The New York Times used four journalists to cover the August 14 Arab terrorist attack on Israeli Jews in Jerusalem. The journalists reporting from Jerusalem, Seoul and Hong Kong (I have no idea why correspondents from thousands of miles away were needed) could not muster a clear and balanced report.
The article started with the usual anti-Israel bias with the headline “Eight Injured in Shooting in Jerusalem” which did not clearly label the attacker as an Arab Muslim nor the victims as Israeli and American Jews. While the article would eventually reveal that the attacker was a “Palestinian man”, it would never clearly state that the victims were all Jewish. Instead, the attack was crafted as between warring countries, continuing a trend of Palestinians and Israelis killed over the past few months.
The Times then mentioned Silwan, the neighborhood from where the Arab terrorist came, as having tension “between its Palestinian residents and a small but growing number of Israeli settlers.” While the Palestinian Arabs and Israelis are both “residents”, the Times opted to use the biased Palestinian narrative to describe the Israelis.
At that point, the paper shifted squarely to religion:
“Sacred to both Jews and Muslims, the nearby Temple Mount houses the third-holiest mosque in Islam and was the location in antiquity of two ancient Jewish temples that remain important to Jewish identity.“
According to the Times, while the Temple Mount is “sacred to both Jews and Muslims”, the site is really more important to Islam, as it “houses the third-holiest mosque in Islam”. For Jews, the site is merely a talisman and “important to Jewish identity.”
That’s a deliberate insult to millions of Jews around the world. The Temple Mount is THE holiest location for Judaism.
Continuing the trend, the article mentioned that “Hamas, the Islamist militant group that runs the Gaza Strip” celebrated the attack, but did not quote Fatah, the party of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cheering the shooting as well, posting on Facebook “Praise to the one whose rifle only speaks against his enemy. Long live our people’s unity and long live the free hero. Praise to the rifle muzzles, our people will fight the occupation with all kinds of resistance. Save your bullets and use them against the occupation, only the occupation!!”
Why did the paper opt to only refer to the “Islamist” political-terrorist group but not the secular political one which controls the presidency and Areas A and B? Does the Times believe that the conflict is a religious one or a political one? It pivoted back-and-forth in the article inelegantly.
The four journalists contributing to the story made a final pivot at the end of the article, writing “Israeli efforts to build archaeological and tourism attractions in Silwan, mostly celebrating the area’s ancient Jewish heritage, are perceived by Palestinians as a means of eroding Palestinian claims to the city.” This pivoted the conflict as neither political nor religious but a historical one. In this case, the Times seemed more comfortable pointing out that Jews have a much longer history in the region than the Arabs who first came more recently. Perhaps it does so, questioning whether history truly fuels the conflict, or is a talking point between the parties.
The Times is dancing around the political and religious nature of the Israeli-Arab conflict. While the anti-Zionist paper is comfortable making political arguments which make Israel look like the larger and more powerful political actor, it is loathe to point out that Israel has a much deeper religious claim to the land and Jerusalem. Perhaps the liberal media fears that too much information will educate readers about the profound logic of Israel retaining full control of the Old City of Jerusalem, in direct opposition of Palestinian political goals of seizing the site from the Jewish State.