“Israel hit back first” in same old media bias

Burned car after Grad missile attack in Beer Sheva

Burned car after Grad missile attack in Beer Sheva

I was going to entitle this post “the international media make me sick”, but I decided to be a bit more specific. You can take the opening sentence as a sub-heading.

Since Thursday’s multiple terrorist attacks near Eilat which killed 8 Israelis and wounded dozens more, there have been massive missile attacks on Israeli cities in the south, including the major population centres of Beer Sheva (the capital of the Negev), Ashdod and Ashkelon with its power station and oil refinery, as well as smaller towns and communities, with one man killed and dozens wounded.

Let us now move to the international media and see how this has been reported.

The Guardian’s initial report on the attacks was surprisingly neutral and factual. Even the headline: “Israelis killed in attack near Egypt border” was accurate. Consider me dumbfounded.  The second article on the incident was also fairly accurate and reported on the start of the Israeli response to the terror attacks.

The next report is entitled “Israel hit by Gaza rocket attack” but the article itself talks more about Israel’s air attack on Gaza and gives details about the Palestinians killed or injured, especially the children, but gives no information about Israelis, even children, injured in the missile and rocket attacks.  The next three articles on the Guardian’s Israel page are about Israel apologizing to Egypt for the accidental killing of three Egyptian border guards.

The final article on the Guardian’s site is a picture gallery entitled “Aftermath of the attacks on Israel“.  But guess what – of the 11 pictures, 8 are of the Israeli attacks on Gaza, with emotive pictures of weeping and mourning Palestinians, and only 3 pictures of Israeli victims – or should I say “victim” in singular. The only picture is of the funeral of St. Sgt. Moshe Naftali z”l. No pictures of the dead or wounded civilians, implying if only implicitly that Israeli victims are somehow justified because after all, they are all military targets.  This is a classic example of how a seemingly innocent or neutral picture essay can be slanted to insinuate an alternative narrative.

Since the last article there have been no updates and no reporting at all of the almost 100 Grad, Kassam and mortar attacks on the south of Israel. And if they’re not reported – why, they never happened as far as most people are concerned and therefore are under the impression that Israel’s response has come out of nowhere.

The Guardian’s sister Sunday paper, the Observer, sees fit to publish nothing at all about Israel except for the regret offered by Israel to Egypt on the deaths of the border guards.

The Independent’s reporting is as bad as the Guardian’s. The very first report on the terror attack was “Israel targets Gaza after attack“. It would never occur to them to put the chronology into the right order. Once again, Israel hit back first.   The report itself was more or less neutral but how many people read only the headlines and move on, getting the wrong impression of Israel?  The next article continued with the theme of Israel striking at Gaza. On Friday we finally received a fair hearing with an article entitled “Gaza rockets fired into Israel” but the accompanying picture was once again of a Gaza house hit by Israeli fire rather than Israeli houses hit by Palestinian missiles. Why this refusal to show Israel’s distress?

The headline of Saturday’s article was simply outrageous: “Israel mourns its dead and takes revenge on Palestinians“.  Revenge?! Getting a bit Biblical are we? How can a respected publication call Israel’s military response to a military threat coming from a declared and known enemy “revenge”?  Would the Independent have classified America’s response to Pearl Harbour “revenge”? The firebombing of Dresden? Or even the War on Terror in Iraq?  This headline is a disgrace to the journalistic profession.

I suppose we should be thankful that the Independent saw fit to publish a report today on the continuing lethal missile fire into Israel – but with no accompanying emotive picture of grieving Israelis or destroyed Israeli houses. That would never play well with their audience it seems.

The New York Times leads off with a report of the attacks on Thursday, but here too, the accompanying picture is of a grieving Palestinian. Don’t you know that the Israelis apparently don’t deserve to grieve?

Their next item is an analysis of the strategic situation in “A long peace is threatened in Israel attack“.  The headline seems to be deliberately ambiguous. Was Israel attacked or the attacker?  The article itself had some annoying commentary on the balance of peace between Israel and Egypt, stating:

For Israel, the day after the attack proved especially troubling. As the nation mourned the deaths of six civilians and two soldiers, killed by the militants, it was forced to confront the challenges of an emerging new order in Egypt, unleashed by a popular revolution.

This same newspaper, and many other international media, have spent yards of newsprint accusing Israel of not appreciating the “Arab Spring” and of not wanting the Arabs to have democracy. Israel’s warnings that this “spring” was likely to lead to a power vacuum and extremism were ignored or derided. And now these same supercilious pundits see fit to “warn” Israel that there is a challenge in the new Egyptian order. “Chutzpah” seems to be a word invented especially for these inane hacks.

The next two articles on the Israeli raids and the missile fire by Palestinians are both once again accompanied by photos of wounded or dead Palestinians, even though Israeli casualties are mentioned in the articles. I am not asking for photos of Israeli victims – we do not need to sink to their level – but there is plenty of footage of bombed Israeli houses, Israeli hospitals and ambulances to give some local colour.

