This is a cross-post from the blog, This Ongoing War. (This blog is not part of the activity of the Malki Foundation, founded in 2001 by Frimet and Arnold Roth of Jerusalem. But it is inspired by the same tragic circumstances.The Malki Foundation is a memorial to the life of Malka Chana Roth, Frimet and Arnold’s daughter, who was murdered at the age of 15 in a Hamas terrorist massacre in Jerusalem. Beyond its function as a remembrance of a life lost, the Foundation provides daily support to over two thousand Israeli families of every ethnic and religious background for at-home care for seriously disabled children.)
Occasionally, the active role taken by reporters, editors and newspapers in soft-pedaling the terrorism that afflicts so many lives in this area (and specifically the lives of my wife and children and me) is so outrageous that you need to take a slow breath and start thinking about what to do about it. The British newspaper The Guardian provides a case in point today.
Though she’s said to be based in Jerusalem where we live, we don’t claim to know Harriet Sherwood. Hers is the name on this scandalous piece of agenda-pushing. She may be a nice and balanced individual with a commitment to objective reporting. Or she might be someone with strong political views that animate the reporting she writes in the pages of this influential paper. Let’s look.
Start with the headline, which a Guardian sub-editor presumably contributed. Notice the word militant, which is British journalistic code for terrorist, is in quotation marks. Why? We already know many politically motivated news channels malevolently propagate the notion that the Israelis kill innocents and cover this up by claiming they were terrorists. Is that what happened here? No, it’s not. The terrorist group called Islamic Jihad claimed this dead man as one of theirs. A Maan Palestinian news agency report today (it’s here) reports that Islamic Jihad said he died while performing a “Jihadist mission”. We should believe them.
The only doubt about whether the dead man was a terrorist is in the minds of The Guardian’s people. That is not how news should be reported.
The article gives this context:
Following the three-week war in Gaza in 2008-9, the Israelis established a 300m-wide “buffer zone” on Palestinian land abutting the hi-tech security fence that marks the border. The aim was to prevent militants from firing rockets into Israel or launching attacks on military posts. Palestinians were warned that anyone entering the buffer zone would be shot dead. The zone has swallowed 30% of Gaza’s arable agricultural land, and many farmers have been forced to abandon their crops.
A 300m wide no-go strip, and that’s 30% of Gaza’s arable land. Meaning Gaza’s arable land is a strip one kilometer wide. Really? Does The Guardian send its fact-checkers home when reporting on the ‘desperation’ and ‘misery’ behind Palestinian Arab lines? Has it reported on this week’s opening of a luxurious shopping mall in Gaza? [Clue: no.]
A little more context:
Rocket fire from Gaza into Israel has dramatically fallen since the 2008-9 war, although there are still sporadic attacks by militant groups other than Hamas.
Sporadic? The dictionary definition is “recurring in scattered and irregular or unpredictable instances”. An official talley [it’s here] reports all the terrorist attacks emanating from (among others) the Gazan nest of vipers and says this about the month of June 2010 alone:
The Gaza Strip – 34 attacks (as opposed to 32 last month): 13 rocket launchings, 9 mortar shell launchings, 7 light arms shootings, 2 AT launchings, and 3 explosive devices attacks.
An attack a day, day after day, at least for the past two months. (March was worse.) Daily attacks – is that sporadic? If not, and it’s not, what could Harriet Sherwood and the editors of The Guardian be thinking when they write that we’re down to “sporadic” attacks? And if they are sporadic, does this somehow mean incoming rocket attacks – barely reported in the pages of The Guardian, by the way – need to be tolerated or perhaps overlooked by Israelis? Does it mean the terrorists who tell you in their own words they’re on a jihad mission should be invited in and perhaps interviewed so we can understand their inner freedom fighter?
Getting these critically important issues about terrorism wrong, which is what The Guardian and so many other guardians (of the barbarians) do daily, is an essential part of the onslaught by the terrorists. Shame on The Guardian and its staff.
(UPDATE Friday 23-Jul-10 at 15:20): And here is how the BBC treats the same set of facts. Note the entirely-neutral character imparted to the story via the headline. Neutral, that is, unless you’re in the cross-hairs of the terrorists. The British are, though they pretend not to know it. We are and we’re very, very aware of it. The question is: do the editors of the BBC know the dead man was a terrorist on a terrorist mission, when did they know it, and why is this not worthy of being in the headline?