Saturday, November 14, 2009

Letter to the Times

Dear Mr. Clark Hoyt, Public Editor of The New York Times,

I write in connection to a series of articles published in The New York Times in recent weeks regarding the Report of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, colloquially referred to as the GoldstoneReport. I am deeply concerned by the subjective and often damning language that The New York Times uses towards Israel as it fails to accurately reflectthe nature and scope of the report.

Over and over, The New York Times’ articles on this matter employ languagethat easily leads the reader to believe that the Goldstone Report foundconclusive evidence that Israel committed war crimes. In Neil MacFarquhar’s“U.N. Council Endorses Gaza Report” (Oct. 16), the article statesthat the Goldstone Report “details evidence of war crimes committed by the Israeli Army...” In Sharon Otterman’s “Gaza Report Author Asks U.S. to Clarify Concerns” (Oct. 22), the Goldstone Report is describedas having “found evidence of war crimes committed by Israel...” In yetanother example --MacFarquhar and Otterman’s “Palestinians, in Reversal, Press U.N. Gaza Report” (Oct. 14) -- the Goldstone Report is once againdescribed as having “found evidence of Israeli war crimes...” These articles reflect only a sample of the many that discuss Israel vis-à-visthe Goldstone Report in conclusive and condemnatory terms.

In stark contrast, a Reuters article carried by The New York Times on Oct. 14,“Israel Urged to Investigate Gaza War Crimes Charges,” describes theGoldstone Report as reflecting “U.N. allegations of possible war crimes.”The description offered by the Reuters piece is a critical component of anyfactually accurate discussion of the Goldstone Report. In sharp contrast,the aforementioned Times articles fail to reflect this vital distinctionas readers will falsely assume that the Goldstone Report found conclusiveevidence of Israeli war crimes.I wish to reiterate Israel’s position that the Goldstone Report is deeply flawed and one-sided as it offers legitimacy to Hamas terrorism and its deliberate strategy to launch attacks, store weapons and use as shieldsthe civilian population and infrastructure of Gaza. At the same time, the report’s mandate predetermined its findings that wrongly condemned Israel’s legitimate exercise of its right to self-defense. The tendency of The New York Times to gloss over such realities must be rectified andI sincerely hope that paper will use accurate and appropriate language toensure that its coverage of the Goldstone Report and the wide Middle Eastis fair and honest.

I remain at your disposal if you would like to further discuss this matter.

Yours truly,

Mirit Cohen, Spokesperson, Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN

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