Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Truth is Stabbled Multiple Times

Late on Wednesday, the Reuters "news" service, citing unidentified "witnesses," reported that a Palestinian boy had been stabbed multiple times by Israeli "settlers" on the West Bank. The report was obediently picked up by the New York Times and plastered throughout the world.

Reuters said "the 12-year-old was ambushed by several settlers near his home at Qaryot village outside the Palestinian-ruled city of Nablus. He was stabbed 11 times, medics said." Reuters went on with this helpful editorial commentary: "Palestinians who seek statehood in the West Bank and Gaza Strip have complained of frequent harrassment and attacks by settlers during 4-1/2 years of fighting."

Thank you, Reuters! Fine job. Really good job of.... oh, wait a second. Here we have a later story from Ha'aretz, saying as follows: "senior Palestinian figures told Israel Defense Forces figures the boy was likely murdered within the context of a clan feud." One of my fellow contributors to Israpundit has a good take on what happened.

OK. Let's calm down and watch this incident and see how it plays out. If indeed the kid was murdered as part of a clan feud, as would appear to be the case, this needs to be followed up. All too often Reuters and other media outlets have allowed themselves to become an organ of Palestinian propaganda, quoting Palestinian "witnesses" spinning fairy tales. Time to see some accountability. The time for excuses and apologies is past. Time for some tangible consequences for Reuters.

If indeed Reuters was an accomplice in a blood libel, it seems to me that Israelis have a right to ask their government what is being done to call Reuters to account -- just as Americans would be upset if there were "journalists" in Iraq, accredited to the US millitary, functioning as propagandists for terrorists and endangering the lives of our troops.

UPDATE: Palestinian police have arrested a Palestinian suspect in this murder. See Honestreporting's thorough article on this scandal. This disgraceful episode highlights the deep-rooted bias, and lack of professionalism, that is endemic among the foreign press corps in Israel.

A reader emails a cogent observation on the modus operandi involved here, and the Times' shockingly credulous handling of a wire story that was dubious on its face:

"What I cannot understand is Greg Myre's low radar for nonsense. I mean to say, eleven stab wounds? this had all the hallmarks of Arab clan revenge murder. This is not to say that there have not been Israeli settlers who have shot Arabs. Only that Myre was way out of line not to ask more questions before rushing into print. After all, I do not know of any cases of Israelis stabbing Arabs to deats. But there have been many, many cases of Arabs stabbing both Arabs and Jews to death."

Time is overdue for readers to send a message to their local newspapers: Dump Reuters!

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