Media response to mosque arson is hypocritical

Map of the Western Wall tunnel. In 1996, Arabs rioted after an exit was added at the Via Dolorosa end.

Map of the Western Wall tunnel. In 1996, Arabs rioted after an exit was added at the Via Dolorosa end.

The arson and vandalism at the Tuba Zanghariya mosque gave rise to a massive media outcry, reminiscent of the Baruch Goldstein affair. Far more ink and electrons were expended on it than on the murder that it was intended to avenge, the killing of Asher Palmer and his tiny son — and there is almost zero coverage, outside of Israel, of daily incidents of attempted murder of Jews by Arabs.

Let’s keep in mind that, like Baruch Goldstein, the 18-year old perpetrator of the mosque attack represents the fringe of the fringe in Israel. Perhaps there are a few dozen Israeli Jews that share his point of view. And of course even the most right-wing of Israeli political figures was horrified and embarrassed by this incident (nevertheless, Arab riots ensued and public buildings in Tuba Zanghariya were burned and damaged).

Need I add that there will  be no schools, camps, public squares or soccer teams named after this person, as is the fashion in the Palestinian Authority (PA)?

The US media does cover murderous Arab terrorism in Israel to some small extent, at least when Israel retaliates. But what about incidents of destruction of Jewish holy places? [h/t David Gerstman]

In September of 1996, in his first term as PM, Netanyahu opened an exit to an archaeological excavation of a tunnel in the Old City of Jerusalem near the Western Wall. Yasser Arafat’s PA and the Arab League claimed that the tunnel undermined the Temple Mount and was “part of an Israeli Zionist plot to destroy the Aqsa mosque [and] set up the Temple of Solomon.” The story was entirely false — the tunnel did not go anywhere near the Arab holy places (see map above), and needless to say was not a plot to rebuild the Temple.

Arabs rioted in Jerusalem and the territories, fighting with police and soldiers. More than 70 — Jews and Arabs — were killed, with armed Palestinian police joining the fray. The media stuck with Arafat’s version of the story far too long, and ignored evidence that it was a planned provocation. But at the same time, a Jewish holy place was attacked and the media mostly ignored it:

… there were incidents of murder and sacrilege. One occurred in Nablus, an Arab town under P.L.O. control. There is in Nablus a Jewish religious site, Joseph’s Tomb. Under the P.L.O.-Israeli peace accords, it remained a tiny enclave peopled by devout Jews and, for protection, a few Israeli soldiers. On Sept. 26, it was attacked by a Palestinian mob throwing firebombs. Six Israelis were killed. Many prayer books were burned.

This is the Middle Eastern equivalent of a mob of whites torching a black church, killing parishioners and burning its holy objects. Yet, while the tunnel received enormous coverage complete with diagrams, the desecration at Joseph’s Tomb, if reported at all, merited at most a few sentences. And a similar Palestinian attempt to firebomb Judaism’s third holiest shrine, Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem, received in the major American press no mention at all, save one in the New York Times–in a picture caption on page 12! — Charles Krauthammer, “A Desecration of the Truth” (Time, Oct. 14, 1996).

Joseph’s tomb, incidentally, has been attacked more than once since then, most recently when Ben-Yosef Livnat was murdered there.

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One Response to “Media response to mosque arson is hypocritical”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    Violence and terror are expected from Arabs, and are so common in Arab societies that they surprise no one. Jews however not only because they are largely part of the ‘Western world’ but also because of the Biblical moral legacy to mankind are supposed to be on a higher ethical standard. Thus the gloating when an individual Jew or group of Jews does something immoral.
    Of course there are also other reasons, including the major one of siding with those who hate and would destroy Israel. Anti- Semitism works in many many different guises, and I am sure it is behind some individual journalists special attacks on Israel.
    And with all this how unfortunate that we have these kinds of jerks among us, who engaging in some kind of idiotic and immoral action like desecrating tombs provide for those out to get us, an excellent opportunity to go to work.