A president has the ability to structure the definition of any situation, and Obama has done just that. His characterizations of the situation have led to the media following suit. The killing of a knife-wielding Arab murderer is criticized by the administration as the overreaction of a zealous Israeli police officer and thus an act of equivalent violence.
The media blur lines between Arab terrorist and Jewish victim with a frenzied disregard for journalistic ethics.
“Four Palestinian teens are killed in Israeli violence” screams a Los Angeles Times headline, giving the spotlight to the Palestinian murders killed by police instead of the innocent Jewish victims they slaughtered.
This is the equivalent of describing 9/11 with a headline reading, “Nine Saudi Tourists Die as Airline Flies off Course into World Trade Center.”
When, as part of the current intifada, Arab jihadists set fire to Joseph’s Tomb, the story on CNN was that Joseph’s Tomb “caught fire,” as if hit by lightning.
Among the most egregious examples of journalists following the administration’s lead and skewing the narrative was NBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin’s fictitious account of Israeli police shooting an unarmed Arab. Even the NBC anchors back in America had to correct Mohyeldin because their own video showed the Arab terrorist was clearly armed with a knife.
State Department spokesperson John Kirby tried to perpetuate the Obama administration’s spin by arguing that Israel had changed the status quo that prohibited Jewish worship on the Temple Mount and was thus responsible for inciting the current wave of Arab terrorism. But Kirby was merely parroting the false accusations of Palestinian unelected President Mahmoud Abbas. Faced with reality, Kirby was forced to back down.
Kirby has also invoked both the stalemated peace process and the settlements as the sources for the knifing intifada, but it is Abbas who refuses negotiate, and neither ongoing negotiations nor settlement freezes have ever interrupted Palestinian violence.
MSNBC aired a series of maps that are fairly common fixtures on university campuses. Depicting a Palestinian state that never existed, the maps make it appear that Arab land is all land that is not Jewish, which includes vast amounts of public land. The falsified maps suggest that the original division in 1948 greatly disadvantaged the Arabs. Subsequently, individual Arabs were portrayed as losing more land even though that land was never owned by individuals but were public lands under the British mandate.
It was too false a narrative and drew appropriate criticism. The next day, MSNBC issued a retraction.
There is a continual cycle of libels propagated against Israel followed by retraction. Such “errors” seem not to occur against any other nation state, which begs the question of why this cycle exists and continues. The answer, regrettably, is that it follows a narrative promulgated by an administration that finds moral equivalence between knife-wielding terrorists and bleeding Jewish victims.
As for why the administration’s moral equivalence seems unique to the Jewish state, the answer to that, regrettably, is darker.
Abraham H. Miller is an emeritus professor of political science, University of Cincinnati, and a distinguished fellow with the Haym Salomon Center.