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August 26, 2011
Breakthrough: NY Times uses the 'T-word' about attack on Israel
Usually, the euphemism-besotted vocabulary of the New York Times avoids use of the "T"-for - terrorism word or "T"-for-terrorists word like the plague. So it comes as a refreshing change to read Cairo correspondent Fares Akran use the "T" word not once but twice in an Aug. 26 dispatch about continuing rocket fire from Gaza into Israel and Israeli counter-terrorism strikes against terror cells in Gaza ("Israeli Strikes In Retaliation Kill 9 Gazans" page A11).
Akram writes that the "recent round of violence started a week ago, with a terrorist attack on southern Israel in which eight Israelis were killed." This sentence is doubly accurate. It was indeed a terrorist attack aimed primarily at civilians. And it also was the trigger for Palestinian rocket fire and Israeli retaliatory strikes. In other words, it was the Palestinians who started it.
In addition, Akram, in reporting Israel's first retaliatory strike that killed "leaders of the Popular Resistance Committee," identifies the PRC as a "pro-Hamas group that Israel said was behind the terrorist attack."
Akram also mentions that, in the last 48 hours, nine Gazans have been killed, while Israel withstood 20 rocket attacks that repeatedly set off warnings sirens "across the south," targeted Ofakim, Ashkelon and Beersheba, and left a 9-month-old baby slightly injured in Ashkelon. Furthermore, in adding up Palestinian fatalities, Akram doesn't just leave it at that. In addition to Israel dispatching the PRC's leadership, he also specifies that a similar fatal fate befell a member of Islamic Jihad, several smugglers in a Gaza tunnel to Egypt, and two "Palestinian militants" who had "fired a mortar shell a the Erez Crossing." Thus, it's fairly clear that Israel struck at terrorist -- not civilian -- targets.
So far, so good.
But unfortunately, Akram reverts to the Times" bad old habits when he identifies Gazans firing a mortar shell at the Erez Crossing with Israel as "militants" instead of "terrorists."
This reversion to the kind of euphemisms that perfume and sanitize Palestinian terrorism and terrorists suggests that Akram still has a ways to go before hitting a completely accurate stride.
For starters, he acknowledges not once but twice that Israel is the target of "terrorist" attacks. But when it comes to describing the perpetrators of such terroirst attacks, he refrains from using the "T" word and substitutes "militants."
That's totally illogical. If Israel is a target of terrorist attacks, as Akram reports, it goes without saying that such attacks aren't perpetrated by nice-sounding militants. They obviously are conducted by terrorists.
If you're going to use the "T" word as an adjective, as Akram rightly does, it follows that the "T" word also qualifies as a noun -- it takes terrorists -- not militants -- to perpetrate terrorist attacks.
QED. Times fact-checkers please take note.
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