Many media outlets have reported on the arrest of American-Israeli Ya’akov Teitel, charged with a string of domestic terrorist acts dating back to 1997, including the murder of two Arabs, a pipe bomb attack on a Hebrew University professor, and sending a parcel bomb to a messianic family, which resulted in a 15-year-old boy suffering severe injuries.
HonestReporting has long campaigned for the media to call terror by its name. Too many times, media outlets report on terrorist acts in Israel referring to “militants”, “activists” or any number of other descriptions, meticulously avoiding the “T” word.
“Terrorism” is the correct term to describe politically motivated attacks that do not differentiate between civilian and military targets and are designed to create a sense of terror in the minds of the general public. The term has been correctly used
by much of the world media to describe attacks such as the September 11, Al-Qaeda attack on the United States, the London bombings, the Madrid train attacks, and many more.
In the Middle East, it has been used to describe attacks within Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. However, within Israel, the terms “terrorism” and “terrorists” are often left out of media reports and replaced with “militants”, “gunmen” or even “activists”. This implies that attacks by groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad are somehow different and perhaps justifiable.
Referring to Ya’akov Teitel, the AP’s headline has produced a new and bizarre description in the place of the word “terrorist”:
We congratulate those media outlets that have finally discovered the term “terrorism” in the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
American-Israeli settler questioned over terror attacks (The Guardian)
Accused Jewish Terrorist Jack Teitel (Time Magazine)
Referring to Teitel, the New York Times reported that the Israeli police had “charged him in an array of killings and terrorist attacks over the last 12 years.”
Indeed, Teitel’s alleged crimes certainly warrant the use of the term “terrorism” and “terrorist.” The Israeli media, such as Ha’aretz, the Jerusalem Post and YNet News, has not shied away from referring to Teitel as a terrorist, demonstrating a consistency that is not based on ethnic or political considerations.
So why does the mainstream media continue to make this distinction? If Jews can be terrorists, shouldn’t equivalent acts of violence by Palestinians also be referred to as terrorism?