DALLAS—Last month, terrorists in Gaza fired more than 4,300 rockets at Israeli cities.
The good news: Israel’s Iron Dome system shot down 90% of the rockets, and the terrorists finally accepted a ceasefire, and the rockets are no longer flying.
The bad news: Israel has no Iron Dome to shoot down the media’s lies, and the media outlets that hate Israel and the Jewish people have certainly not accepted a ceasefire and the lies are still being fired day after day.
This is exactly why my colleagues and I launched the ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS websites on Sept. 1 of last year.
To expose the lies.
To counter the lies.
To report the truth about Israel and the Jewish people, as well as about the Arab and Muslim world, and about the Church in the Middle East.
But – wow – do we have our work cut out for us.
That’s why I accepted the invitation from the leadership of the National Religious Broadcasters to fly halfway around the world and speak at their convention here in Dallas this year.
I am here for one simple reason: to call on the 3,000-plus Christian journalists, producers, podcasters, and media executives attending the NRB convention to commit themselves to do far more to confront and combat surging anti-Semitism, and extreme media bias against Israel, against peace with the Arab world, and against Christians in the Middle East.
I have been asked to be the main speaker at the Israel Breakfast on Wednesday and this will be my main focus.
On Thursday, I will interview former U.S. Secretary of State and CIA Director Mike Pompeo at the main morning plenary session. Pompeo is certainly no stranger to the media wars being waged in and around Israel and the Middle East and I’m very much looking forward to getting his perspective.
Today, I want to share my TOP TEN LIST of the most heinous examples of extreme media bias against Israel that have occurred in just the past month.
NO. 10: CBS NEWS ACCUSES ISRAEL OF STARTING GAZA WAR
On Monday, May 10, two terrorist organizations – Hamas and Islamic Jihad – began firing rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli civilian population centers.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) quickly struck back at the terrorists’ rocket launchers, command and control bases and other military targets.
But that is not how CBS News presented the story to the American people.
On May 12, foreign correspondent Elizabeth Palmer filed a report accusing Israel of starting the war.
First, Palmer told the anchor that “this round of violence actually began weeks ago with an Israeli court order to evict some Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem, but it really caught fire over the weekend just gone by, when Israeli police clashed with Palestinian protestors around the very holy al-Aqsa Mosque. Now, of course, it has morphed into open war.”
Palmer did not explain that the Israeli court order came after decades of the Palestinian families refusing to pay rent in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, despite decades of court battles between the Jewish owners of the buildings and the Palestinian families living in them.
Nor did Palmer explain that the Israeli Supreme Court ordered the police not to evict any families just then because of rising tensions in Jerusalem, pending yet another court review of the situation.
Nor did Palmer mention that the Palestinian “protestors” had been stockpiling rocks and bricks and pieces of concrete in the “very holy al-Aqsa Mosque” and had been throwing them down onto Jews praying and worshipping at the Western Wall.
Nor did Palmer mention that it is the solemn responsibility of the Israeli police to protect freedom of worship for Muslims, Jews and Christians to be able to pray without fear of violence.
But there was more.
After essentially telling CBS News viewers that real estate disputes and police protection of Jewish worshippers are all Israel’s fault, Palmer refused to tell the accurate chronology of the actual rocket war.
“Overnight, Israeli airstrikes pounded Gaza again,” Palmer told viewers. “The target, Israeli leaders say, are Hamas and Islamic Jihad leaders and their installations. The material damage is immense. And for humans in this overcrowded enclave, there is no safe place.”
Then she said, “The counterattack on Israel by Hamas and Islamic has been relentless, too.”
That is 180 degrees opposite of what happened.
And there was at least one other noteworthy piece of extreme media bias in Palmer’s report.
Throughout the story, she referred to “armed Palestinian groups,” but never called them “terrorists” a single time, even though the U.S. State Department designated Hamas a Foreign Terrorist Organization back in 1997.
