The Associated Press decided to do a "fact check" relating to comments made by David Friedman, the man designated as the next American ambassador to Israel. Unfortunately, the AP's should have submitted its own fact check to a fact check before publishing it. The following was sent by Daniel H. Trigoboff to the AP.
To The Editor:
The AP Fact Check on issues related to President Trump's selection of
David Friedman as U.S. Ambassador to Israel was riddled with factual
errors. As a result your readers were grossly misled regarding Israel,
and the history of Israel's attempts to reach peace with the Palestinians.
To begin with, in response to Friedman's comments that Palestinians had
failed to end incitement and have actually increased terrorism since the
Oslo Accords, your fact checkers responded that "Not all Palestinians
are the same." Yet Palestinian terrorism has continued to emanate from
all areas controlled by the Palestinian Authority and from the
Hamas-infested Gaza Strip. The Middle East Media Research Institute
(MEMRI), which translates Arabic statements by government and leading
Palestinian officials, has documented uncountable statements urging
Palestinians to attack and murder innocent Israeli civilians, and has
documented differences in what these leaders and officials say in
English to Westerners about wanting peace, vs. what they say in Arabic
to the Palestinian population inciting violence. Even Mahmoud Abbas, the
Palestinian President, routinely calls for violence in statements such
as "...every drop of blood shed in defense of Al-Aksa is sacred", "Jews
contaminate Al-Aksa with their filthy feet", and "not one Jew" will be
permitted to reside in a nascent Palestinian state. Abbas leads the
Palestinian Authority in naming streets, soccer stadiums, and other
municipal infrastructure after brutal terrorists who have murdered
dozens of innocent civilians in horrific attacks. Abbas also presides
over the financial incentivization of Palestinian terrorism, such that
families of terrorists killed or incarcerated for their crimes are paid
stipends by the Palestinian Authority, a total that recently reached
$170 million dollars per year. Abbas presides over a Palestinian
education system which uses textbooks that label all of Israel as
occupied territory, and media which spew forth disgraceful antisemitic
material inciting violence daily, material which might shame Der Sturmer.
Your fact checkers attempted to whitewash this misuse of international
financial aid by offering the justification bruited about by the
terrorists themselves, that they are "driven" to such acts by Israel.
Yet a frequency count of Palestinian terrorist acts shows a very sharp
increase in every single year following the Oslo Accords, as compared to
the frequency of such acts prior to Oslo, demonstrating that it doesn't
matter to Palestinians when Israel makes concessions for peace. Instead
what matters to the Palestinians is destroying Israel and killing Jews.
So while the Palestinian Liberation Organization may have "denounced"
terrorism decades ago as asserted by your article, Palestinian terrorism
continues at a fever pitch, as has been the case since that time. All
current Palestinian leaders are fully involved in at least some of the
Byzantine morass of Palestinian front groups, like Al Fatah and the Al
Aksa Martyrs Brigade, which carry out terrorist attacks. Therefore for
the AP fact checkers to assert blandly that "...attacks have continued
to be a problem for Israel in the years since" is an odious distortion
of the actual reality faced by Israel every day. The attacks have not
merely "continued" as implied by the passive voice of that sentence.
Israel has instead been subjected to a murderous campaign of terror
against its civilians for decades by a blood stained death cult sworn to
its destruction, the Palestinians, who couldn't care less about a state
of their own as long as they destroy Israel. These facts are easily
available to even the most desultory of fact checkers, and the fact that
your article overlooked them is inexcusable.
The AP fact checking article characterized Abbas as stating "...the
Palestinians met their peace requirements by recognizing Israel", and
that "...it's not up to them to determine the religious nature of the
State of Israel". The AP fact checkers failed to point out any of the
relevant history surrounding this mendacious claim, namely that refusal
to recognize Israel's right to exist as the nation-state of the Jews has
been a central factor in the continuation of the conflict. Palestinians
have turned down generous peace offers including a state of their own in
2000, 2001, and 2008 precisely because the agreements would have ended
their war against Israel, and would have settled the question of
Palestinian refugees in a manner which would leave Israel intact as a
Jewish state. Arab and Palestinian inability to tolerate the existence
of Israel as a Jewish state has been at the core of attacks on Israel by
the surrounding countries and by Palestinians almost continually since
AP fact checkers are not supposed to be swallowing demonstrably false
reassurances like the ones Abbas offers in English, but are obligated
instead to investigate the underlying realities, including what Abbas
et. al. say to their own population in Arabic about destroying Israel.
This is a fact checking responsibility they repeatedly failed to meet.
Furthermore, the article referred to the Israeli town of Beit El as
having been built on private Palestinian land without permission from
the landowners, yet offered not one single fact to corroborate this
assertion, which was made by an organization, Kerem Navot, which is in
principle opposed to the existence of such towns. Given the complexities
of real estate law in Israel, which is a mixture of Ottoman, Arab,
British, and Israeli statutes, some documentation of this claim would
have been in order.
So this article, despite its title, did precious little actual fact
checking. The AP should correct the errors it contained, and see that
those corrections are published in the newspapers, like The New York
Times, in which the original article was published. The editorial staff
of The New York Times and all other media outlets in which this
collection of pro-Palestinian falsehoods disguised as fact checking
appeared should review their standards as well, as submissions from the
AP regarding Israel obviously cannot be assumed to be valid. Finally the
AP should review its own internal processes in order to improve the
quality control of its own articles related to "facts" about Israel and
the Middle East.
Daniel H. Trigoboff, Ph.D.