In previous TOI posts, I have expressed my disappointment with the NYTimes and its Jerusalem head, Jodi Ruderon. Now this disappointment has evolved into dismay. What I have witnessed is a continuing unwillingness to condemn the terrorist organization, Hamas. The NYTimes seems to ignore Hamas’s deep seated hatred of Jews, its willingness to target civilians, and its goal of eliminating Israel. While in its coverage of Afghanistan, it used that term, terrorism, Hamas is simply an Islamic faction.
In the current conflict, the NYTimes has gone to great lengths to view Hamas’s military actions in the most favorable light. Prior to the invasion, Rudoren attempted to show the similarity of Israeli and Hamas intensions. She wrote:
A simple return to the status quo, a “quiet for quiet” deal, no longer seems sufficient. Not for Hamas, the isolated Islamist faction that dominates Gaza and is desperate for economic relief for the coastal territory’s 1.7 million residents. And not for Israel, where there are growing calls for an international effort to disarm the Gaza militants or for Israel’s military to seize control of the area.
Only later in the article does she note that Israel accepted the Egyptian proposal to end hostilities while Hamas did not. Almost immediately, however, Rudoren chose Nathan Thrall to assert that the Egyptian proposal was a façade to aid Israel. “Egypt helped its ally, Israel, achieve a face-saving unilateral cease-fire — that’s what happened,” Mr. Thrall said. “We had an Israeli unilateral cease-fire to which Hamas never agreed, and Egypt helped Israel market it.”
Indeed, to make clear the paper’s desire to put forward an apologist position for Hamas, it selected Thrall to provide an op-ed essay a few days later. In it, he blamed the West for forcing Hamas into its course of action. Thrall wrote that Hamas compromised with the PA for the sake of the welfare of the Gaza populous: “Seeing a region swept by popular protests against leaders who couldn’t provide for their citizens’ basic needs, Hamas opted to give up official control of Gaza rather than risk being overthrown.” And what were Israel and the West’s response: to tighten the restrictions place on Gaza. Thus, just as Ruderon claimed in her article, it was concern for the economic wellbeing of Gazans that forced Hamas to act militarily.
Nowhere does the NYTimes mention that if the wellbeing of Gazans was paramount, all Hamas had to do was accept an Israeli state and renounce violence in the settling of disputes. In response to this declaration, billions of dollars of economic development aid would be showered on Gazans. Even more troubling is the NYTimes unwillingness to associate Hamas with evil. As Daniel Gordis has noted,
What’s missing … is the simple ability to call Israel’s enemies “evil.” What’s missing is any recognition that Article XIII of Hamas’s charter says, explicitly, that “[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions… are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad.” … The conflict with Hamas is the result of occupation? How about Article XXXII of their charter: “Leaving the circle of conflict with Israel is a major act of treason and it will bring curse on its perpetrators.”
Is there something heartbreaking about watching Gazans flee the northern part of the Strip, sleeping in shelters further to the south, not knowing if their homes will be standing when they return? One would have to have a heart of stone not to be pained. Yet why were they fleeing? Because Hamas’s leaders built shelters for themselves, not for simple Gazan citizens. They fled because Hamas took building materials that Israel sent into Gaza, and instead of building houses built kilometers of tunnels, deep underground, designed for future attacks on Israel.
Why won’t the NYTimes state the obvious: Hamas is a terrorist organization that puts its political goal of destroying Israel ahead of the welfare of Gazans.