The BBC has had scant coverage of the terror attacks on Thursday and the intense rocket fire that followed. It gets a brief mention in an article on the Egyptian protests against the Israeli embassy in Cairo at the accidental killing by Israel (still not proven) when chasing terrorists across the border.

As a Twitter user says:

Sky News have a fairly balanced report of the attack in the south, except that as far as I can find, there are no reports of the ongoing rocket fire on the south.  Tim Marshall in his blog gives some good background as usual.

The Daily Telegraph has a report on the Palestinian terror attacks near Eilat but makes only the slightest passing mention in the sub-heading of the fact that 7 civilians were killed.  It then has a series of articles on the Israeli raids on Gaza, but not a word on the continued missile onslaught on the south.

Beer Sheva school gym hit by Grad missile

Beer Sheva school gym hit by Grad missile

I don’t know whether any of these “news” outlets should be given the benefit of the doubt that it is Sunday and they have not updated their websites about the missile attacks on Israel which have not let up since Thursday.  For your information here are Israeli news reports on the bombardments. Check with your local news sites and see what they are reporting, if anything:

Ynet Hebrew – Missile attacks on Beer Sheva

Jerusalem Post – IAF bombs Gaza as rocket fire continues.

Haaretz: Kadima urges IDF action in Gaza as rocket fire continues. (Yes. That Kadima!).

Israel Hayom – a million Israelis under rocket fire.

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17 Responses to “Israel hit back first” in same old media bias

  1. Linda says:

    Annie, I share your outrage. It’s the same thing over and over again.

  2. realRightWinger says:

    The world is not interested in dead or injured jews – only dead or injured arabs…..

  3. NormanF says:

    Israel should care what world opinion thinks? When was the last time the world stood behind Israel?

    • anneinpt says:

      It’s not a matter of whether Israel cares about world opinion. It’s a matter of how world opinion affects the situation in the Middle East. If popular opinion is against Israel, politicians will be careful to vote against Israel in their local and international forums, e.g. in Congress or the UN. And popular opinion is affected by the media.

      THIS is the whole danger in biased reporting – beyond the moral principle of it all.

  4. anneinpt says:

    Honest Reporting have come up with reports similar to mine (or the other way around. I got their newsletter after I published my post): It started when Israel fired back” and BBC pounds Israel.

  5. Sarah AB says:

    I was interested to see if anyone else was blogging about the Independent headline (as I’ve been posting about it here http://hurryupharry.org/2011/08/21/media-responses-to-attacks-on-israel/) – I’ll update to include a link to your post too.

    • anneinpt says:

      Thank you for your comment and for both your links Sarah AB – for your link back to me, and for the link to HP. I’m so glad there are other people calling out the media on their bias. This is too important an issue to be left just to the Israeli bloggers. In the end this bias affects everyone and undermines the profession of journalism.

  6. cba says:

    I’ve been looking at the IDF Spokesman link you gave in your previous post, and I see that the barrage is still going on–if anything it’s getting worse. This is just horrible.

    • anneinpt says:

      A ceasefire was declared last night by Hamas (apparently) though no one knows for sure. Meanwhile more rockets came over. Israel has sort of agreed to the ceasefire and the locals and the army are furious.

      Rockets fired despite ceasefire

      Hebrew Ynet

      • Ynet English now appears to require subscription or registry? Ref: link for “rockets fired despite ceasefire” above. First time I’ve ever encountered that. Refers to itself as a VPN access site? Oh, well.

        • anneinpt says:

          That’s totally weird Aridog. You say it’s never happened to you before? I’ll write and ask them what’s going on.

          Hmm. I’ve just gone to the link I provided and the embedded video has a “security warning” (sounds like Israel on a bad-rocket day 🙂 ). Perhaps that is what was affecting you? Can you read the text at all?

          • Cannot read text after about 3 seconds (I “approve” the security warning as okay) … then I get:

            Welcome to Yedioth SSL VPN
            Unauthorized Access Is Prohibited!

            Username ___________________
            Password ___________________

            Please sign in to begin your secure session.

  7. In a just world….

    When Hamas or Fatah call for ceasefire, hit them harder. They merely seek hudna to recoup one thing or another, or a pause for them to “crow” in the light as the injured party … e.g., they called for the ceasefire didn’t they? Boo Hoo. Balderdash.

    Every time they instigate the first violence, then they call for ceasefire. You’d think the world would begin to get it. This “gimme a time out” crap is for schoolyard children’s games, not border hostilities between adults.

    Be grateful I am not all powerful. If I were, Gaza, after the past few years, would be a wilderness forming the new Israeli National Seashore.

  8. anneinpt says:

    Aridog, the Ynet glitch is most peculiar. I’ll write to them and update you offline. If anyone else has had a problem with Ynet please let me know.

  9. Pingback: The Independent and its obssession with Israeli “revenge” | Anne's Opinions

  10. Pingback: Ceasefire, broken so soon – and how it is reported in the media | Anne's Opinions

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