NO. 9: CNN ALSO ACCUSES ISRAEL OF STARTING GAZA WAR
On May 12, foreign correspondent Ben Wedeman filed a report on CNN blaming the Gaza war on Israel.
“Yet again, hell has been unleashed in the Gaza Strip, a small, crowded piece of land on the Mediterranean,” Wedeman began.
“Overnight Tuesday, Israel launched multiple airstrikes hitting, among other things, the Hanadi Tower, a 13-floor tower on the seafront, which is home to 40 apartments.
“The Israeli military claims the tower also contained offices affiliated with the ruling Hamas movement. The strike, just after sunset Tuesday, brought down the entire building.”
Only in the fourteenth paragraph did CNN mention that Hamas fired on Israel.
Even then, however, CNN framed the story as Hamas retaliating against Israeli aggression.
“Hamas retaliated for the strike on the Hanadi Tower, firing more than a hundred rockets toward Tel Aviv.”
And, just like CBS News, the CNN report refused to call the Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives “terrorists.”
Instead, Wedeman called them “militants.”
NO. 8: CNN DEVOTES ONLY 4 MINUTES TO GAZA WAR DURING PRIME TIME
Despite Wedeman’s report, if you were watching CNN during primetime in mid-May you would not have known at all that America’s greatest ally, Israel, was under rocket attack – or that it was fighting back.
The network did not even mention the 11-day war during primetime, between 8 to 11 p.m., for several days.
Finally, Anderson Cooper had a four-minute segment at the end of his show. According to Fox News, “out of 900 minutes of CNN's primetime programming, just 0.4% covered the Israel-Gaza conflict.”
What possessed the “most trusted name in news” to ignore an exchange of rockets that left 250 Palestinians and 13 Israelis dead and captivated the world?
NO. 7: HBO’S JOHN OLIVER ACCUSES ISRAEL OF “APARTHEID” AND COMMITTING A “F---ING WAR CRIME”
As the war unfolded in May, John Oliver – the host of his own TV show on HBO and with 5.7 million Twitter followers – blamed it all on Israel.
An Israeli comedian, Lior Schleien, made a video reviewing and deconstructing Oliver’s attack – a video that quickly went viral.
“In Israel and the Occupied Territories, Palestinians are essentially being governed by a form of apartheid,” Oliver said.
Does Oliver not know that all Arabs living in Israel have full citizenship, freedom of worship, the right to vote, the right to create their own political parties, the right to serve as Members of Knesset, the right to publish their own newspapers and books and compete for any job in Israel and live anywhere they would like in Israel?
Does Oliver not know that Israeli Arabs serve as Cabinet ministers in Israel’s government? Or that Israeli Arabs serve as Justice on the Supreme Court? Or as CEOs of major Israeli corporations?
This is not apartheid.
And either Oliver knows this and is lying about Israel, or does not know this and is attacking Israel and the Jewish people in extreme ignorance.
As he continued his televised rant against Israel, Oliver accused Israel of “committing an f----ing war crime” and said Israel was purposely “killing civilians and children.”
These are vicious lies.
It is not a war crime for Israel to engage in self-defense against terrorist attacks.
What’s more, the IDF takes special care not to kill civilians, while Hamas and Islamic Jihad actually target civilians.
In fact, Hamas and Islamic Jihad are committing double war crimes every time they fire a rocket at Israel. Why? Because it is a war crime to fire at an enemy from civilian populations centers, using civilians as human shields, which is exactly what these terrorist groups do in Gaza, firing from schools, playgrounds, mosques, and hospitals. What’s more, it is a war crime to intentionally fire at innocent civilians with the intention of killing them.
Why, then, is Oliver not blasting Hamas and Islamic Jihad for committing war crimes, but Israel?
Did Oliver know that the terrorists in May fired almost as many rockets at Israel in 11 days as they fired at Israel over the course of seven weeks in the summer of 2014? Yet, in that same time, amidst all of the IDF retaliatory strikes, 90% fewer Palestinians in Gaza (including terrorists) were killed this time than in 2014?
