Pro-Palestinians slam Pulitzer Prize for 'Israeli-biased' The New York Times over Gaza reporting

Pro-Palestinians slam Pulitzer Prize for 'Israeli-biased' The New York Times over Gaza reporting
The New York Times was awarded a Pulitzer prize for international reporting on Israel's war on Gaza, a move criticised due to the paper's 'bias' towards Israel.
4 min read
The New York Times was infamously criticised for its report on alleged sexual violence by Hamas, due to numerous inaccuracies [Getty/file photo]

Activists have expressed outrage over The New York Times winning a Pulitzer prize in international reporting on Israel's military onslaught in Gaza Monday, given criticism the publication has received throughout its coverage of the war in the enclave.

The US paper won a prize for its alleged "wide-ranging and revelatory coverage of Hamas's lethal attack in southern Israel on October 7", as well as reporting on "the Israeli military's sweeping, deadly response".

The New York Times has been accused of perpetuating bias in favour of Israel, prompting protests from pro-Palestinian activists who gathered outside the publication's headquarters in Manhattan in November.

The protesting media workers scattered editions of a mock newspaper — "The New York War Crimes" — that charged the media with "complicity in laundering genocide" and called on the Times' editorial board to publicly back a ceasefire.

NYT's reporting prompted Anne Boyer, the publication's poetry editor, to release her resignation letter from the publication over its coverage of Israeli conduct in its war on Gaza.

The most infamous incident during the NYT's coverage of the war in Gaza was the investigative piece "'Screams Without Words': How Hamas Weaponised Sexual Violence on Oct. 7" published in December last year. The piece raised eyebrows over inaccuracies in the report, as well as the lack of experience of some of the reporters assigned to it.

The piece was co-authored by Jeffrey Gettleman, Anat Schwartz, and Adam Sella.

Schwartz, an Israeli filmmaker and former air force intelligence official with no prior reporting experience, was assigned to collaborate with her partner's nephew, Sella, and veteran NYT reporter Gettleman to investigate the allegations.


In a podcast interview with Israel’s Channel 12 on January 3, Schwartz mentioned Gettleman's insistence on ensuring they had "at least two sources for every detail we put into the article" and cross-checked information, an investigation by The Intercept reported.

Schwartz said that initially, there was little attention given to sexual assaults allegations following the events of 7 October. 

However, rumours and reports began circulating globally over alleged accounts of sexual violence carried out by Hamas members on 7 October, based on the commentary of Zaka workers - a controversial religious charity - and Israeli soldiers.

Schwartz contacted people at Kibbutz Be’eri and other kibbutzim, The Intercept said, but reported finding "nothing" to back the allegations. Additionally, multiple allegations were debunked and denied by official videos released by the Israeli army, as well as relatives of the individuals said to have been victims.

Despite the lack of evidence, Schwartz reported on the unverified allegations. 

In April, over 50 journalists wrote an open letter urging an independent review of the article, calling for the establishment of a commission of journalism experts to examine the "reporting, editing, and publishing processes" for the story.

The New York Times also asked its journalists reporting on Gaza to "limit the use of the word 'genocide', an internal memo showed in the same month.

The memo also instructed journalists to reserve the name "Palestine" for "very rare cases".

Activists and academics took to social media to slam the prize. Marc Own Jones, a professor at Qatar's Hamad Bin Khalifa University, said the NYT won a prize "for minimalising genocide".

The prize also recognised jailed Russian opposition politician and Washington Post contributor Vladimir Kara-Murza "for passionate columns written at great person risk from his prison cell warning of the consequences of dissent in Vladimir Putin's Russia and insisting for a democratic future for his country."

Kara-Murza is serving a 25-year jail sentence in Russia, the longest known sentence of all of Putin's jailed critics, on charges of "treason" after using a speech in the United States to say Russia had committed "war crimes" against Ukraine.

The awards, given out at Columbia University, come as the New York college has faced major backlash for calling in police to arrest out pro-Palestinian protesters. The police largely blocked media from the scene and threatened student journalists covering the events with arrest.

Two of Columbia's student newspaper editors outlined in an article over the weekend the university's "suppression" of reporting, including arrest threats from police and demands from the university to hand over videos and photos.

Pro-Palestinian protests and Gaza encampments continue to take place at at the university and across the US, Europe and the Middle East in solidarity with Gaza, where at least 34,844 Palestinians have been killed, mostly women and children.