April 3, 2002
Dear NPR News,
Daniel Schorr, in his incredibly one-sided commentary about suicide
bombings on All Things Considered today, claimed that the appearance of
the phenomenon was proof that Palestinians were attempting to "crush" and
He condemned Arab states, who recently offered Israel what it claims it
has always wanted--peace, normal relations and recognized boundaries, for
praising the "valiant martrys of the Intifada."
Schorr said that a document allegedly found by the Israelis in a
Palestinian building in Ramallah is the closest thing to a "smoking
gun" linking the Palestinian Authority to suicide bombings. Anyone who
actually reads the document will find that it is no such thing (I
downloaded images of the document from the CNN website).
The document, allegedly a bill from the Al-Aqsa Martrys Brigades to the
Palestinian Authority finance chief, includes expenditure for posters and
memorials for the "martyrs" Thabet Thabet, Ahed Faris, and Yasser Badawi
and several others--men assassinated by Israeli death squads. Not suicide
It also mentions chemicals for explosives and ammunition but says
absolutely nothing about suicide bombings or what the explosives are
intended for or were used for. Schorr seems to believe that every armed
Palestinian is by definition a terrorist. It is possible and even high
likely that the weapons were used against Israeli occupation forces,
something which no one can deny is legitimate resistance wholly legal and
recognized under customary international law.
What the document is is a very ham-handed piece of misinformation from
Israel that NPR has a duty to interrogate. It proves absolutely nothing
and if it is the best the Israelis can come up with after destroying and
ransacking most of the facilities of the Palestinian Authority, including
Yasir Arafat's headquarters, then it is the thinnest of thin gruel.
While Schorr is understandly outraged at the suicide bombings, which are
horrific, should stop immediately, and should be clearly condemned, he
uttered not one single word about the fact that the number of unarmed
Palestinian killed by Israeli occupation troops is three times greater
than the number of Israelis killed.
Those who argue that there is no moral equivalence between suicide
bombings and the killing of Palestinians by Israel are willfully ignoring
a mountain of evidence from every human rights group, including Amnesty
International, Phyiscians for Human Rights USA, B'Tselem, that has
investigated, that Israel deliberately targets Palestinian civilians,
especially children, just as coldly as the suicide bombers target innocent
Israelis, with the consequence that almost 1,300 Palestinians are dead.
Schorr demands that everyone condemn suicide bombings but he has nothing
to say about Israel's deliberate targeting and killing of Palestinian
civilians, not in 'self-defence' but in order to maintain a brutal 35
year-old military occupation, to keep millions of Palestinians under a
military dictatorship, and to take away their land and give it to armed
settlers. The message is clear: Schorr only cares about dead Israelis and
doesn't care at all about dead Palestinians.
While Schorr offers no evidence at all for the claim that Palestinians,
who recognized Israel in 1993, and seek to establish a state in a fifth of
their homeland are trying to destroy Israel, Palestinians see in the
deepening occupation, growing colonies and the ever louder rhetoric from
Israeli cabinet ministers about "transfer" ample evidence that Israel is
trying to throw them into the desert as it did to nearly one million
Palestinians in 1947-48. But again Schorr is silent on all of that.
While Schorr completely ignores a mountain of evidence from human rights
organizations, he seizes on a dubious and irrelevant document which proves
nothing, just because it can be used to cast Palestinians in a bad
light. This incredible double-standard is understandable from Schorr, who
is an ideological Zionist, but not from NPR which claims to be offering
fair and balanced coverage. If NPR is going to offer this propagandist for
Israel a regular platform it should at least allow a regular rebuttal.