a Russian serving a life sentence in Germany for murdering an exiled Chechen-Georgian dissident in a Berlin park in 2019.

Officers of the FSB security service arrested Gershkovich on March 29, 2023, at a steakhouse in Yekaterinburg, 900 miles (1,400 km) east of Moscow. He has since been held in Moscow’s Lefortovo prison.

Russian prosecutors had accused Gershkovich of gathering secret information on the orders of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency about a company that manufactures tanks for Moscow’s war in Ukraine.

The Uralvagonzavod factory, which he is accused of spying on, has been sanctioned by the West. Based in the city of Nizhny Tagil near Yekaterinburg, it has publicly spoken of producing T-90M battle tanks and modernizing T-72B3M tanks.

Earlier on Friday, the court unexpectedly said it would pronounce its verdict within hours after state prosecutors demanded Gershkovich be jailed for 18 years for spying. The maximum sentence for the crime he was accused of is 20 years.

Russia usually concludes legal proceedings against foreigners before making any deals on exchanging them.

‘WRONGFULLY DETAINED’

Gershkovich, his newspaper and the U.S. government all rejected the allegations against him and said he was merely doing his job as a reporter accredited by the Foreign Ministry to work in Russia.

President Vladimir Putin has said Russia is open to a prisoner exchange involving Gershkovich, and that contacts with the United States have taken place but must remain secret.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday that Washington was working every day to bring home Gershkovich, former U.S. Marine Paul Whelan and other Americans.

He declined to go into details when asked why Putin would reach a deal on Gershkovich’s release ahead of the U.S. election.

“Any effort to bring any American home is going to be part of a process of back and forth, of discussion, potentially of negotiation,” Blinken said at the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.

“Depending on what the other side is looking for, they’ll reach their own conclusions about whether it meets whatever their needs are, and we can bring someone home – and I don’t think that’s dependent on an election in the United States or anywhere else,” he said.

Mark Warner, the chairman of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, called Gershkovich’s sentence “outrageous,” and said he thinks “it’s clear that the Russians view Evan almost as a bargaining chip at this point.”

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, Warner declined to discuss whether efforts are underway to arrange an exchange for Gershkovich’s release, but said “all options have to stay on the table” with regards to how the Biden administration responds.

Friends who have exchanged letters with Gershkovich say he has remained resilient and cheerful throughout his imprisonment, occupying himself by reading classics of Russian literature.

At court appearances over the past 16 months – most recently with his head shaven – he has frequently smiled and nodded at reporters he used to work with before he himself became the story.

Since Russian troops entered Ukraine in 2022, Moscow and Washington have conducted just one high profile prisoner swap: Russia released basketball star Brittney Griner, held for smuggling cannabis, in return for arms dealer Viktor Bout, jailed for terrorism-related offenses in the United States.

The post Putin Jails US Reporter Gershkovich in Sham Trial first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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VP Harris Hits Fundraising Trail Amid Ongoing Calls for Biden to Quit Race

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris will headline a fundraiser in Massachusetts on Saturday as President Joe Biden faces continued pressure from fellow Democrats and big money donors to end his floundering campaign.

Biden and top aides on Friday vowed to continue with the campaign, even as major donors signaled they were unwilling to open their checkbooks unless the 81-year-old president stepped aside.

The crisis-in-confidence in Biden’s ability to win has placed a huge spotlight on Harris, widely believed to be the most likely replacement if he steps down.

Her fundraising events, including the one on Saturday in Provincetown, Massachusetts are getting added interest from donors who want to signal they are willing to coalesce around her potential bid for the White House, according to three Democratic fundraisers.

More than one in 10 congressional Democrats have now publicly called on Biden, who is isolating at his Delaware home with a case of COVID-19, to drop out following a disastrous debate last month against Republican former President Donald Trump that raised questions about the incumbent’s ability to win the Nov. 5 election or carry out his duties for another four years.

Biden’s campaign hoped to raise some $50 million in big-dollar donations in July for the Biden Victory Fund but was on track for less than half that figure as of Friday, according to two sources familiar with the fundraising efforts.

The campaign called reports of a July fundraising slump overstated, noting that it anticipated a drop-off in large donations due to vacations. It said the campaign still has 10 fundraisers on the schedule this month.

Harris assured major Democratic donors on Friday that the party would prevail in the presidential election as more lawmakers called for her running mate, Biden, to stand down.

“We are going to win this election,” she said on a call arranged on short notice to calm donors, according to a person on the call. “We know which candidate in this election puts the American people first: Our president, Joe Biden.”

Harris attended the call “at the direct request of senior advisers to the president,” one of the people said, an account confirmed by another person familiar with the matter.

The post VP Harris Hits Fundraising Trail Amid Ongoing Calls for Biden to Quit Race first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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