Tales From The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post
Four young civilians — human beings, fathers, mothers, one of whom was also pregnant, collectively the parents of seven children — were brutally gunned down by armed, masked terrorists. Their murders were openly celebrated in the streets by their attackers and by thousands of their supporters.
You would think that the world would recoil in horror — or that those who report the news, worldwide, would do so. Think again. These four precious souls were Israeli “settlers” and, as such, have already been so demonized that they are now seen as having provoked their bloody, pitiless deaths.
First, they came for the settlers. Then, they came for the secular Israeli pro-peace demonstrators in Jerusalem, Haifa, and Tel Aviv. And then they came for ….you and me.
Predictably, sadly, my three local area New York City newspapers present this tragic news in very different ways.
Allow me to first quote from the Bible of the intelligentsia, aka the New York Times, which presents this incident on page 4, not on page 1; the early pages are usually reserved for all incidents in which Israelis fight back so that Israeli “evil” is seen immediately and framed as among the most “important” world news of the day. The accompanying Times headline? Unbelievably, it is this: “Killing of 4 Israeli Settlers on the Eve of Peace Talks Rattles Leaders on Both Sides.” It’s really not clear who killed the “settlers.” What is clear is that “both sides” are “rattled.” The piece opens with a paragraph that made me see red, both literally and metaphorically. It reads as follows:
“The killing of four Israeli settlers, including a pregnant woman, in the West Bank on Tuesday evening rattled Israeli and Palestinian leaders on the eve of peace talks in Washington and underscored the disruptive role that the issue of Jewish settlements could play in the already fragile negotiations.”
Note: This opening paragraph literally blames the past and future peace failures on the Israeli settlements. The Times neither blames nor characterizes Hamas accurately. It does not say the Arab Muslim terrorist group, Hamas — the Palestinian version of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, probably also backed by Iran and Hezbollah, and the group which is claiming responsibility for the attack — is also responsible for a deadly civil war with the not-so-moderate President Abbas; an Islamist war on Palestinian women, homosexuals, and dissidents; and a jihadic war against the Jews, which began a long time ago and which will never stop until either such terrorist leaders and their propaganda are utterly vanquished militarily or until the Jews have been driven out of the Holy Land once again.
On the contrary. The piece also positions President Mahmud Abbas as the “good” guy who, like his negotiating partner, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has “condemned” the attacks. Yes — even as Abbas is busy honoring the Palestinian terrorist who planned the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympic games, Amin Al-Hindi, as well as the Palestinian terrorist Omar Muhammad Ziyada, who murdered an Israeli civilian in a human bomb homicide in 2002.
The Gray Lady does not even tell us the names of the Israeli civilian victims, nor are they in any way humanized. Their histories are not presented. They are only “particularly militant settlers”: faceless, shadowy figures. We are not supposed to care about them. We do learn what Hamas said about the attack, namely that it was a “natural response to the crimes of the Israeli occupation and its settlers.” We also learn that “hundreds” of Hamas supporters “took to the streets … to celebrate the news of the attack.”
Shame on you, Isabel Kershner and Mark Landler (who share this byline of infamy), and shame on your editors.
As usual, the Wall Street Journal does better. Their headline reads: “Hamas Attacks Israelis on Eve of Talks.” At least they tell us who the perpetrators are and who their victims are. According to Charles Levinson, “multiple gunmen” were involved; the “victims” included “two men, ages, 25 and 40, and two women, also ages 25 and 40, one of whom was visibly nine-months pregnant, according to Israeli officials.”
Why do Kershner and Landler consider such facts irrelevant to their piece? Are these facts too hard to find — or are these facts too dangerous because they would begin to humanize the Jewish, “settler” victims?
However, the august WSJ does not name the victims either. For that, I had to turn to the New York Post, which places the terrorist act on its cover with a picture of a fully head-and-face masked Palestinian gunman. The title? “Peace, Hamas Style: Terrorist fiends kill 4 Israelis on the eve of DC talks.” Their reporter, Andy Soltis, begins this way:
“Hamas terrorists yesterday murdered four innocent Israelis, one of them pregnant, in a twisted attempt to derail President Obama’s peace summit in Washington … the soulless thugs sprayed a car on the West Bank with dozens of bullets, leaving behind a gruesome scene on a blood-stained road.”
The Israeli media is filled with the facts which humanize this terrorist act but here, in my home town, I can only find such facts in the New York Post.
The victims were Yitzhak and Tali Imes, who had six children, including a year-and-a-half old infant; and Kochava Even-Haim and Avishai Schindler. One of the members of the Israeli rapid response medical team discovered that his own wife (!) Kochava was one of the victims. Kochava was a “married schoolteacher” who struggled for many years to have a child and finally succeeded. She leaves behind an 8-year-old daughter.
The Post also tells us that the terrorists may have videotaped the assault, that Hamas claimed responsibility for this “heroic” operation, and that Hamas also “launched a sickening celebration that drew 3,000 people in the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip.”
I am purposely remaining silent about the “politics” involved.
My point here is simply this: If American journalists, professors, scholars, and teachers read and trust only the New York Times, they will continue to view “militant Israeli settlers” as more blameworthy than Islamist Palestinian terrorists. This view is confirmed by articles, editorials, and op-eds which appear in their pages almost daily, often two or three in each issue. In edition after edition, this point is made over and over again.
Worse: Those who read the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post are viewed as rabid, right-wing conservatives, racists, “Islamophobes,” non-intellectuals, anti-progressives, anti-feminists, etc., and their views, and the views of the WSJ and the NYP, are easily dismissed — demonized — just as the “militant settlers” have been.
If I want to profile the recent and powerful conference on global anti-Semitism at Yale, in which I participated, if I cannot do so in the New York Times, or better yet, in the Times of London, academics will not take a word I write seriously. They will not even bother to read my words.
Quo vadis, my friends?