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AP covers up Yasser Arafat’s gun at the United Nations

In an article last week about dramatic moments at the United Nations, the Associated Press covers up the most dramatic element of Yasser Arafat’s 1974 United Nations address: that he brought a gun to the international body and even delivered the address while openly sporting the holster.

PLO leader leader Yasser Arafat. Credit: World Economic Forum.
PLO leader leader Yasser Arafat. Credit: World Economic Forum.

In an article last week about dramatic moments at the United Nations (“Laughter at Trump among a long line of shocking U.N. moments“), the Associated Press covers up the most dramatic element of Yasser Arafat’s 1974 United Nations address: that he brought a gun to the international body and even delivered the address while openly sporting the holster.

In his Sept. 26 article, Tamer Fakahany obscures that Yasser Arafat actually brought his gun to the United Nations and wore the holster during his address, instead presenting the unprecedented nature of his appearance there as relating only to the statement: “Today, I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun.Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand. I repeat: Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

The entire relevant passage in Fakahany’s piece states:

ARAFAT’S OLIVE BRANCH AND GUN

Yasser Arafat was the embodiment of the Palestinian quest for independence—a road littered with displacement and death. In 1974, he was invited to represent the Palestine Liberation Organization and his people before the world body, where he made it clear he was ready to use any means for statehood. He spoke of oppressed people and liberation the world over. Wearing his trademark Palestinian keffiyeh scarf, he concluded with an enduring quote: “Today, I have come bearing an olive branch and a freedom fighter’s gun.Do not let the olive branch fall from my hand.”

While the piece explicitly notes that Arafat wore a keffiyeh, it leaves out the much more significant and historic fact that he wore a gun holster. (According to an earlier AP report, he was forced to deposit the gun before mounting the rostrum.)

AP’s Sept. 28 2012 account of the same speech explicitly stated in the heading “Yasser Arafat brings his gun to the U.N.” It also contained the key information omitted from last week’s report: “Arafat appeared wearing his gun belt and holster, reluctantly removing his pistol before mounting the rostrum.”

Read the full article at CAMERA here.

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