When burning Jews isn’t news
By Stephen M. Flatow/JNS.org
On Aug. 30, Palestinian terrorists set a Jewish man on fire in Jerusalem, and on Sept. 1, other Palestinian terrorists tried to set an entire bus full of Israeli Jews on fire.
Yet I couldn’t find any mention of these horrific attacks in the New York Times, the Washington Post, or any other major American news outlet. Why is it that news about burning Jews is not considered fit to print?
The first of the firebomb attacks took place in Jerusalem’s City of David neighborhood. A Molotov cocktail—a flaming bottle of gasoline which explodes upon contact—was hurled through the window of a historic 19th-century house known as Beit Meyuhas. One of the residents, a 45-year-old man, was struck by the firebomb and set on fire. He suffered first and second-degree burns to his face and head. Second-degree burns often result in permanent scarring and require skin grafting.
Burning one Jew is not enough to satisfy the appetite of Palestinian terrorists. On Sept. 1, two firebombs were thrown at an Israeli bus traveling on Route 505, between the towns of Migdalim and Kfar Tapuach. The attackers’ goal was to set the entire bus on fire and burn all of its passengers alive. They almost succeeded. The flaming bombs exploded as they crashed through the front windshield of the bus. Flying glass slashed the driver. It was only by a miracle that he was able to stop the bus without crashing—and that the flames did not spread through the entire vehicle.
Palestinian terrorists sometimes use rocks instead of firebombs. Stoning is, after all, a time-honored method of execution in that part of the world. Recently, they certainly have been trying to do just that.
On Aug. 20, Palestinian rock-throwers attacked an Israeli automobile traveling near the Yitzhar junction. An 11-month-old baby was wounded. Medics on the scene were quoted as saying that it was a “miracle” she survived, since the rock that hit her was the size of a fist.
Three days later, Yedaya Sharchaton, his wife Hadassah, and 1-year-old daughter Nitzan were driving in the Gush Etzion region. Arab rocks smashed through the front windshield, causing Yedaya to lose control of the car. It flipped over. All three family members were injured; Yedaya suffered internal bleeding. It turns out that my family was on the same road as the Sharchaton’s just a few days before as we headed to celebrate my granddaughter’s bat mitzvah by serving hot dogs to Israeli soldiers at a base in the Hebron hills.
On Aug. 29, a mob of Palestinians emerging from prayers in the Al-Aqsa Mosque on Jerusalem’s Temple Mount threw rocks at Israeli police officers. It would be interesting to know if anything in the sermons they had just heard encouraged them to try to murder Jews. Two of the rock-throwers were arrested; they were minors. One wonders what they are learning in school about the idea of stoning Jews to death.
The next day, Palestinian rock-throwers targeted Israeli policemen in another section of Jerusalem. Three of the officers were injured. Their names were not mentioned by the Israeli media. Nor were the extent of their injuries. Did one of them lose an eye? Was one of them permanently disfigured? Three more anonymous, forgotten victims of Arab terror.
On Sept. 1, the rock-throwers chose the northern Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Ze’ev. Spotting an Israeli bus coming down Uzi Narkis Street, from Pisgat Ze’ev to the adjoining Arab neighborhood of Shuafat, the would-be killers attacked. The rocks smashed the windows, one striking and injuring a 3-year-old girl. The Magen David Adom paramedics who rushed to the scene to provide emergency treatment knew that the difference between life and death for that little girl was just bad aim.
So once again, they are burning and stoning Jews. Yet the New York Times and the others are not interested. Why? Because it doesn’t fit their preferred narrative.
Most of the editors and reporters in the mainstream media subscribe to a narrative of the Israeli-Arab conflict in which the Israelis are the aggressors, and the Palestinians are the victims. That narrative supports the political outcome that most editors and reporters personally endorse: an Israeli retreat to the 1967 lines, a division of Jerusalem, the rise of a Palestinian state.
But when you report about Palestinians burning and stoning Israelis, that changes everything. Americans—from the average person in the street to Members of Congress—regard such behavior as barbaric. They naturally conclude that giving a state to such violent extremists is crazy. Telling the truth about Palestinian behavior makes it harder to mobilize pressure on Israel to give in. That’s why in the editorial offices of the New York Times and so many other newspapers, news about burning Jews isn’t fit to print. Sadly, it’s that simple.
Mr. Flatow, a New Jersey attorney, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists in 1995.