How Were the Temple Mount Killings Reported in America’s Media?

by Dr. Eric Mandel, MEPIN

Israel has been getting some bad press recently in the United States, much of it self-inflicted by the decision to halt the expansion of the pluralistic prayer area near Robinson’s Arch on the Western Wall.

Fair enough, but much of the reporting on Israel and its neighbors by mainstream media sources is factually inaccurate, misleadingly out of context or editorialized to promote a view.

The reporting on the Temple Mount violence is a good case in point.

NPR News Now morning report on July 24th told its listeners three Palestinians and three Israelis were killed in the aftermath of new Israeli security measures relating to the Al Aqsa Mosque. The killings of the Israeli police that precipitated the security measures, or the massacre of Israeli civilians during a Shabbat dinner in the aftermath of the highly charged incitement didn’t merit a word for context.

It really is quite a feat to put both moral equivalence and overt bias all into one short report.

Not to be outdone, PBS Newshour anchor Judy Woodruff said the (Jordanian) “dispute added to tension over new security measures at the al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem, they sparked protests on Friday and several Palestinians were killed.”

Again, there was no mention of the root cause of the violence that began with the killing of two Israeli Druze police officers by Israeli Arab citizens who smuggled weapons onto the Temple Mount, breaking the fragile peace in this religiously charged site.

CBC Radio perversely reported that “three Israeli settlers also died in a separate incident in the west bank” insinuating it’s always open season to kill settlers, i.e., trespassing occupiers.

The NY Times headline “Deadly violence erupts,” as if de novo Palestinians and Jews kill each other with no one to blame. The Palestinians killed were described as “protesters.” There were five photos accompanying the article that were good examples of editorialized photojournalism, a fraud perpetrated on the public, who understandably expect news reporting, including its choice of pictures, to be fair and unbiased in context.

The Times web page shows Palestinians cowering and screaming as they run away from Israeli tear gas. Muslims are seen in respectful peaceful prayer. There are two photos of Israeli police in riot gear dragging away a single pitiful Palestinian protester, and one photo of heroic-appearing rock-throwing Palestinians in the image of David vs. Goliath. Mind you, this was in a news article, not an editorial.

The Times continues its long history of finding the good side of Palestinian terrorists, in this case that the terrorist signed off on his Facebook page with emoji hearts before massacring a family enjoying a Sabbath dinner.

The Wall Street Journal news section, not to be confused with its consistently more pro-Israel editorial page, joined the moral equivalence crowd writing, “A weekend of violence left three Israelis and at least three Palestinians dead.” Again there was no differentiation made between violent protesters and innocent Israeli civilians.

Nowhere in the mainstream American media was there any sensible investigative reporting regarding the placement of metal detectors at other Muslim sensitive sites, the question being whether the Israeli decision was egregious or overly provocative.

As any freshman journalism student could have easily found all over the internet, metal detectors and all kinds of security devices are used at Muslim holy sites all around the Arab world, since Muslim-against-Muslim violence is ubiquitous at Muslim holy sites throughout the Middle East, even at Islam’s most holy site in Mecca, where scores of people have been killed, one segment of Islam warring against another.

As Jonathan Tobin wrote in JNS, “To an objective observer, the crisis…makes no sense…. How could putting metal detectors to protect a holy site be considered a casus belli …the answer is that this isn’t about metal detectors. It’s about something much bigger: the right of Jews to be in Jerusalem.”

The media have ignored the larger issue that President Abbas may be imitating his mentor Arafat, who used the Temple Mount as a starting point for Intifada.

Abbas has decided to “ride the recent wave of unrest…and lead the struggle against Israel over the Al Aqsa Mosque” reports the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. Instead of defusing the situation after the metal detectors were removed, Abbas continued his incitement saying, “Jerusalem is ours and it is our capital. What you are doing is correct and…(I) support all that you did and are doing.” There were no calls for only exclusively peaceful protests.

Abbas is mobilizing the anger on the Palestinian street to deflect attention away from his Fatah rival Mohammed Dahlen and from Hamas, who is still seen as a less corrupt alternative to the Palestinian Authority.

Abbas is also using the unrest to turn the attention away from Congress’ demand (the Taylor Force Legislation) that the PA stop funding Palestinian terrorists, i.e. martyrs, who are incentivized with more money, the more heinous the terror they commit.

The decision to install metal detectors after a terrorist incident seems obvious to any Western observer who is forced to go through them all the time. I go through a metal detector to enter my Conservative synagogue on the Upper East Side of Manhattan every time.

However, in this part of the world sensibilities are distorted, and respect for differing narratives is in short supply, especially after generations of incitement and brainwashing in the Arab population.

It is ironic that the main impetus for the use of metal detectors has been Palestinians themselves, who hijacked scores of airliners in the 1960’s through the 1970’s, with death and mayhem accompanying their “freedom fight.”

As Beni Avi wrote in the NY Post, “Are they really going to start World War III over metal detectors? Mecca, which is a holy site, has metal detectors. And the Vatican. And many buildings in Manhattan and around the U.S. Yet on Monday the UN Security Council convened an “emergency” session on this new “threat to international peace and security.”

