Newsweek: Israelis Ram Palestinians With Cars

Since September 2015, Israelis have been the victims of 2,732 Palestinian terror attacks, including 51 car rammings.

Astonishingly, Newsweek’s Jack Moore attempted to justify this wave of terror in his latest article by repeating the false claim that Israelis do it too.

Quoting Yousef Munayyer of  “The U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights,” Jack Moore raises the following claim:

This is a question of utility and opportunity and tactics more than it is about ideologies. Israeli settlers have used their cars to run over Palestinian civilians in the West Bank. It’s a tactic that can be used by lots of different people.

The problem with this article is not that Moore quoted an untrue statement from a biased source who has an anti-Israel agenda, but rather that he did so without providing any balance, context or research, all while hiding Munayyer’s agenda from Newsweek readers.

In effect, Moore made Munayyer’s personal opinion appear to be an unbiased, expert analysis. This is a disservice to news readers, and breaches a number of journalistic ethics. We’ll come back to this below.

Is it true?

Are Israelis really attacking Palestinian civilians by running them over with cars?

No. 

The closest example we could find was one incident in 2010 that was decidedly not an Israeli attack:

David Beri and his son were under attack by Palestinians who were throwing rocks at Beri’s car. Out of fear for his life and the life of his son, Beri attempted to drive out of the attack zone, accidentally hitting some of the attackers who were blocking the only possible escape route. The attackers sustained minor injuries and received immediate medical attention.

HonestReporting described how this event involved a degree of collusion by the media, who had coordinated with the attackers to set up cameras in advance.

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Other than the above incident, our research uncovered a small number of traffic accidents involving Israeli and Palestinian vehicles. We found several examples of Arabic media claiming that traffic accidents were actually intentional attacks, however Israeli courts determined that this was not the case. HonestReporting was unable to find any event that could reasonably be considered an Israeli vehicular “attack.” This lies in stark contrast to the 51 vehicular attacks on Israelis, which were widely praised in Palestinian society as acts of “resistance” or “martyrdom.”

Moore includes none of this context in his article nor does he quote any opposing voice to provide balance against Munayyer’s misleading, and essentially untrue, statements.

Both context and balance are critical professional requirements to which all journalists must adhere.

Not ideological?

Moore failed to challenge Munayyer’s claim that Palestinian attacks are not motivated by ideology, despite a wealth of Palestinian statements to the contrary.

For example, last week a Palestinian terrorist rammed a large truck into a group of soldiers who were on an educational tour, killing four. The DFLP (an affiliate of the PFLP, a Palestinian terror organizationpraised the attack as being “one of the hoists of the Palestinian national struggle,” while Palestinian media praised the attacker as a “martyr.” It is unclear how this could be anything other than ideology.

Below is a video of last week’s truck ramming terror attack. If you haven’t seen it yet, be aware that it is rather graphic.

Undisclosed Agenda

Finally, Moore describes Munayyer only as the “executive director” of a “Washington D.C.-based think tank,” while his headline puts Munayyer in the category of an “expert,” indicating a certain credibility and impartiality.

In fact Munayyer is a fierce anti-Israel activist with a clear political agenda: he calls Israel’s very existence the “colonization of Palestine,” and refers to Israel as an “apartheid” state, along with a laundry list of other similar claims.

Munayyer’s political agenda does not mean that a journalist may not use him as a source, but the ethical requirement of transparency means that a journalist must disclose a source’s bias or agenda.

What background did Moore include in order to alert his readers to Munayyer’s anti-Israel agenda?

Nothing.

Yousef Munayyer creates a false equivalency between terrorists and victims, and Newsweek’s Jack Moore provides this anti-Israel activist with greater credibility and legitimacy than he would ever have achieved on his own.

Share your considered comments with Newsweek by clicking to Newsweek’s contact page. Select the topic “corrections” and reference the article by headline or link. If you prefer, you may contact Newsweek via Twitter or Facebook.

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