I have been documenting anti-Israel bias in the media since i started this blog. In fact it was one of the reasons I st this blog up in the first place. Sadly it seems to be getting worse despite the fact that there are so many media-monitoring websites out there, at least in certain media outlets (Haaretz, the BBC, the NYT, I’m looking at you – and others besides). This is besides the built-in hostility towards Israel in international institutions like the UN. But it goes further. Much more egregiously, the double standard to wards Israel has become blatantly clear in the US State Department. Following are several examples from the past week which saw several terrorist atrocities in Israel.
The Algemeiner has an “interesting” (i.e. enraging) roundup of the blatant bias of the New York Times with examples from just the past month (there are many more recent exampels at the following links) documented by two media watchdogs: CAMERA and Honest Reporting):
On September 10, the NYT singled out Jewish lawmakers on the Iran deal. [At the link you will read that this was a blatantly antisemitic act, targeting Jews for no other reason than that they are Jewish. The NYT has yet to be made to pay for this racial discrimination. -Ed.]
On September 15, the NYT suggested that the Israeli who was murdered by rock-throwing Palestinians had died of a “self-inflicted accident” after the attackers had merely “pelted the road” (rather than his car). The National Review provided a detailed critique of this farcical “reporting.”
Unbelievably, Diaa Hadid, a NYT “journalist” responsible for reporting on Israel, used to work for an anti-Israel hate group, so it’s no surprise that she authored an article suggesting that Palestinian attackers pelted a road with stones on which an Israeli’s self-inflicted car accident just happened to cause him to die.
On September 29, Hadid used an anonymous European advocate of Palestinian rights as a witness to contradict Israeli army claims that a Palestinian woman who was shot at an IDF checkpoint had been armed with a knife. Hadid then omitted confirmatory reports from another witness mentioned in the article, a Palestinian named Fawaz Abu Aisheh, who said the woman had dropped her knife after being shot. (Hadid ignored this evidence even though Amnesty International mentioned Aisheh’s corroborating testimony about the knife).
On September 30, the NYT struck again with false historical information and tendentious coverage of Abbas’ UN speech. The article, by Rick Gladstone and Jodi Rudoren, noted that “Mr. Abbas accused Israel of having systematically violated these pacts,” without mentioning the many violations of the Oslo Peace Accords by Palestinians. In an article exceeding 1,000 words, the reporters made not even one reference to Palestinian terrorism, a basic historical fact that is essential to any fair and balanced understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, since the Oslo Peace Accords, there have been 22 years of Palestinian terrorist attacks — including 140 suicide bombings — which have murdered more than 1,500 Israelis (in U.S. population terms, about 60,000 people killed) and made Israeli compliance with a complex and risky “peace” agreement even harder.
Equally egregious is their patently false claim that “the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the most protracted dispute vexing the United Nations since the organization’s founding 70 years ago.” Some basic Wikipedia research reveals that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict began in 1948 and has produced about 24,000 fatalities since then, while the Kashmir conflict between India and Pakistan began in 1947 and has produced about 47,000 fatalities, and the conflict over Kurdish separatism in Iran began in 1946 and has caused at least 30,000 fatalities.
Moving on to the events of last week, the BBC outdid itself (if that is at all possible) in its outrageous headlines which even they themselves were persuaded – eventually – to change – four times! – until they matched the events on the ground. Honest Reporting gives us a screenshot of the initial BBC headline after a Palestinian terrorist stabbed and murdered two Israeli Rabbis and injured the wife and child of one of them in the Old City of Jerusalem:
Note how the headline focuses on the poor Palestinian murderer.
BBC Watch follows up on how the BBC flunked the headlines on the Jerusalem terror attack: – and includes a reference to the BBC’s misleading reporting on the murder of the Henkin’s two days previously, in which they did not mention the Palestinian Authority’s connection to the murder:
Predictably, that headline prompted considerable protest on social media and shortly after its publication the title was changed to one displaying yet another regular feature of BBC reporting; the use of superfluous punctuation.
And later on – yet again.
In other words, professional journalists supposedly fluent in the English language had to make three changes to the article’s headline in not much more than an hour.
And what of the report itself? In line with standard BBC practice, the word terror does not appear in any of the versions of an article describing a terror attack on Israeli civilians. Readers are told that:
“It comes two days after an Israeli couple, who were in a car with their four children, were shot dead in the West Bank.”
Of course BBC audiences had not been informed that was a terror attack either.
Readers of the third version of the report were told that:
“Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules the Gaza Strip, issued a statement praising the attack which it described as “heroic”.”
They were not, however, informed that social media accounts belonging to Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party similarly praised the attack and described its perpetrator as a ‘hero’. The information concerning Hamas was later removed.
As BBC Watch remarked on its report on the BBC’s coverage of the Henkin murders:
The BBC cannot claim to be meeting its remit of building “a global understanding of international issues” as long as it continues to conceal the role played by the Palestinian Authority in inciting violence and executing terror attacks on Israeli civilians.
