New York Times correspondent named Raja Abdulrahim. (shutterstock/screenshot) shutterstock/screenshot
Raja Abdulrahim

A watchdog group called CAMERA performed “basic research” using the Palestinians’ own statistics to debunk the New York Times claim that Israel has “devastat[ed]…the Gaza Strip’s fishing industry.”

By United with Israel Staff

In a November 27 New York Times article entitled “Amid Israeli Blockade on Gaza a Fishing Fleet Limps Along,” Raja Abdulrahim claimed Israel’s so-called “blockade” has been “devastating for the Gaza Strip’s fishing industry.”

In response, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) preformed what it called “basic research” to disprove Abdulrahim’s spurious claim.

Specifically, CAMERA looked at actual figures and information collected by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, which demonstrate that Gaza fishermen “have more than doubled their annual catch in the last 15 years,” reported JNS.org.

“In addition, the number of registered fishing boats has also more than doubled, according to Tamar Sternthal, director of CAMERA’s Israel’s office,” added JNS.

In response, the Times ran an editor’s note on December 3 stating: “The current catch is higher than that in the early years of the blockade.”

The so-called “blockade” to which the Times frequently refers is actually a defensive policy maintained by both Egypt and Israel to prevent the terror factions that run the Gaza Strip from repurposing common materials for their campaigns of violence designed to kill kill Israeli and Egyptian civilians.

Islamic terror groups in both Israel and Egypt have carried out countless attacks on civilians, and groups such as Hamas and its rival Palestinian Islamic Jihad continue to divert humanitarian aid and other supplies for nefarious purposes.

This context is rarely provided in reporting about the so-called blockade, which dishonestly presents the policy as a purely Israeli measure designed to harm innocent Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Playing Fast and Loose with the Truth

This is also hardly the first time Abdulrahim has been caught playing fast and loose with the truth.

In April, veteran journalist and media critic Ira Stoll pointed out that Abdulrahim wrote: “Israel insists that there has been a Jewish presence in [Judea and Samaria] for thousands of years.” She made this statement in the context of promoting the narrative that modern Jewish towns in those areas are somehow “illegal” under “international law.”

Setting aside the fact that the so-called “illegality of these towns has been rejected by the U.S. State Department and debunked by actual legal experts like George Mason University’s Professor Eugene Kontorovich, Abdulrahim’s ignores established historical facts by implying that Jewish presence in the Land of Israel is merely a contention or the opinion of one side in the conflict.

Israel doesn’t simply “insist” that Jews lived in Judea and Samaria for thousands of years. The historical record, archeological artifacts, carbon dating, and authenticated evidence proves that Jews lived in the Land of Israel for thousands of years.

As CAMERA senior research analyst Gilead Ini pointed out in a tweet referencing Stoll’s Algemeiner piece, “This is the same paper, by the way, that had questioned whether Jewish temples existed on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount,” adding that the paper was “eventually compelled to correct the piece.”

Ini continues, “It’s the same paper that told readers—as a criticism of Israel!—that ‘East Jerusalem was exclusively Arab in 1967.’ Unmentioned: It had been ‘exclusively Arab’ for a mere 19 years, only because Jews were ethnically cleansed from the area in 1948.”

Stoll adds, “[Y]ou get the strange formulation of an entire country — Israel — insisting on something, as if it’s a cranky restaurant customer or a petulant child. It’s almost like the Times is afraid of investigating the underlying facts for fear that they might disturb the newspaper’s far-left readers, or hamper the reporter’s ability to operate freely in the Palestinian Authority-controlled West Bank.”

He concludes, “The Times and its apologists may insist that this is honorable journalism or depict it as just reporters doing their job. But, sadly, biased journalists are driving integrity out of the newsroom today.”

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