OpinionMiddle East

Arab lives are cheap when killed by other Arabs

The Syrian civil war has been going on for years, but how many reports have you heard lately from Damascus?

Syrian President Bashar Assad. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Syrian President Bashar Assad. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard
Mitchell Bard is a foreign-policy analyst and an authority on U.S.-Israel relations who has written and edited 22 books, including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews and After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

Did you see the banner headline on April 6 in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal about seven Arab children who were killed in a bombing?

What? You missed it?

You are forgiven because no such headline was printed. Why? Because a roadside bomb in Syria killed the seven children. The exact number of innocents died in that deliberate attack as were unintentionally killed in the Israel Defense Forces strike on the aid workers that made the front page of most newspapers. Were those children’s lives worth less because they were not associated with a celebrity chef or just because their fellow Arabs killed them?

It’s typical of how the press covers the region.

Interestingly, all those who express concern about media bias against the Palestinians and Islamophobia don’t give a second thought to the prejudice of journalists who take it for granted that Arabs are barbarians who are not expected to uphold any human rights or adhere to international law. For the press, Arabs killing Arabs is the equivalent of “dog bites man”; that is, a nonstory. What puts Israel on the front page is that Jews are held to a different standard; they are expected to be paragons of virtue, so when they kill Arabs, it is a man bites dog story.

The Syrian civil war has been going on for years, but how many reports have you heard from Damascus or anywhere else in that country? Where is the concern for starvation and deprivation of the hundreds of thousands of Arabs, including many Palestinians, who have been displaced or murdered by the brutal Assad regime, aided by the equally ruthless Russians?

Richard Falk, a rabid Israel-hater, noted that Assad waged war on the Palestinian refugee camps in Syria “resulting in many Palestinian deaths, displacements and widespread hunger in the period between 2011 and 2018.” Falk agreed that the left in the United States opposed intervention against Assad “despite its oppressive tactics, autocratic governance and outright atrocities.”

The European Network on Statelessness called the situation in Syria “a new Nakba.” Its report said at least 4,000 Palestinians were killed, 1,796 detained, 332 were unaccounted for, and some 120,000 displaced as of 2021. UNRWA said, “Palestinians are among those worst affected by the Syrian conflict,” with 95% of the 438,000 Palestinians in “critical need of sustained humanitarian assistance.”

How many campus protests have there been over the plight of Palestinians in Syria (or in Lebanon, where they are also persecuted)? How many calls have you heard for a boycott of Syria? Has South Africa or any other country called on the International Court of Justice to hold Syrian President Bashar Assad accountable for his well-documented war crimes, which include gassing his people?

I did read about the seven Syrian children in The Washington Post—at the bottom of page 17. The same day, the paper had a half-page story that again misrepresents the situation in the Shifa Hospital.

Relying on the World Health Organization, which continues to deny that it knew Hamas was using hospitals for military purposes, the Post wrote the hospital is “completely non-functional” after Israel’s raid. Neither the correspondents who filed the story nor the WHO spokesperson reported that the IDF launched the operation because hundreds of terrorists had re-entered the facility. In its description of the destruction, no mention is made of the terrorists who barricaded themselves inside the hospital using staff and patients as shields and were shooting from inside the maternity ward, emergency room and burn unit. Reading the WHO account, you would think Israeli troops woke up one morning and decided to destroy the hospital.

No reference was made to the more than 500 members of Hamas and Palestine Islamic Jihad who were captured or the 170 killed in and around the hospital, including a senior commander in Hamas’s internal security. The captured terrorists acknowledging their use of hospitals is omitted.

This is typical of the coverage from the Post and, especially, The New York Times, which still refuses to acknowledge that Shifa was used as a Hamas base. Illogically, the press repeats denials that terrorists were in the hospital even as they describe firefights as if Israelis are shooting at ghosts. No matter what evidence the papers are shown, they use the “could not verify” dodge to shed doubt on Israeli sources while readily accepting whatever terrorists and their sympathizers tell them.

The Post story also repeats the daily error of parroting the claims of the Hamas Health Ministry. At least some other outlets now refer to it as such, but the Post only acknowledged that the ministry doesn’t distinguish between civilians and combatants. Still, it repeated the ministry’s claim that most of the casualties were women and children. The story overlooks the IDF’s estimate of having killed some 13,000 terrorists.

We’ve known from the first day of the war the Hamas figures were bogus, and recent studies by Abraham Wyner and Gabriel Epstein have proven it. Still, that has not stopped the press from treating the numbers as accurate.

Spokespeople from WHO and other aid groups are treated as objective sources even though it is known that Hamas controls what can be shown and said, and that none of these sources for the media want to jeopardize their access to Gaza by criticizing a group they refuse to call terrorists. Similarly, the major media have no reporters in the Gaza Strip and rely on those who have the same constraints and, in some cases, are “journalists” for terrorist-run media outlets. CNN went so far as to rely on the Palestinian Authority propaganda service for its distorted report on Shifa. It said that Khadr Al-Za’anoun of Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, contributed to this report.

Meanwhile, Syrians continue to slaughter their fellow Arabs, and the world looks the other way because the Jews cannot be blamed.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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