Letter: Getting the facts straight

When I spoke at Yale on Sept. 14, much of my lecture was devoted to highlighting Palestinian civil society’s nonviolent efforts, through media, education, unarmed protests and other measures, to oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land.

In an opinion article published on Oct. 21 (“Defining legitimate dialogue”), Yishai Schwartz ’13 falsely claimed that in my lecture I “welcomed Palestinian terror as ‘productive, bottom-up pressure.’” Mr. Schwartz is entitled to his opinions, but in this regard he is simply wrong on the facts. I said no such thing.

Not only do I reject and abhor terrorism and all other violations of international humanitarian law, but I made this clear in my presentation.

This is not a question of interpretation. It is a question of fact, and I am troubled that the News would treat this as a simple case of “my word against his,” instead of doing the basic work of journalism, which is to speak to multiple sources and establish facts.

While I thank the News for publishing my letter, I reiterate my request for a correction. At the very least, I hope in the future the editors will take more care to fact-check opinion pieces, before allowing such grave accusations to be printed without basis in fact.

As for the overall premise of Mr. Schwartz’s article, while undeniably there is real anti-Semitism in the world, and while some critics of Israel may be motivated by hatred, I am certainly not one of them, nor are the other parties identified in his article, like the Students for Justice in Palestine, who hosted me at Yale.

My presentation, and my views on the Israel/Palestine question, are based on nearly three years’ experience as a professional journalist working in Israel and the occupied West Bank and Gaza. In other words, they are based on facts and on real events that I have witnessed and reported on. I am writing this letter from Gaza, where I am continuing this work.

Jared Malsin

Oct. 25

The writer is a 2007 graduate of Berkeley College.

Comments

  • Summer

    > Not only do I reject and abhor terrorism and all other violations of international humanitarian law, but I made this clear in my presentation.

    What about “attacks” by “Hamas operatives”, euphemisms you use before accusing Israel of “murder”?

    On the other hand, when you say that you are a “professional journalist”, you mean that you write for a rabidly and viciously anti-Israel news organization (Ma’an):

    See:
    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=327165
    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=314621
    http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=290690

    “professional journalist” in the barest sense of the word.

  • Harbinger904

    ^^ wait… how is “Hamas operatives” a euphemism…?

  • jaredmalsin

    Summer: All three of those links are to opinion pieces authored by *other people*. They were also published after I was no longer working at Ma’an. I don’t see how they are relevant. – Jared

  • Summer

    > All three of those links are to opinion pieces authored by other people. They were also published after I was no longer working at Ma’an

    Jared –

    Four things:

    1) I do realize that all of those are opinion pieces are authored by other people. I just wanted to clarify that this is the organization from which you derive your legitimacy as a “professional journalist”.

    2) I apologize – I will now link to some of your writings —
    http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article9417.shtml
    http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article11239.shtml
    http://www.opendemocracy.net/terrorism/article/wall_palestine_politics

    Writing for an organization called “Electronic Intifada” is not the best way to bolster your case as a real journalist. Scare quotes around the term “terrorist” multiple times is heavy-handed, even by the standards of Palestinian “journalism”. Calling the first intifada “largely peaceful” is particularly galling when hundreds of Palestinians were murdered by Palestinians for alleged ties to Israel.

    3) You’ve already been called out in this publication for your fabrications and deception w.r.t your visa status. And as you know, Mr. Schwartz has clarified his remarks in the comments section of the article:

    > He replied that he hoped for massive international pressure on Israel – diplomatic isolation, boycotts, and divestment – combined with a continuation of historic Palestinian resistance. I think history is pretty clear as to what that means. Of course, Mr. Maslin did not say: “I welcome Palestinian terror,” and I did not say that he did. **But that is because “terror” is a charged term, and no one who supports what are widely considered acts of terror will ever accept that definition.**

    He is, of course, correct, since in one of the articles you’ve written (and I’ve linked), you actually treat terrorism as if it’s an elusive bogeyman rather than a real phenomenon.

    4) Reciting Walt, Mearsheimer, Chomsky, and Finklestein doesn’t count as thinking.

  • Arafat

    Jared,

    Could you explain takiyya for us. It appears you understand it inside and out.

