Media Matters

As Easy As Handing Out Candy

The mainstream with nothing to say about an atrocity in the West Bank.

By 3.23.11

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On March 12, 2011, five members of the Fogel family were slaughtered inside their home in the West Bank settlement of Itamar. Three of the five family members killed were children including a three-month-old girl named Hadas. The media attention about this act of terrorism has been scant. This certainly isn't the fault of conservatives who have shown no hesitation in drawing attention to the sheer evil of this wanton act of barbarism. Dennis Prager, Bret Stephens of the Wall Street Journal and Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe have all written eloquently about what happened to the Fogel family, and Glenn Beck devoted a segment on his show to the events in Itamar. Now one could certainly make the case that much of the world's attention has been drawn towards Japan where a 9.0 earthquake led to a tsunami which led to a crisis in several of its nuclear reactors. The world's attention has also been drawn to Libya where a UN-sanctioned military campaign has now begun. Both of these events are certainly worthy of our concern.

Yet I don't think it entirely explains the scarcity of attention to this story by the mainstream media. There must remain a suspicion that because the Fogels were Jewish settlers they were deemed unworthy of sympathy. How else can one explain CNN's decision to put quotation marks around the phrase "terror attack" as if to suggest that it wasn't? Melanie Phillips of the U.K. Spectator lambasted CNN and other mainstream media outlets on both sides of the Atlantic for the dubious quality of their reporting:

Overwhelmingly, the media have either ignored or downplayed the atrocity -- or worse, effectively blamed the victims for bringing it on themselves, describing them as 'hard-line settlers' or extremists. Given that three of the victims were children, one a baby of three months whose throat was cut, such a response is utterly degraded.

But Phillips went further than that. Directing her comments towards the New York Times she wrote:

[I]t's not the Arab massacre of a Jewish family which has jeopardised "peace prospects" -- because the Israelis will quite rightly never trust any agreement with such savages -- but instead Israeli policy on building more homes, on land to which it is legally and morally entitled, which is responsible instead for making peace elusive. 

Because Phillips used the word "savages" to describe Palestinians she is now on the receiving end of a complaint filed by Inayat Bunglawala, chairman of Muslims4UK, to the U.K. Press Complaints Commission:

If you insert the word "Jew" or "Jewish" where she has referred to Arabs then I am sure she would have no doubt that those words would be antisemitic. Just as she abhors antisemitism it is important that she maintains the same vigorous anti-racist stance against Arabs. It is just unacceptable to use that kind of language.

But let's consider the source. As Mark Steyn reminds us, this is the same man who praised Osama bin Laden as "a freedom fighter." With that in mind now let us consider what else he has to say about the murder of the Fogel family:

The killings were indeed tragic. Though one does wonder why on earth the Jewish settlers thought it a sensible move to build their homes in illegally occupied Palestinian land.

In other words, Bunglawala thinks the Fogels got what was coming to them for living in "illegally occupied Palestinian land." Needless to say, Bunglawala's cries of racism are disingenuous. Where is the racism of which he speaks? Phillips is judging Palestinians solely by their public behavior. Besides when is the last time Jews broke into the home of a Palestinian family and slit the throat of an infant girl? Answer: Never. Why? Because a moral people know that slitting the throat of an infant girl is an act of savagery. And as long as moral people accept that slitting the throat of an infant girl is an act of savagery then so too are public displays in celebration of that savagery. Only an immoral people would go out into the streets and hand out candy after a family has been murdered in their own home. And as long as Palestinians insist on exhibiting this kind of behavior after innocent civilians are murdered in cold blood whether it be in the West Bank or in the World Trade Center, then Phillips is absolutely correct in calling them savages. For savages, murder is as easy as handing out candy.

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About the Author
Aaron Goldstein writes from Boston, Massachusetts.