UK media bigotry of low expectations? Selective outrage over Brussels terror comments

Shortly after news of deadly ISIS terror attacks in Brussels on Tuesday, Gregg Carlstrom (who reports for Times of London) tweeted this, expressing outrage at comments by an Israeli MK.

However, the Facebook comments by Ofir Akunis (Minister of Science, Technology and Space) were hardly outrageous. Akunis expressed condolences to the Belgian people, but also noted the hypocrisy of those who condemn Islamist terror in Europe, but not in Israel – a frustration often expressed by Israeli terror victims and their families.

Additionally, a March 23rd Guardian report by David Smith on President Obama’s comments on the terror attack included the following passages, again highlighting controversial remarks by an Israeli politician:

Meanwhile, as the world grappled with yet another Isis atrocity, there were more provocative interventions from Australia and Israel

And Yisrael Katz, Israel’s minister of intelligence and atomic energy, pulled no punches when he told Israel Radio: “If in Belgium, they continue to eat chocolate and enjoy the good life with their liberalism and democracy, and do not understand that some of the Muslims there are planning terror, they will never be able to fight against them.”

Remarkably, the Daily Mail devoted an entire column to Katz’s comments, in this March 23rd story by Corey Charlton:

daily mail column

Though (unlike with MK Akunis) Katz’s words were indeed offensive, it’s quite telling that vitriolic comments in response to the Brussels attacks by a high-ranking Palestinian security official went unreported by major news outlets.

As first revealed by Palestinian Media Watch (PMW)Adnan Al-Damiri, a spokesman for the PA’s security forces, wrote a Facebook post blaming the US and Europe (and, of course, Israel) for the Brussels attacks and the rise of international terror.

Here’s a translation of the comments by PMW:

While we condemn and denounce terrorist acts everywhere in the world, we Arabs are the ones who have been most severely burned by the fire of terror, which has been created and exported by the US and Europe since the Arab Jihad fighters in Afghanistan, and before that by exporting the Jewish terror to Palestine, supporting it and justifying it. Today, Europe is being burnt by its [the terror’s] fire in its airports and squares. I do not gloat but feel pain over every innocent soul that was killed, but those who prepare the poison will taste it themselves, and today Europe is having a taste of what it prepared with its own hands. Unless you fight terror everywhere, first and foremost in Palestine, since the [Israeli] occupation is the ugliest form of terror, as well as in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and Jordan – you will be burnt by its fire, and terror has no religion.

The failure of journalists to report these outrageous comments is part of a larger pattern of double standards.

Though offensive comments by Israeli officials are often immediately seized upon by British media outlets, they almost universally fail to inform news consumers of the steady stream of antisemitic, pro-terror propaganda emanating from PA officials and the state-controlled media.

Additionally, if you follow the twitter feeds of many journalists working for UK news outlets, you similarly find a huge disparity in outrage over ‘ugly’ comments by Israel and Palestinian leaders.

This represents another example of the Western tendency not to hold Palestinians accountable to the same standard of morality as they do Israelis – what’s been termed the “bigotry of low expectations“, a dynamic which continues to profoundly distort British media coverage of the region.

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