Terror and not ‘Terror’

Last night, I was coming back from my graduation ceremony at the Hebrew University when I heard what happened – a brutal terror attack hits the heart of Israel, Tel Aviv. The names of the victims are: Dr. Michael Feige, Ilana Navaa, Mila Mishayev and Ido Ben-Ari. We all should offer our condolences to their families, because all they did was try to have a relaxing night out, which turned into the worst possible nightmare.

And then I went online and checked the coverage of the foreign media, and sad to say, I wasn’t surprised from what I saw. In order to genuinely summarize what happened last night at Max Brenner in Sarona, when two terrorists opened fire and murdered four Israelis, all that was needed to say is: “In a terror attack, two Palestinians murdered in cold blood four innocent Israeli civilians”. That’s exactly what happened! Yet, not surprisingly, here are but some of the titles that the media put out:

CNN – Two ‘terrorists’ have been captured

Yahoo News – “Apparent militant attack…”

Sky News – “Three killed in mass shooting in Tel Aviv”

Now, since this event is very similar to the atrocities that hit Paris not too long ago, I wanted to check how was the media coverage like. The differences are very easy to tell:

CNN – “Paris terror attacks…”

Yahoo News – “Death toll at least 129 in Paris terror attacks”

BBC – “Paris terror attacks…”

My question is – why when a person, who comes to a restaurant with an assault rifle, opens fire with every intention of killing as many innocent civilians as possible, he is referred to as a terrorist, but only when attacks in Israel take place is the perpetrator given the benefit of the doubt that he may not actually be a ‘terrorist’?

According to the European Union’s Convention on Combating International Terrorism, the definition of terrorism is:

“Any act of violence or threat there of notwithstanding its motives or intentions perpetrated to carry out an individual or collective criminal plan with the aim of terrorizing people or threatening to harm them or imperiling their lives, honor, freedoms, security or rights or exposing the environment or any facility or public or private property to hazards or occupying or seizing them, or endangering a national resource, or international facilities, or threatening the stability, territorial integrity, political unity or sovereignty of independent States.”

The definition is plain and simple. In the United States for example, when you are arrested for, one of your first rights as a human is that you are innocent until proven guilty. However, if someone sees you, or when there’s media coverage, when an individual walks into a bar/restaurant with an assault rifle and blatantly murders four innocent civilians, there is no question whether the individual is guilty or not. But when the exact same scenario happens in Israel, he is still getting the window of a doubt as to whether he is actually a terrorist or not. In reality, he is, and there is every evidence supporting it. However, the media still chooses not to call it by its name – a terrorist, they use these ambivalent headlines that don’t portray the actual picture.

I will repeat it again – When innocents Israelis are being murdered in cold blood on the streets of Tel Aviv, it is not “alleged terrorism”, nor “killing”; it is an execution, the worst possible terrorism that you can think of. Period.

About the Author
Itai Hacham is graduate in International Relations and Business Administration from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Striving to help shaping Israel's public image and to share the truth with the rest of the world.