HonestReporting has long campaigned for the international media to call terrorism exactly what it is instead of using judgment-neutral terminology, such as “militants”,”extremists”, “fighters” or “gunmen.”
Yaakov “Jack” Teitel, a US-born Israeli resident of the West Bank was sentenced on Tuesday to two consecutive life terms in prison for murdering a Palestinian taxi driver in Jerusalem and a Palestinian shepherd near Hebron. He was also sentenced for other attacks including against a left-wing Israeli professor and messianic Jews. He also attacked a police station during a gay pride parade. These are only a few of Teitel’s terrorist and criminal activities.
The Israeli media, including the JPost, YNet, and Times of Israel had no problem referring to him as a “Jewish terrorist” showing an impressive consistency in the use of language. They recognized that Teitel’s hate-filled ideologically and politically motivated ideology fits the definition of terrorism. This demonstrates that the use of the word “terrorism” or “terrorist” or “terror” does not have to be a loaded term applied only to Palestinians murdering Jews for religious or political motivations.
It’s just that the example of Teitel is, thankfully, extremely rare and certainly in contrast to the Palestinian side.
So having avoided referring to Palestinian terrorists as just that, how did the international media cover the story?
This from Sky News:
The Times of London also followed suit:
But where is the consistency?
If the media is prepared to acknowledge the Israeli media’s usage of the term when applied to a Jewish terrorist, why then, are they still not prepared to apply it to Palestinian terrorists?
When it comes to consistency, it is difficult to match AFP’s long-standing aversion to labeling Palestinian terrorists as anything other than “militants” or “activists.” Bizarrely, AFP, in its coverage, refers to Teitel as a “religious activist.”
While the term “activist” is consistent with AFP’s approach, we have to ask if the wire service ever refers to religiously motivated Muslim terrorists as “religious activists” or is this term only reserved for Jews?
At least the Associated Press demonstrated consistency when it referred to Teitel as a “radical” and “extremist.”
To reiterate – the description of Yaakov Teitel as a “terrorist” is not the issue. What is disturbing, however, is the sudden acceptance of the term by some media as a legitimate reference to an Israeli Jew while avoiding it when referring to Palestinians or other Arabs involved in the murder of Jews. Isn’t it time for some consistency when it comes to the “T-word?”
Image: CC BY-SA HonestReporting.com, flickr/ryanbrunsvold, flickr/schoffer.