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

by Aug 18, 2013Foreign Policy6 comments

New York Times reporter Isabel Kershner

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.
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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About Jeremy R. Hammond

About Jeremy R. Hammond

I am an independent journalist, political analyst, publisher and editor of Foreign Policy Journal, book author, and writing coach.

My writings empower readers with the knowledge they need to see through state propaganda intended to manufacture their consent for criminal government policies.

By recognizing when we are being lied to and why, we can fight effectively for liberty, peace, and justice, in order to create a better world for ourselves, our children, and future generations of humanity.

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  1. jail the banksters

    When I read your articles, I’m so glad It is still possible to find independent and investigative journalism. I am also so astonished to find among those big newspapers like the NYT subjective and misshapen articles.I don’t think it’s a lack of interest and lack of reason like Tom Fenton ( that leads to complete disinformation in the israel-palestinian conflict. It’s getting very frustrating though when you care about these people for many years and the situation is only getting worse…

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Thank you. It’s always great to hear encouragement for what I do. It requires a lot of sacrifice.

      I share your frustration!

  2. An Appreciated Guest!

    I was reading recently an article published in the NYtimes and titled “Attack on Israeli Worsens Tensions With Palestinians” by Isabel Kershner. I’m don’t care about politics. However, when I read this by a coincident I didn’t feel good about the writer and asked my self why NYtimes give a space for such a racist writer? That’s made me search about her when its led me to this page. Thank you for this clarification.

    • Jeremy R. Hammond

      Your welcome! I have a forthcoming book you might be interested in that discusses the role of the mainstream media, and particularly the New York Times and Kershner and Ethan Bronner, in issuing what amounts to propaganda designed to manufacture consent for the US policy of supporting Israel’s criminal policies against the Palestinians. Subscribe to my newsletter for updates and inside looks at the book.

      • Dan P.

        you are so full of it. In all the years of their so-called negotiations, the Pals have never given an inch, never made a single concession. They demanded the release of convicted murderers in order even to come to the table with the full backing of the US government. And you criticize Israel? For what? For making concession after concession because of the Obama blackmail? For refusing to have the Jewish state dismantled as the Pals want? For what, you hypocritic nitwit?

      • Jeremy R. Hammond

        What do I criticize Israel for? For demanding that the Palestinians make even more territorial concessions than they already have and attempting to achieve acquiescence to its demands through the use of force. For its brutal military occupation of Palestine and violation of Palestinians’ human rights (including the illegal abduction and removal of Palestinians, including children, from Palestine to prisons in Israel). For constructing settlements and the separation wall in Palestine in violation of international law and Palestinians’ rights. For its collective punishment of the civilian population of Gaza. For its violence and murder of Palestinians, including women and children.

        Shall I go on?

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