American democracy is an ongoing experiment, and an unbiased media is essential for its continued vitality. Picking and choosing which facts to report based on a viewpoint is fine for editorials, but not in a news article.

In the 1990’s I interviewed a Pulitzer Prize winner journalist who told me that injecting your own opinion into news stories is now considered good journalism. I was appalled. When I asked one of the leading writers of Haaretz if he was against editorialized news in his paper, he told me that if I didn’t like it I should read another paper!

Americans and Israelis deserve and require factually accurate and in-context news reporting on all topics, especially on the hotly charged topic of Israel, where bias against Israel is a given throughout most of the world.

July 28, 2017 | 11 Comments » | 681 views

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. The article writer contributes to the charade. Why should Goyim be expected to give the plain unvarnished facts when the Jews are euphemistic as if born to it.

    I’d prefer using “JEWISH POLICE MURDERS” instead of “Violence”, “Local Arabs” instead of “Palestinians” and “Judea & Samaria- or YESHA” instead of “West Bank”, all of which are commonly used by Jewish reporters and artcile writers.

  2. “Israel has been getting some bad press recently in the United States, much of it self-inflicted by the decision to halt the expansion of the pluralistic prayer area near Robinson’s Arch on the Western Wall.”

    Wrong. The expansion is going through. What was stopped was a plan to have a multi-denominational* committee to run everything plus new regulations that would have required women who chose to pray in the traditional gender-segregated manner to be arrested.

    Liberals have a hard time defending Israel without throwing in some mis-informed Israel-bashing of their own.

    *Including the reform who tend to be pro-Arab and anti-Zionist, and the Conservatives who while more pro-Israel, usually, have also instituted more relaxed conversion. I want it to be difficult to convert. They can always become Noahides or do their own thing. We are a People. I want proof of loyalty. Just like America requires.

  3. It’s about survival not religion for me. Listen, the way I was brought up and believe, to the extent I believe in anything, I am more of a modern cross between a Hindu, a Taoist, and a Buddhist. But, guess what, You can practice yoga and meditation and chanting but you can’t convert to Brahminism. No such thing. You also can’t convert to Native American religions which are also matrilineal, no such thing. Are they racist? Who cares? Why is it anybody else’s business, absent honor killings, Suttee, and locking women in not covered up? I was brought up to believe that spirituality is a purely inner personal thing and the ideal society is Japan where members of the same family may not even know what if any religion the others practice but in form they have Buddhist weddings and Shinto funerals, and it’s a pretty secular society. Islam, needless to say, has no legal status.
    But, our traditions and our religion, however crazy seeming to liberals like me, are what have kept us together so as long as liberals are not defending our turf and are sympathizing with the enemy, I will support religious Zionism, fundamentalism and all. Well, up to a point.

  4. But the author’s worst sin, and this is truly unforgiveable and merits drawing and quartering is that..Excuse me, I can barely say it.

    He left the comma out after “self-inflicted” in the first sentence. Now, I and others do that from time to time in comments but I believe professional publications should be held to the highest standard. I mean they’re getting paid, right? It’s very common now and it wasn’t when I was a young whipper-snapper. They have proof-readers, human as well as mechanical, no?. Wither language goes, so goes civilization.

    I is irate. I be very irate, in point of fact. At this point in time. And space. Space, the final frontier.

    Ah, well, no matter. All in all, it’s just a ‘nother brick in the wall.

    Qu’est-ce que c’est?

  5. Otherwise, it’s a pretty good article. Refreshing change, coming from the Forward. Somebody there must have taken a look at CAMERA. http://www.camera.org/

    Which has been exposing the anti-semitism of the Western Press for more than 20 years. And embarassing them into retractions, though the retractions tend to be on the back pages in teeny tiny print.

  6. @ Edgar G.:
    I believe the author was quoting. This is what the author says:

    “Again, there was no mention of the root cause of the violence that began with the killing of two Israeli Druze police officers by Israeli Arab citizens who smuggled weapons onto the Temple Mount, breaking the fragile peace in this religiously charged site.”

    He is making the same critique you and I are. and CAMERA. And, he is Jewish, probably. Considering his name, a common Jewish name, combined with the publication being the Jewish Forward. Click on MEPIN. That’s the source.

  7. By “Temple Mount Violence” you might mean Temple Mount heinous murders….. or was there something else, violent in nature which was more important…..?

  8. @ Sebastien Zorn:

    Funny that the Liberals and Reform are kicking up a fuss about not being allowed to pray where they can disrupt those who REALLY want to pray. In the US, where most of the Reform come from, they don’t pray at all, and don’t keep any of the Commandments nor believe the Torah nor the Talmud etc so it’s purely a political piece of ordure.

    I understand that every Rosh Chodesh about a dozen of them turn up with all their “religious” paraphernalia, and promptly proceed to try to disrupt everyone who has come to really pray. Only a few are regulars so they probably draw straws for the “troublemakers of the month” club.

    The rest of the time they probably line up for tables at restaurants where chazar is sold.

  9. Excellent article. Very pointed criticism of U.S. news coverage of Israel-Palestine conflict.

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