Careful Reporting Saves Lives

In light of recent attacks against Jews around Europe, many European leaders, columnists and publics are looking for ways in which to protect their Jewish populations. Yet we can only really help European Jewry if we re-analyse the accepted thinking about why anti-Semitism has risen in recent times.

It has been endlessly repeated that the current spike in anti-Semitism is due to Israeli actions in Gaza this summer. However, in actual fact, the current spike in anti-Semitism is due to media reporting of Israeli actions in Gaza this summer.

Let us recall what these “Israeli actions” were. Israel was acting in self defence, to defend its people from thousands of rockets, and attacks from terror tunnels, by a genocidal, jihadist organisation. Using “roof-knocks,” phonecalls, texts, leaflets, and careful targeting, Israel tried to limit civilian casualties, whilst going after Hamas terrorists in heavily populated areas such as Shejaiya. According to latest statistics, from a research agency who has been studying lists of names for months, 52% of casualties were militants.

So here is how media coverage contorted Israel`s actions into something unrecognisable from what they were.

1. There was endless focus on the harm done to civilians, and almost none on Israel`s actions against terrorists. Why were there so many profiles of children who had been innocently killed, but so few of Hamas terrorists who were justifiably killed? Where were the photos of masked men running through terror tunnels, on frontpages alongside all the photos of dead civilians?

2. There was endless focus on biased voices that condemned Israel. How can one blindly quote the UN Human Rights Council`s condemnations of Israel, without mentioning that 56 out of all the 103 UNHRC resolutions ever have been about Israel? And for every biased voice, where were the quotes of senior U.S. and U.K. military officials, who in this war, as in previous ones, strongly supported Israel, and wrote that the IDF is the most sophisticated army at limiting civilian casualties.

3. There were simply false statistics quoted as facts, and many statistics were quoted without context. Why was there no mention of the fact that “UN statistics” on casualties in Gaza rely heavily on Hamas-run Ministry of Health, who are notorious with their statistics? For example, 8 of the 17 “journalists” killed were in fact Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists. And how can one report the statistics of civilian casualties without providing context – for example, in NATO actions in Bosnia, 80% of casualties were civilians!

Thus, it was the media that transformed this conflict of Israeli self defence into an Israeli atrocity. Indeed, if you write the story of this summer`s war to solely include civilian casualties, worldwide condemnation and emotive pictures of dead children, without terror tunnels, terrorists, reporting of bias, and voices of support – well then a legitimate war has successfully been turned into an atrocity.

Israel is not to blame to for the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe – the media is. So if anyone wishes to help European Jewry, some care in reporting about the Jewish state will go no end to helping the Jews of Europe.

About the Author
Aron White, 22, is currently studying and teaching in Yeshivat HaKotel, whilst studying for a degree in Politics and International Relations through LSE.