    In case you’re too busy I’ve taken the time to provide a link explaining taqiyya and its use, for instance, in the above letter.

    http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/Quran/011-taqiyya.htm

  • mkbrussel

    Israeli apologists are not lacking at Yale. They are afraid Americans will learn the ugly truth about Israeli repression of Palestinians, not to mention non-Palestinians such as Rachel Corrie. They act as victims whereas they clearly are the aggressors, not only on the West bank but not so long ago in Lebanon and Gaza. They attack all who wish to reveal the actual situation of Palestinians in Israel-Palestine.

  • Harbinger904

    Summer, did you even read those articles you posted by Mr. Malsin? They’re pretty good and not much (any?) of your alleged recitation of Walt, Mearsheimer, Chomsky, or Finkelstein to my knowledge.

    Arafat — Taqiyya is only for Muslims…unless you are referring to it as a secular Jewish dogma as well… (i.e. Mr. Malsin isn’t a Muslim, so you can take the “all Muslims lie” or “far more likely to lie” stuff elsewhere).

    The level of venom leveled against this man is just unreal…oh well, I suppose that’s what happens when you tell truths that people are loath to hear. Mr. Malsin, I wouldn’t worry too much about the disinformation: “A lie hath speed, but Truth endurance”

  • Summer

    > Summer, did you even read those articles you posted by Mr. Malsin? They’re pretty good and not much (any?) of your alleged recitation of Walt, Mearsheimer, Chomsky, or Finkelstein to my knowledge.

    I did. As I mentioned above, I particularly liked the scare quotes around the word “terrorist” in the first piece- a favorite tactic of Chomsky. I also liked the suggestion in the second piece that a shadowy Jewish organization was intimidating academia into silence (a favorite tactic of Walt and Mearshimer). The third piece – obsessed with painting Palestinians as pacifist resisters – is vintage Finkelstein.

  • Harbinger904

    Hey RiverTam (ex-Summer?) — I don’t think that Malsin would deny that Palestinians have engaged in despicable acts of violence, considering that he vociferously says so and condemns them above. I don’t think problematizing terror lies singularly at the door of Chomsky, any more than the analysis of the American Jewish establishment (see Peter Beinart, who is speaking in the Slifka center as I type) doesn’t belong solely to Walt and Mearshimer. Malsin’s point in the first article is not the least bit controversial in policy and academic circles, see this article by EH Kaplan (a staunch Zionist through and through) et al : http://interfaces.journal.informs.org/cgi/content/abstract/36/6/553.

    Also, one must acknowledge that there is a colossal amount of Palestinian non-violent action (making up the vast majority of Palestinian resistance), and there is a colossal amount of data testifying to this. It just simply doesn’t gain headlines, which is something that Mr. Malsin seems to seek to ameliorate in his writings. If you still aren’t convinced — imagine the counterfactual, that Palestinians mainly and primarily engage in forms of violent resistance at even greater risk to life and limb, implying an inordinate amount of disregard for their own lives on the part of Palestinians as an undifferentiated whole, and analysis which just doesn’t bear up to any evidence (not to mention the racist overtones of “they are inherently violent” that resides within such an argument). The Israeli body count at present simply doesn’t measure up to such a charge, especially given the weekly peaceful protests throughout the West Bank and Gaza, which ARE responded to disproportionately and violently by the Israelis, much as peaceful protests in South Africa were responded to with violence by the apartheid regime there. If you wish for evidence as to this last claim, I would be more than happy to provide it, but I assume your Google capabilities will suffice until I hear otherwise.

    Also, to add to discussion, see one of Mr. Malsin’s latest articles:
    http://mideast.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/10/27/whither_goldstone_did_the_pa_kill_the_uns_gaza_report

    There was the claim floating around earlier that Mr. Malsin cannot be regarded as a “professional” journalist. Is the primate Foreign Policy also a source of “unprofessional journalism”?

  • River Tam

    Hey Malsin/Harbinger904

    > I don’t think that Malsin would deny that Palestinians have engaged in despicable acts of violence, considering that he vociferously says so and condemns them above.

    Where does he say so? He only says he abhors terrorism, a word that he suggests (link #1 in my list of his writings) is often misapplied to Palestinian action.