White House jumps on bias over death of lone Arab journalist By Jonathan Feldstein
JERUSALEM, ISRAEL – September 9, 2022 – Hardly had I written about the huge double standard in the world, and the global media in particular, regarding the death of one Arab journalist in Israel rather than another, so the administration Biden threw his hat into the ring to double down on what is already an offensive narrative. This week, Israel acknowledged the death of the Arab-American Palestinian AlJazeera journalist, Shireen Abu-Akleh, was likely the victim of an Israeli bullet amid a heated firefight between her troops and Palestinian Arab terrorists, and that she was likely accidentally hit in the crossfire as the terrorists used the journalist as cover from which they fired indiscriminately at Israeli troops.
No one would expect that to be the end of the story, no. Although more than 60 other journalists have been killed worldwide this year alone, compared to 55 in 2021, Abu-Akleh’s death is by far the most reported and most celebrated. Literally. She has become a “Palestinian martyr” and a poster child for allegations of Israel’s deliberate targeting of Arab journalists, which is absurd.
As if unable to control itself and add fuel to the fire, through the State Department, the Biden administration has called on Israel to review its live-fire protocol in the heat of the action, regardless of the dozens of other journalists who have been killed this year alone, and the fact that another Arab-Israeli journalist was killed this week in another incident in the outbreak of Arab-on-Arab violence.
Nothing makes sense about it from a logical point of view. It could have been someone talking out of turn, but it wasn’t. The White House supported this statement. After its own and Israel’s investigation, the United States has injected itself into a situation that has been investigated more than any other journalist death in at least the past two years. The United States knows that the Israeli military operates with the highest level of integrity, in the face of real threats of war and terror on many fronts, and that when mistakes are made, Israel has its own internal protocol to investigate. , Israel is learning and making the necessary changes.
As a result, after calling on Israel to review its combat procedures, during a White House press briefing, a reporter actually pressed the White House spokeswoman to find out if the administration was behind him. “The administration keeps talking about accountability, but there has been none. There were no charges. What will the Biden administration do to demand accountability? What actions are you going to take? »
This followed an earlier question about not holding Israel accountable, to which the White House spokeswoman replied: “We strongly condemn this murder, as we have for several months. Ms. Abu-Akleh was an inspiration to millions and a friend to many in the US government. His death is a great loss and a tragedy.
One wonders how many other journalist deaths has the White House condemned, accidentally as in the case of Abu-Akleh, or actually targeted among the dozens of other deaths this year alone. By playing into this, the White House adds to the narrative that Israel disrespects and even targets journalists, making it dangerous for them to operate in Israel.
Besides being blatantly fake, Israel has a hyper-free press that is open even to reporters from agencies that have a staunchly anti-Israel bias. The only exception is that Israel still has a military censor whereby journalists are required to erase certain stories due to very real national security threats. Israel is the safest and freest country in the entire Middle East, and much of the world, to report from. This is why so many international news agencies have offices in Jerusalem, and their reporters often cover stories in adjacent counties from the safety of Israel.
Now the White House has constructed a false narrative that journalists sitting in their soft seats will feed into that Israel is dangerous and actually targets journalists. Maybe they should set up a safe space for traumatized reporters in the White House. We wouldn’t want the death of one journalist in Israel (among dozens around the world) to create trauma, or God forbid, bias in their reporting.
Israel’s response was clear: respectfully, crush. He rejected the Biden administration’s call to review its protocol regarding the use of live fire. Prime Minister Lapid replied succinctly: “No one will dictate our live fire instructions to us when we are fighting for our lives. I will not let an IDF fighter who defended his life under fire from terrorists be prosecuted just so that we receive applause abroad.
Lapid also asserted that Israel is “committed to freedom of the press and has the strictest live-fire regulations in the world,” adding “Israel has expressed sadness over the death of the journalist. It is a tragedy that occurred in the midst of a violent incident by terrorists. The IDF never deliberately shoots innocent people, our fighters have the full support of the Israeli government and its people. »
It is no coincidence that the part of the Torah being read in Jewish communities around the world this week begins with the guidelines: “When you go to fight your enemy. It is instructive on two levels. First, wars happen. They are biblically justified, even necessary, because evil exists and there are wicked people who wage war on innocent victims. Second, there are legitimate ways to wage war. The Torah/Bible serves as a guide on how to live in all aspects of life, including wartime obligations. Self-defense is not only a right, it is an obligation. But it’s not without rules of engagement, even when the enemy doesn’t live by the same standards.
Israel must always be ready for war to defend our country, our families and our people. And Israel, because of the biblical standard and the morality it represents, has very strict guidelines. The White House, its spokesperson, and the State Department would do well to learn and internalize this reality, even when mistakes are made. And they and their media cohorts would do well to realize that by focusing on Abu-Akleh’s death to the exclusion of all the dozens of other journalists who have been killed, they are giving a pass and shutting down the doors. eyes on places in the world where being a journalist is actually dangerous, and their deaths and threats are not accidental.
On the deaths of two Arab journalists in Israel By Jonathan Feldstein