Monday, July 7, 2008

BBC / Guardian blame Israel for Arab terror attack

Blatant bias pushing the envelope: they actually blame the bulldozer attack in Jerusalem on "an Israeli bulldozer" then blame Israel for over-reacting by shooting the terrorist.

Read the following, from CAMERA: Terrorist Attack in Jerusalem: Bias in Euro Headlines:

On Wednesday, July 2, just before noon, a Palestinian construction worker from East Jerusalem ploughed a bulldozer into everything in sight. Reportedly shouting "Allahu Akhbar," he overturned buses and crushed cars with their occupants, attempting to kill as many people as possible before himself being shot dead by security officers. At latest count, three Israelis were killed and 66 people were wounded. A 5-month-old baby girl was saved from a car where her mother was crushed to death.

This was understandably the top story on news Web sites around the world, and a look at the headlines tells a disturbing story about the approach of some media outlets toward Palestinian terrorism.

Most major U.S. news outlets posted straightforward factual news headlines. For example:

Washington Post: "Palestinian kills 3 in Jerusalem bulldozer attack"

Los Angeles Times: "Palestinian in construction vehicle kills 3 in downtowSaven Jerusalem rampage"

Associated Press: "Palestinian goes on rampage in Jerusalem; 3 killed"

New York Times: "Palestinian Rams Huge Tractor Into Traffic, Killing 3 "

But among some headline writers on European-based news websites, the approach was different.

The International Herald Tribune, for example, owned by the New York Times but aimed at a European audience, captioned the same New York Times article differently:

"At least 3 die as man uses earthmover in Jerusalem attack"

The perpetrator is identified only as a "man"; there is no mention of the killer’s Palestinian identity. All aggression is erased in this vague headline essentially mitigating the terrorist action. Even the term "bulldozer" with its connotation of toughness is exchanged for the milder, more innocent-sounding "earthmover."

London's Independent similarly removed the identity of the perpetrator in the murders, with the following headline:
"Israeli Digger Attack: Eyewitnesses Describe Terror."
The headline is so vague as to suggest that an Israeli was the culprit. captured screenshots of the original BBC website headline and a caption on its television coverage before they were amended by the news organization. The headline read "Israel Bulldozer Driver Shot Dead," focusing on the terrorist who was shot dead and turning him into the victim instead of those he murdered.

As HonestReporting points out, "The BBC can have no excuse for not having the basic facts of the story in front of them from the very beginning" since their own reporter was an eyewitness to the rampage. The amended headline "Deadly Jerusalem bulldozer attack," while not as stark in its implication, similarly mitigates the responsibility of the Palestinian terrorist. Typical of the sort of headlines that CAMERA has critiqued in the past, these display the BBC's penchant for painting Israel as the perpetual aggressor while downplaying or ignoring entirely Palestinian responsibility for terrorism. (See "A Look at BBC’s Headlines, June 1, 2001 and "Double Standards in Headlines," October 1, 2003)

Another British media outlet whose headlines turn the Palestinian perpetrator into the victim is the Guardian. An early headline read "Man shot dead after Jerusalem bulldozer rampage" while an amended headline read "Palestinian construction worker 'liquidated' after Jerusalem rampage."

Wasting no time, the Guardian posted an online opinion column by Seth Freedman exemplifying that media outlet’s perspective. The focus was, of course, not on the Palestinian terror attack and its victims but was a condemnation of Israel for its reaction to terrorism and for ostensibly causing Palestinian terrorism.

Entitled "The inevitable overreaction," the column castigates "the usual suspects [Israeli politicians]" whom, Freedman writes "were quick to voice their rage at the events within minutes of the carnage unfolding, and bubbling to the surface were precisely the wrongheaded, knee-jerk reactions that have led the region to such a bloody impasse."

Who is the real culprit to blame for such terror attacks? No surprise there, as Freedman articulates a view to which the Guardian's readers have become accustomed.

Besieging Gaza has turned the area into the most fertile breeding ground imaginable for jihadists and suicidal militants; daily raids and round-the-clock curfews have done the same in Palestinian cities the length and breadth of the West Bank....Occupation breeds terror... Because when we crush their civilians' lives and livelihoods, the chances are that the radicals among them will do the same to us.


Rob said...

The BBC's headline was disingenuous to put it mildly, though if the Israeli government wishes to pretend that East Jerusalem is part of Israel you can hardly be surprised if from time to time people become confused.

However, it's your remarks about Seth Freedman's piece in the Guardian that I take issue with. Let's see:
"The focus was, of course, not on the Palestinian terror attack and its victims"
First paragraph of the article:
"There can be no excuses. Nothing; not the occupation, nor the siege of Gaza, nor any of the myriad attempts to justify the actions of the murderous bulldozer driver, who slaughtered with wanton abandon earlier today. Once defenceless civilians become fair game in the never-ending cycle of Middle Eastern violence, then the gloves are off and nothing is sacred anymore."

And the over-reaction of which he complained? Read a few lines more:

"Trade and Labour Minister Eli Yishai's on-the-scene response was to demand an immediate freeze on freedom of movement for Arab residents of East Jerusalem, as well as the predictable call for the terrorist's home to be demolished. Not for him the option of treating every criminal as an individual; instead, the attack was reason enough to tar all Arabs with the same brush, and clamp down, vice-like, upon their thousands-strong community."

Or later:
"Once the dust settles on Jaffa Road and the bodies have been given a proper burial, the only question will be how Israel can protect its citizens and pull the rug from under the extremists' feet. Vicious reprisals against the killer's family, mass restrictions of movement for all Arab residents of East Jerusalem, and revenge attacks on Palestinian towns and cities, are not the answer."

You see, Adam, Seth Freedman is a Jew living in Jerusalem rather than safe on an American island, so this kind of thing isn't a game of rhetorical point-scoring to him as it is to you, but life and death.

Adam Holland said...

First, I've posted at length in reply to you elsewhere with respect to how Israel came into possession of the eastern part of Jerusalem. They were attacked by Jordan during the 1967 Six Day War and took the West Bank and eastern Jerusalem during their counterattack. Jordan has since renounced their rights to this area. The Israelis were engaged in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority to establish their sovereignty in the West Bank, but the PA broke off those talks and started the second intifada. The legality of the situation is unclear and needs to be resolved by negotiations.

Second, you have some nerve saying that I don't care about the human lives involved, only scoring rhetorical points. You know nothing about me whatsoever, except what I've written about this subject on this blog, very little of which is personal, and none of which addresses where I live or my connections to Jerusalem. Your comment reveals that you are the one attempting to score rhetorical points without knowledge of the human dimension behind the text. Your ad hominem attack betrays a lack of depth and seriousness with respect to the human dimension.

Third, you missed the point of my objection to Freedman's article. His Guardian piece predicted a violent reaction by Israelis against Arabs in response to the first bulldozer attack. This was not a reasonable first reaction to that carnage; moreover, it was not journalism per se, but special pleading for a cause. It was designed to cast Israel the villain. This has been borne out by the complete lack of any such reaction. In fact, the only subsequent violence resulting from the first bulldozer attack was a subsequent copy cat attack by another Palestinian terrorist.

Freedman called his column "The inevitable overreaction". I suppose that fact escaped you.


adamhollandblog [AT] gmail [DOT] com