Why didn’t Oliver mention any of this?
I won’t go point by point through all of it, but just take a look at more of Oliver’s anti-Semitic rant. And I say it is anti-Semitic because Oliver is essentially saying that Jews have no right to defend themselves from 4,300 rockets being fired at their men, women and children.
“The U.S. government has implicitly co-signed on the brutally hardline Israel has been taking. And the US is heavily implicated here – not just be serving as Israel’s diplomatic shield at the UN, but by constantly refusing to criticize the indefensible.”
“‘Israel has a right to defend itself’ is just something all presidents end up saying out loud at some point in office.”
“At the end of the day, I would hope that a real friend would tell me when I’m being an a--hole.”
During his entire screed, Oliver never used the words “terror” or “terrorism.”
And he called Hamas members “militants,” rather than terrorists.
NO. 6: THE NEW YORK TIMES REFUSES TO CALL HAMAS A TERRORIST ORGANIZATION
On May 15, The New York Times published a story that just astonished me.
The headline read: After Years of Quiet, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict Exploded. Why Now?
You might be hoping you would get a thoughtful, balanced, unbiased, well-reported story providing much-needed context for the eruption of violence.
But you would be wrong.
Almost immediately, this line jumped out at me: “The crisis came as….Hamas – which Israel views as a terrorist group — was seeking to expand its role within the Palestinian movement; and as a new generation of Palestinians was asserting its own values and goals.”
Rewind that a moment.
Hamas, “which Israel views as a terrorist group”?
Yes, you read that right.
Why does The New York Times feel the need to qualify that Israel “views” Hamas as a terrorist group, rather than Hamas is a terrorist group?
The Hamas charter calls for the “annihilation” of Israel.
Not only the U.S. State Department, but also the European Union, has designated Hamas a terrorist organization. The Organization of American States – comprised of 35 Central and South American countries – has designated Hamas a terrorist organization.
How hard would it be for The New York Times to simply report these widely known facts, rather than make it seem like Israel alone has a problem with Hamas, and no one else does?
NO. 5: THE WASHINGTON POST BLAMES ISRAEL FOR USING THE IRON DOME SYSTEM
The headline of this Washington Post editorial says it all: Israel’s Iron Dome defense system protects Israeli lives. It also perpetuates the Israel-Gaza conflict.
In other words, Israel is hiding behind the U.S.-funded anti-rocket defense system – which stopped about 90% of the missiles fired at it – rather than pursue a resolution to the ongoing conflict with Gaza.
The D.C.-based paper wrote that the effectiveness of the Iron Dome “leaves little incentive for a political solution.”
“The unintended consequences of this protective system complicate the story – by reducing the expected costs of bombing Gaza, Iron Dome allows Israel to act with less concern for civilian casualties, and gives Israel less incentive to find a political solution to its conflict with Gaza.”
“By intercepting almost all incoming rockets, Iron Dome released the Israeli leadership from political pressure to resolve the Gaza-Israel conflict, except from promoting short-term steps to improve the economy in Gaza.”
The basic premise here is that Israel is at fault for protecting its citizens and that Israel alone has the ability and sole responsibility to stop perpetuating the attacks. This is false.
There are two parties (sometimes more) involved. Why is it incumbent upon Israel to prevent these kinds of attacks? What about Hamas? Maybe it should be Hamas that takes care to protect its citizens by not launching rockets in the first place.
NO. 4: THE WASHINGTON POST BLAMES DONALD TRUMP FOR MAKING THE MIDDLE EAST MORE DANGEROUS
More from the Post. This time, columnist Max Boot, decried the historic Abraham Accords for failing to bring peace to the “blood-soaked” region.
“The Abraham Accords were nice, but they did nothing to resolve underlying conflicts in Yemen, Syria, Libya – or the West Bank and the Gaza Strip,” he wrote – a fact made clear by the clashes between Israelis and Palestinians, he added.
He generously states that “nothing justifies the indiscriminate rocketing of civilians” and even calls it a war crime and says Israel has a right to strike back.
