More than just a bad headline: Guardian morally blurs victim and perpetrator

This isn't merely one poorly written headline. It represent an institutional pattern of reporting informed by a pro-Palestinian sympathy so pronounced that it often erases the most intuitive moral distinction between victim and perpetrator.

Though Guardian reports on violence in the region typically won’t explicitly defend Palestinian terror attacks, the language employed in headlines and text often convey the message that Jewish victims – especially those beyond the green line – are not victims of violent extremism, but represent the fall-out from a political dynamic to which Israelis bear most of the blame. 

Within the Guardian’s intersectional calculus – a rock, paper, scissors-like game of competitive  victimhood – Palestinians score higher than Israeli Jews nearly every time, often regardless of the circumstances.

This is why, more likely than not, the Guardian often ignores straight-forward stories involving Palestinian attacks on Israelis, such as the September attack which claimed the life of Ari Fuld – a story they still haven’t noted, even in passing.  It also helps explain why the Guardian initially ignored the drive-by attack on Dec. 9th at a bus stop in the West Bank community of Ofra that injured seven, even after a baby – delivered by emergency C-section after his 30 week pregnant mother, Shira Ish-Ran, was shot in the stomach by the gunman – tragically died three days later.

Funeral of Amiad Yisrael

In fact, the first mention of the Ofra attack at the Guardian was in relation to another attack which took place a day after the baby, named Amiad Yisrael, had passed.  In the Thursday incident, two Israeli soldiers, Yossi Cohen and Yovel Mor Yosef, were killed – and two others severely injured – in a Palestinian shooting attack near the Givat Assaf outpost.  The IDF believes Hamas was behind both the Ofra and Givat Assaf attacks.

Yossi Cohen and Yovel Mor Yosef

Here’s the now infamous Guardian headline accompanying an article on the Dec. 13th attack.

A master class in how to obfuscate causation, and conflate perpetrators and victims, could be given devoted entirely to this one Guardian headline, but here are most egregious elements of their moral blurring.


  • Israeli victims of terror are placed on the same moral level as Palestinian perpetrators. The “two Palestinians” they’re referring to, as the article eventually makes clear, were both suspected terrorists in earlier attacks – one, Salah Barghouti, was the shooter in the Ofra attack, and the other was the Palestinian who killed two Israeli civilians in October at the Barkan Industrial Park.
  • The deaths of two Israelis are not attributed to the actions of individual Palestinian terrorists, but to “West Bank violence”. This erasing of direct causation is a classic Guardian pattern, whereby often no matter how clear the facts are regarding Palestinian initiated violence, words are used which obfuscate the responsible party – at times employing language which treats intentional attacks as some sort of act of nature (“violence erupted”, “tensions boiled over”, “violence spread to the West Bank/Gaza”, etc.) as though completely divorced from human agency.

Strap Line:

  • As in the headline, the strap line equates Jewish victims of terrorist violence with Palestinian perpetrators.
  • The strap line frames the two separate incidents (an attack on Israelis, and the death of terrorists) on a timeline (“hours after”), evoking the clichéd and supremely misleading “cycle of violence”, or “tit for tat”, framing of the conflict.
  • The strap line tells readers that an (unspecified) “man” shot two Israelis dead, but are told that “Israeli forces” killed Palestinians.

These aren’t merely poorly written headlines. They represent an institutional pattern of reporting informed by a pro-Palestinian sympathy so pronounced that it often erases the most intuitive moral distinction between victim and perpetrator.

(Editors’ Note: UK Media Watch complained about the headline, but didn’t receive a reply. We also complained about a sentence in the article which claimed that the Dec. 9th attack had killed an “unborn baby”.  After noting to editors that the baby was delivered and lived three days before passing, they revised that sentence accordingly.)

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