Elliott Abrams

Pressure Points

Abrams gives his take on U.S. foreign policy, with special focus on the Middle East and democracy and human rights issues.

Print Print Cite Cite
Style: MLA APA Chicago Close


The New York Times Calls a Convicted Terrorist a “Parliamentarian”

by Elliott Abrams
April 17, 2017


Today the New York Times ran an op-ed by Marwan Barghouti, and described him as “a Palestinian leader and parliamentarian.”


In his op-ed, Barghouti states that he was first arrested at age 15, then again at age 18, and he alleges physical abuse by Israeli interrogators.

But nowhere does the Times tell readers what he was convicted of doing. Here is an account of the proceedings from the Washington Post in 2004:

Barghouti was found guilty of ordering attacks that killed a Greek Orthodox monk in the West Bank in 2001, an Israeli at the Jewish settlement of Givat Zeev in 2002 and three people at the Seafood Market restaurant in Tel Aviv in 2002. He was also convicted of one count each of attempted murder and membership in a terrorist organization….

Television news footage of the trial showed Barghouti, a member of the Palestinian legislature, responding to the convictions in a low voice, saying in Hebrew, “This is a court of occupation that I do not recognize.”

“A day will come when you will be ashamed of these accusations,” said Barghouti, 44. “I have no more connection to these charges than you, the judges, do. The judges cannot judge on their own. They get their order from above.”

The three-judge panel said there was insufficient evidence to prove Barghouti’s guilt in another 21 deaths that were originally part of the indictment….

Israeli Justice Minister Yosef Lapid said, however, that the verdict “demonstrates the independence of the Israeli courts. The fact that in most of the accusations he is found not guilty is clear evidence that his case was given a fair trial.”

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz gave further detail:

The court ruled that Barghouti was directly responsible for a January 2002 terror attack on a gas station in Givat Zeev in which Israeli Yoela Chen was murdered. The attack, the judges said, was carried out at his direct order in revenge for the assassination of Raed Carmi. Barghouti had admitted his responsibility for this attack.
The attack in which a Greek monk was murdered in Ma’aleh Adumim on June of 2001 was also carried out at the instruction of Barghouti, the judges said.
The former Tanzim leader, the court ruled, also approved the March 2002 attack at Tel Aviv’s Seafood Market restaurant in which three people were murdered, as well as a car bomb attack in Jerusalem.

Didn’t Times readers have the right to know any of this? They did, and the by-line the Times allowed Mr. Barghouti is a shameful abdication of responsibility to readers.

Post a Comment 9 Comments

  • Posted by Michael Johnston

    Is there a counter-position at NYT on this person or is everyone afraid to chime in? That’s an indictment on NYT editorial staff. Sad a notable paper like Times is tainted like that.

  • Posted by Hussein

    Does the same type of accusations (actually proven deeds) apply to Mecnaham Begin, Yitzhak Shamir and many other Irgun members?
    No because they are not Muslim nor Arab, they are Jews, they are Zionists, they are freedom fighters, they became prime ministers!

  • Posted by Pleb

    Much like Nelson Mandela. A convicted terrorist. This is one reason why the world is in such a mess today.

  • Posted by Hussein

    Response to Pleb:

    The reason world is in a such a mess today simply because of injustices committed by the powerful. When there is no justice a revenge that we may call terrorism reveals. In the words of Thomas Jefferson ” If injustice becomes a norm, becomes a law, resistance becomes a duty.
    By no means the Palestinians are being treated with justice in Israel. The illegal occupation has made the life nightmare for Palestinians and shameful for the Israelis who understands the meaning of “shame”.

  • Posted by J.B. M.D.

    One main difference is that the above examples of terrorists were attempting to establish a country, whereas “Mr Bargouti” is trying to destroy a country and commit genocide and murder-Israel has continually kept it’s door open for direct negotiations for peace with the Palestinians” (and even now they remain open). So what has resulted is both Arafat and Abbas when offered every bit of land they have requested have continually walked away from the negotiating table, taking advantage of the fact that no matter what theatrics they perform, the hatred of the Jew through thousands of years of anti-Semitic ideology inherent in both the Christian and Islamic ideologies, is so widespread and ubiquitous that no matter what they do, they will always receive tremendous support (especially from terrorist fundamentalists) and billions ( which their leaders have squirreled away leaving their country in tatters), blaming it all on the Jews. In other words, please understand their goal has never been to create a country, but to kill hated, scapegoated millions and drive them into the sea-how easy and pre-programmed it has been to collaborate with evil!

  • Posted by A.T. Halmay

    The Times has lost all credibility. In an enlightened culture it would no longer have any readers. Israel is also disappointing. In a realistic
    society interested in justice and self preservation, Barghouti would long ago have been convicted and put to death.

  • Posted by hussein

    Response to JB
    Is the establishing a country includes just in 1948 to demolish 500 villages and ethnically cleansing 750,000 people is perfectly OK but resisting an illegal occupation is terrorism?
    So I understand, when Jews wanted to establish their country is fine and dandy but when Palestinian want it is terrorism?
    Does Nethanyahu really wants peace? Yes he does after completely exterminating Palestinian identity.
    Any objections Mr. J.B M.D.?

  • Posted by hussein

    Response to A. T. Halmay:

    You are absolutely correct. In realistic society interested in justice and self preservation a convicted killer like Elor Azarik (who assassinated an innocent Palestinian) should have been given a death or at least life in prison sentence. Too bad there was a video of the murder. Don’t be surprised if his 18 month sentence given to appease Arabs reduced to home incarceration or a pardon yet.
    Keep talking about justice…

  • Posted by Sheila Novitz

    I have known about Marwan Barghouti since 2002 when I read a book by a young man, son of one of Hamas’ leaders, in which he refers to Barghouti as a monstrous terrorist – and this young man, a Hamas member himself, helped to bring Barghouti down. Note, please, that this person is a Muslim, a “Palestinian”, and even he is disgusted at the behaviour of terrorists in Israel. The New York Times seems to be arbitrarily anti-Semitic (i.e., whenever its writers feel like telling a good old lie and adding libel to it), and I feel ashamed that Jewish people work there.

Post a Comment

CFR seeks to foster civil and informed discussion of foreign policy issues. Opinions expressed on CFR blogs are solely those of the author or commenter, not of CFR, which takes no institutional positions. All comments must abide by CFR's guidelines and will be moderated prior to posting.

* Required