Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian activist and convicted terrorist, authored a piece for publication in the NYT titled, “Why We Are On Hunger Strike in Israel’s Prisons,” condemning Israel’s treatment of prisoners and their relatives, as well as recalling abuse he suffered as a teenager in Israeli prisons.
Barghouti, a former leader of the Palestinian political party Fatah, has spent the last 15 years in an Israel prison for five murder convictions in relation with terrorist activity, including the murder of a Greek Orthodox monk in 2001.
He was further accused of involvement in another 21 deaths, but these charges were dismissed, due to insufficient evidence. However, the NYT described him simply as a “Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.”
Israeli politicians and diplomats swiftly protested the misleading biographical blurb, leading the NYT to append a note to the article online: “This article explained the writer’s prison sentence, but neglected to provide sufficient context by stating the offenses of which he was convicted. They were five counts of murder and membership in a terrorist organization. Mr. Barghouti declined to offer a defense at his trial and refused to recognize the Israeli court’s jurisdiction and legitimacy.”
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely stated: “Barghouti is not a prisoner. He is a convicted murderer and a terrorist. The New York Times has provided a platform to a terrorist without noting the fact that he planned and carried out the cold-blooded murder of Jews simply for having been Jews. This is not a matter of freedom of speech. It is anarchy.”Even Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu chimed in, telling an Israeli audience Tuesday: “I read, on Sunday, the article in The New York Times that presents arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti as a ‘parliamentarian and leader.’ The paper recanted after we pointed it out to them. Calling Barghouti a ‘political leader’ is like calling Assad a ‘pediatrician.’ They are murderers and terrorists.”