NYT Blind to Terrorism in Israel

Remember Newtown! Remember Boston! But when the target is Israel, the New York Times sees no terrorism, hears no terrorism, reports no terrorism.

On April 17, a terrorist group -- the Iranian-backed Mujahadeen Shura Council -- fires two rockets at the Red Sea resort city of Eilat in southern Israel in a deliberate attempt to kill and injure civilian residents and visitors. Fortunately, there were no casualties. But this doesn't in any way cleanse a deliberate terrorist attack intended to sow havoc and bloodshed amidst thousands of civilians.

What happened in Eilat fits to a "T" the definition of terrorism -- a deliberate attempt to harm or kill civilians in pursuit of a political or ideological agenda. The Mujahadeen attackers made no bones about their terrorist identity -- claiming credit for firing rockets in support of Palestinian prisoners.

But leave it to the New York Times to airbrush the "T" word in its April 18 dispatch and substitute that old reliable, cleansing euphemism, "MILITANT." Not once but four times does the Times trot out the "M" word as replacement for the more accurate and appropriate "T" word ("Militants in Egyptian Sinai Fire Rockets Into Israel but Do No Damage" by Isabel Kershner, page A8).

Does it matter? Of course it does. Not only are terrorist outfits subject to financial and other restrictions, but there's a huge moral difference between "terrorist" and "militant." The latter is morally neutral. A militant can be OK, or not OK. No finger-pointing to any evil import. The "T" word, in constrast, has an immediate pejorative impact. It doesn't hide the evil nature of the "T" act or the "T" perpetrator. Terrorism is always bad, unforgivable, evil.

To Kershner, however, moral relativism is the guiding principle. She will not bring herself to recognize evil when it stares her in the face. So, readers are told in the lead paragraph that there is a "continuing threat from militants operating across the desert border." Militants, but not terrorists.

In the same vein, she goes on to write that "Islamic militants," according to Israeli officials," are operating between Gaza and Sinai" with weapons furnished by Iran, and that Israel has asked Egypt to clamp down on "militants operating in the wild terrain of the (Sinai) peninsula."

Militant. Militant. Militant. Militant. At the New York Times, the "T" word fits when attacks are perpetrated at home and abroad. Everywhere, except when Israel is in the cross-hairs of Islamist terrorists.

Similarly, Hamas -- deemed a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel - is, in Kershner's words in the same article merely an "Islamic group."

An all too frequent whitewash of terrorism by the New York Times.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

Remember Newtown! Remember Boston! But when the target is Israel, the New York Times sees no terrorism, hears no terrorism, reports no terrorism.

On April 17, a terrorist group -- the Iranian-backed Mujahadeen Shura Council -- fires two rockets at the Red Sea resort city of Eilat in southern Israel in a deliberate attempt to kill and injure civilian residents and visitors. Fortunately, there were no casualties. But this doesn't in any way cleanse a deliberate terrorist attack intended to sow havoc and bloodshed amidst thousands of civilians.

What happened in Eilat fits to a "T" the definition of terrorism -- a deliberate attempt to harm or kill civilians in pursuit of a political or ideological agenda. The Mujahadeen attackers made no bones about their terrorist identity -- claiming credit for firing rockets in support of Palestinian prisoners.

But leave it to the New York Times to airbrush the "T" word in its April 18 dispatch and substitute that old reliable, cleansing euphemism, "MILITANT." Not once but four times does the Times trot out the "M" word as replacement for the more accurate and appropriate "T" word ("Militants in Egyptian Sinai Fire Rockets Into Israel but Do No Damage" by Isabel Kershner, page A8).

Does it matter? Of course it does. Not only are terrorist outfits subject to financial and other restrictions, but there's a huge moral difference between "terrorist" and "militant." The latter is morally neutral. A militant can be OK, or not OK. No finger-pointing to any evil import. The "T" word, in constrast, has an immediate pejorative impact. It doesn't hide the evil nature of the "T" act or the "T" perpetrator. Terrorism is always bad, unforgivable, evil.

To Kershner, however, moral relativism is the guiding principle. She will not bring herself to recognize evil when it stares her in the face. So, readers are told in the lead paragraph that there is a "continuing threat from militants operating across the desert border." Militants, but not terrorists.

In the same vein, she goes on to write that "Islamic militants," according to Israeli officials," are operating between Gaza and Sinai" with weapons furnished by Iran, and that Israel has asked Egypt to clamp down on "militants operating in the wild terrain of the (Sinai) peninsula."

Militant. Militant. Militant. Militant. At the New York Times, the "T" word fits when attacks are perpetrated at home and abroad. Everywhere, except when Israel is in the cross-hairs of Islamist terrorists.

Similarly, Hamas -- deemed a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union and Israel - is, in Kershner's words in the same article merely an "Islamic group."

An all too frequent whitewash of terrorism by the New York Times.

Leo Rennert is a former White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers

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