Was New York Times’ Ethan Bronner duped by an Israeli Facebook fraud?

Al Abunimah writes:

RAMALLAH, West Bank – Moad Arqoub, a Palestinian graduate student, was bouncing around the Internet the other day and came across a site that surprised and attracted him. It was a Facebook page where Israelis and Palestinians and other Arabs were talking about everything at once: the prospects of peace, of course, but also soccer, photography and music.

“I joined immediately because right now, without a peace process and with Israelis and Palestinians physically separated, it is really important for us to be interacting without barriers,” Mr. Arqoub said as he sat at an outdoor cafe in this Palestinian city.

That is how an article in today’s New York Times by Ethan Bronner begins. But much of Bronner’s article is misleading and possibly false, as The Electronic Intifada discovered.

The Facebook page Bronner profiles is called YaLa-Young Leaders and is founded by Uri Savir, a former Israeli diplomat and head of the Peres Center for Peace. It is supposed to be a forum for interaction and normalization between Israeli and Palestinian youth in particular, and Israeli and Arab youth in general.

It is endorsed by Israeli President Shimon Peres, Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas, and Tony Blair – figures more likely to repel than attract Palestinian youth.

But Bronner’s story reads more like a promotional piece than a report. He appears to have relied only on the page’s creators for information, and presented people involved in managing the project as if they were unaffiliated users. Whether he was duped, careless or engaging in advocacy, Bronner’s report raises many questions about his standards of reporting from Palestine.

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One thought on “Was New York Times’ Ethan Bronner duped by an Israeli Facebook fraud?

  1. Norman

    It’s seems to be increasingly evident that the N.Y.Times is becoming too sloppy in their fact checking, relying too much on P.R. from those it writes about, or has just become an organ for those who apply misinformation, be it for fun or ulterior motive. Needless to say, the N.Y.Times has lowered the standards which news papers should be exposing, not adopting.

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