Gaza-Based NYT Reporter: Israeli Policies to Blame for Hamas, a 'Reality' Which Must Be 'Engaged'

Former Gaza-based reporter Taghreed El-Khodary grants an interview to left-wing Salon, blaming Israel for the existence of the anti-Jewish terrorist group Hamas and confessing her job at the Times was to represent the Palestinian narrative. Then she confessed her love for Obama.

Taghreed El-Khodary, who previously reported from Gaza for the Times, was interviewed for her take on the raid by Israel Defense Forces of a flotilla in Gaza, in which they were attacked with iron bars by "peace activists" from Turkey, by Natasha Lennard of the left-wing Salon Wednesday night.

El-Khodary, now a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, revealed her love for Obama and admitted her job at the Times was "to represent the Palestinian narrative." She termed the anti-Jewish terrorist group Hamas "a reality on the ground" that needed to be engaged. (Hat tip Dan Gainor of the Business and Media Institute.)

El-Khodary certainly provided a sympathetic Palestinian angle in her coverage of Israel's previous military incursion into Gaza. Her January 1, 2009 front-page story was headlined "In Dense Gaza, Civilians Suffer." In her January 5, 2009 lead story, "Hospital Fills Up, Mainly With Civilians," she claimed to see no militants admitted to hospitals, only civilians. CAMERA found some El-Khodary couldn't.

She found CNN not left-wing enough on the blockade in Gaza and preferred CNN International and the BBC, the latter in particular widely known for having an anti-Israel slant.

I was shocked when I was watching CNN domestic, which I'm not used to watching. CNN international is different. But I was truly shocked at the level of reporting and how misleading it was. All the CNN analyst could say about why there is a blockade on Gaza was that it is to prevent weapons crossing the border. But everyone knows weapons can make it through anyway; everyone knows it's a political issue, a policy to put pressure on Hamas and weaken them.

Later she confessed:

My role at the New York Times was to represent the Palestinian narrative, and I succeeded in that. I didn't experience people asking me not to say certain things.

What ever happened to reporting what happens?

When asked about Israel's actions, El-Khodary responded:

Personally, I think it was stupid of them. It seems they could have dealt with it differently. It's ironic that it is Israel who has given this present to Hamas. Israel came to this ship with its military might; you're talking about apaches and machine guns, compared to chairs and sticks.

And iron bars. And knives. And stun grenades. As The Times of London reports:

"They beat us with metal sticks and knives," said one of the Israeli commandos, who hit the deck only to find a mob of furious demonstrators, rather than political protesters, armed with iron bars, baseball bats, knives, petrol bombs and stun grenades.

El-Khodary blamed the "international community" (which has provided the Palestinian refugees billions and billions of dollars in aid) for the rise of Hamas, which she did not characterize as a terrorist group, even though it seeks the elimination of Israel:

Only in the States do they not see Hamas as a reality on the ground, and that Hamas is the result of a failure of the policies, and of the failure of the international community to impose a fair policy for the Palestinians. In the Israeli media, you have Israeli writers explaining that Hamas is the outcome of Israel's policies. You have this recognition by famous Israeli writers on the ground. Here it's different: The tabloids in the States cannot dare to criticize Israel. It's very different from European media.

Asked about Obama's dealings with Israel and Palestine, El-Khodary answered:

I'm in love with Obama - what can I say? I still think he understands the situation well, and will keep moving ahead....I am an optimist. I hope there is a solution. But you cannot isolate Gaza and work on the West Bank alone; things have to go in parallel. You have to create one entity with both the West Bank and Gaza. The administration doesn't want to deal with Hamas, but Hamas is a reality on the ground. They need to engage them. "How?" is the question.

You can follow Times Watch on Twitter.