In “Rise of Israel’s far right puts focus back on the West Bank” (12/11/22), it’s The Washington Post that puts the focus back on the West Bank. The article begins with a description of an awful event where an Arab woman was struck by Israeli stone throwers. If the Post were to write articles about rocks and boulders being thrown by Arabs at Jews, there would be 365 articles a year. The biased Post reporter ignores that fact by singling out this one instance where the victim was Arab. How are Post readers supposed to put the conflict in context!
So, what, if any, will be the influence of the two far-right Israeli ministers in Israel’s new government? The Post alleges that according to “MANY (emphasis added), Hebron’s bloody, biblically tinged conflict between its 800 hardline Israeli settlers and its 200,000 Palestinians, is a test case for the future of relations between the two peoples under the next government.” The Post does not identify who these “many” are. There is no cited population sample, no NGO survey, no evidence whatsoever. This, from a paper once known for its investigative journalism. And why are Israeli citizens in Hebron called “hardline?” Moreover, why aren’t the Palestinians in Hebron called “militant,” consistent with their behavior? The Post can’t hide whose side they are on.
The Post states that “Israel’s most far-right government and pro-settler government in its history is being sworn in during one of the deadliest years for both Israelis and Palestinians.” But then the Post admits to the cause of “one of the deadliest years.” It explains that “[s]ince last spring, a string of Palestinian attacks in Israeli cities and many military posts” has occurred. And yes, Israel has responded in self-defense, fulfilling the obligation of every country to defend its citizens. In the Palestinian-sparked exchanges of blows, some Palestinians have been killed. As everyone knows, actions have consequences. What does the Post think—that Israel should just submit to the terrorism? Should any country?
The Post quotes one fringe anti-Israel Israeli group notorious for misinformation—Breaking the Silence—as saying that “MANY (emphasis added) Israelis are shocked by the images coming out of Hebron.” But “MANY” can mean 10—it’s an “indefinite” number, according to Webster’s dictionary. By the Post’s own logic, the entire population of Israel may be shocked by the Palestinian terrorist attacks while only a limited few are shocked by Israel’s actions. The Post’s insidious spin on Israeli public opinion is likely the opposite of the reality on the ground.
The Post disparages the new Israeli ministers, saying “[Bezalel] Smotrich and [Itamar] Ben-Gvir were both suspected of being involved in terrorism in their youth.” The word “suspected” does not mean the individuals were guilty of anything! On what other occasions has the Post inferred guilt when the named parties were mere suspects? What animus from the Post reporters!
The Post says Minister Smotrich’s use of the terms “Judea and Samaria” evokes the “biblical name for the West Bank.” If biblical means before 1947, the Post would be correct. But it’s not! Judea and Samaria are the proper historical terms for the region. The new name “West Bank” was manufactured by Jordan after it illegally captured the territory in 1948. A correction is in order. The Post associates Minister Smotrich with a “biblical” image to paint him as a religious zealot. The Washington Post’s job is not to distort the news but to report it.
The Post quotes one Israeli official who allegedly stated that the new ministers will quash “all options for a two-state solution.” That remark is laughable in light of the omitted context: The Palestinians have not only spurned numerous offers of a two-state solution but repudiated the olive branches with wars, waves of terrorism, and/or alienating silence.
The Post article gives the false impression that the two so-called “hard line” Israeli ministers will somehow oppress Palestinians. In reality, the individuals rose to power democratically in response to Palestinian terrorism. The Post’s pro-Palestinian sympathy ploy notwithstanding, it is the Palestinians who are—and have always been—the source of the conflict.
Dr. Michael Berenhaus is a freelance watchdog activist who works tirelessly to combat anti-Israel bias in the media. He has been widely published in news sources such as The Economist, The New York Times, and The Washington Post.