The New York Times Won't Let Mahmoud Abbas Have His YOLO Moment

Mahmoud Abbas
Mahmoud Abbas / Getty Images
January 15, 2018

You're the president of the Palestinian Authority, a darling of the western left and western media, but largely powerless in your own back yard. You're 82 years old, in the 12th year of a four-year term, and many people are no longer taking you very seriously because your great patron and promoter, Barack Obama, is no longer President of the United States.

You know it's over, everyone knows it's over. Why bother keeping up appearances? Not that you tried very hard in the past. Back then, you made sly references to your belief, for example, that Jewish history in Israel and Jerusalem are fabrications of Zionism. But now you feel liberated to say what you really believe.

So you call a meeting of the Palestine Liberation Organization. You have a list of things to get off your chest. You have 400 years of alternative history to expound. The media is there to report everything you say. You held it all in for a decade, and you had to, because Obama couldn't stop talking about how you're a great man of peace and how much he loathes the Israelis. You were being a friend by not pointing out that the Jews were poisoning the drinking water in Palestine and getting young Palestinians hooked on drugs.

But now you can get into all that. It's time to go YOLO, Palestine style. And still, the New York Times won't tell the world what you have to say.

Abbas, the Times reports, "stopped well short of embracing an alternative to a two-state solution." "Mr. Abbas said nothing about abandoning it," the reporter, David Halbfinger, adds editorially. Not only was Abbas promoting peace, "he also shied away from urging the kind of provocative acts," like ending security cooperation with Israel, that would "shake officials in Jerusalem and Washington." In fact, Abbas "reaffirmed his commitment to nonviolence and stopping terrorism, [and] seemed to hold out hope of a return to negotiations." The Times did allow a discordant note into its report, quoting Abbas saying that Zionism "is a colonial enterprise that has nothing to do with Jewishness."

But much to Abbas's annoyance, one imagines, the Times left out all the good stuff–the rank anti-Semitism, the crazed conspiracy theorizing, the threats of violence, the glorification of terrorists. The Times never got the YOLO memo, and is still working off an Obama administration-era script.

Abbas called Trump's Middle East peace plan, yet to be released, "a slap in the face" to which Palestinians "will slap back." He called the U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, "an offensive human being, and I will not agree to meet with him anywhere." As for Nikki Haley, who once joked that she wears heels at the United Nations not as a fashion statement but in order to kick back at the endless attacks on Israel, Abbas said: "She threatens to hit people who hurt Israel with the heel of her shoe, and we'll respond in the same way." As for Trump, Abbas used a popular Arabic curse: "May your house come to ruin!"

Also, "Israel has imported frightening amounts of drugs in order to destroy our younger generation."

Much of the speech was consumed with a lengthy exposition of a multi-century global conspiracy between Europeans, British, Americans, and Jews to steal Palestinian land. "The issue did not start a hundred years ago. It started much earlier in 1653 when Cromwell ruled Britain," Centuries later, he said, Europe "asked the Dutch, who had the largest fleet in on earth, to transport the Jews" to the Middle East.

As for today, "we continue to demand an apology from the British for the Balfour Declaration," which was issued in 1917.

Abbas wrapped up the speech by honoring terrorists. On the matter of the PA's payments to terrorists and their families--the target of the Taylor Force Act in the U.S. Congress--he said, "we refuse to cut these salaries categorically. We will not allow anyone to harm the salaries of the families of the martyrs, the wounded and the prisoners. They are our sons and we will continue to pay them."

He added, "we pay tribute to all our martyrs, the martyrs and the martyrs of all of us, but today is the anniversary of the martyrdom of Abu Iyad Abu Al-Houl." Abu Iyad was the founder of the notorious Black September terrorist group, mastermind of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics in 1972, and a year later, of the murder of two American diplomats in Khartoum. Abu Iyad, a true Palestinian hero.

That Abbas called out a terrorist for special recognition and honor is important in understanding his mentality and that of Palestinian politics. That the New York Times ignored this detail and so many like it, is important to understanding the mentality of contemporary western liberalism. Mahmoud Abbas is tired of pretending and wants to tell the world what he really thinks. The New York Times won't let him.

Published under: Mahmoud Abbas