TEL AVIV – A column published in the London Daily Telegraph on Tuesday accuses the media of “click-baiting” by writing “fallacious” and “malicious” reports of Palestinian terror attacks that portray the terrorists as victims.
British-Israeli political commentator Eylon Aslan-Levy charges the international media with “rubbing salt in the knife wounds” with its coverage of the ongoing wave of Palestinian violence against Israelis.
Noting the many international headlines that have totally ignored acts of terror by leading with the death of the terrorists themselves at the hands of Israeli security forces, Aslan-Levy slams the media for being “pernicious and defamatory” and engaging in “poor journalism.”
“The false impression given to the reader is that Israel’s security forces are arbitrarily and summarily executing Palestinians – instead of taking necessary action in self-defense to stop terrorist atrocities in real time,” he writes.
“In the name of professionalism and basic decency, it must stop.”
The author quotes a few instances in which major news outlets ran galling headlines that completely misrepresented the facts.
Following an October attack in which a Palestinian terrorist stabbed four Israelis (including a two-year old infant), killing two, the BBC wrote: “Palestinian shot dead after Jerusalem attack kills two.”
Meanwhile, the Guardian summarized the attack on two Israeli women in a mini-market as follows: “Two Palestinians shot dead after knife attack in West Bank shop.”
Aslan-Levy also singles out USA Today, the New York Times and CNN for switching the roles of aggressor and victim.
“The framing of foiled Palestinian terror attacks as instances of malicious Israeli executions has been so ludicrous as to be practically blood-libellous,” he writes.
The straw that broke the camel’s back, according to Aslan-Levy, was a CBS headline reading, “3 Palestinians killed as daily violence grinds on,” referring to the terrorists who, armed with knives, firearms, and explosives, murdered a 19-year-old border policewoman and wounded another before being shot by police.
The Knesset subsequently summoned the foreign press corps in Israel for a discussion, resulting in foreign press representatives slamming Israel for condemning its practices. Reuters reporter and head of the Foreign Press Association Luke Baker accused Israel of “harassing journalists,” while the Associated Press’ Jerusalem bureau chief said Israeli complaints against the media bordered on “incitement.”
Aslan-Levy contends that the threat of terror in the West should make the world sit up and take notice of the bias regarding Israel.
“Israelis look at the high terror alert in Europe and the U.S., and wonder why the world doesn’t ‘get’ it. We wonder whether editors are so craven for click-bait, and know that dead Palestinians sell, that they are willing to sacrifice their integrity,” he writes.
He also accuses the media of subscribing to a predefined framing of the conflict, saying, “We also suspect, with good reason, that we are witnessing conscious and subconscious attempts to force the story to fit a preconceived narrative of ‘bad’ Israelis versus ‘good’ Palestinians, even when the facts beg to tell another story entirely.”
The author warns that fueling hatred toward Israel will result in hatred toward Jews in general. He cites the recent display of anti-Semitism at Oxford University – his own alma mater – as a case in point.
“It has been difficult enough in Israel to endure this seemingly unending spate of attacks by knife-wielding Palestinian terrorists. We could really do quite well without newspaper editors twisting the knife as well,” he concludes.