CAMERA Media Analyses..
13 August '15..
Extremism from Israel's Jewish fringe, repudiated by Israeli society? Two big Washington Post feature articles in three days. Hamas' Iranian-funded preparations for renewed aggression with Israel, continued praise for the killers of Jews by Fatah, the ruling party of the West Bank's Palestinian Authority? These escape The Post's notice.
The paper still uses the slogan “if you don't get it, you don't get it.” More accurately, recently, if you get it, you don't.
Cases in point, three recent headlines from The Washington Post:
“Israel's new, young Jewish extremists; A 20-year-old mom is known for provocations in bid to remake nation” (Aug. 11, 2015);
“Israel arrests nine settlers in wake of firebombing of Palestinian home; Police raids are part of a crackdown on Jewish extremists” (August 10); and
“Attacks bring scrutiny to Israel's radical settlers” (August 8).
The second, “Israel arrests nine settlers,” was a 571-word news article following the fire bombing of a Arab home in the West Bank village of Duma 10 days earlier. The attack presumably was perpetrated by Jewish extremists, though that had not yet been proven. The attack killed an infant and his father and left the mother and four-year-old brother in critical condition in an Israeli hospital, The Post's Jerusalem correspondent Ruth Eglash reported.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed sorrow over the death of Saad Dawabshe [the father; toddler Ali Dawabshe had died at the scene] and said in a statement that he would not countenance terrorism ‘of any kind,'” the newspaper told readers. It also noted that “some Palestinians called for revenge. A spokesman for Hamas, the Islamist militant group that controls the Gaza Strip, called for an all-out war on the settlers, local media reported.”
Here's where the problem starts
The two, longer feature stories, “Israel's new, young Jewish extremists” (996 words) and “Attacks bring scrutiny to Israel's radical settlers” (1,660 words) were not as straightforward. Here's the lead on “Israel's new, young Jewish extremists”:
“Aviya Morris is the fresh new face of Jewish extremism, a soft-spoken young mother who wants to see the Muslim walls tumble down and a new Israel rise. This is her dream.
“She admits, ‘It could lead to world war.' That would be the fault of Arabs—and the international community, she says. Morris is 20 years old.”
“Two weeks ago,” Post Jerusalem Bureau Chief William Booth wrote, “Morris, her husband and their baby, named Liberty Zion, left their Jewish settlement in Shiloh in the West Bank to visit the raised esplanade in the heart of Jerusalem's Old City that the Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Noble Sanctuary. … And it was here that Morris shouted, ‘Muhammad is a pig!' a slur against the Muslim prophet.
“Morris said she was provoked, that during her visit to the mount she was hounded by veiled Muslim women shouting ‘Allahu akbar!'—God is great—and ‘Death to the Jews!' … Morris said the Palestinian women were the aggressors. ‘This is the only place in the world where Jews cannot pray. Arabs can wave ISIS and Hamas flags, and we cannot pray or wave Israeli flags, and the world does nothing.”
The Post noted Morris “has been at the forefront of provocative acts before,” spitting at Ahmad Tibi, an Arab member of Knesset (parliament) and arrested “on suspicion of involvement in vandalizing Jerusalem's Monastery of the Cross …” It did not mention Tibi's own provocative history, including defending anti-Israel terrorism and traveling to Libya to visit then-dictator Muammar Gaddafi on the latter's private plane (see “LA Times Whitewashes Ahmad Tibi,” CAMERA, May 26, 2010).
The Washington Post also said “Palestinian female guardians [emphasis added] are a new phenomenon at the al-Aqsa [mosque] compound [on Temple Mount]. They follow Jewish visitors and their Israeli police escorts to stop Jews from praying or singing (Jewish prayer being against Israeli and Jordanian rules, designed to protect the 48-year-old status quo. [A status quo violated repeatedly by Muslim religious authorities on the Mount, not that the newspaper reminded readers, including by unauthorized excavation destructive of Jewish relics (see “The Battle over Jerusalem and Temple Mount,” CAMERA, Nov. 6, 2014 ).
“The Palestinian wardens [emphasis added] say their mission is to protest the Jewish visitors, for fear the Jews want to return to worship here en masse—and to see a future third Temple rise from the ruins of their mosque.
“In the Palestinian mainstream media, Jews who come to the sanctuary are rarely ‘visiting,' but instead are ‘raiding' or ‘laying siege' to the compound.”
What are we missing now?
Partly right, partly wrong, mostly out of context. Here's how The Jerusalem Post covered a parallel part of the same controversy (“Exclusive: Muslims harass Congressmen visiting Temple Mount,” by Lahav Harkov, August 11):
“A group of Muslim men harassed a delegation of U.S. congressmen visiting the Temple Mount on Tuesday. ‘There was an effort to completely suppress not only any expression of religious conviction, but any articulation of historical reality,' Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Israel Allies Foundation's congressional caucus recounted….
