The Mainstream media suffers amnesia with facts when it comes to covering Israel
By Rolene Marks
Whenever Israel launches a military operation or responds to any kind of aggression towards her citizens or sovereignty, one can safely rely on the mainstream media to develop a sudden and acute case of amnesia. This particular type of amnesia has the most astounding symptoms. Not only are facts, context, history and truth conveniently forgotten; but also the type of invective takes on a tone so nasty that even the bitchiest Real Housewife would be stunned.
The most recent example has been the coverage of Israel’s two-day military operation in Jenin last week. The city of Jenin, located in the West Bank and under the control of the Palestinian Authority, has been a hotbed of incitement and terror for a number of years. The city (not a refugee camp as many in the mainstream media would have you believe) is in Area A under the Oslo Accords; and is under full civilian and security control by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
The Palestinian Authority have effectively lost control over the city, creating a power vacuum, ripe for terrorism. Jenin is not only rife with incitement of hate, but at least 16 terror attacks this year alone have been planned or executed by terrorists in the city. It is not just prime scouting ground for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad but for the recently created “Lion’s Den” terror faction as well.
In the early hours of the morning of July 2, the IDF embarked on a two-day counterterror operation with the aim of crippling the terror infrastructure in the city and eliminating terror cells.
When the operation ended, the IDF had dealt a significant blow to the terror infrastructure. One Israeli soldier had been killed; and 12 Palestinian terrorists had been eliminated. What is remarkable is that not one civilian casualty had been incurred. The IDF had conducted their operation with surgical precision, mitigating any civilian casualties.
Col. Richard Kemp, former Commander of British Forces in Afghanistan, speaking to Israel National News said: “To conduct an operation of such intensity in an urban area without killing any uninvolved civilians at all is a remarkable achievement by the IDF and probably unprecedented in modern warfare. Casualty ratios in most such operations have often been 3 to 5 civilians killed for every fighter, and that is by Western armies that do their best to avoid civilian casualties and adhere to the laws of war.” He firmly added: “I doubt any other army in the world would be able to achieve what the IDF did in Jenin.”
It is a great pity that the world media did not receive the memo. Watching the news coverage last week, many others and myself noticed two significant – and worrying trends. It was noted that mainstream media outlets almost romanticized the terrorists, referring to them as “resistance fighters”. The other accusation that seemed to take a firm hold was the accusation that Israel is killing children.
By far the most grotesque example of this was the BBC’s Anjana Gadgil interviewing former Prime Minister, Naftali Bennett. In what can only be described as a blood libel straight out of medieval times, Gadgil made comments that the IDF is happy to kill children:
“The Israeli military are calling this a ‘military operation,’ but we now know that young people are being killed, four of them under eighteen. Is that really what the military set out to do? To kill people between the ages of 16 and 18?” asked Gadgil.
“Quite to the contrary,” Bennet replied. “Actually, all 11 people dead there are militants. The fact that there are young terrorists who decide to hold arms is their responsibility.” The former Israeli prime minister went on to explain that, of many of the terror attacks over the past year, events that have collectively ended several dozens of Israeli civilian lives, the perpetrators have come from, and were trained in, Jenin. “Jenin has become an epicenter of terror,” he says. “All the Palestinians that were killed were terrorists in this case.”
“Terrorists, but children. The Israeli forces are happy to kill children,” Gadgil responded.
It is summer time in Israel. Parents have sent their kids to summer camps to make friends, do crafts and play games and connect with each other and the land. For Palestinian children, the scenario could not me more different. No rousing rendition of Kumbaya for them, instead they will be fed a steady diet of incitement and taught paramilitary and terrorist tactics and skills. When they are older, they will be recruited by terror organizations as child soldiers. They will kill Israelis. Some will come from Jenin.
Perhaps a better course of questions would be to Palestinian leadership about their recruitment of child soldiers. The BBC apologized but this is not the first rodeo with Aunty Beeb. This has become a steady series of rinse and repeat – where they offend and make outrageous statements and then issue mealy-mouthed apologies.
Perhaps it is time for the long buried Balen Report to be released. The Balen Report is a 20,000-word document written by the senior broadcast journalist Malcolm Balen in 2004 after examining hundreds of hours of the BBC’s coverage of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict. The report was commissioned by former BBC Director of News, Richard Sambrook, following persistent complaints from the public and the Israeli government of allegations of anti-Israel bias. The results were found to be damning – and the report buried.
Headlines like those of the Washington Post “Israel invades Jenin” and Forbes “Israel Ends West Bank Assault and Launches Airstrikes on Gaza” are profoundly concerning. Not only are they inaccurate and misleading, they are featured in “papers of record” that are reputable sources of news information. It is imperative that we hold them accountable and challenge them to report the facts – and not agendas.
There is no excuse for reporting inaccurately. The IDF, in a variety of languages on their social media is providing the information, footage and relevant information as expediently as possible.
Profoundly worrying is the romanticizing of terrorists as seen below by The Economist and NY Times. This is not a new generation of “Gen Z resistance fighters” continuing the tradition of standing up to “the occupation”. These are terrorists with one target in mind – Israelis, preferably Jewish ones.
No country would tolerate an ongoing campaign of terror on their citizens. Israel is a country that faces challenges other countries do not. Terror attacks, rocket attacks and daily assaults on its legitimacy as the nation state of the Jewish people. This is fomented and financed by Iran, the largest state sponsor of terror. Iran’s grubby fingerprints are all over Jenin and other terror hotspots.
The mainstream media have a lot to answer for over their coverage of the Jenin operation. They have left out context, historical facts and very important, growing security threats.
These are inconvenient truths. We cannot let them go uncorrected.
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