WaPo: Palestinia​n Killers of Israeli Children are NOT Terrorists

Leo Rennert
The Washington Post stoutly refuses to describe blood-soaked Palestinian murderers of Israeli children as terrorists. Instead, it substitutes a totally inaccurate euphemism, calling such depraved killers "militants."

Why inaccurate? Because "militant" is a non-judgmental, neutral noun. It carries no pejorative connotations. Whereas use of "terrorist" makes it crystal-clear that the writer and/or publication deems such depraved acts as beyond the pale. Which of course they are if they involve deliberate murders of innocent civilians in pursuit of a political agenda -- the basic definition of terrorism.

And yet, that's exactly where the Post keeps turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism regardless of the fact that it fits the definition of terrorism to a T. As witness, this top-of-the-front-page article by Jerusalem correspondent William Booth in the July 29 edition ("Mideast peace talks set to begin -- Israel to release 104 Palestinians -- Netanyahu concession paves way for dialogue")

Here's Booth's description of the Palestinian prisoners Israel is willing to release:

"The list of prisoners who may be released in coming days includes militants who threw firebombs, in one case at a bus carrying children, stabbed and shot civilians, including women, elderly Jews and suspected Palestinian collaborators; and ambushed and killed border guards, police officers, security agents and soldiers."

Never mind that children were firebombed on a bus or that Palestinian killers singled out women and the elderly as targets, these killers, Booth insists, are NOT "terrorists"; they are instead "militants." In so writing, Booth washes his hands of any trace of moral turpitude attached to such acts.

As he makes clear in the next paragraph: "The Israeli public views these prisoners as terrorists who have blood on their hands. Palestinians see them as freedom fighters struggling to reclaim their homeland and oust the occupiers."

So there you have it: Moral relativism carries the day at the Washington Post. Israel may call them terrorists -- but not Booth or the Washington Post. Message to readers who retain a modicum of absolute morality: Be grateful that we don't extol them as freedom fighters. Just take your pick. Call them freedom fighters or terrorists. But we won't. The Post sees nothing repulsive, nothing subhuman, nothing immoral in Palestinians murdering Israeli kids.

Compounding this deliberate rejection of the T-for-terrorism word is the fact that the Post does not hesitate to use it in reporting on terrorist attacks elsewhere, including when such attacks occur in Europe or the United States. The Post, for example, did not hesitate to tie terrorism to the Boston bombers.

Israel and Israel alone it seems is immune from terrorism in the pages of the Washington Post.

It would be interesting if Executive Editor Martin Baron explained this distinction to his readers.

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

The Washington Post stoutly refuses to describe blood-soaked Palestinian murderers of Israeli children as terrorists. Instead, it substitutes a totally inaccurate euphemism, calling such depraved killers "militants."

Why inaccurate? Because "militant" is a non-judgmental, neutral noun. It carries no pejorative connotations. Whereas use of "terrorist" makes it crystal-clear that the writer and/or publication deems such depraved acts as beyond the pale. Which of course they are if they involve deliberate murders of innocent civilians in pursuit of a political agenda -- the basic definition of terrorism.

And yet, that's exactly where the Post keeps turning a blind eye to Palestinian terrorism regardless of the fact that it fits the definition of terrorism to a T. As witness, this top-of-the-front-page article by Jerusalem correspondent William Booth in the July 29 edition ("Mideast peace talks set to begin -- Israel to release 104 Palestinians -- Netanyahu concession paves way for dialogue")

Here's Booth's description of the Palestinian prisoners Israel is willing to release:

"The list of prisoners who may be released in coming days includes militants who threw firebombs, in one case at a bus carrying children, stabbed and shot civilians, including women, elderly Jews and suspected Palestinian collaborators; and ambushed and killed border guards, police officers, security agents and soldiers."

Never mind that children were firebombed on a bus or that Palestinian killers singled out women and the elderly as targets, these killers, Booth insists, are NOT "terrorists"; they are instead "militants." In so writing, Booth washes his hands of any trace of moral turpitude attached to such acts.

As he makes clear in the next paragraph: "The Israeli public views these prisoners as terrorists who have blood on their hands. Palestinians see them as freedom fighters struggling to reclaim their homeland and oust the occupiers."

So there you have it: Moral relativism carries the day at the Washington Post. Israel may call them terrorists -- but not Booth or the Washington Post. Message to readers who retain a modicum of absolute morality: Be grateful that we don't extol them as freedom fighters. Just take your pick. Call them freedom fighters or terrorists. But we won't. The Post sees nothing repulsive, nothing subhuman, nothing immoral in Palestinians murdering Israeli kids.

Compounding this deliberate rejection of the T-for-terrorism word is the fact that the Post does not hesitate to use it in reporting on terrorist attacks elsewhere, including when such attacks occur in Europe or the United States. The Post, for example, did not hesitate to tie terrorism to the Boston bombers.

Israel and Israel alone it seems is immune from terrorism in the pages of the Washington Post.

It would be interesting if Executive Editor Martin Baron explained this distinction to his readers.

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