Are foreign journalists covering Israel Antisemites?

Ideally, a newspaper article will present all the relevant facts, and let the reader form his own opinion. Realistically, we all know that there’s no such thing as an unbiased writer. Almost every article is written with a certain agenda. It seems like all newspapers have the same agenda when it comes to Israel. Practically any time you open a newspaper from any country in the world, you’ll find a headline suggesting that a Palestinian who stabbed an Israeli civilian or fired a rocket at an Israeli town (depending on the season) was somehow the victim. I would like to try to understand why this happens. What causes the international media to consistently manipulate the facts to make Israel look bad? Are they anti-Semites? Or maybe just anti-Israel? Is there really a difference? Perhaps they really believe what they’re reporting to be the truth? Do they just want to please their readers?

There are literally thousands of examples I could’ve picked from to demonstrate my point, but I think just one will do.

When’s the last time you or someone you know made a wrong turn, and was then attacked needing to be rescued by Special Forces? If you answered never, then you’re probably not a Jew living in the Middle East. Unfortunately, Israelis know all too well what happens to a Jew who accidentally turns into a Palestinian town. Who can forget what happened to Vadim Nurzhits and Yossi Avrahami, two Israelis who accidentally turned into Ramallah in 2000? In case you forgot this was the result:

Two dead Israelis. Seven Palestinian terrorists getting a monthly salary from the Palestinian Authority after being arrested by Israeli forces for murder. (The man in the picture, Aziz Salha, was released from an Israeli prison in the Gilad Shalit deal, to return to his proud family and friends, a hero).

Recognizing the danger of an Israeli accidentally turning into a Palestinian town, the Israeli government put up big red signs at the entrance to all Area A towns (As opposed to Areas B and C, Area A is under complete control of the Palestinian Authority) warning any Israeli that entering the town will put his life in danger.

On February 29th, two non-combat Israeli soldiers accidentally entered Kalandiya, a Palestinian refugee camp. To nobody’s surprise, they were immediately lynched. Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails and rocks at them, setting their car on fire. Luckily, one of them managed to call for help. Israeli forces were sent to rescue them and were met by Palestinian violence. The two soldiers were rescued, but not before three Palestinians were injured and one killed. Five Israeli soldiers were also injured during the rescue mission.

What headline would you write to describe this event? Perhaps “Two Israeli soldiers rescued from Palestinian violence after making wrong turn”? Or “ Two lost Israelis get a little taste of Palestinian culture”? This is the headline the L.A Times used to describe the event:

To be fair, there’s nothing false about the headline. Indeed, there was a GPS mix up, and Israeli forces did kill a Palestinian. But do the 60% of people who only read the headline and move on (according to an in-depth study by the American Press Institute, 60% of people say they typically do not go beyond reading headlines) really get the best picture of what occurred? If I were to read this headline and move on, I’d be under the impression that an Israeli man’s GPS stopped working so he decided to murder a Palestinian.

Something tell me that if someone anywhere else on Earth made a wrong turn and was attacked because of his ethnicity or religion, and needed to be rescued by special forces, the headlines would look very different.

Why does this journalist, and so many others, choose to portray Israelis defending themselves from terrorism, as bloodthirsty animals who murder Palestinians for fun (Or because of a GPS mix up)?

The first option I’d like to explore is naivety. Maybe foreign journalists really believe they’re doing a good job of reporting the truth, but they write articles without knowing the entire story. I find this very hard to believe, because any decent journalist wouldn’t report a story without getting all the facts. Furthermore, after reading the content of the article, it’s clear that the writer was aware of all the facts when he wrote this ridiculous headline.

Perhaps the journalists are aware that the vast majority of their readers love to hate Israel, and therefore, the journalists are willing to twist the facts in order to stay popular among their readers. The problem with this explanation, is that the reason that so many people have Anti-Israel views to begin with, are misleading headlines like this one. So which came first, the misleading headlines or the Anti-Israel readers?

To me, the only logical way to explain this bizarre phenomenon of reporters doing whatever they can to make Israel look bad, is good ol’ fashioned Anti-Semitism. It seems very simple. People have always hated Jews, so why would it come as a surprise that people hate the Jewish state?

I know that calling somebody who holds Anti-Semitic views, an Anti-Semite is not considered “politically correct”. The politically correct term is Anti-Israel. People who define themselves as Anti-Israel, claim it’s not Jews they have a problem with, but Israel. I have a hard time believing that these people aren’t driven by Anti-Semitism, and here’s why:

In 2004, in an effort to differentiate between legitimate criticism of the Jewish state, and Anti-Semitism, Natan Sharansky suggested the “3D test”. Of course, like all free democracies, Israel can and should be criticized. However, Sharansky recognized the disproportionate amount of criticism that Israel receives. Israel, a western, liberal country gets criticized more than any of the world’s biggest human rights violators. Sharansky’s three D’s are Double standards, Demonization and Delegitimization. Anybody who criticizes Israel’s policies, yet ignores the countless countries where minorities, women and gays are given no rights, does not pass the 3D test. Anybody who seeks to demonize or delegitimize Israel instead of offering constructive criticism and trying to improve Israel, does not pass the 3D test. Do all the people who claim to be Anti-Israel pass the 3D test? I think the answer is pretty obvious.

Written by: Ari Schwartz

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Author: gurarieh.noga