OpinionIsrael-Palestinian Conflict

More media excuses for Palestinians and terror

In their coverage of the twin bombings in Jerusalem, reporters could not bring themselves to use the word “terrorist” to refer to the attacks or the perpetrators.

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.

As could be expected, the media is having a field day criticizing Israel for allowing citizens in a democratic election to choose some despicable characters to represent them in the next government. Outside of those who voted for them, you do not hear much support from Israelis for the views of Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir. Nevertheless, their inclusion in the government is being portrayed in apocalyptic terms. The media has no such concern for the state of the U.S. government, with antisemites like Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Minn.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) in Congress.

The Washington Post devoted nearly an entire page in its “The World” section to the article, “Palestinians fear for their children after Israeli vote.” Several Palestinians are quoted about their fears to give the impression that Israelis are targeting children. One says he tells his children to be careful around soldiers “because any kind of movement, and they will shoot them.” Similarly, another Palestinian says she won’t let her young children walk to school for fear they will be targeted by soldiers.

Claire Parker mentions Ben-Gvir’s position on giving security forces greater latitude to use live ammunition but provides zero evidence that Palestinian children are in any danger following the election, or that soldiers are shooting children on their way to school or by simply moving in an unthreatening way.

The article references a “spate of Palestinian attacks” but does not label the perpetrators as terrorists or mention the number of Israeli civilians who have been murdered this year by terrorists. It does refer to the number of Palestinians killed and injured without any explanation of the circumstances.

What made the article especially galling, and just one more example of anti-Israel bias, was that a short article appeared below it about the protests in Iran. This merited four short paragraphs and did not mention that as many as 63 children have been murdered by Iranian security forces. So, while Iranian children are being killed, the Post devotes most of its attention to the parents of Palestinian children who have not been harmed.

The coverage of the twin bombings in Jerusalem by the Post and others was also problematic. In keeping with past practice, reporters could not bring themselves to use the word “terrorist” to refer to the attacks or the perpetrators. Some stories mentioned that Israelis have been victims of violence numerous times this year but, again, refused to label them as victims of terror. Many also could not simply report the facts about the bombings and were compelled to mention the number of Palestinians who have died in clashes with Israeli forces.

The Post lede was similarly reported, saying “explosions went off” as if they were cases of spontaneous combustion. The bus stops were “packed with students,” but the only references to terrorism were in quotes from Israeli officials and the U.S. ambassador. Shira Rubin called Hamas a “radical Islamist group” that “orchestrated a wave of bombings across Israel” in the second intifada. She also mentioned the Israeli raids in Jenin “where a number of assailants have originated” (emphasis added). The story added unrelated information about a Palestinian killed by Israeli forces and the kidnapping by “Palestinian gunmen” of the body of an Israeli Druze from a hospital in the West Bank. “Palestinian militants have in the past abducted Israelis to negotiate the release of their prisoners,” the article said (emphasis added).

Like the Post, The New York Times lede did not mention terrorism, only “two blasts” that just happened to kill a teenager and injure at least 18 other people. The opening paragraph also incorrectly stated this was the first bomb attack in more than six years; 17-year-old Rina Shnerb was killed by a roadside bomb in 2019.

“The explosions occurred against the backdrop of rising Palestinian anger,” wrote Patrick Kingsley and Isabel Kershner, rationalizing blowing up civilians waiting for a bus. They also occurred in the context of “a wave of violence that began in the spring, when Arab assailants killed 19 Israelis and foreigners” triggering “the Israeli Army to intensify its raids on militants in the West Bank” (emphasis added). And, regurgitating the cycle of violence narrative that equates the Israeli firefighters with the Palestinian arsonists, the paper said, the army’s actions “prompted another surge of Palestinian militancy — including an attack last week at a West Bank settlement, where a Palestinian killed three Israelis” (emphasis added). The article also repeated the all-purpose excuse for terror by “Islamic Jihad and Hamas, the militant group that runs the Gaza Strip,” that the bombings were a response to Israeli raids on the Temple Mount months ago (emphasis added).

CNN reported the explosions and casualties and Israeli officials’ descriptions of the bombings as acts of terror but called it a “suspected” terrorist attack. Again, the reporters could not say 29 Israelis have been killed without also citing the number of Palestinians who have died according to the Palestinian Ministry of Propaganda—I mean, Ministry of Health. They omit that only the Israelis were murdered in terror attacks.

The BBC reported the casualties were a result of two “suspected bomb attacks” as if there was ever any doubt they were acts of terror. For context, the reporters also referred to the “intensifying violence, as Palestinian gun and knife attacks have targeted Israelis, and Israeli military raids have killed Palestinian gunmen and civilians in the occupied West Bank.” Note the Palestinians are “gunmen,” not terrorists. Also, casualties on one side are “Israelis” and on the other Palestinian “civilians.” Hamas and Islamic Jihad are “militant groups.”

Has anyone ever asked any of the editors of these media companies how many Jews need to die, and under what circumstances they would have to be killed before they would describe the perpetrators as terrorists and the incident as an act of terror?

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.”

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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