Shira Rubin: Dishonest Reporting on Israel
Shira Rubin, a journalist based in Jerusalem, wrote an article that was published yesterday (October 7) in USA Today, called: Israeli forces, Palestinians clash amid escalating violence in West Bank. It was the only article I could find dealing with this topic on USA Today when I looked at the site late this morning. There was a short video showing scenes of the clashes and a slide presentation of some very photogenic Arabs throwing rocks. Interesting, amid the photos of violence, there were also two images of Israeli army medics treating injured Arabs at the scene. Since Rubin’s piece was the only written description of the situation when I viewed the site, and since I found her use of language disturbing, I decided to parse the piece in some detail.
First of all, she announced that she is “Reporting from Bethlehem”. While Jerusalem, where she says she is based, and Bethlehem are very close together, I wonder if she actually went to Bethlehem to collect the information for this piece. There is no way to know.
Let’s look at what she wrote:
Palestinians and Israeli soldiers clashed across the West Bank as the Israeli military demolished the homes of two alleged Palestinian militants.
Why are they “alleged” and why are they “militants”? These two terrorists perpetrated terror attacks. Both were killed at the scene of the crime. Is she is trying to say that (1) they just happened to be at the scene and (2) even if they were there on purpose, they were not attacking innocent civilians but recognized combat targets?
Regarding the first – it is hard to claim that the two terrorists were “just there” and not there to do harm to people. The synagogue terrorists entered a place of prayer and hacked people to death with axes and knives. They were also armed with guns and used the weapon to shoot and kill the police officer who came to help the worshipers. The construction tractor driver in the second incident drove over pedestrians before ramming into a bus. If his vehicle was out of control and he did not intend to hurt people, we would expect him to have been waving furiously out his window warning people in Hebrew to move out of the way. But apparently he did not.
Regarding the use of the word, militants — I cannot imagine that Rubin thinks men at morning prayer or pedestrians and bus passengers are legitimate military targets.
On her, “About Me” page on her website, Rubin wrote:
Shira has an obsession with words and the evolution of language as cultural indicators, and has a passion for living on the road.
(As of 25 December 2016, the website has apparently been taken down, but I have just saved a screenshot of this sentence from a google search if anyone wants to challenge that she said this about herself.)
If she really has an obsession with words, then I would expect her to use them accurately. The best comparison I found for the words, terrorist and militant, states the following:
The word terrorist is the most hated word in the world and brings to mind images of a person wearing a mask, firing indiscriminately, killing innocent people. Though the world does not agree upon a universally acceptable definition of terrorism, at least everyone (in the wake of 9/11 in the US and 26/11 in India) today agrees that any act of violence leading to destruction of property and loss of innocent lives is an act of terrorism and the person indulging in such act or actively helping a person to perform the act is a terrorist. Even those who are charged with supplying money and material for such heinous crimes against humanity are termed as terrorists.
The word militant refers to a man in combat mode, to a soldier in action. However, the word has come to mean a person who is a member of an organization, and is trying to achieve the objectives of the organization, mostly political. A militant brings to mind images of a person armed with ammunition and ready to take part in a combat.
If this is so, can Rubin justify her use of the word militant in this article?
Dozens of Palestinians were injured in the latest clashes as Israeli soldiers used live ammunition, stun grenades and tear gas to disperse a crowd of about 500 Palestinians who threw stones and shouted “Allahu Akbar!” (God is great), according to the Palestinian Red Crescent.
Ah, this is all they are doing? Throwing stones and shouting “Allahu Akbar!”? What about the burning tires and barricades they put up in the streets?
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) October 4, 2015
— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) October 6, 2015
I would not want to be in the sights of that rock projectile. It looks pretty lethal to me.
What about the other terror incidents of yesterday? For example, this one (and the stabblings in the Old City, Tel Aviv, Afula, Petach Tikva, Kiryat Gat and more):
— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) October 7, 2015
These require no mention by Rubin? These have nothing to do with what happened yesterday in Judea and Samaria? Sorry – Rubin calls them The West Bank, as if such a geographic entity existed throughout all of history before Jordan occupied that land between 1948 and 1967.
Of course, there is no need to mention such events such as this one of an Israeli soldier tending to an Arab who was hurt by his fellow Arabs who were trying to hurt the soldier as this does not fit the general tone of Rubin’s apparent thesis:
ONLY IN ISRAEL – SHARE: Palestinian man being treated by Israeli forces after being stoned by Arabs in the West Bank pic.twitter.com/IRXuY7nZPP
— Israel News Feed (@IsraelHatzolah) October 7, 2015
The protests came as the Israeli military demolished two East Jerusalem homes that the Israeli government said belonged to families of two militants — one who killed five Israelis at a Jerusalem synagogue last year, and the other who bulldozed an Israeli man to death in August. Both Palestinians were shot and killed during the attacks.
Here we go again – calling terrorists militants and writing that the Israeli government “said” the houses belonged to them. By using the word, “said”, it seems to bring into question whether or not there is truth to it. Is she saying that these houses did not belong to the families of the terrorists? Is she trying to subtly imply that maybe these two were not even guilty?
