Friday, November 15, 2013

Media Response to Soldier Stabbing Shames Us

by Raheem Kassam

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When a stone-throwing Palestinian teenager is injured, or perhaps even arrested, you can bet your bottom dollar that the world’s media will be there. Well, by “there” I mean on the phone to a freelance photographer on the ground, willing to cough up thousands of pounds to buy and publish pictures and video.

Of course, such an incident is usually followed by “mass protests”, which usually involves around a hundred Western activists taking to the dirt roads of the Palestinian territories acting like fools in front of some cameras. The BBC, the Guardian, the New York Times – they all revel in it.

Soon enough, Jeremy Bowen is filing dispatches from the front-line, claiming that the “Israeli response has been heavy handed” or that “ordinary Palestinians are up in arms” or something or the sort. Some reference will be made to settlements, another to Gaza’s “water crisis” and if we’re lucky we’ll be treated to a nod towards “the Jewish lobby” and its global influence.

Rinse and repeat.

But not if the victim of an incident in the region is Israeli. No, no, no.

That, to the media’s mind, must be buried as a story, much like the horrifying terrorist incident from this morning has been.

As you may or may not know by now, Eden Atias, a 19-year-old soldier from Nazareth Illit, was taken to hospital this morning after being stabbed in his sleep by a Palestinian boy of just 16. Atias died, and it has been discovered that the clearly radicalised assailant, (perhaps even with our aid money), was turned over to the police.

I struggled to find any such reaction as I described above to this morning’s events. The Times of Israel has wide coverage of the horrific attack, but Sky News has buried the story, so too has the BBC, instead heading up their “Middle East” section with the story entitled, “Israel rethinks settlement plans”. When you do stumble up their coverage, it is patently just Reuters copy.

The Telegraph is even worse. No coverage in the “World” section, nothing in the “Middle East” section, and not even a word in the “Israel” sub-section. Their top story on Israel? “Israel cancels plans for 20,000 new settler homes”.

Pvt Eden Atias
Pvt Eden Atias

The Guardian fairs better in coverage of the story, placing it third on their list in the “World” section. Harriet Sherwood, their Jerusalem correspondent, even manages to write the entire copy, rather than just pasting from Reuters. This however is easily explained, as no doubt the Guardian and Sherwood wanted to somehow blame Israel for the entire attack, a message that comes through when quoting John Kerry on the need for peace to avoid further terrorism, and when using this non-sequitur closing line: “According to the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem, there were 4,806 Palestinian security prisoners and detainees in Israeli jails at the end of September.”
Relevant? Not at all. Just their usual dig.

There’s nothing on The Independent’s website, and nothing on the Daily Mail either. Even The Times is barren.

When one of our own, off-duty, British soldiers died by a knife-attack on the streets of London, the world’s media focused on the terrorist incident. And rightly so. While the response of some politicians and journalists may have been farouche on the Islam question, at least it can be said that the global media, and not just our own, reacted with the relevant outrage at the incident in question.

The Times of Israel for instance, had 10 stories on the topic. It was splashed on the front pages of numerous papers from around the world, and media commentators were discussing it for weeks after it happened. In a way, we still are.

But somehow, and I feel very bad for this, I don’t think Eden Atias will get the same attention.

In failing to report on the incident effectively, the British media is again proving that it is not an objective source for information, and it shames the memory of both Private Eden Atias, and of Drummer Lee Rigby, that due respect and attention has not been paid to this cowardly attack.

Raheem Kassam is the founder and editor of

Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

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