But he blames Trump for making things worse in the region. Boot cites Trump’s lack of objections to Israeli settlement expansion to “unwisely” recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and cutting financial aid to the Palestinians.
“Even those of us who are supporters of Israel must admit that the proximate cause of the current flare-up is Israel’s continuing land grab in East Jerusalem and the West Bank — something that Trump did much to encourage with his uncritical and unwavering support for his fellow right-wing populist, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu,” he writes.
No, those of us who are supporters of Israel have to admit no such thing. A real estate dispute that has been litigated in Israeli courts for decades is not an excuse nor a justification to fire 4,300 rockets at a country.
Not now. Not ever.
And it is as bizarre, as it is ridiculous, to suggest that it is.
As we have reported, the historic peace agreement between Israel and two Gulf states – the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain and later two more Muslim nations – survived this first major test. The leaders of at least three of these nations congratulated the new Israeli government last week, proving that they did not blame Israel for the conflict and were more than willing to continue cooperating and surging ahead in business deals, tourism and other partnerships.
NO. 3: NEW YORK TIMES’ COLUMNIST SAYS CONFLICT WITH THE PALESTINIANS IS ISRAEL’S FAULT AND THAT ISRAEL SHOULD REPENT
Peter Beinart says the conflict is Israel’s fault and now it is time for all Israelis to repent.
Israel's history, Beinart contends, has been one of expelling Palestinians.
"The Nakba, or 'catastrophe' in Arabic, need not refer only to the more than 700,000 Palestinians who were expelled or fled in terror during Israel’s founding," he writes.
"More than seven decades ago, Palestinians were expelled to create a Jewish state. Now they are being expelled to make Jerusalem a Jewish city," he writes referring to the Sheikh Jarrah property dispute.
Because of this he calls on Israelis to repent: “There is a Hebrew word for the behavior of that former soldier: 'teshuva.' It is generally translated as 'repentance.' Ironically enough, however, its literal definition is 'return.'”
What the writer fails to note is that Israel was built on the ashes of the Holocaust, not on the expulsion of Palestinians. That Jewish refugees and survivors from Europe had no other country to which to escape.
And, it was not their intention to displace the people who lived in the land, or to go to war against formidable armies from neighboring countries after the United Nations partition plan was rejected by Palestinians and surrounding Arab nations.
NO. 2: BBC, CNN, AP REPORTERS DISMISSED DURING CONFLICT FOR ANTI-SEMITIC, ANTI-ISRAEL POSTS
The Israel-Gaza conflict brought to the surface anti-Israel and anti-Semitic statements from supposedly objective reporters whose bias was eventually exposed through their own social media posts.
Let’s start with Tala Halawa, a “Palestine Specialist” at BBC Monitoring, who has a sordid string of social media posts from before she was even hired.
Writing in The Spectator, Stephen Daisley noted: “First we learn that this BBC journalist proclaimed during the 2014 Israel-Gaza war that ‘Israel is more Nazi than Hitler’ and that ‘Hitler was right.’ Then we encounter her assertion that ‘ur media is controlled by ur zionist government’ and her sharing on Facebook the same image that saw MP Naz Shah suspended from the Labour Party in 2016, an image that advocates the ‘transportation’ of Israel to the United States to end ‘foreign interference’ in the Middle East.”
Daisley continues: “Next up is a graphic Halawa tweeted showing a child being burned on a menorah, the candelabrum used in Jewish religious rituals, in an apparent reference to the 2014 torture murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir by three Israelis. We might not need to hear any more by this point, but there is more, nonetheless. Halawa, who is based in the Palestinian-run city of Ramallah, has declared that ‘Zionists can't get enough of our blood’ and that ‘they’re are crying the holocaust every single moment but they're practicing it every single moment as well.”
“These tweets predate the individual’s employment with the BBC, but we are nevertheless taking this very seriously and are investigating,” a BBC spokesperson told The Daily Mail.
