Foreign news purveyors tend to sanitize terrorist crimes against Jews – when they at all bother to report them. They also dehumanize Jewish victims when referring to them by generic designations with distinct derogatory nuances.
The heartrending tragedy of Adele Banita offers a stark case in point.
She, her husband and two babies were attacked by a knife-wielding Arab terrorist on Jerusalem’s main Old City route to and from the Western Wall. Aharon Banita was stabbed to death and one toddler was slashed. Adele escaped the murderer’s grasp – and with his blade still stuck in her neck – ran to raise the alarm, to save her children.
It was the stuff of nightmares, of sadistic horror flicks.
The Arab merchants all around her not only failed to help but they mocked and sneered at the profusely bleeding young woman. They spat on her. They slapped her. They jeeringly wished death upon her.
This was every bit as hideous as the Holocaust-era Ukrainians, who – if they didn’t murder with their own hands – excitedly cheered the murderers on. Not only did the homicidal assailant not regard Adele as a human being but neither did the bystanders who unequivocally empathized with him.
This incident underscores the essence of Israel’s struggle. We face blood-lusting enemies who blatantly deny our right to be anywhere in this country, including in Jerusalem. They aren’t merely out to “protect al-Aksa Mosque from defilement by filthy Jewish feet” (in the words of PA chieftain Mahmoud Abbas) – they also aim to prevent Jews from praying at the Western Wall.
Indeed, any Jewish presence is per se anathema to them.
Adele’s youngsters would have been slaughtered had help not arrived in time. Indeed death would have been the fate of the four children who witnessed the brutal drive-by execution near Itamar of their parents – Na’ama and Eitam Henkin – had the terrorists not inadvertently shot one of their own.
But was any of this viciousness and ghastliness conveyed to news-consumers abroad? Quite the reverse had occurred.
The BBC website headline announced: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.”
The BBC didn’t note that the murderer was shot mid-his killing spree. The BBC left it unclear who killed whom and who the “killed two” (mentioned in the passive voice) were. After repeated complaints, the phrasing was changed three times – yet in all the truth remained obfuscated.
Significantly, the BBC never apologized.
Its conduct was worse than al-Jazeera’s whose re-cap was only slightly less misleading: “Palestinian shot dead after fatal stabbing in Jerusalem; 2 Israeli victims also killed.”
Clearly we expect less of the Qatar-based network than of the London one. Yet unlike the BBC, al-Jazeera apologized and revised the headline to read, “Two Israelis killed in stabbing attack; Palestinian suspect shot dead.”
These weren’t the only offenders by a long shot.
The Washington Post’s follow-up reports aroused dismay by omitting the context in which events unfolded. As tensions grew, the tenor of the foreign media was of an Israeli-initiated escalation, divorced from any background.
Israel came out looking bad.
When the media overseas at all bothered to note who the victims were, they were mostly described as “settlers.” Presumably that categorized them as somehow culpable. A broad-spectrum sense of something undesirable adheres to “settlers.” That makes shedding their blood semi-understandable, even if this is only tacitly hinted at.
This tactic is used regardless where victims reside. It’s an all-purpose castigation. It was even applied last year to the four elderly congregants axed to death during morning services in a west Jerusalem synagogue, well within Israel proper. It’s a non-specific unspoken insinuation of illegitimacy against all Jews in Israel.
Just as the identities of the four were never dwelled upon, so Adele’s story wasn’t told. But callous dehumanization is only the beginning. It gets lots worse when reports are skewed to the extent that a casual glance at the headline suggests Israeli wrongdoing.
Likewise suggested is that the attacker is the victim and that there is no connection between him and his actual victims. Such outrageous word-manipulations cannot be dismissed as unintentional.
At the root of this is Jews’ reticence in standing up to demand acknowledgment for their humanity and national rights as a people.
We always hear Israel’s leaders talk about security. We never hear them talk about Jews right to be treated as human beings and members of a nation – the Jewish nation.
One can hardly expect the Arabs and the rest of the world come to terms with so obvious a fact if the Jews don’t insist upon it for themselves.
Jews have become injured to accepting Arab Jew-hatred as a normal state of affairs, with the expectation Jews will be slaughtered because they had it coming to them.
The victim takes part in the enemy’s dehumanization and delegitimization of him by conceding he is in the right and by implication, that his demands are just.
And trampled underfoot in the face of this wretched travesty is Israel’s narrative and the justice of the Jewish presence in the Land Of Israel.
For Jews to receive the understanding of the world, they must assert themselves first and act like respect and dignity are an axiomatic and central part of the Jewish condition.
From that every thing else will follow, including a change in the world’s treatment of Israel as the Jew Among The Nations.
No argument from me NormanF – it really is time to throw mud back in their faces when challenged.
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Thanks Sarah! Frankly, the coverage in the international media, and the media here in USA, is shockingly bad.
An excellent succinct article that reflects the true situation without bias. Thank you. Sadly the universal mood and tendency is away from Israel and jews in general. But that’s nothing new.
Perhaps one of the more vicious media groups reporting excessively about Israel is France 24. Before they opened an office here, they were tremendously supportive of our right to live in our ancient land. As soon as they achieved a foothold here, however, they became breathtakingly anti Israel, anti Zionist, and dare I say it, anti Semitic. Why we allow these people to remain here to spread lies about the country, I simply don’t know. Really, the license to maintain reporters here in Israel should be limited to those media groups who do not lie about what is going on in this country.
“Likewise suggested is that the attacker is the victim and that there is no connection between him and his actual victims. Such outrageous word-manipulations cannot be dismissed as unintentional.” — Sarah Honig
The same can be said of German public TV channel ZDF. I have not been following how they have been “reporting” this time, in order to avoid becoming too sick to be able to work to survive, but I’ve tried to analyze their propaganda on occasion of the Har Nof massacre some time ago, under the Headline “Who is the perpetrator, who is the victim?” German public TV “reporting” on the anti-Semitic Har Nof massacre – an example of the “balanced” German approach to the “Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, so that anyone who’s interested in the German variety of what Sarah Honig describes here, can find a lengthy documentation and tentative analysis of it.
NOTHING has changed since the times of Joseph Goebbels in Germany, just the wording has become accommodated for todays German SLIMEBAGS.
That tragedy and it’s most shameful reception should make it CRISTAL CLEAR : Oslo & the “two state” final solution are DEAD !
Judea and Samaria ARE Jewish land, Mr. HuSSein Obama and obedient servant Kerry.
Many of these horrific crimes would likely not occur, but for two things: The deliberate mis-characterization by the Western press that Sarah mentions, and the fact that American taxpayer dollars account for 40% of Palestinian Authority funding. According to a Stand With Us web site, if a Palestinian is sentenced to 15-20 years in jail, he or she gets $2000 per month, for the time they’re incarcerated. Neither of these should be happening, but American taxpayer funding of Palestinian terror is particularly revolting. Also, I’m interested to know how it was that there wasn’t more of an IDF/police presence along the main Old City route to the Western wall? I realize the IDF/police can’t be everywhere, but when I was in Israel a few years ago, there was a heavy IDF presence along the Street of David, particularly around the intersections of Jewish Quarter road and Christian Quarter road. These attacks happen very quickly, but still, a strong IDF/Police presence might discourage some of them. To any American that reads Sarah’s article: Call your Congressman or Senator, and demand legislation that cuts funding to the PA.
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