Isabel Kershner’s Anti-Palestinian Bias Evident In Her Use of Euphemisms

New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner

New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner

Last week, the New York Times’ Isabel Kershner reported:

Israel published bids on Sunday for the construction of more than 1,000 housing units in contested East Jerusalem and several large West Bank settlements.

Further down the page, she wrote:

Much of the world views the settlements — in territory that Israel seized from Jordan during the 1967 war, and where the Palestinians envision their future state — as a violation of international law.

It is important to understand that when Kershner says East Jerusalem is “contested”, she does not mean that both Israel and the Palestinians have valid legal claims to this part of the city. Rather, she is using the word euphemistically to mean that Israel has illegally attempted to annex it, which action the U.N. Security Council has repeatedly deemed “illegal, null, and void” under international law.

Similarly, her use of “Much of the world” here is Kershner’s and the Times‘ standard euphemistic phrase meaning every nation on the planet except Israel itself. There is not a country on Earth that rejects the international consensus that all of the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is “occupied Palestinian territory” and that Israel’s settlements there are constructed in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Kershner quoted Israeli housing minister Uri Ariel:

“No country in the world accepts dictates from other countries about where it is allowed to build and where not,” Mr. Ariel said in a statement, referring to international criticism of Israel’s continuing efforts to build up the settlements.

Kershner declined to comment on the false assumption behind Mr. Ariel’s statement, that the areas in the West Bank and East Jerusalem where the building is occurring belong to Israel. Kershner also quoted Israeli spokesperson Mark Regev saying:

“The construction decided upon today in Jerusalem and in the settlement blocs is in areas that will remain part of Israel in any possible future peace agreement. This in no way changes the final map of peace. It changes nothing.”

This is what Israel means by demanding that the Palestinians negotiate “without preconditions”: that they must agree to Israel’s preconditions to accept a framework for talks that rejects any application of international law and to accept the continued colonization of their land that prejudices the outcome of any such negotiations. This is the framework Kershner and the Times attempt to legitimize with their euphemisms, thus to manufacture consent for the U.S. policy of supporting Israel’s crimes and rejecting the right of the Palestinians to self-determination.

Incidentally, Kershner’s husband, Hirsh Goodman, works for the for National Security Studies (INSS), a think-tank whose purpose is essentially to produce pro-Israel propaganda. But the Times editors see no conflict of interest with this.

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