Ronald Scheinberg

The Media

News Stories (and Other Things) that Piqued My Interest

Over the last few weeks, as I have followed developments in the Israel-Hamas war, I have come across large numbers of headlines that were false or misleading on their face, or so absurd that they would be funny if they weren’t so sad. I have winnowed down a compilation for my readers to a number of select examples. Here they are —

  • New York Times, November 18, 2023, “The War Turns Gaza into a ‘Graveyard’ for Children”. This headline came up as the first item on the on-line edition. It is a loaded statement that belongs, if anywhere, on the paper’s Op-Ed page. This is not news. Using this term “graveyard for children” is a character assassination on Israel and is meant to engender feelings of revulsion for the IDF. It begs the idea that children are the target of Israeli military activities, which is not the case. What is more, the article is not balanced. If you want to write about the tragic death of Gazan children, perhaps you might mention that the reason for so much death is because Hamas has embedded themselves in the middle of the civilian population using Gazans as human shields. Shame on the New York Times.[1]
  • Jerusalem Post, November 18, 2023, “IDF Generals Warn: Israeli Soldiers’ Conduct in Gaza Endangers Forces”. This article details some ill-advised activities of IDF soldiers in Gaza. Among the items the article mentions are soccer playing, swimming on the beach and racing vehicles. But the one that caught my eye was this: “Another military official commented on the incident in which an IDF officer was planting a tree [emphasis supplied]: “The officer was summoned to a hearing by his commander following [t]his conduct ….” Can you imagine any other military planting trees in a war zone and then being reprimanded for this activity? Really?
  • New York Times, November 17, 2023, “Israeli Army Takes Journalists on Controlled Visit to Gaza Hospital”. The NYT thought it important to headline the fact that it was a “controlled” visit. Using the word “controlled”, in my [paranoid?] mind, would seem to imply that the IDF might have doctored the scene to present it in a more favorable light. Really?
  • Within Our Lifetime This is the website that published a map of Manhattan, NYC, showing targets for the taking of action by Pro-Palestinian supporters. The map was captioned: “From Palestine to NYC. Globalize the Intifada,” and identified the locations as zones “of direct action.” The sites included Fox News, NBC News, the New York Times [the jokes on them], NYPD stations and countless others. The website took down the map after they were called out for this outrageous call to action [read: violence]. I checked the website to see if I could find this map. While the map wasn’t there, I did read a bit of the screed on this site. Here are some excerpts of what they posted:

“These events [referring to the Hamas attack of October 7th and the ensuing war] have united Palestinians across the occupied territories and in exile, and also sparked a new unity against colonial violence in many parts of the world; from Columbia and Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, Bangladesh and the Philippines, to the Bronx and Bay Ridge in New York City.”

Little did I know that there was anti-colonial activity in Columbia, Mexico, the DR, Bangladesh and the Philippines, let alone the Bronx and Bay Ridge.  I wonder who the colonial powers are in Bay Ridge, let alone any of these other places. The screed continued:

“Although these struggles arise from our specific place in the world, the forces we are fighting against – the creditor class, the landlords, the cops, the prison industry, the teargas manufacturers, the multinational corporations, the mining companies, and the military defense complex – are all interconnected parts of the same oppressive system.”

I am speechless, not quite knowing how to respond to this insanity. Yet, I am mortified that this type of language galvanizes [what Lenin called] “useful idiots” who spread this anti-everything credo which, at the end of the day, targets Jews.