“As part of the delegation's trip to the Middle East, the group took a tour of the Temple Mount that was constantly interrupted by shouting, first by Arab men in the plaza and then by staff from the Wakf Islamic trust. ‘We walked up there, and were almost immediately approached by several men who started shouting,' [Rep. Keith] Rothfus [R-Pa.] said. ‘We were tracked the entire time we were there and found these individuals surprising intolerant and belligerent.' … Soon after, 15-20 men began to harass the group, interrupting the tour guide, shouting and pointing, and once again police were needed to break up the commotion.'”
One reason for interrupting the guide, The Jerusalem Post reported, was to make sure he did not use the term “Temple Mount” but only “Dome of the Rock,” and that his maps did not show the site of the Temples.
“…. On their way out, the delegation saw a group of Jewish visitors being confronted by a Muslim group, who was crowding around them and shouting ‘Allahu akbar.' The Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel is known to pay thousands of shekels every month to Murbitat—meaning protectors of holy sites—who harass non-Muslim visitors. The groups of Murbitat are often led by women dressed head-to-toe in black, with their faces covered.”
These appear to be The Washington Post's “wardens” and “guardians,” but, in The Jerusalem Post, in context.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Rep. Franks as saying “visiting the Temple Mount was ‘exhilarating and meaningful beyond words,' but that the experience was marred by the harassment, ‘a reminder of challenges both in micro and macro that the people of Israel face every day.' ”
But that are not reported, in full, by The Washington Post.
Scrutinize Jewish settlers, immunize Palestinian Arabs
The Post's refers to “Palestinian female guardians” and “the Palestinian wardens” absent references to payments from the radical Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement. It does so as if it were up to these “guardians” and “protectors” to enforce Israeli and Jordanian—not Palestinian—prohibitions on Jewish prayer at Judaism's holiest site. This, in an article about Jewish extremism, including a fatal knife attack at Jerusalem's recent gay pride parade and clashes between Jewish settlers and security forces at an illegal outpost. The article lacks any suggestions that the prayer prohibition may have had the unintended consequence of reinforcing Islamic intolerance.
Three days earlier “Attacks bring scrutiny to Israel's radical settlers,” also by Booth, noted “the United Nations reports that 17 Palestinians in the West Bank have been killed by Israeli forces in 2015; three Israelis have been killed by Palestinians.”
It doesn't say what those Palestinian Arabs were doing when killed. It doesn't tell readers that “Israel foiled 17 suicide attacks so far this year, Shin Bet says; Security agency reports a steady rise in West Bank terrorism, even as Hamas' key overseas terror chief plans for the long term,” as The Times of Israel headlined (August 12)
“This figure does not include attacks prevented by the Palestinian Authority, which has dismantled several cells that planned such attacks” in the West Bank, Times of Israel added. Israeli forces also have thwarted eight attempted kidnappings so far in 2015.
The Washington Post's three early August articles on Jewish Israeli extremists did note, as Eglash reported, that “since the fatal firebombing, Israeli leaders have spoken out against such violence, calling it ‘Jewish terrorism' and approving measures such as ‘administrative detention,' which allows the military to order that suspects be held for long periods without formally charging them with a crime. The measure is regularly used against Palestinian terrorism suspects.”
But both features by Booth observed that “radical settlers” and “young Jewish extremists” see themselves as Israel's leading edge. “Attacks bring scrutiny to Israel's radical settlers” implied that might be the case—without noting Israeli Jewish society's widespread rejection of messianic violence.
Meanwhile, according to an opinion piece on the Ynetnews.com Web site, veteran Israeli defense and intelligence reporter Ron Ben-Yishai wrote of the capture of Hamas agent Ibrahim Adel Shehadeh Shaer inside Israel and his subsequent interrogation. Ben-Yishai says “his arrest provides a detailed intelligence picture of the preparation being made by Hamas' military wing, led by Mohammed Deif, ahead of the next round of fighting with Israel.”
With funding from Iran, and lesser amounts from Qatar, Hamas' terrorist commanders—said to be at odds with political chiefs who want a longer calm with Israel—have drawn sophisticated lessons from last summer's war and plan to make better use of their tunnels into Israel. “Sources in Gaza believe it [renewed conflict] will happen within six months to a year,” Ben-Yishai writes
And in the West Bank, the Palestinian Authority named a city square after a terrorist, in this case Naif Abu Shorakh (“PA dedicates another square to a murder,” Palestinian Media Watch, August 11). Commander of Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades Nablus-area group, “Abu Shorakh was involved in many attacks against Israelis, including the double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv on Jan. 5, 2003,” PMW reported. Those assaults killed 23 and wounded dozens. The memorial to him in Nablus includes a plaque shaped like Israel. Fatah television broadcast a program in tribute to Abu Shorakh.
Jewish extremism is news. Anti-Jewish Palestinian extremism is even bigger news, but not as reported by The Washington Post.
CAMERA: Founded in 1982, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America is a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East. CAMERA fosters rigorous reporting, while educating news consumers about Middle East issues and the role of the media.