But the Beeb’s bias doesn’t seem to worry anyone in the British halls of power.
As for international coverage of the terror attacks that killed four Israeli civilians in 2 days, besides the countless attempted murder attacks via rock-throwing on the roads, firebombs, tossing firecrackers at the police, and arson, Israel experienced agricultural terrorism in the form of uprooted vineyards, as well as the destruction of priceless Bar Kochba-era antiquities.
If you live outside Israel I’m pretty sure you haven’t heard of any of this. Edgar Davidson has produced another great (but sad) info-graphic showing the disparity in political reactions and the bias in reporting:
Sadly, I find none of this surprising. We have become so inured to biased, misleading, distorted or simply missing reporting on Israel that, at least speaking for myself, I have no expectations at all from the foreign media and am pleasantly surprised when I find an accurate report.
However the bias at the US State Department which is also not new (it is dominated by Arabists, rather like the “Camel Corps” of the British Foreign Office), seems to have hit a new low.
The blogger “First One Through” at Jews Down Under created an instructive table comparing the State Department’s reactions to Israeli and Arab casualties of warfare and terrorism. Even with the knowledge that State is biased, I admit I was shocked by this (I edited the heading of the chart for errors):
|Event||July 1 Attack on Arabs||October 1 Attack on Jews||October 3 Attack on Jews|
|Words in Statement||122||68||77|
|Condemnation||“condemns in strongest possible terms”||“strongly condemns”||“strongly condemns”|
|Terrorist attack||“vicious terrorist attack” AND “terrorism”||“terrorist attack”||Not called terrorism|
|Condolences||“profound condolences”||“condolences”||No condolences|
|Prayer for Injured||“prayers for a full recovery”||None||None|
|Families mentioned||“Dawabsheh family”||None||None|
|Location of Incident||“Palestinian village of Douma”||“West Bank.” Not Israeli; not Samaria||“Old City of Jerusalem today”. Not Israeli|
|Call for Justice||“murderers”||“the perpetrators”||“all perpetrators of violence” A general term|
Furthermore, in an outrageously undiplomatic move, the White House instructed Secretary of State John Kerry and Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power to stay away from the UN while Binyamin Netanyahu delivered his speech to the UNGA last week.
I cannot recall ever such a disgraceful, overtly antagonistic act being taken – for no reason other than hurt personal feelings – by the White House or the State Department. Shame on them!
But history is a cycle. Do you remember the “outrage” and “appalled” feelings at State when Israel hit a school or hospital – or rather, NEAR the buildings – in Gaza? That was described as a war crime and Israel was villified in every media outlet that you can think of, besides the State Department (reminder: the US is supposed to be Israel’s ally!) and of course the UN.
This week the tables have turned. Russia has begun brazenly bombing civilian targets in Syria. Meanwhile the US Air Force bombed an Afghan hospital, and it is instructive to note the media coverage and its comparison with Israel’s attack in Gaza, as Honest Reporting reports:
It will certainly be interesting to compare the media coverage of Russian and U.S. air strikes to the reports that Israel had to contend with. All too often, the media attributes a level of malevolence when it comes to Israeli military actions.
So, while, for example, the New York Times’s headline from July 2014 actively attributes responsibility to Israel for the alleged shelling of a UN school, its headline covering the Afghan hospital incident passively attributes the air strike rather than those who carried it out.
Ultimately, both Israel and the U.S. have shared values when it comes to the ethics of war. It is hard to believe that the U.S. has intentionally targeted civilians in a hospital. It does, however, comparatively demonstrate the lengths that Israel goes to in order to avoid just such a scenario as the Afghan hospital.
It is a tragic inevitability that civilians will die in war. Russia does not appear to be influenced by morals or ethics. Meanwhile the U.S. may be realizing that it has something to learn from Israel when it comes to ethics on the battlefield.
I would have been angrier at the duplicity of the State Department, but I must admit I’m finally enjoying a great surge of schadenfreude at their expense as their spokesman squirmed, evaded and tried to wriggle out of a straight answer to a direct question posed by Matt Lee of AP about the Afghan hospital bombing. Watch the video at Israellycool:
Matt Lee decided to ask the State Department’s Mark Toner exactly what kind of standards they hold themselves to because it would seem to be a different set that they applied to Israel last year.
I’ll spoil it. He’s got no answer. They can’t justify it. They hold Israel to an impossible standard, one to which they cannot themselves match because this is war and bad stuff happens. We join the briefing for Matt’s follow up question after his first is left completely unanswered in over 3 minutes of bluster.
You can read the transcript of the entire question and answer session at the Israellycool link.
Enjoy! Maybe the State Department will think twice before again condemning Israel’s perfectly legal actions taken in self-defense.
One update before I go: there has been another terrorist stabbing in the Old City, near the site of the double murder on Saturday night:
Watch out for biased reporting about this one too – if it even gets a mention.