December 12, 2011 · 0 Comments
By Allison Deger:
Last week, we reported on an article by the Learning Center, in theNew York Times (NYT), where the NYT censored coverage of the Palestinian Nakba, due to “reader comments.” The NYT removed the word “expelled” and other words from the description, altering the narrative of events–implying that Palestinian refugees fled, and were not driven out of their homes/villages by pre-state para-military groups. The article also made alterations suggesting Arab armies invaded before the Zionist para-military attacks, rather than “soon” after, as originally reported.
Well, the NYT has once again augmented the same article–again due to reader comments–to now read: “British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs were expelled or fled and Arab armies invaded Israel,” which the NYT offers as a “more neutral rendering of the sentence.”
The “correction” in the NYT articles now reads:
“Six months later, on May 14, 1948, Jewish leaders in the region formed the state of Israel. British troops left, thousands of Palestinian Arabs fled and Arab armies invaded Israel. In the Arab-Israeli War, Israel defeated its enemies. It was the first of several wars fought between Israel and its neighbors.”
The NYT‘s editorial changes to the Palestinian Nakba is not a new occurrence. Earlier this year, Munayyer wrote in “Picking apart the New York Times Zionist narrative on the Nakba . . . using the New York Times,” the NYT regularly prints a “distorted representation” of the Nakba. Munayyer begins with a May 2011 article by Ethan Bronner:
“After Israel declared independence on May 14, 1948, armies from neighboring Arab states attacked the new nation; during the war that followed, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled or were driven from their homes by Israeli forces. Hundreds of Palestinian villages were also destroyed. The refugees and their descendants remain a central issue of contention in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”
Munayyer then fact-checks Bonner against a NYT article titled “Palestine Jews Minimize Arabs: Sure of Superiority, Settlers Feel They Can Win Natives By Reason or Force,” from March 2, 1947:
“Whatever the degree of their superiority complex, however, the Jews are certainly confident of their ability to bring the Arabs to terms — by persuasion if possible, by might if necessary. The program of the largest terrorist group, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, is to evacuate the British forces from Palestine and declare a Zionist state west of the Jordan, and “we will take care of the Arabs.”
From an April 18, 1948 NYT article, Munayyer again fact-checks the NYT of today:
“According to reports telephoned from Nablus, that town and Jenin are crowded with refugees, among whom the rumor is circulating that the Jews are driving on Jenin. The Haganah said it had killed 130 Druse [sic] tribesmen yesterday when it seized Usha, a village east of Haifa.”
The NYT editorialized Nakba coverage shows that history is more of a comment on today’s politics, and less of an account of the past.