Matti Friedman, my friend and colleague, wrote a well researched article about how Western media misplay the Israel-Palestinians story, and how the Jerusalem bureau of The Associated Press is part of that. Steven Gutkin, the bureau chief at the time, hit back with a rambling, disingenuous reply. Matti has set the record straight, and Steve weighed in again. This time it was my turn to reply, and I did. Steve has already called this “crap.” I would not expect a more reasoned response.
Hi, Steven Gutkin, let me start out by saying that I’m glad we’ve remained friends over the years despite our professional differences. I’m not named in Matti’s article, either, but I am the “furious” one who discovered the Israeli peace offer in early 2009, got it confirmed on the record and brought it to you. You banned me from writing about it. That is by far the worst journalistic fiasco I have been involved in, and we’re talking 50 years of journalism here. No denials on your part can erase the truth–and this is the truth: The AP suppressed a world-changing story for no acceptable reason. I am not ascribing motives to the decision–oh, hell, of course I am. It fit a pattern, described by Matti, of accepting the Palestinian narrative as truth and branding the Israelis as oppressors. This drove Matti, by far the most talented writer on our staff, away from AP. It drove me out of the Jerusalem bureau to Cairo. There, for two years as a regional editor, I tried to balance the slanted stories coming out of Jerusalem, often fighting for every letter and comma. Now I’m retired, and no one is filling that role. The world suffers as a result. If you are interested in the full, truthful and unexpurgated version of what happened in 2009 in your bureau, it’s Chapter 31 in my book: