Hillary Clinton’s shocking statement yesterday sympathizing with Israeli Jewish victims of attacks and saying nothing about Palestinian victims is actually reflective of American press coverage. Mainstream news sites continue to emphasize Jewish victims over Palestinian victims, and leave out the larger context of the conflict, Israeli occupation and the hatred it is producing, on both sides.
For instance, USA Today has a grotesque account of a Glock-bearing settler that portrays her as a pioneer confronting savagery (“Glocker mom”) and leaves out the military occupation she lives inside, entirely.
As violent clashes erupted throughout Israel and Palestinian territories, Aviva Yisraeli decided to carry a handgun while commuting from her home in the West Bank settlement of Tekoa to a weekly course in Jerusalem. “I feel that it’s important for us to do everything in our power to protect ourselves,” said the mother of four, adding that she refuses to be a “sitting duck.”
Reporter Shira Rubin repeatedly speaks about “Arab” violence:
The Israeli government announced new policies to contain Arab violence..
But Yisraeli and many neighbors said tougher security measures have done little to deter Palestinian assailants….
“The Arabs have absolutely no fear from our army .…but when I started carrying our gun, I realized that they do have fear from the civilian response,” she said. “As they say, it’s better to visit you in jail than at the graveyard.”..
Yagil Henken, a military historian at the Israeli Defense Forces college whose brother was killed in a West Bank shooting on Oct. 1, said he carries a gun to assuage his “paranoia,” but his West Bank community is still maintaining a calm resolve.
Did the Jim Crow south or the Algerian colonial-settlers ever get such a fair shake from the establishment press?
The New York Times publishes an article by Jodi Rudoren and Isabel Kershner, “4 Attacks by Palestinians Leave 3 Dead in Israel,” which again portrays Arabs as malefactors, some of whom actually have freedom to “freely roam the country” and “work in Jewish areas.”
A police spokeswoman said the steps to be considered included a complete closing of Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods, whose residents are generally not citizens of Israel but can freely roam the country and often work in Jewish areas, and an easing of gun-licensing procedures.
But those Arabs think that “the country” is also theirs, and for good reason. The Times mentions the occupation, but fairly far down. Donald Johnson explains that the article reflects an institutional bias:
It focuses on Israeli shootings but only in cases where the dead Palestinian either had stabbed someone or was accused of wielding a knife and whose innocence can’t be proven. (And yes, a Palestinian killed by Israelis is guilty until proven innocent, and if so it is still not Israel’s fault.). They quote critics and skeptics of the police, but the message is that the Israelis are at worst guilty of shooting Palestinians who have been violent or might be violent.
I don’t recall a single NYT story devoted to the shooting of Gaza fishermen–it has been mentioned in passing and I am certain this was only due to reader complaints, but shootings that can’t be spun as understandable reactions to Palestinian violence don’t interest the NYT. Doesn’t fit the narrative.
The Times piece is open to comment, the first time in days that the Times has permitted comment; and the Readers’ Picks echo concerns we have on this site. TMC in New York:
New York Times, this is outright racist coverage. I’m sick of it. I watched a video of a two year old girl killed by an Israeli bomb being hugged by her father and you attempt to make it sound like the Palestinians are are attacking Israelis out of the blue. You ignore the context of the occupation. Editors, writers, internet post reviewers, have you no empathy? Is this how you would have covered apartheid in South Africa? I’d love to say you are on the wrong side of history, but there is a distinct chance the Israelis will succeed in wiping out the Palestinians, partially because of resorting like this. For shame.
And Finnbar in Seattle makes a similar point.
Very biased reporting, showing compassion for Israelis but none for the Palestinians. When we are finally able to show compassion for all that suffer then maybe there will be a solution.
This Washington Post article about the spate of Palestinian attacks: by William Booth and Ruth Eglash dares to state that Palestinian violence is a response to occupation in the third paragraph:
Palestinians are also frustrated by their own weak leaders and almost 50 years of military occupation. The latest round of U.S.-brokered peace talks collapsed last year in failure.
But the article doesn’t really follow up that point. Its concern is Jewish victims, till the last paragraph says:
At least 30 Palestinians, including rock throwers and knife attackers, have been killed by Israeli forces and civilians. Palestinians say that several of their dead were shot and killed without cause.
And on twitter, Eglash reminds us of the society she lives in:
U know the situation is out of control when ur 13-yr-old comes home from school n says: “I’m still alive”
Here by contrast is fantastic coverage by Ynet of a racist mob of Israeli Jews going out at night to hunt down Arabs in Jerusalem.700 people are in this mob! And the reporting by Roi Yanovsky is terrifying:
During their entire march, organized by La Familia (a group of far-right fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer club) and Lehava (a right-wing organization dedicated to preventing the “assimilation” of Jews with non-Jews in Israel), the protesters chanted slogans such as “death to Arabs” and “may your village burn,” and looked for Arabs to attack. And indeed, after the protest ended a number of the participants attacked a taxi driver and attempted to attack other Arab passersby.
The main group of protesters, which was controlled by the police, didn’t engage in physical violence, but small splinter groups moved toward the city center and began searching for Arabs. They entered stores, asking clerks if Arabs were employed there. They asked employees random questions like “what’s the time?” in order to test their accent.
Yanovsky helps save a Palestinian storekeeper from harm.
Ynet is at least acknowledging the deep racism inside Israeli society. That hatred was also expressed in this shocking video from Jerusalem of a wounded Palestinian 13-year-old who was charged with stabbing someone before he was run over by a car. An Israeli shouts at him: “Die you fuck, die you son of a whore, die die, die you son of 66 whores.” His name is Ahmed Manasra and you can see that he is not receiving medical attention and that an Israeli officer pushes him to the pavement with his foot when he seeks to sit up. We haven’t put it on our site because it is so disturbing. The New York Times mentions the boy’s injury and the killing of his cousin Hassan, who also allegedly participated in the attack, but does not identify them by name.
Correction: I initially mixed up Ahmed Manasra, 13, for Hassan Manasra, 15, in my description of the video and said the boy in the video is dying. Ahmed survived the serious injuries. Palestinian Center for Human Rights has set the matter straight. It also makes clear that the cousins’ alleged attack took place in Pisgat Ze’ev, which is in occupied East Jerusalem, not Israel, as the NYT states.
Thanks to James North.