My opinion piece in today’s New York Sun http://www.nysun.com/article/61497?page_no=1 concerns Christiane Amanpour’s “God’s Warriors,” a three-part series on religious extremism that strives to superimpose moral equivalency on religious Jews, Christians and Muslims of the variety who espouse jihad martyrdom. Maybe some of you will check it out. I will be discussing the piece and my thoughts on Amanpour’s series tomorrow morning at 9:30 on a show called “Seize the Day” on Sirius satellite radio’s channel 159, The Catholic channel, and this evening at 10:30 pm on WOR radio 710 in New York City, which broadcasts online at WOR 710.com.
In writing this piece I focused on only one example of CNN’s decades of shallow and distorted reporting on the mideast, including the reporting on death and terrorism related to children. This latter subject is, I believe, one of the most tragically underaddressed and poorly reported subjects in American journalism today.
Last month in Israel, I met a highly ranked officer in the IDF, who told me that he had personally witnessed a Palestinian “fighter” literally surround himself with a circle of small children and initiate gunfire, from within that circle, against Israeli soldiers.
Recently Israel’s Ha’aretz reported that, according to a source at the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Palestinian terrorists are sending children to collect Qassam rocket launchers. The reason, it would seem, is that in the wake of a Qassam rocket attack, the IDF typically responds by targeting the rocket launchers. One IDF officer said he personally witnessed a Palestinian terrorist flee “immediately after the launch and then sen[d] the children to collect the launchers.” Thus the terrorists are deliberately placing these children in the most perilous place on the West Bank. After all, when a Palestinian child dies, it provides anti-Israel fodder for their war machine, which relies on a steady stream of media coverage and support for their cause from misguided individuals around the world.
As a human rights advocate with a deep concern for children, I have always wondered about the deaths of Palestinian children at the hands of the Israel Defense Forces. It grieves me just as does the death of Israeli children at the hands of Palestinian terrorists in bombings and rocket attacks. All of these children are innocent victims.
What it’s vital to understand, however, is that by and large, Palestinian terrorists contrive circumstances that lead to Palestinian children’s deaths as a means to win the media war against Israel. And by reflexively blaming solely Israel for these deaths without understanding the underlying dynamic, the world is helping to reinforce that very dynamic.
Recently, in a rare example of interest, CNN and other media reported the “Farfur Mouse” story: Hamas TV created and aired a children’s show on which a Palestinian character like Mickey Mouse was beaten to death by an IDF soldier. That was a sensational story, especially because Hamas TV violated copyright laws by showing a Mickey Mouse-type character without Disney’s permission. But where have CNN and the world’s major media outlets been for the past twenty years, when the incitement of Palestinian children – first to go to the front lines and throw rocks at armed soldiers, then to turn themselves into human bombs - has been unremitting?
During the Oslo years, Yasir Arafat himself appeared repeatedly on Palestinian TV saying, “The child who is holding the stone facing the tank, is it not the greatest message to the world when that child dies as shahid (martyr?)”
Where are the stories, not just on the deaths of Palestinian children, but on the circumstances behind them? In all the decades of uncritical reporting on this subject (“Two Palestinian children died today in an Israeli rocket attack”), is it so unthinkable to ask why these children would be in such close proximity to a wanted man? In all the years of filming Palestinian teenagers throwing rocks, is it such a leap to connect this dangerous and unproductive behavior with exhortations on Palestinian television from Yasir Arafat to do just that? When suicide bombers just kept getting younger, attacks more ferocious (before the construction of Israel’s security fence), would it have been so impossible to investigate the systematic brainwashing of children in Palestinian schools run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)? CNN, where were you then? Where are you now, when the incitement continues, day in and day out, in the UNRWA-run schools and on Hamas TV–not just via Farfur Mouse (who has already been replaced by a Jew-hating bumble bee) but every day on numerous programs?
Perhaps it is not just bias at work here, but self-interest, and reluctance on the part of the media to acknowledge their own culpability in contributing to the dynamic in which Palestinian “leadership” uses children as tools of war, Israel gets demonized, and the media get its story.
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