Has anyone noticed a significant difference in the way that the Western media is covering the US-led air strikes against Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq to the way they covered Israeli strikes against Hamas terrorists in Gaza? The difference is the startling absence of casualty figures. The difference is the lack of reference to civilian, mainly women and children, dead or injured.
Don’t get me wrong. I am all for the long overdue degrading and destruction of this branch of extreme Islamic terror. In fact, I think the numbers of attacks are far too few. They are merely a slap on the wrist for a mob of Muslim murderers bent on jihad and martyrdom.
However, like most Israelis, tired of media lack of context and laser concentration on casualty figures when it came to Israelis defending ourselves from bombardments of Palestinian terror rockets and horrendous attack tunnels with terrorists emerging from their underground burrows into our southern settlements we find the attitude change, when others are fighting the same type of conflict, hypocritical. True, the West doesn’t have journalists embedded with Islamic State as they were with Hamas. Hamas used these journalists for propaganda purposes by restricting their movements and reporting. Islamic State used them for propaganda purposes by beheading them on the social media. However, it deserves for an Israeli to point out the stark difference in attitude of the media. Both Israel and America target Islamic terror regimes holding territory after suffering intolerable acts of violence and reacting to the dangers posed by both. But, on the one hand, the media broadly supports the Obama prompted military strikes while, on the other they were highly critical when Israel was forced for confront Hamas, Islamic Jihad and Fatah terrorists fighting in urban Gaza locations.
In our fight against a murderous terrorism the media dwelt on emotional sensationalism devoid of context. In the American-led actions against a similar-sized terror group (both Hamas and IS have/had circa 25,000 combatants) the media is replete with experts giving viewers and readers context with zero reference to emotional scenes. Clearly the cameras and reporters are not there to cover the story, but what if IS starts to provide gruesome shots of dead or injured children. Would the media cover or censor them? Would they use such scenes to condemn or prevent further strikes? Would they call them international crimes? Would they portray the people in IS-held locations as being disproportionately attacked by American attacks on innocent civilians? Or would the media explain that such casualties are to be expected in a war against terrorists embedded among a civilian population?
This concern was raised by Fox News’ Shepherd Smith who zoomed in on a large screen studio map to explain to viewers the density of urban Mosul in Iraq to point out the inevitability of civilian casualties in air assaults on ISIS targets. When it comes to American targeting, it’s inevitable. When it comes to Israeli targeting, its unacceptable and a crime.
Such is the dilemma for the foreign media. We in Israel did not get a fair or balanced reporting.