During her employment, however, Halawa produced a video on model Bella Hadid at a pro-Palestinian rally chanting, “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” which Israel said was tantamount to demanding that Jews be thrown in to the sea. She said this charge was “very serious.”
“While Israel has labeled the chant anti-Semitic, this slogan has been used by Palestinian activists from around the world…” to refer to the former boundaries of Palestine. Hadid insisted – Halawa said – she was not advocating harm to any people.
Honest Reporting, which monitors media coverage of Israel, duly notes that: “Halawa directly influences and creates news content watched by many millions around the world. In what world can someone like this work for a professional news outlet?”
Then there is The Associated Press. Emily Wilder, 22, was fired two weeks after she was hired when her Twitter feed turned up several retweets that were sympathetic to Palestinians during the current Gaza conflict, including video of demonstrators chanting, “Free, free Palestine!”
She also wrote: “Objectivity feels fickle when the basic terms we use to report news implicitly take a claim. Using ‘Israel’ but never ‘Palestine,’ or ‘war’ but not ‘siege and occupation’ are political choices – yet media make those exact choices all the time without being flagged as biased.”
Not to be left out, CNN was forced to fire a freelancer who tweeted, “The world today needs a Hitler.”
CNN dismissed Adeel Raja while also claiming he “has never been a CNN employee,” according to a CNN spokesman. “As a freelancer, his reporting contributed to some news gathering efforts from Islamabad. However, in light of these abhorrent statements, he will not be working with CNN again in any capacity.”
After he was fired, Raja doubled down on his tweet: “Glad a single tweet contributed to the #Palestine cause and brought it to limelight with me loosing [sic] my job and the West's claim of Freedom of expression and human rights!”
Raja has shared admiration for Hitler in the past, posting in 2014 that he was rooting for a German team because “Hitler was a German, and he did good with those jews!”
NO. 1: NEWSWEEK, BBC, OTHERS REPORT ISRAELI CAR RAMMING AGAINST PALESTINIANS – FAIL TO MENTION ACCIDENT WAS CAUSED AFTER DRIVER WAS STONED
The headline was chilling: “Israeli Driver Rams Into Palestinian Protesters As Jerusalem Clashes Escalate.”
“Video posted on social media showed an Israeli driver rammed his vehicle into Palestinians near the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Monday,” the article stated.
After a headline and an opening paragraph like these, every reader would assume that the Israeli driver committed a crime.
Here's another headline, with capitalized letters for emphasis apparently: Israeli driver RAMS Palestinian after car is reportedly pelted with stones in East Jerusalem.
Here was a video caption for a senior BBC producer, Alaa Daraghme: “An Israeli settler ramming a Palestinian man near the Lions Gate.”
“Settler” is used here in a disparaging way to dehumanize a religious Jew who may or may not have been technically a “settler.”
Nevertheless, the setup of the story is entirely false, and the segmented video purposely begins with the car accident, conveniently omitting the preceding attacks on the moving vehicle.
Two paragraphs down the full story emerges in Newsweek: “According to a Times of Israel reporter, the motorist drove into a Palestinian pedestrian after stones were apparently thrown at his vehicle near the Lions’ Gate.”
“Video footage shows the vehicle got stuck after ramming into a person and hitting a barrier. Pictures of the driver showed he was bleeding following the collision. The condition of the person struck by his vehicle was not immediately clear.”
Actually, the driver and occupants were stoned, lost control of the vehicle, hit a pedestrian and then were nearly lynched by an angry mob – until a nearby police officer was able to divert the attack.
The irresponsible, one-sided reporting came at a time when incitement and tensions were at their height during early May in Jerusalem. In fact, the stoning/car accident came following days of violence at al-Aqsa Mosque compound and hours before the onset of rockets.
Joel C. Rosenberg is the editor-in-chief of ALL ISRAEL NEWS and ALL ARAB NEWS and the President and CEO of Near East Media. A New York Times best-selling author, Middle East analyst, and Evangelical leader, he lives in Jerusalem with his wife and sons.