Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Facebook Deleted This ... and threatened to cancel me

I sent the letter below to the Associated Press with the subject August 29 article "Palestinian toll mounts as Israel steps up West Bank raids" and posted it to the AP Monitor Facebook group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/apmonitor) with the introduction consisting of what I wrote in this paragraph up until the word "and."

Within a few minutes, while checking for a friend's post on Facebook, I saw a warning that my post had been censored for either violating community standards or being spam (neither made any sense to me) and threatening me with exile if I repeated such offensive behavior.

And then, as soon as I clicked on a box to appeal, expecting to then get a way of explaining why, everything vanished.

(Plug: Check out the AP Monitor group. Join it. Participate it. Spread the word. Fight the pervasive anti-Israel bias.)

This is the letter I sent to the (systemically anti-Israel) Associated Press:

Dear Editor, Mr. Daniszewski and Mr. Krauss:

The absurdities in the August 29 article "Palestinian toll mounts as Israel steps up West Bank raids" (https://apnews.com/article/middle-east-israel-west-bank-ac683a6fbb4f2893ecdf1b1bbe1362ef) begins with the very first sentence, which misleadingly implies that Israel killed at least 85 Palestinian Arabs in its counterterrorism actions in the Palestinian Authority, an implication contradicted by the very next paragraph, which notes (a) the figure comes from the Palestinian Authority, a notoriously unreliable source and, more importantly, (b) it includes terrorists who were killed inside Israel in the course of carrying out terror attacks.

The third paragraph refers to Abu Akleh (without using her name), an unnamed lawyer, and local youths getting killed and implies they were killed by Israeli actions, although that's far from certain and, if one actually analyzes what was written, the youths who were killed were probably engaged in violence at the time.

The fourth paragraph repeats the lie that the nearly three million Palestinian Arabs who have self-government "live under a decades-long occupation." I somehow doubt the Associated Press would write that Canadians live under an occupation were the following to occur, something clearly almost impossible to conceive since, unlike the Palestinian Arabs, Canadians are relatively peaceful: The Canadian government harbors terror groups and rewards terrorists for murdering American citizens. This forces the American government to repeatedly enter Canadian territory to capture terrorists who have murdered Americans and also to prevent additional terror attacks. This is analogous to what Israel has been forced to do in the Palestinian Authority governed territories, but, as I wrote, I doubt that in such a case the Associated Press would repeatedly refer to Canada as being occupied by the United States.

Later in the article, referring to Abu Akleh and an unnamed 58-year-old-man, states "The Israeli military says both might have been hit by Palestinian gunfire but has not provided evidence to substantiate its claims." This is clearly biased, deliberately casting doubt on the information from the Israeli military and cleverly omitting the fact that there is no evidence to contradict those very reasonable and sober Israeli statements.

Abu Akleh is referred to a third time a few paragraphs later, and refers to supposedly but hardly "independent" investigations concluding that her death was likely caused by Israeli fire, without mentioning that those investigations all relied on highly unreliable sources who would be in danger if they said anything to suggest the bullet that hit her came from one of the Arab terrorists in Jenin.

The article later refers to so-called "rights groups," and quotes Ori Givati of Breaking the Silence, but fails to mention the heavy financing of those groups by anti-Israel NGOs and governments which implicitly and sometimes explicitly condition funding on creating reports demonizing Israel.

The section regarding the death of Salah Sawafta was effectively self-contradictory. On the one hand referring to her being killed as Israeli counter-terror forces (of course, the AP never refers to them that way) being engaged in a firefight with Palestinian Arab terrorists, euphemistically referred to as "gunmen." On the other hand, it quotes an alleged witness saying there were no Arab "gunmen" or "stone-throwers" in the area.

The article also contained the following boilerplate Associated Press use of biased and loaded language, false or incorrect information, misleading terminology and statements to the same effect:

Militant. The Associated Press almost always uses euphemisms whenever reporting on terrorism related to terrorism against Israel. Palestinian and other Arab terror groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah, Fatah and the PLO are referred to as "militant" and terrorists are referred to by terms such as "militants" or "assailants."

Occupation. The Associated Press incorrectly refers to disputed territories as "occupied." Legally, there has never been an Israeli "occupation," since under international law all the disputed territories fell within Israel's legal borders upon its declaration of independence in 1948. In practical terms, even what had incorrectly been called "occupation" after 1967 ended with the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in the early 1990s.

Palestinians. The Associated Press fails to mention that Palestinian is an identity assumed only relatively recently, in the 1960s, by the Arabs living in Palestine. It fails to mention that prior to the creation of the modern state of Israel, it was the Jews who were referred to as Palestinians.

Peace Talks. The Associated Press frequently refers to peace talks being stalled, or being stalled since 2014, but by leaving out context falsely implies Israel and the Palestinian Arabs share blame. It does not mention that Mahmoud Abbas walked out after being offered the equivalent of all the disputed territories - as he himself has acknowledged - back in 2008 and, for all practical purposes, has refused to negotiate seriously ever since. Nor does the Associated Press ever mention that Abbas' foreign minister announced in February, 2016, that the Palestinian Authority would never again negotiate directly with Israel.

"The Palestinians seek the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Mideast war, for a future state." The Associated Press routinely includes statements along these lines. This is an expression of an opinion, making it inappropriate for a news article. It also flies in the face of the fact that the Palestinian Arabs have repeatedly been offered virtually all of that, including 2000, 2001, 2008 and reportedly 2014, and chose not establish their own state in that territory. It also fails to mention that the PLO itself proclaims, in its own charter, that it has no claim to any of those areas! It ignores the fact that almost all of Gaza was turned over to the Palestinian Arabs in 1995 and turned over the rest of Gaza in 2005. It refers to the portion of Israel's capital that had been occupied by Jordan from 1948-1967 as if it were a separate city.

West Bank. The Associated Press invariably refers to the heartland of the Jewish homeland by the name given to it by Jordan when that state invaded Israel in 1948 and militarily captured Judea, Samaria and portions of Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount and the rest of the Old City. It never refers to it by its historical names, never mentions that "West Bank" implicitly refers to a portion of Palestine to the west of the Jordan River in contrast to the portion on the east bank, that is, Jordan, which comprises 77-78% of Palestine.

It remains curious that the Associated Press repeatedly writes sympathetically about Palestinian Arabs who got killed during Israeli counter-terror operations, but not about the innocent Israeli civilians who get murdered by Palestinian Arab terrorists.


Alan Stein