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April 03, 2002
NPR--Immoral Dan Schorr

By Ali Abunimah


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 destroy Israel.

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 bombers.

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.


Ali Abunimah

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