Tuvia Book
Tuvia Book
Author, educator, Tour-Guide, artist

The missing word: How BBC reports terror attacks in Israel without using the word “terror”

Yesterday an innocent young woman from the UK, Hannah Bladon, was brutally murdered by a terrorist in Jerusalem. Yet reading the article tucked away in the “Middle East” section of the BBC website, one would find it difficult to realise that this is what actually happened.

The headline states, “Jerusalem stabbing: Tributes paid to Hannah Bladon.” This is in contrast to the terror attack a few weeks ago in London which the BBC reported as, “London attack: Four dead in Westminster terror attack.” In London (outside of Israel) when a terrorist, inspired by the incitement of militant Islam, murders innocents, it’s a “terror attack.” In Israel, where innocents are murdered by a terrorist, inspired by the incitement of militant Islam the word “terror” is nowhere to be seen in the headline, or indeed the entire article. There was just a “Jerusalem Stabbing” not a “terror attack.”

The BBC article continues, “Birmingham University student Hannah Bladon was killed on a tram in Jerusalem on Good Friday…a 57-year-old Palestinian man was detained at the scene.” I wonder why? Why isn’t he described as the alleged terrorist or the alleged murderer? The Times of Israel stated clearly, “British exchange student murdered in a terror attack in Jerusalem on Friday.”

Why did the Israeli policeman quoted in the article use the excuse that the terrorist was “mentally disturbed.” Does that imply that every brainwashed murdering terrorist is “mentally disturbed?” It reminds me of the old black humour of the Jerusalem residents of pre ’67 Jerusalem.   Whenever a Jordanian soldier would open fire on innocent civilians from the Old City walls he would be referred to as the “Meshuga HaToran” (The mentally disturbed lunatic on duty”) as there was invariably a press communiqué issued that the soldier who opened fire was “mentally disturbed.” Indeed, the recently released former Jordanian soldier Ahmad Dakamseh who killed seven Israeli school girls twenty years ago was also described as “mentally disturbed.” This did not impact on his hero’s welcome and being feted by the national Jordanian media upon his release. Indeed, Dakamseh showed no remorse during interviews with Jordanian media. He said his opinion of Israelis had not changed and he added: ‘As for my position on the Zionists, you all know…what I did 20 years ago.’  Perhaps these monsters see killing a Jew as a free pass to get into “paradise”. Crazy? Yes. But to say that they are mentally ill is an insult to the millions who have mental illness and do not murder.

Why doesn’t the BBC call a terrorist a terrorist if the attack occurs within Israel but only if the attack occurs outside Israel? Why doesn’t the BBC realise that all terror, wherever it happens, from London, to New York, to Sydney, to Cairo, to Jerusalem stems from the same source, incitement by fanatical militant Islam to go out murder “non believers” in order to establish a pan-Muslim caliphate? Why does the BBC have double standards in the language it uses to describe terror attacks inside Israel? Why are the reports sanitised of the words “terror,” “terrorist” or indeed the word “murder?”

The BBC’s policy of reporting terror attacks with a different lexicon if they occur inside Israel is a prime example of the double standard utilised by vast swaths of the international media towards Israel and may even contribute somehow to the pseudo-legitimisation of these terror attacks themselves.

About the Author
Dr. Tuvia Book was born in London and raised in both the UK and South Africa. After making Aliya at the age of 17 and studying in Yeshiva he volunteered for the IDF, where he served in an elite combat unit. Upon his discharge he completed his BA at Bar-Ilan University, as well as certification in graphic design. He then served as the Information Officer at the Israeli Consulate of Philadelphia, while earning a graduate degree in Jewish Studies. Upon his return to Israel, Dr. Book graduated from a course of study with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism, and is a licensed tour guide. Tuvia has been working in the field of Jewish Education, both formal and informal, for many years. He has guided and taught Jewish students and educators from around the English-speaking world for some of Israel’s premier educational institutions and programs. Tuvia has been guiding groups for Birthright Israel since its inception and, in addition, has lectured throughout North America, Australia, Europe and South Africa. Tuvia served as a Shaliach (emissary) for the Jewish Agency for Israel as the Director of Israel and Zionist Education at the Board of Jewish Education of Greater New York (Jewish Education Project). He was a lecturer/educational guide at the Alexander Muss Institute for Israel Education (AMIIE) in Israel for a decade. Tuvia has lectured at both Bar Ilan University and Hebrew University. He is a Senior Editor and Teaching Fellow at the Tikvah Fund. Tuvia is the author and illustrator the internationally acclaimed Israel education curriculum; "For the Sake of Zion; A Curriculum of Israel Studies" (Fifth edition, Koren 2017), and "Moral Dilemmas of the Modern Israeli Soldier" (Rama, 2011) and has a doctorate in Israel Education. His latest book, "Jewish Journeys, The Second Temple Period to the Bar Kokhba Revolt – 536 BCE-136 CE," will be published by Koren this year.
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