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‘Jewish’ or ‘Israeli’ — NYT, BBC, and CNN make different word choice

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Mark Regev on CTV news in Canada
Mark Regev on CTV news in Canada

The New York Times story on the arrest of six Israeli Jews for the murder of Mohammed Abu Khdeir, 16, was slightly squeamish about the fact that they are Jewish. It did not identify them as Jews in the first paragraph:

the Israeli authorities arrested six Israelis on Sunday in the killing of a Palestinian teenager, found beaten and burned in a Jerusalem forest last week.

That information was withheld till late in the second paragraph:

Moshe Yaalon, the Israeli defense minister, said in a statement that he was “ashamed and shocked by the cruel murder,” describing those behind it as “Jewish terrorists.”

An Israeli police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said there was a “strong possibility” that the motive for the killing of Muhammad Abu Khdeir, 16, was “nationalistic,” indicating that it was a revenge attack by right-wing Jewish extremists

BBC was more frank about the Jewishness of the suspects:

A number of Jewish suspects have been arrested over the murder of Palestinian 16-year-old Mohammad Abu Khdair, whose death sparked days of violent protests.

Israeli police told the BBC that the teenager, abducted on Wednesday morning and found dead hours later, was killed “because of his nationality”.

Haaretz is also blunt about the terrorists’ Jewishness. In fact, it thinks that fact is important. It published a searing editorial expressing horror at the murder of Abu Khdeir and the vicious beating of his cousin, Tarek Abu Khdeir, an American.  In a wake-up call to all Zionists and to the Jewish establishment in the U.S., it summoned readers to regard these crimes as flowing from the definition of the “Jewish state.”

Abu Khdeir’s murderers are not “Jewish extremists.” They are the descendants and builders of a culture of hate and vengeance that is nurtured and fertilized by the guides of “the Jewish state”: Those for whom every Arab is a bitter enemy, simply because they are Arab; those who were silent at the Beitar Jerusalem games when the team’s fans shouted “death to Arabs” at Arab players; those who call for cleansing the state of its Arab minority, or at least to drive them out of the homes and cities of the Jews…

Prosecuting the murderers is no longer sufficient. There must be a cultural revolution in Israel. Its political leaders and military officers must recognize this injustice and right it. They must begin raising the next generation, at least, on humanist values, and foster a tolerant public discourse. Without these, the Jewish tribe will not be worthy of its own state.

CNN’s Jake Tapper quoted the Haaretz editorial yesterday when he grilled Israeli spokesman Mark Regev about what caused the murders. He pointed out that few attacks by “Jewish settlers” are ever prosecuted and quoted Haaretz saying that many Israelis are part of a “vengeful, vindictive Jewish tribe whose license to perpetrate horrors is based on the horrors that were done to it.” And Tapper is Jewish.

So again, why the squeamishness? One of Netanyahu’s demands of the Palestinians was that they must recognize Israel as the Jewish state, and he always speaks of himself as the leader of the Jewish people. It’s foundational:

Today, supporting Israel has been ingrained in Jewish life in the United States.

Here’s a bizarre statement in the Tampa Bay Times, from a fellow Floridian on the beating of Tampa resident Tarek Abu Khdeir:

“They’re giving this kid more publicity than he deserves,” said Bob Kunst, a longtime pro-Israel activist in South Florida who plans a protest in Broward County today demanding that the Israeli military strike Hamas. “That whole thing has turned into a major propaganda victory for Abbas and the Arabs.”

Kunst is president of an organization called Shalom International. This is how they begin their “About Us” page:

Yes, we are Jewish. Big Time!

Some folks aren’t squeamish at all.

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The NY Times is squeamish because it mentioned that the perpetrators of the Abu Khdeir murder were Jewish in paragraphs 2 and 3 instead of paragraph 1?

Yes. And by the way, hophmi, do you expect the homes of those alleged Jewish perpetrators will be demolished (especially now that several of them have apparently confessed) as were the homes of the Palestinian “suspects” in the abduction of the three Israeli teens? Gee, I’ll bet not, despite Netanyahu’s claim that they will face “the full weight of the law,” insisting, “We do not differentiate between the terrorists.” Once again, apartheid law enforcement by… Read more »

”“They’re giving this kid more publicity than he deserves,” said Bob Kunst, a longtime pro-Israel activist in South Florida who plans a protest in Broward County today demanding that the Israeli military strike Hamas.” Hummm…..in my fantasy world, but still recognizing US political corruption on Isr what would I recommend to end I/P and zionism once and for all? […] Cut the heads of the snake off. Since Isr and the US have official policies… Read more »

Thanks for this guys. It’s important. And I think a lot of folks have been squeamish before, not so much now.

When we get the media/Israelis to stop using ‘Arabs’ as a collective term, and start identifying Palestinians as Palestinians, then we may be getting somewhere more honest as well

Regev was on a sticky wicket and he didn’t bat very well. Good to see some serious questions being asked. Israel is a mess.