The Daily Smear

Family of ‘Righteous Gentile’ featured in NYT story was hosting Hamas terrorist

• August 20, 2014 4:59 am


The family of a Righteous-Gentile-turned-Israel-critic who was featured in a laudatory New York Times article failed to mention that a Hamas operative was in the family’s home at the time of an Israeli military strike, according to publicly available information not mentioned by the Times.

The Times on Friday ran a front-page profile on Henk Zanoli, who was awarded a medal by Israel for his family’s efforts to save a Jewish family during the Holocaust. Zanoli recently opted to return his medal to Israel to protest an Israeli airstrike on a home in Gaza that killed six of his relatives by marriage, the Times reported.

Not mentioned by Zanoli or the Times reporters is publicly available information published by a left-wing Israeli human rights group showing that a Hamas operative and member of the terror group’s militant wing was in the home at the time of the strike.

The Aug. 15 profile of Zanoli—who was quoted saying that "none of his family members were militants"—was followed by another front-page profile on Sunday accusing Israel of organ harvesting.

The traffic in human organs is a topic that is rarely covered by the Times—except when it comes to Israel.

The two articles renewed concerns about the paper’s coverage of Israel, which critics say is increasingly marred by an anti-Israel bias and meant to delegitimize the Jewish state.

The article about Zanoli’s transformation into a vociferous Israel critic, for example, barely mentions the circumstances of the Israeli strike, information needed to provide the story context.

"On July 20, an Israeli airstrike flattened a house in the Gaza Strip, killing six of Mr. Zanoli’s relatives by marriage," write reporters Christopher Schuetze and Anne Barnard. "His grandniece, a Dutch diplomat, is married to a Palestinian economist, Ismail Ziadah, who lost three brothers, a sister-in-law, a nephew, and his father’s first wife in the attack."

However, according to information published by Palestinian Centre for Human Rights and first noted by pro-Israel blogger Elder of Ziyon, a seventh person was in the home: Hamas militant and Al Qassam Brigades member Mohammed Mahmoud al-Maqadma.

Israel’s left-wing B’Tselem listed the names of those killed in the home and referred to al-Maqadma as a "military branch operative," Elder of Ziyon noted.

The Al Qassam Brigades later published a "martyr poster" that featured al-Maqadma’s image, Elder of Ziyon pointed out.

While none of this information is featured in the Times’ reporting, Zanoli’s accusations that Israel is an illegitimate state are featured prominently.

"Against this background, it is particularly shocking and tragic that today, four generations on, our family is faced with the murder of our kin in Gaza. Murder carried out by the State of Israel," the Times quotes Zanoli as saying, a refrain that is repeated throughout the article.

"I gave back my medal because I didn’t agree with what the state of Israel is doing to my family and to the Palestinians on the whole," Zanoli is later quoted as saying.

Times Public Editor Margaret Sullivan declined to comment on the factual omissions when reached by the Washington Free Beacon.

"Thanks for taking the time to write. The public editor prefers to let her posts and comments speak for themselves," a staffer in the Office of the Public Editor told the Free Beacon via email.

Multiple Times spokesmen did not respond to Free Beacon requests for comment on the Zanoli profile and the later piece on purported Israeli organ harvesting.

Gilead Ini, a senior research analyst for the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA), said a statistical study of the Times shows that it has an "obsession with indicting Israel."

"We know that the New York Times has something of an obsession with indicting Israel, a phenomenon documented in CAMERA's six-month study of Times reporting," Ini said, taking aim at the paper’s stories accusing Israel of harvesting organs.

On Sunday, the Times featured a massive report on organ trafficking in Israel, an issue that has been used for decades by Israel’s detractors and anti-Semites alike to portray the Jewish people in a negative light.

"Israel’s irrepressible underground kidney market," the Times said, is among the largest in the world.

"A Times analysis of major trafficking cases since 2000 suggests that Israelis have played a disproportionate role," the paper wrote.

The timing and substance of the article drew much criticism from those who say that the Times is committed to running stories that delegitimize Israel.

The paper, in an unusual move, repeatedly tweeted out the article in a sensational manner under several of its social media accounts.

The Times rarely writes about the topic, a Free Beacon analysis shows.

Less than a handful of articles have been published by the Times in the past several years on China’s massive organ harvesting operation, which includes slicing organs out of political prisoners and others.

One 2013 blog post on the issue neglects to mention some of the prisoners subjected by China to organ harvesting are political dissidents who have committed no legitimate crimes.

CAMERA’s Ini said the coverage "raises questions about the paper’s news judgment."

"Sunday's two stories aren't the first time the newspaper has singled out Israel when discussing organ purchases," he said. "So why has the newspaper never once mentioned Oman in connection with organ trading, even though the Gulf country plays an outsized role as an organ importer? Why is the story of Israelis in the organ trade considered front-page news, while the Times’ first mention of the flight of an estimated 200,000 Yazidi in Iraq was buried inside the newspaper, as was its first mention of ISIS's reported ‘convert or die' order targeting the Yazidi?"

One senior official with a pro-Israel organization accused the Times of slandering Israel.

"Originally the assumption was that the journalists in the New York Times‘ Jerusalem bureau just weren't very good. But the last few weeks have gone way beyond misreporting and well into slander," said the source.

"There are days when the photos on the front page is indistinguishable from Hamas' webpage. The Israeli perspective is never, ever offered," the source added. "And now they're obsessively printing sensational stories about organ harvesting. The entire paper is developing a certain odor."

Published under: Israel, New York Times