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NY Times & Ethan Bronner ignore Israeli killing of Egyptians

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The New York Times front-page story on Egyptian protests against the Israeli embassy largely neglected a primary cause of the anger: Israeli forces' killing of Egyptians. Egyptian outrage over these deaths grew even greater when Israel's defense minister Ehud Barak refused to apologize.

The story was co-written by Ethan Bronner, who is the Times' Jerusalem Bureau Chief and is based in Israel, not Egypt. The Times failed, as always, to disclose that Bronner's son is in the Israeli military (and that Mr. Bronner is living in a house Israel confiscated from Palestinians).

Only in the third-to-last paragraph of the article, which emphasized Israeli victimization, did the Times mention that an "episode" that may be related to the Egyptian protests is the "accidental Israeli shooting of at least three Egyptian soldiers inside their territory..."

The Times failed to report that the Egyptians were not just shot, they were killed; that most reports have called the victims policemen or security personnel (i.e. civilians), not soldiers; and that the number is six, not three.*

It is noteworthy that the Times' didn't bother to find out  the number of Egyptians killed, content with simply saying "at least." Three weeks after the deaths, the precise number should not have been difficult to ascertain. It is hard to imagine Mr. Bronner being so blithe about Israeli deaths, which the Times covers at disproportionately high rates.

The Times provided no information about these Egyptian deaths: there are no names, no interviews with grieving families, no descriptions of their agony, no photographs. Their killing was simply called "accidental;" an adjective it is difficult to recall Mr. Bronner ever using to describe the deaths of Israelis.

The Times also failed to include the fact that Israeli forces then killed 14 Gazans, including two toddlers and a 13-year old (and injured at least 50), whom they chose to hold responsible for a lethal border attack by unknown gunmen against Israel, and that in the past two weeks Israeli air strikes have killed 9 more Palestinians, including a 13-year-old. In the past few days Israeli forces had abducted at least 5 Palestinians, fired on non-violent protesters in Palestinian villages, and demolished Palestinian homes, wells, and agricultural land.

Such Israeli actions have long outraged Egyptians living next door. However, thanks to such filtered reporting by the Times and others, Americans almost never learn of them. Instead, we just hear about Israel, which has the third to fifth most powerful military in the world, once again being victimized by attackers.

Since the Times' also almost never reports that Americans are Israel's number one funder, giving more US tax money to Israel than to any other country, despite Israel's wealth and diminutive size, many Americans fail to understand the growing hostility against the US created by our tax money to Israel.

While we remember September 11th, we need to learn about the fundamental source of anger against the US. But don't look to the New York Times to tell us.


* The number of Egyptians killed in the August 18th incident was originally five. On Sept 10th another person who had been shot by Israeli forces died, Emad Abdel Malak, bringing the total to six.

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Executive Director of If Americans Knew-- and President of Council for the National Interest
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