Rockets? What rockets? How ignoring terror and threat harms us all

A few days ago, a social media post from an Israeli woman listed the rockets fired at Israel in a short period on a single day. Her post read: “Just because it’s not being reported, it doesn’t mean it’s not happening.”

For those under rocket-fire anywhere in Israel, her post was a statement of the blindingly obvious. But a majority outside Israel has no idea it is happening – and that includes not only the career “haters” who perceive Israel as the “ruthless occupier” but also some Jews who have now been sucked in by the lies and omissions and are perceiving Israel as an “agressor.”

But since it is happening, we must ask why it is not being reported? Why are deadly rockets raining down on Israel almost daily not being reported, while BBC News (and to be fair, other media), find new angles to report Gaza almost daily, and barely pause to report alleged misdemeanours by Israel – occasionally airing them so hastily, they fail to check their accuracy or the neutrality of the source. And, when that happens, bells can’t be un-rung; the allegation is a “crime” on Israel’s rap sheet for the undecideds as well as one more “crime” for the haters. An equally important question is why did the BBC (and other news media) largely fail to report the thousands of deadly missiles fired on Israel during the previous 10-plus years?

The innocent explanation relates to how “news” works: that once something becomes quotidien and routine, it is no longer “News” (or in news parlance “sexy”) so news outlets simply stop reporting it. Another factor in reducing the news-value of the onslaught of Hamas rockets is the efficacy of Israel’s Iron Dome missile-defence system because if there are no dead bodies, news desks won’t consider the rockets worth reporting. Intriguingly and somewhat ironically, the lack of fatalitiess resulting from these waves of deadly Iranian rockets graphically illustrates the cavernous difference in ethics, values and warfare-styles between Israel and its enemies. While Israel loses the sympathy vote of “disinterested” observers (and the interest of news editors) by safeguarding its citizens (including Arab and Palestinian ones) through the deployment of this punishingly expensive missile defence system, its enemies rejoice in – and possibly engineer – the death and carnage that keeps Gaza high on the news agenda and allows them to profit in the propaganda battle.

So those are the innocent explanations for the BBC and other media largely ignoring the deadly barrage of rockets raining down on Israel for all the years before Oct 7th 2023, as well as the thousands since Oct 7th – cock-up rather than conspiracy.

But then we have the less innocent explanation, which is that the failure to report adequately – or at all – the relentless barrage of rockets (alongside the failure to give sufficient coverage or prominence to the deadly terror and threat from Palestinians while also frequently failing to provide context and relevant facts), is due to outright bias?

And if bias, are those filing one-sided reports, from the region or handling copy or film in the newsroom or studio die-hard supporters of the Palestinians or merely people who believe themselves to be decent, liberals who, havinge fallen for the lies and libels, think they are helping “poor Palestinians”? Whatever their back-story, they must realise that reporting the rockets, terror and threat would alter perceptions. They must also fear that the reporting of this less palatable – from a Palestinian perspective –  reality, could undermine the spurious validity of a carefully crafted, widely believed largely fraudulent Palestinian narrative by revealing that one of its key planks – the claims of Palestinian “victimhood” – is actually an inversion of the truth? They would fear that by revealing this reality – that Israel is the real victim – that might also explain Israel’s alleged “toughness” and reveal that the actions for which it has been criticised and demonised were invariably defensive, understandable and proportionate?

But even if we accept the “innocent” explanation – cock-up rather than conspiracy – we should recognise that the Palestinian spin-doctors and propagandists (and those backing them who also fund terror and rockets) understand how news works, and exploit it. They know that rockets being fired on Israel – however deadly – would quite quickly slip off the news agenda. And the rockets, of course, are only the most obvious example of what, because it’s no longer “news,” is receiving little or no coverage. Gaza’s vast underground tunnel network, and the 133 hostages, who include women, children, seniors and babies, are “stories” being consistently ignored, while fresh angles are constantly conjured to keep Gaza high on the news agenda – aided of course by NGOs and agencies that proclaim neutrality but are demonstrably anti-Israel.

By highlighting every alleged misdemeanour by Israel while downplaying (or ignoring entirely) the threats and terror directed toward Israel, news organisations – especially the BBC – have distorted reality, created a false perception and helped embed a fraudulent narrative – ironically not even one that helps Palestinians but exploits them to achieve a geo-political objective. Whether the one-sided coverage is due to  outright pro-Palestinian bias or smug or niave journalism, there are real-life consequences that are severely harmful to Jews and Israel.

If news organisations – particularly the BBC– wished to compensate for 20-plus years of newsroom activity that has proved harmful to Jews and Israel, the first step should be a series of reports examining the continuing, ongoing terror and threat against Israel in clear and unequivocal terms and should include the fact that thousands of rockets have continued to be launched on Israeli civilian targets since Oct 7th, and  should point out (again, clearly and unequivocal) that the only reason that thousands of Israelis have not perished is because Israel – unlike its enemies who welcome dead women and children for propaganda value – safeguards its citizens.

A second step might be to have a bit of an audit, and to look at the affiliations, relationships, views or politics of some of those filing from the region. But perhaps that’s too much to hope for.

About the Author
Jan Shure held senior editorial roles at the Jewish Chronicle for three decades. and previously served as deputy editor of the Jewish Observer. She is an author and freelance writer and wrote regularly for the Huffington Post until 2018. In 2012 she took a break from journalism to be a web entrepreneur.