MEDIA REPRESENTATION OF PRO-PALESTINIAN VOICES
April 10, 2002
The Sacramento Bee
Letters to the Editor
PO Box 15779
Sacramento, CA 95852
Via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Did Bee reporter Blair Anthony Robertson attend the same pro-Palestine rally I did on Tuesday, April 9 at the University of California, Davis? ("Air of Conflict at UCD," 4/10/02)
The speakers representing Students for Justice in Palestine and other groups made cogent, intelligent suggestions for reviving the peace process in the Middle East: immediate withdrawal of Israeli military forces from Palestine; an end to the illegal and brutal 35-year-long Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip; an end to Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians, as documented by numerous international observers including B'Tselem, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International; an end to unqualified American military support to Israel and a more balanced policy by the US government in general; and a call for more responsible and balanced reporting by the US media. (Please see note below.)
None of this was evident in Robertson's report of the UCD rally. Instead, the Bee's reporter focused on a small handful of anti-Arab racists who circulated through the crowd attempting to disrupt the speakers. Indeed, I thought participants at the pro-Palestine rally demonstrated remarkable restraint, composure and self-control in the face of these hateful extremists. By emphasizing the crackpots and ignoring the rally organizers, Robertson's goal seemed to be to reduce the intelligent and needed discourse evident at the rally as simply more unimportant antics from college students.
The pro-Palestine rally at UCD was one of many held across the country to commemorate the anniversary of the 1948 Deir Yassin massacre of Palestinians. Robertson failed to mention this, though he did make of point of reporting that pro-Israel supporters at UCD were holding a simultaneous commemoration of Holocaust Remembrance Day, implicitly suggesting the insensitivity of Palestinian supporters.
Robertson's story on the UCD rally is truly disturbing, and casts great doubt on the credibility of the Sacramento Bee's reporting standards. Peace is possible in the Middle East. However, achieving peace will require a respect and consideration for all sides of the issue.
P.S. On the front page of today's paper is the banner headline, above the fold: "Attacks kill 22 Israelis." Later in the article, continued on the back page, we find that more than 150 Palestinians have been killed during the present military incursion into the West Bank by the Israeli Defense Forces. It's probable that Palestinian casualties are far greater. However, I can never recall the death of Palestinians reported on the Sacramento Bee's front page. This raises the unavoidable question: Does the Bee consider Israeli lives more valuable than Palestinian lives?