Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Willy Pete and the paper of record

Ah, there it is. They tried to hide it, but today’s New York Times does mention Amnesty International’s report that the white phosphorus which Israel used to burn Palestinians last month was supplied by the United States. And when I say the NYT “mentions” it, what I mean is that they stuck it ten paragraphs into a story on page A7 entitled “Netanyahu Rebuffed Again in Efforts to Form Coalition,” and then said only
In a separate development, Amnesty International issued a report on Monday accusing Israel and Hamas of misusing foreign-supplied weapons to “attack civilians” during the recent 22-day Gaza war.

Amnesty called on the United Nations to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on both parties, and it urged the Obama administration to suspend American military aid to Israel.
Sort of kinda neglects to mention little details like what sort of weapons we’re talking about and which foreigners supplied them (there are plates with serial numbers and “manufactured in the United States” on the shells).

The WaPo mentions the Amnesty report in paragraph 9 of an AP story about Olmert firing his own negotiator. Here’s what it says: “Also Monday, a statement by the human rights group Amnesty International called on the United States to stop supplying Israel with arms that the group said were used in the killing of civilians in Gaza.” The words “white phosphorus” appear nowhere (and the LAT seems to skip the story altogether). We do get Israel’s response that the report is “unbalanced” (im fact, it does also condemn Hamas attacks on civilians and castigates its foreign suppliers, calling, as the NYT said, for an arms embargo on both sides) and ignores “the basic fact that Hamas is a terror organization”.

Compare this with the Guardian and the London Times, which seem to take chemical warfare (and American complicity) rather more seriously than the American press.

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