From Andrea Levin of CAMERA in the Jerusalem Post, :
The Washington Post has won itself sorry distinction in recent years as a publication that regularly skews its Middle East news – against Israel. A snapshot of coverage in March captures the problem.
On the 17th, many newspapers reported – some on the front page – the story of Abdullah Quran, an 11-year-old Palestinian boy tricked by terrorists into carrying a bomb to an Israeli checkpoint. By luck, the unwitting child accomplice and the intended Israeli victims were spared when the explosive failed to detonate. Even B’Tselem, a human rights group rarely critical of Palestinians, was prompted to denounce the use of the child as “in and of itself a war crime.” The page-one Boston Globe story noted the Quran episode “seems likely to revive long-standing concerns on both sides about the willingness of Palestinian terrorists to involve children in their operations.” An Israeli official was quoted stating: “Anyone who says that the roadblocks provide no security and only humiliate the Palestinians received proof today just how wrong he is.”
The Washington Post omitted the story entirely – along, of course, with such apt observations about the conflict as those in the Globe.
Eight days later, another equally dramatic instance of Palestinian child exploitation made the front pages in other newspapers. A teenaged boy strapped with explosives and promised a quick trip to paradise by his terrorist handlers was caught at a roadblock near Nablus and saved by Israelis. The New York Times ran five color photos of the event on its front page, and an inside story headlined “Israeli Soldiers Thwart A Boy’s Suicide Bombing Attempt.”
This time the Washington Post carried a short wire service story on page 20 under a headline with no hint of a connection to the Middle East: “Teen With Bomb Sets Off a Tense Encounter.”
WHILE THE paper avoids reporting candidly and fully on the savagery Israel faces – as reflected in these incidents – when Israel acts against those who dispatch terrorists, the publication finds its voice. Israel’s killing of Hamas founder Ahmed Yassin prompted thousands of words on March 23, along with front-page prominence and eight color photographs (which didn’t include scenes of terrorist carnage inflicted by Hamas on Israeli men, women and children).
The focus, as so often in the Post, was on sympathetic rendering of the feelings of the Palestinians and the allegedly lamentable, short-sighted conduct of the Israelis. Multiple stories reiterated the sentiments of Yassin’s supporters, who deemed him “charismatic” and “moderate” as well as “a man of peace,” “like a prophet” and, of course, a “spiritual leader.” A side-bar with “key dates” offered brief mention that Hamas “rejects the existence of Israel,” and only a sentence or so in the long text alluded to the annihilationist goals of the group. There were no comments from Israeli survivors of Hamas’ terror onslaught.
Policy “experts” quoted on the diplomatic implications included only critics of Israel, one being Robert Malley, a leading proponent of the view that Israel was not sufficiently forthcoming in the Camp David/Taba negotiations of 2000-2001. He contended the assassination of Yassin “has implications” for other nations in the Middle East, as well as Europe and the United States. He claimed “Hamas has not targeted American or other targets outside the occupied territories. That might change…”
In fact, Hamas carried out the terrorist attack on Hebrew University’s Frank Sinatra cafeteria in the summer of 2002 that killed mostly Americans. The perpetrator was an Arab handyman and Hamas member employed by the university who knew foreigners, in particular Americans, congregated in the area. Shortly after the event, a team of FBI agents was dispatched to help investigate the attack.
But Malley’s distorted observations blaming Israel for some possible new targeting of Americans were printed without Post caveat.
Writing on the death of Yassin, Fouad Ajami, Director of Middle East Studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, offered a view of reality absent from the Post’s strikingly tilted portrayals of events in March 2004.
Ajami said: “It is easy to see that [Yassin] had no mercy for Israelis. But a harder truth can be read into his life: He had no mercy for his own either. Those children, reading their wills and testaments on their way to homicidal missions, are proof of the cruelty and the indifference and the waste of it all.”
The Post can’t seem to see it that way. It buries or omits events in which the “cruelty” of the Palestinian war against Israel engulfs the lives of its own young, and it passes over lightly the truth that a supposed “spiritual” leader wrought death and destruction.