NYT’s Halbfinger Bizarrely Sees ‘Non-Violent’ Gaza Protests, Through Eyes of Hamas

April 8th, 2018 7:15 PM

In Sunday’s New York Times, Jerusalem bureau chief David Halbfinger managed both to minimize the existential threat Israel faces in the region, and the death cult of the anti-Israel terror group Hamas (while repeating Hamas talking points as fact) in “Though Deadly, a Protest Is Hailed as a Big Step for Gazans.”

The “Friday of Tires” protest ended with another nine Palestinians killed along the fence hemming in Gaza despite a smokescreen of burning rubber and a second round of international criticism over Israel’s use of lethal force.

It’s less a protest than a riot, but one would have to look very closely at the story to realize that.

Now, young Gazans are talking about staging a “Flower Friday,” a “Coffin Friday,” and even a “Shoes Friday” at which demonstrators would fling footwear at soldiers to protest Israel’s longstanding blockade of the impoverished territory and its two million residents.

Far from being discouraged by the smaller turnout on Friday compared to a week earlier, Palestinians seem energized and enthusiastic about sustaining a generally nonviolent form of protest -- even if it is Israel’s harsh response to it and the mounting Palestinian death toll that has put their conflict with Israel back on the international agenda.


Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza and seeks Israel’s destruction, has always advocated armed struggle. So for Gazans, even a tentative experiment with nonviolent protest is a significant step.

Videos from the scene show burning tires, rock-throwing, and Molotov cocktails. How is that “nonviolence”?

Halbfinger himself unilaterally declared that Israel is using “disproportionate force,” which is debatable at best.

And they might be onto something. The Israelis, for a variety of reasons, have long been worried about such a shift. And they now find the world paying attention as they use disproportionate force to prevent what they believe could be a catastrophic breach in the Gaza fence.

Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights, likened attempts to cross Israel’s fence to American civil rights marchers’ attempts to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Ala., more than 50 years ago.....


On March 30, some 30,000 people attended the first Friday demonstration and 20 were killed by Israeli soldiers, according to Gaza health officials. Videos showed that some were shot while they had their backs turned to the fence.

On Friday, the crowds were thinner, but nine more Palestinians were killed.

Israel, endeavoring to explain its use of lethal force, released photos and video of a few Palestinians trying to penetrate the fence and said others had thrown firebombs at its soldiers in the latest round of protest....

But while many protesters threw stones or rolled burning tires toward the fence, far more could be seen doing little more than standing around -- chanting, singing and shouting.


But that leaves its soldiers aiming rifles at unarmed people.

The photo captioner also graded the Palestinians on an infantilizing curve: “While many protesters threw stones or rolled burning tires toward the border fence, far more protested peacefully.”

Ricki Hollander at CAMERA reported that Halbfinger “abandons the role of objective news analyst as he quotes or parrots in his own words Hamas propaganda lines attacking Israel.... he quotes anti-Israel activists who describe a nonviolent, civil-rights march, and devotes multiple paragraphs to the allegations of BDS activist Yusef Munayyer, known for his advocacy on behalf of Hamas....”