Synagogue Desecrations

Mere hours after Israel completed its historic withdrawal from Gaza on Sunday (Sept. 11), Palestinian mobs descended on former Jewish settlements, desecrating their synagogues by burning them to the ground and looting anything left.While observers the world over were saddened and outraged, some media outlets tried to justify the sacrilege, or even blame it on Israel:

? The BBC TV report by Orla Guerin justified the arson mobs in this manner:

Palestinians came streaming to the settlements that caused them so much pain, to sightsee and to loot. Israel stole thirty-eight years from them; today, many were ready to take back anything they could.

This is a clear example of BBC bias ? Guerin states as ‘fact’ that Palestinians in Gaza had their lives somehow ‘stolen’ by Israeli since 1967, a claim the BBC uses to rationalize the Palestinian mob violence.

Comments to BBC News: click here

? A Knight Ridder story, euphemistically entitled ‘Palestinians besiege buildings hours after Israelis leave Gaza’, included this ‘explanatory’ quote at the top of the article:

“I want to destroy everything here as they did the Al Aqsa mosque,” said Mahmoud Malahi… “It’s a symbol of occupation. Destroying it is a symbol of Islam.”

Israel is well-known to protect Muslim places of worship under its control. The very site mentioned ? the Al Aqsa mosque ? is an outstanding example of this policy, for it has never been touched by Israel, and remains in perfect shape and in active use atop the Temple Mount [view picture]. In contradistinction to the status of Jerusalem under Muslim rule, Israel guarantees freedom of religion and makes holy places accessible to peoples of all faiths.

Why did the Knight Ridder reporter and editor allow this libelous statement to appear unchallenged?

The Philadelphia Inquirer printed the story, but deleted the reference to the Al Aqsa mosque.

If your local paper is a Knight Ridder affiliate, check to ensure the erroneous statement did not appear; if it did, write a letter to the editor, noting the error and the larger issue of Israeli vs. Palestinian treatment of other faiths’ holy places.

** UPDATE 9/15: Knight Ridder has issued a ‘clarification’ and asked its papers to run a formal correction. The KR clarification:

A Sept. 12 story on the Gaza Strip included a quote from a Palestinian demonstrator that wrongly equated the destruction of a former synagogue at Netzarim in the Gaza Strip to Israeli actions regarding the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem. The story should have clarified that the Israelis have not destroyed or vandalized the mosque.

? The Philadelphia Inquirer described the synagogue desecrations as ‘protest fires’.

Comments to Philadelphia Inquirer:

? The Scotsman effectively blamed Israel for the desecrations before they even occurred:

Any hopes of a better and more peaceful era for the region were dampened by sharp disputes between Israel and the Palestinians over control of border crossings, and the Israeli cabinet’s decision to leave intact 19 buildings that housed synagogues in the vacated settlements.

A decision to leave synagogues in place ‘dampened any hopes for a more peaceful era’? One would think the desecrations did that, not the (hopeful) act of leaving the synagogues intact.

Comments to The Scotsman: click here


Now that Israel has completely left Gaza, and the onus of living in peace falls on the Palestinian leadership, PA leaders are claiming to journalists that Gaza is ‘still occupied’ ? from Monday’s New York Times:

“Any suggestion coming from Israel that the status of Gaza will change is ludicrous,” said Nasser al-Kidwa, the Palestinian foreign minister. “They are controlling the borders, the air, the water, and we need approval for the crossing points and everything else. So Gaza still remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory.”

In a JCPA Brief, Dore Gold thoroughly debunks this claim, with reference to the key international legal precedents. See also scholar Ruth Lapidoth’s opinion on the matter.

Thank you for your ongoing involvement in the battle against media bias.


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9/11 through Israeli eyes

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