He is writing about the media in the UK, but it is just as applicable to the mainstream media throughout Europe.
By Yiftah Curiel, spokesperson for the Israel Embassy in London.
International Business Times (Oct 30) — October was a bloody month in Israel, with over 50 terror attacks, mostly involving stabbings, but also using firearms and vehicles. Over 100 Israelis were injured, 14 in a serious condition, and 11 were murdered. Many of the Palestinian perpetrators died in the attacks, some were teens, motivated by religious incitement and lies concerning the site known as al-Aqsa to Muslims and Temple Mount to Jews.
Here in London, the past few weeks have felt like a veil was lifted over political-correctness and a veneer of journalistic practice with regards to Israel. This was no Gaza operation, not a drone war, nor an exchange of unequal firepower. The facts were clear and simple: Israelis, from children to the elderly, were being murdered in broad daylight in towns across the country.
Yet the media does not seem to get it right even under these circumstances. Headlines still run as “Israeli police shoot Palestinian”, then change to “Palestinian shot in knife attack”, and again to “Woman who planned knife attack shot dead” (she didn’t just plan it, she actually carried it out). An Israeli whose car is stoned with rocks steps out and “pays with his life for attacking Palestinian trucks”, while a terrorist “becomes seventh Palestinian killed by security forces after Jerusalem stabbing”.
All of the above headlines are real, and all were subsequently corrected; some of them undergoing three or four different versions, reflecting the clear fact that editors understood that they did not make sense, simply did not reflect reality on the ground. Yet these corrections ensued, week after week, as if media outlets were unwilling to accept reality and forgo their automatic mode of reporting on the region, in which Palestinians must play the role of victims, and Israelis the aggressors.
Anti-Israel groups also seemed confused by the situation, and so they did the only thing they know how to do − call for a protest outside the Israeli Embassy. Under the vague banner of “Protest for Palestine”, last week we saw the familiar scenes of Hamas and Hezbollah flags, and of people telling an Israeli journalist that “all Zionists should be killed”. Thankfully, his equipment wasn’t trashed this time, as it was in last month’s “peaceful protest”.
Countless headlines were corrected this month, nearly one for every deadly terror attack in Israel. Meanwhile, Palestinian incitement was dismissed by some as “an Israeli line”, a “distraction”.
Radical clerics brandishing knives and holding up explosive belts, Hamas spokesmen acting as cheerleaders for terror attacks, and Palestinian radio playing songs of praise to the “martyrs”, were of little interest to a media focused only on Israeli actions.
The willingness to disregard reality, to display this level of animosity toward Israel at a time when its civilians were facing a wave of rampant terror, sends a clear message: “Your lives are of no interest to us”.
Unfortunately, reality doesn’t conform to the attitude of the media, as we’ve seen in Syria, where civilians continue to die regardless of scant media coverage, or Gaza, whose population continues to suffer under Hamas even today.
When we read headlines focusing on Israel’s in-the-moment response to murderous Palestinian terrorism, rather than on the terrorist stabbings and shootings themselves, I wonder precisely what such people expect from Israelis? When a television presenter asks Jerusalem’s mayor if carrying a gun to protect oneself from a stabbing wasn’t “excessive”? Do they wish for Israelis to passively accept the terrorist’s knife in their chest, and not defend themselves lest this provokes another negative headline or protest abroad?
Solidarity and sympathy with Palestinians aside, what we have witnessed these past weeks has looked like solidarity with murderous Palestinian knife-wielders, mixed with callousness towards innocent Israelis’ lives.