Tuesday, January 25, 2011


Intransigence and Bias

A few days ago I heard on the radio (NPR in Pasadena, California) about a wikileak.  The documents leaked revealed details of negotiations between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority a few years ago.  According to the documents, the Palestinian leader had agreed to give up nearly all of Jerusalem, had agreed to letting the (illegal) settlements in the West Bank stand, and so on.  As far as I could tell, this leader was willing to give the Israelis just about everything they asked for.  The Israeli government refused to accept this offer, or even to continue negotiations.  Instead, Israel cut off the negotiation and asserted that the Palestinians were not being partners in the search for peace.

Israeli intransigence I understand and accept as the way things are.  What amazed me was the spin that the radio announcer was giving to this damaging leak.  He (or she?) asserted that the leak would be very damaging to the Palestinian leader!  This leader would find himself in trouble with his own people for being willing to concede so much!

That was the way the story was reported in NPR.  Until then I had considered NPR to be relatively free of bias in the way it presented news.  But here was a story, presumably true because no one denied it, that to me was very damaging to the government of Israel.  Israel has been claiming for many years that the Palestinians do not want peace and are not willing to make any concessions, etc., etc., etc.  The story reveals that it is Israel that has been unwilling to make any concessions or even to accept important concessions from the Palestinians.  The way NPR reported the story reveals a strong pro-Israel bias among its news reporters.

Later on, either the same day or the next day, it was reported, again by NPR, that many governments had reacted to the story by changing their attitudes toward Israel.  That is, they were becoming more inclined to blame Israel for the continuing conflict than before.  In fact, the leak has been damaging to Israel.


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