  • Reuters, November 16, 2023, “Florida Sued Over Ban of Pro-Palestinian Student Groups.” This article describes the lawsuit filed by the ACLU against the State of Florida for banning groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP). The article headline, and the article itself, is rather misleading. The groups banned by the State of Florida are not “pro-Palestinian”. Rather, they are pro-Hamas or, at least, advocates of statements such as “From the River to the Sea”, which is an advocacy of the annihilation of Jews in the State of Israel, whether in Tel Aviv or Haifa, Eilat of Jerusalem. I wonder whether the ACLU would defend chapters of the KKK at the University of Florida or the Nazi Party at Florida State University.
  • Reuters, November 16, 2023, “UN Experts point to Evidence of ‘Genocidal Incitement” against Palestinians”. Nowhere in this article is any such evidence cited.
  • Reuters, November 15, 2023, “Hamas command centre, weapons found at Gaza hospital, Israeli military says”. This article generally describes the day’s events in the Gaza war. The article goes at length couching all claims by the IDF of Hamas operations at Al Shifa Hospital as unverified or unsubstantiated yet cites casualty figures supplied by Hamas as reliable: “The Gaza health officials, considered reliable by the United Nations, say about 11,500 Palestinians are now confirmed killed, around 40% of them children, and more are buried under the rubble.” While I have no intention of minimizing the plight of Gazan civilians, this reporting is flawed because: (i) it does not differentiate between Gazan civilians and Hamas terrorists; (ii) the calculation of children killed includes persons under the age of 18, many of whom are likely in the Hamas army; (iii) “Gaza health officials” are members of Hamas who have every reason to inflate these figures;  (iv) that the UN finds these health authorities “reliable” begs the question of whether the UN itself – an organization that emphatically failed to condemn the Hamas massacre –  is a reliable arbiter of what is “reliable”; (v) the numbers cited also include Gazans killed from errant Hamas and PIJ rockets and misfires, as well as Hamas’s killing of civilians who try to flee Israel requested evacuation zones; and (vi) the magnitude of the losses is compounded by the fact that Hamas is embedded in the Gazan population using civilians as human shields without regard to their well-being or safety.

This same article reported that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the World health Organization, told reporters that the Israeli incursion into Al Shifa Hospital was “totally unacceptable” and that “Hospitals are not battlegrounds.” Perhaps he is misdirecting these comments. I would think that Hamas should be the one he should be scolding for using that hospital as a military headquarters.

  • Reuters, November 10, 2023, “Blinken says ‘Far Too Many’ Palestinians killed as Israel Battles Hamas in Gaza.” With all due respect to U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, who is he (and how is he) to determine when any deaths are “too many”? What arbitrary death scale is he using? I would suggest that the deaths of any innocents is “too many”.
  • Reuters, October 26, 2023, “Turkey’s Erdogan says Hamas is not a Terror Organization, Cancels Trip to Israel”. The article goes on to say that Erdogan stated that “Hamas was not a terrorist organization but a liberation group fighting to protect Palestinian lands.” Might we say, then, to Mr. Erdogan that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) fighting for Kurdish rights in what has historically been the Kurdish homeland in eastern Turkey is likewise a liberation group – and not the terrorist group that Erdogan has been trying to quash for decades?
  • Reuters, November 9, 2023, “Turkey Ready to assume guarantor role to resolve crisis in Gaza”. This was announced by President Erdogan of Turkey at a summit of Economic Cooperation Organization when he met with President Raisi of Iran. Pray tell, why would Israel EVER accept any kind of guarantee from this man who condemns Israeli actions against Hamas in Gaza as genocidal and calls Israel a “terrorist state”.
  • Reuters, November 13, 2023, “Shots Fired at Jewish School in Canada again, amid tensions over Overseas Conflict”. This headline blames the shooting at a Jewish school in Montreal on “tensions”. This word implies that there are two sides at odd over something that precipitated the event. I beg to differ. There is no “tension” from the Jewish students at the school over any particular issue. Rather, it is plain and simple antisemitism that precipitated the attack.
  • New York Times, November 13, 2023, “Biden Calls for ‘Less Intrusive Action’ around Gaza’s hospitals as Israeli Forces Close In.” With all due respect to U.S. President Biden, the rules of war allow for intrusion when the enemy is embedded in hospitals. When Israel is rooting out Hamas terrorists, it is not easy to be “less intrusive”. Perhaps Hamas should be scolded for being embedded in the hospitals in the first place.
  • Reuters, November 14, 2023, “Israeli Forces Kill Eight Palestinians in West Bank – Medics”. The article goes on to say that seven of the eight were killed in a firefight with Israeli forces. That is certainly not what I read from this headline.
  • Fox News, November 15, 2023, “White House Says Hamas is Violating Rules of War by Having its HQ in a Hospital”. Why would the White House limit this rule violation to having military headquarters in a hospital? Hamas has violated “rules of war” on so many levels that singling out this particular item is farcical. Why not mention: intentional targeting of civilians, whether by rocket fire or massacres; taking civilian hostages; embedding military activity in schools, mosques and residential areas; using civilians as human shields; and raping and torturing of civilians.
  • Reuters, November 16, 2023, “Russia Concerned About IDF Raids on West Bank – Foreign Minister”. This headline speaks for itself. Really?

[1] Mah nishtanah.

About the Author
Brown University, BA 1980 Harvard Law School, JD, 1983 Commercial Aircraft Finance Lawyer Author: The Commercial Aircraft Finance Handbook (2nd ed., 2019)