This afternoon came word of a horrific set of explosions at a hospital in Gaza. Within minutes, Hamas propagandists were not only claiming a death toll of 500 but that an Israeli rocket had targeted and destroyed the hospital. One might perhaps think it prudent to keep one’s powder dry when a terrorist organization claims its enemy did something bad. You would think wrong. Within minutes of that, this was the headline and subhed atop the New York Times: “ISRAEL STRIKE KILLS HUNDREDS AT HOSPITAL, PALESTINIANS SAY. At least 500 dead; Israel urges caution as it investigates.”
Please note it did not read “Missile Strike Kills Hundreds at Hospital; Investigation Ongoing.” The formulation of the headline sentence was designed to make Israel the motive actor, even if the final clause acknowledges it as a Palestinian claim.
Oh, and did the entire gang of moral equivalencers go immediately to work. My favorite, or my least favorite, is of course NGO hustler supreme Kenneth Roth, who is to human rights what Gogol’s Chichikov was to dead souls. He began tweeting and retweeting the claim that Israel had committed this supposed barbarity. Not to be outdone, Rep. Rashida Tlaib, who is to legislating as Joseph Goebbels was to newspapering, stated outright on X that Israel had murdered people at the hospital.
I can’t actually tell if the Times is right that the Israelis ever urged caution, because almost immediately Israeli officials began releasing video footage of a rocket being fired from Gaza hitting the hospital. The Israel Defense Forces quickly judged that the rocket had been fired not by Hamas, but by another Palestinian terrorist cabal aside from Hamas, Palestine Islamic Jihad, which is to terrorism as Hamas is to terrorism, which is to say, evil incarnate. In the minutes that followed, Israel released two more videos making the rocket’s trajectory—toward central Israel but failing to reach it—plain.
Oh, hey, news flash, everybody: The New York Times changed its headline since I started writing this! Now it reads: “Hundreds Dead in Blast at Hospital, Palestinians Say.” But click through and here’s what the story page has at its top: “Israel and Palestinians Blame Each Other for Blast at Gaza Hospital That Killed Hundreds.” The point here is that the media in the United States and elsewhere are desperate—desperate—to blame things on Israel and credulous about doing so in a way that should be shameful to any sense of professionalism—or simple morality—they might possess.
Many decades ago, when Palestinians were massacred by Lebanese militiamen, an Israeli leader was alleged to have muttered, “Goyim kill goyim and they blame the Jews.” For this he was roundly denounced, and obviously, speaking in such terms about a horrible killing spree was, at the very least, inappropriate. But today, unless the IDF is very wrong, we literally have a situation in which Palestinians murdered Palestinians by the hundreds—and they blamed, or tried to blame, the Jews. That’s who they are. So let me ask this: Is this what the New York Times is, too, Mr. Arthur Gregg Sulzberger?