Clifford Rieders

The Associated Press Falls Off the Rails

In recent days, the Associated Press has undertaken an unprecedented campaign of falsification against the State of Israel.  The Associated Press has a long history of an organization simply supplying the facts, with the readers drawing their own conclusion.  The Associated Press, along with many other organizations, has now become a partisan and its articles frequently read like opinion essays.

Yellow journalism has a long history.  In the early part of this republic, the Federalists had their press and the anti-federalists had journalists who supported them.  The barbs and accusations traded back and forth were stunning.  Jefferson’s friends in the press accused Washington and Adams of being agents of the British and Washington as senile.  The federalist press accused Jefferson of wanting to bring the guillotine to America.  The articles promulgated by both sides were frequently devoid of any truthful facts.

In the early part of the 20th century, the concept of “journalist standards” was hatched.  Unfortunately, many of the graduates of journalist schools in that time frame were products of the socialist matrix that was beginning to dominate Western society.

It would be complete fraud to suggest that the press was ever objective, and certainly in the case of Israel it has not been.  Newspapers like The New York Times have been plagued by anti-Semitic cartoons and false information that has stained that newspaper’s reputation.

The Associated Press has attempted to portray Palestinian-Arabs as a group ruled over by Israel against their will and without any form of government.

All the land from present-day Jordan to the Mediterranean was given to the Jewish people as the Jewish national homeland.  This was more or less consistent with Israel from biblical times through 1919.  When the Romans crushed the last Jewish revolt by Bar Kokhba in approximately 125 of the Common Era, they changed the name of the land to what is currently known in English as “Palestine.”  This was done in order to degrade the Jews by naming the land after the Philistines, the arch-enemy of the Jewish people, well-known from the Sampson story.

The Ottoman Turks ruled ancient Israel without trying to divide it up between people of different origin.  When the allies, with a great deal of help from the Jewish people, defeated the Germans and the Turks in World War I, the assumption was that the Jewish homeland would encompass its traditional territory.

Jordan was first lopped off and given to a minority called the Hashemites.  The Hashemites’ King Hussein still ruled the Palestinian-Muslim majority in Jordan.  Less than 10% of the people are Hashemites, and the remaining 90% comprise Palestinian-Muslim-Arabs.

When the United Nations, after World War II, decided to partition what remained of Palestine, they gave part of the land to the same Muslim-Palestinian-Arabs who lived in Jordan and part of the land to the Jews.  This essentially split a tiny piece of territory between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean between two peoples, notwithstanding that Palestinian-Arabs had already been given the land of Jordan, albeit under the thumb of the Hashemite kingdom.

Jordan was part of the attempt to annihilate Israel in 1948 and to “drive the Jewish people into the sea.”  The Arabs almost succeeded, and Jordan illegally occupied what the West calls the West Bank, and what Jews call Judea/Samaria, illegally from 1948 until it was liberated by Israel in 1967.  During that period of time, no one complained that another second Muslim-Palestinian country should be created on the West Bank of the Jordan River in Judea and Samaria.

Memories are short, but in 1967 the Jews were welcomed as liberators in Hebron, Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah, Jenin and the other Palestinian cities on the West Bank of the Jordan River.  Finally, the oppression of the Jordanians had been lifted, and the Israelis came in to build sewers, schools, and a real infrastructure.  I was in Israel only recently and told by a family from Bethlehem that they “prayed” for the return of the Israelis.

In 1995, Bill Clinton, with great fanfare through Oslo Accords helped to create the Palestinian Authority.  The Palestinian Authority, which was to rule Judea-Samaria (the West Bank) was headed by the despot Yasir Arafat, and currently by Mahmoud Abbas.  There has only been one election in the West Bank, and there will never be another.  The government of the Palestinian Authority which rules the Palestinians and 90% of the area where they live is corrupt and though it receives one of the largest amounts of foreign aid on the planet, does not use that money to better the lives of the people.  In Gaza, which had one election and elected the terrorist organization Hamas, the hundreds of thousands of tons of concrete that has been shipped in for schools and hospitals was used to build terror attack tunnels.

Israelis living on “settlements,” which is the English translation of the Hebrew for communities, are living on land that is not owned or occupied by anyone else.  It is not even disputed land, although organizations such as the UN was dominated by third world Muslim countries would argue otherwise.  To them, any Jew or Christian in the Middle East is an illegal occupier.

The term “1967 borders” is frequently referred to by politicians and the enemies of the Jewish State.  There are no 1967 borders and there never were.  What there is is the 1948 Armistice line representing the area that the Jordanians illegally occupied in 1948 when their simple aim was to kill Jews.  That Armistice line is not, was not and should never be a sustainable border for the State of Israel.  It is a suicide line.  Politicians in the United States who advocate “return” to the “1967 borders” are not telling the voters the truth about history and have not the slightest regard for the safety or security of the State of Israel.

The nation of Israel is approximately 24% of Arabs, who vote in its elections and occupy every level of society in close percentages to their numbers in the population.  Twenty-four percent (24%) of the Knesset, the parliament, are occupied by Arabs who are as critical of the State as they wish and who know more freedom than anywhere in the Arab world.  The absolute and unarguable reality is that the Arabs in the Israeli towns and cities, whether Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Eilat, Haifa, Akko are the freest Arabs in the world, including the United States of America.  I have walked the streets of every one of those cities, and I have been on the public transportation.  I see buses and trains full of every type, color, size and gender of people with little or no noticeable police presence.  It would be marvelous if we had such a situation in our own country.

If I wanted to walk in any city governed by the Palestinian Authority as a professed Jew, my life would be in danger.  If I wanted to go to a city governed by the Palestinian Authority as an American with a political agenda, I would be welcome as a friend.  No Jews can live in the areas governed by the Palestinian Authority, and those Arabs who live under that totally corrupt regime who would sell or lease property to Israelis or Jews face imminent death threats.

In the AP articles, frequent reference is made to the fact that the Arabs governed by the Palestinian Authority do business with Israelis, travel through Israel, and, for the most part, do not have hostility for the Jews.  That is remarkable, given that Palestinian Authority textbooks are full of anti-Semitic references drawn from the Middle Ages.  It is even more amazing, based upon the fact that the Palestinian Authority brags about paying money to families of those who murder Israeli men, women, children, soldiers and foreigners alike.

It is time for organizations like the Associated Press to account for their deliberate attempt to misstate the truth.  Those Muslim-Arabs living on the West Bank of the Jordan River must and should have a legitimate government that can do business with the rest of the world in a reasonable manner.  Israel has not only a right, but a responsibility to its citizens to assure safety and security within the confines of its ancient homeland.  When Mahmoud Abbas and his henchmen provide democracy to their own people and an outstretched hand for peace to the Israelis, there will be nothing further for the Associated Press to complain about.

When journalists forego their own narrative based upon sociopolitical causes which they embrace, the public can be properly informed and make their own decisions.  The truth, sooner or later, will out.

Cliff Rieders is a Board-Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.  None of the opinions expressed necessarily represent the views of these organizations.

About the Author
Cliff Rieders is a Board Certified Trial Advocate in Williamsport, is Past President of the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association and a past member of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority.
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