NYT Decrees Nonexistence of Palestinian Terrorism

On Tuesday, April 30, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict served up two more fatalities. A Palestinian terrorist stabbed an Israeli father of five to death. In another incident, an Israeli airstrike killed a senior Palestinian terrorist, who manufactured rockets and explosive devices for terrorist groups in Gaza and was involved in rocket strikes against Eilat, a resort in southern Israel.

But this is not how the New York Times reported these two events on its Tuesday website. At no time did Times correspondents Isabel Kershner and Fares Akram describe the assailant of the Israeli father as a terrorist. Similarly, at no times did the Times article indicate that the Israeli Air Force eliminated a top terrorist in Gaza.

Here's how the Times went about breaking the news to its readers, starting with the headline: "Israeli airstrike Kills Palestinian in Gaza." Two immediate observations -- No mention that an Israeli was killed, while the dead Palestinian is scrubbed of any involvement in terrorism; he's just a "Palestinian."

The lead sentence of the Kershner-Akram report reads as follows: "A Palestinian militant was killed in an Israeli missile strike in Gaza on Tuesday hours after an Israeli civilian was stabbed to death by a Palestinian in the West Bank."

The Palestinian terrorist in Gaza has been morally downgraded to a "militant" -- a formulation that erases any and all pejorative connotations. The Times bans the "T" word, with its evil connotation, and substitutes the "M" word, which carries no opprobrium.

And "M" for "militant" repeatedly becomes the cleansing agent for the Gaza terrorist. Readers are told that he worked with all "militant" organizations in Gaza, when every one of them is actually a terrorist outfit, from Hamas on down. Also, that a "militant" group claimed him as a member. The group includes jihadist Salafists and Palestinian extremists, but in the New York Times is not tainted by any resemblance to terrorism.

Given what happened on Tuesday, the Times then ponders what the Hamas, which rules Gaza, will do. Hamas is designated by the United States, the European Union and Israel as a terrorist organization. Not so in the April 30 dispatch of the Times, which describes Hamas as an "Islamist militant" group. Any stretch to avoid the dreaded "T" word.

As for the Israeli father of five stabbed to death by a Palestinian terrorist, the Times describes his assailant merely as a "Palestinian man."

It's not that the Times never uses the "T" word. The paper uses it all the time when terrorist acts pop up around the world. Except when Israelis are killed by Palestinian terrorists.

In fact, the April 30 print edition carries an article about the latest developments in the investigation of the Boston bombers. The Times, in this instance, reports that authorities don't believe that the two brothers were tied to a "larger terrorist network." In Boston, killers of civilians are properly tagged as terrorists. But when Israeli blood is shed by terrorists, the Times switches to good old reliably cleansing "militant."

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