NY Times removes quotation marks from Israeli ‘occupation’


(JTA) — The New York Times removed quotation marks originally used around “occupation” in one of its news stories.

The word appears in the phrase “Israel’s occupation of the West Bank and Gaza” in the article published Wednesday about the Bernie Sanders-led push to change the Democratic Party’s stance on Israel.

The quotation marks were removed Thursday. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald had criticized the Times’ use of the quotation marks as “abject cowardice” Thursday morning.

“This is journalistic malfeasance at its worst: refusing to describe the world truthfully out of fear of the negative reaction by influential factions,” Greenwald wrote in an article on The Intercept.

The Times did not add an editor’s note to the article or offer an explanation. The print version of the article published in the A1 section of the Times’ Thursday includes the quotation marks.

The article — titled “A Split Over Israel Threatens the Democrats’ Hopes for Unity” and written by Jason Horowitz and Maggie Haberman — reports on the effort by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and his representatives to “upend what they see as the party’s lopsided support of Israel.”

Other journalists who are left-wing on Israel, including AlterNet contributor Adam H. Johnson and +972 magazine contributor Noam Sheizaf, seconded Greenwald’s criticism Thursday.

News articles in the Times, however, regularly use the term “occupation,” without quotes, to refer to Israel’s presence in the West Bank, as recently as May 24:

Israeli officials estimate that a few dozen hilltop youth are responsible for the most violent acts on the West Bank. But Dror Etkes, who runs Kerem Navot, a human rights organization that opposes the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, said that there were about 100 far-flung outposts in the West Bank, with “many hundreds” of residents, and that large numbers of them participate in arson and vandalism of mosques, churches and olive groves.

The word also appeared in this article from May 16:

Mustafa Bargouthi, head of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a nonprofit organization, said that the list of institutions struggling under occupation and other difficulties is lengthy. Among the groups that have suffered, Mr. Bargouthi said, are the Palestine National Orchestra, the Popular Art Center in Ramallah, dance groups across the West Bank, and road, agricultural and medical projects.

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