The Words They Won’t Say: ‘Arab Murders Israelis’

There are three words the headline-writers at The New York Times and Washington Post just can’t bring themselves to say:

“Arab Murders Israelis.”

Last Friday, three Arab terrorists murdered two Israeli policemen near the Temple Mount. The Washington Post used this headline: “2 Israeli Policemen are Killed Near Old City Gate.” Who killed them? A drunk driver? A bank robber? And why was it important to announce in the headline that the killing happened “near an Old City Gate?” How many of the Post’s readers could possible know where that is?

The New York Times’s headline was not much better: “In Attack at Jerusalem Holy Site, Israeli Police Officers and Assailants Are Killed.” Notice how the killers are “assailants” – not Arabs, not murderers, certainly not terrorists.

A headline writer with no bias would have simply stated the facts, something along the lines of: “Arab Terrorists Murder Two Israelis in Jerusalem.”

But the Times and the Post couldn’t do that. And there’s a reason.

The editors of the Times and the Post are strongly sympathetic to the Palestinian Arab cause. They want to see a Palestinian state established as soon as possible. Despite hard evidence to the contrary, they think Israel is the obstacle to Middle East peace. The Times and the Post believe that Israel’s polices are to blame for “provoking” Arab hostility and violence.

Headlines that clearly show Arabs as aggressors and Israelis as victims would undermine the pro-Palestinian narrative that is so beloved by the editorial boards of the Times and the Post. The editors live in fear that such headlines would increase sympathy for Israel and reduce support for creating a Palestinian state. After all, who in his right mind would want to put a state full of such terrorists right next door to Israel?

The New York Times and the Washington Post, that’s who.

For the same reason, the Times and the Post refuse to use the word “terrorists” in news coverage referring to Palestinian Arabs. In this instance, Times Israel correspondent Isabel Kershner called the killers “assailants,” and the Post’s William Booth labeled them “assailants” and “attackers.” In the headline of the Post’s online edition, they were “gunmen.”

Acknowledging they were terrorists would discredit the Palestinian cause. Which Kershner and Booth, and their editors, would never do.

I’d like to see, just once, an interview in which someone asks Kershner or Booth if the people who perpetrate attacks like the one on Friday are terrorists.

I don’t believe either Kershner or Booth would utter that word, just as they will not write it in their articles. (I reached out to them via Twitter, and got no response.)

Because when it comes to Israel and the Palestinians, the New York Times and the Washington Post and their reporters in the field are not really reporting news; they’re advancing an agenda. That agenda is to present the Palestinian cause in the best possible light. And if the facts get in the way of the agenda, then it’s the facts that must get out of the way.

A version of this post appears at

About the Author
Stephen M. Flatow is the father of Alisa Flatow who was murdered by Iranian sponsored Palestinian terrorists in April 1995 and the author of "A Father's Story: My Fight For Justice Against Iranian Terror."
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