Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Waking Up To Terrorism

Don't believe everything you read!
This morning I woke up to an all too familiar stream of posts on Facebook as there were ‘news’ reports and updates from friends in Israel letting me know of the terrorist attack that had taken place while I was sleeping. Some reports were accurate while others were, at the very least, skewed. After reading through many of the comments and condolences, I finally pulled up the Reuters article which summarized the events that took place within the first sentence, “Two Palestinians armed with a meat cleaver and a gun killed four worshippers in a Jerusalem synagogue on Tuesday before being shot dead by police, the deadliest such incident in six years in the holy city.

Reuters reported the news while other agencies made their attempts at relaying the ‘news’ to their audiences. CNN was the first to demonstrate a lack of judgment and proper editorial oversight by including a headline that inferred that the terrorists were also victims during the attack. Later in the morning they also referred to the Orthodox synagogue where the murders took place as a mosque. I understand the rush to deliver the story but these kinds of things are not acceptable.

While over the top, one friend in Israel asked how people would have reacted had the 19 terrorists been included as killed during 9/11. Again, he took it a little too far but the message was clear. Also, I give him a lot of leeway as he was one of the first responders at the twin towers.

Of course, over in the UK, The Guardian decided to omit the mention of Palestinians altogether. They took the Reuters story and omitted all evidence of Palestinian involvement. This would be understandable if there were still some questions revolving around what had happened but events did not leave anything to interpretation. This was simply a means of not entering into the debate and placing blame on those who deserve it.

Even with all those ‘stories’ rife with inaccuracies, misleading statements, and omissions, what really bothered me once I finished reading through all of the articles was the Reuters story. In it, the publication included a quote from a statement released by President Obama in which he stated, "I strongly condemn today's terrorist attack on worshippers at a synagogue in Jerusalem, which killed four innocent people, including U.S. citizens Aryeh Kupinsky, Cary William Levine and Mosheh Twersky, and injured several more." There is nothing to disagree with here, the President said what needed to be said and condemned the actions of the terrorists.

However, when speaking to reporters, the President’s words fell far short of reason. On a day when innocent Israelis were slain in their own place of worship, their own sanctuary, the President called for “both sides to lower tensions.” Really? During a time when Israel is the victim of heinous acts of terrorism (there have been a lot recently this is just the latest), Israel is put on equal footing as the cause of these horrendous events? That is, by far, a greater insult than that which was misrepresented in the media.