That move prompted a sharp response from the militant’s brother. “If (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin) Netanyahu thinks that this will create deterrence, then he is wrong. This will not deter anybody,” Odai Hijazi told the AP. Hijazi’s brother, Motaz, shot and seriously wounded Glick, a Jewish nationalist –
And here she refers to the terrorist who tried to kill Glick, describing Glick as a Jewish nationalist as if being a Jewish nationalist is a bad thing to be. I don’t even know what she means by that term. At least in this case, we have an admission of guilt by the attempted assassin’s brother. Is that why the report was not circumspect about HIS terrorist act and she could not refer to him as an “alleged” whatever, as she did regarding the others?
Yusef, a 14-year-old Palestinian from Bethlehem who refused to give his full name out of fear of retribution by Israeli soldiers said an uprising, or intifada, was already underway. When asked about the dangers of demonstrating — especially in light of a new policy that allows Israeli soldiers to use live ammunition against protesters —
He refused to give his full name out of fear of retribution by Israeli soldiers? What? Since when do Israeli soldiers harm people who just talk? Ah. . . . by the end of the paragraph we find out the real reason:
Yusef said he hoped to become a martyr.
And he did not want to be followed by the Israeli intelligence in the fear that the IDF might foil his plans to kill Jews. Now THAT is a good reason for not wanting to be identifiable. It seems Rubin might even be wishing him well in his dream to be a shahid (martyr). Good for you, Yusef! Happy trails to you.
The latest rash of violence began during a long Jewish holiday weekend, when an Israeli couple were ambushed and shot dead at point-blank range in their car with their four children in the backseat. The children were not harmed.
On Saturday, a Palestinian stabbed two Israelis to death and wounded two others, including a toddler, in the Old City of Jerusalem. The move spurred the Israeli government take the unprecedented step of barring Palestinians who do not live, work or study there from entering the Old City.
Well, at least she finally makes note of what has been happening. (I might be wrong, but I think she should have written that the Israeli couple WAS ambushed, since couple is singular even though it is comprised of two people. Something like “herd” or “flock” you know.) However, she makes no note of what was known by the time she wrote this piece, it was common knowledge that the 4 kids in the back seat of the car were not killed, not because the terrorists took pity and spared their lives, but because one of them was hurt by friendly fire and they had to skedaddle the hell out of there! It is clear that small children are targets as well as adults because the terrorist Rubin mentioned in her next paragraph deliberately stabbed a mother and father, each pushing a stroller in front of them.
Tensions have been rising in the region in recent weeks, mainly around the religious site known to Jews as Temple Mount and to Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary, home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. The outer wall of the temple compound is the Jewish holy site known as the Western Wall.
She might have balanced this out by mentioning that the Western Wall is the wall of the destroyed Biblical era Temples and that for Jews it is not merely a religious site but THE MOST IMPORTANT religious site. But, God forbid, she balance things out!
The prospect that Israel is trying to expand the Jewish presence at the hilltop compound has led to ongoing clashes, including Palestinians barricading themselves inside the mosque and throwing stones and firebombs at Israeli forces.
In addition to the fact that Jews have been talking about religious freedom for Jews and Christians on the Mount for years, there has been no Israeli government statement or action that could fuel the rumour that Israel “is trying to expand” Jewish presence there. In fact, in view of the recent hostilities on the Mount, Netanyahu has openly stated his desire to maintain the status quo. It is also not clear how barricading oneself inside the mosque and throwing stones and firebombs at the Israeli army, an act which seriously threatens the building itself, respects the holiness it is claimed to have when the lives of those inside would not have been in danger with or without barricading themselves inside had they just not thrown rocks and firebombs.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas said Tuesday that he does not want security escalations. “All our instructions to our (security) agencies, our factions and our youth have been that we do not want escalation,” Abbas said.
She quotes Abbas without making any reference to the fact that he fell just short of cancelling the Oslo Accords outright in his UN speech that preceded the outbreak of this wave of violence by a few days. She does not mention how “Palestinian” Arab youth took this as a message to go out there and fight the Israelis, a euphemism for killing Jews. She does not report on Abbas’ silence in the wake of the murderous terror attacks on Jews. She only pipes up with his incongruous and implausible statement that he doesn’t want to escalate the conflict.
At the same time, we will protect ourselves,” he added.
The fact that she lets this sentence be the closing line of her article speaks volumes for her attitude. If Abbas really wanted to protect the people whose interests he purports to represent, there are many things he could have done over the time of his presidency. He did nothing but siphon money off into his pocket and foil any possibility for a reasonable interim agreement that would have allowed the “Palestinian” Arabs time to get their act together and start building a viable country.
In exploring who Shira Rubin is, I found an article entitled: Israel closes TV station on Palestinian identity. It reports on the fact that Israel ordered a 6-month closure of a new PA-funded station, which aimed to feature investigative documentaries. At first I thought the article was about a PA television station, but it became clear that it is about an Israeli Arab station. In the article, she makes it seem that Israel closed the station forever and not just for 6 months. She never asked: why 6 months? What is supposed to happen during those 6 months?
Buried in the verbiage, we can find the following gem:
“The success of the [Joint List] in the last Israeli elections probably encouraged the Palestinian leadership, the PLO, to see the viability of the political work among Arabs inside Israel,” said Ghassan Khatib, the former director of the Palestinian Authority Government Media Centre.
Might that not be the reason for the closure? I cannot see a country being willing to have a foreign entity broadcast to its citizens for the purpose of conducting “political work” that just might possibly act against the interests of the country. But maybe it’s just me. Silly me.
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Feature Image Credit: http://www.tabletmag.com/wp-content/files_mf/rubin_012314_820px.jpg