Where's The Balanced Reporting?
henever, over the years,
Israel has been forced to
take military action
against Palestinians, the
news stories and headlines are all too
predictable: "Israel Clashes With
Palestinians, Kills Four, Including 4-
Time after time, these headlines,
along with TV film of "rock throwing
children," have portrayed Israel as a bru-
tal, uncaring, aggressive military power.
Complaints of distortion — not
explaining the unfortunate deaths in
context — have fallen on deaf ears.
And predictably, the U.S. State
Department spokespersons would
chime in with criticism of Israel for its
"unbalanced" response to Palestinian
Now comes the war in Iraq — and
consider how the news media cover
the deaths of civilians and children, if
they are mentioned at all.
There are no headlines reporting,
"U.S. Kills 500 Iraqi, Including Many
Two incidents in Iraq are particular-
ly instructive of the media's double
standard when Israel is involved.
The New Republic reports on one at a
roadblock where U.S. soldiers tried to
Bed Falbaum is an author, playwright
and Farmington Hills public relations
executive. He's a former political reporter
who teaches journalism part-time at
Wayne State University in Detroit.
wave down a moving van. The driver
would not stop, even after warning shots
were fired. The soldiers shot at the van,
which stopped and seven dead women
and children were discovered inside.
As the magazine noted, the soldiers
were not from the Israel Defense Forces
(IDF) but were Americans, and the
dead were not Palestinians but Iraqis.
The point is, of course, had this
happened in Israel, the media —the
world media — would have con-
demned the action.
Or consider the house-to-house bat-
tle in Karbala where U.S. soldiers, try-
ing to root out 700 Fedayeen Saddam
who were digging in, killed several
boys about 7-8 years old.
Here is how Time magazine reported
the incident: "The kids ... had no
place there. Bravo Company wasted
them. Had to. Right when the fire-
fight was at its hottest ..."
Notice the cruel, insensitive and
almost cavalier language and the mag-
azine's unusual editorial conclusion
that the U.S. military "had to."
The magazine quoted Lt. Col. Chris
Holden, stating: "We shot and killed
children. But I accept responsibility for
that. That's the kind of fight it was."
Can anyone imagine the media writ-
ing: "The Israeli forces shot children.
Had to ..." and then, almost sympa-
thetically quoting the commander offi-
cer in charge.
In the same article of the battle in
Karbala, the magazine also reports that
the soldiers watched two boys
lic relations battle.
approaching a rocket-pro-
There are, of course, many
pelled grenade on the ground,
reasons why American jour-
warning them not to pick it
nalists are not as "tough" on
up ... with "M-4s, M-16s and
the U.S. military as they are
heavier squad automatic
on the IDF.
weapons and Bravo 240s ...
These include: Being closer
leveled at them."
to the military action, they
"The moment he (one boy)
understand better the reasons
touched it, you could see a
for the casualties; they may not
wall of lead slam into those
want to appear unpatriotic in
kids," said Staff Sgt. James
their reporting; they are
Dyer. "It dropped the first kid
embedded with the military,
immediately. The second one was hit a meaning they have to make compro-
second later — you could see him
mises in their reporting.
tumble as he was running."
Given the experience in Iraq, one
hopes that the media will report mili-
tary actions in Israel that kill civilians
and children with a bit more under-
No one editorialized on these events;
standing and sophistication.
the State Department was silent. War
The State Department jumped
through intellectual hoops trying to
But war is hell in Israel as well. The
explain the distinction between the
stories of unfortunate Palestinians
U.S. targeting Taliban leaders in
casualties are indeed the regrettable
Afghanistan and Israel's identical
consequences of war but no one takes
strategies against terrorist hotbeds in
notice of that when Israel is involved.
No one quotes IDF soldiers sympa-
The State Department's Socratic
thetically explaining why they needed
efforts were not very successful.
to take deadly military action against
Given the U.S. experience in Iraq,
civilians, including children.
one hopes that the State Department
No one explains how civilians —
and the media will be less critical of
rock-throwing children — are used as
Israel when it's involved in military
shields for arms-bearing assailants
clashes_ that conclude with casualties of
children — casualties which cannot
. No one questions the Palestinians on but help sear one's heart.
the cynical strategy of using children as
Indeed, one can hope. But one
shields in their efforts to win the pub-
should not bet on it. LI
something to own, but as biblically
stated, "to go in and possess the land"
— because without physically inhabit-
ing the land of Israel, others might
come in and possess that which we
cast aside as just another possession.
The Palestinian leadership makes no
secret of their inciteful wish to make
Jerusalem "their" capital.
Previous attempts by the United
Nations to equate Zionism with
racism were tantamount to anyone
who would try to equate Nazism with
democracy and freedom.
We are not perceived by our neigh-
bors or the world now as the weaker
newborn nation we once were, as
David was perceived when he went up
against the giant Goliath. Do we have
to be in a - weak position, as was
David, before we can begin to loudly
proclaim our dreams and aspirations?
It seems that whenever history has it
that we forget and cast them aside,
our enemies act against us, as
been known by all peoples of
they continue to do now,
all nations throughout history
which serves to remind us.
as the most holy and sacred
Our dream is not to return
place of the Jewish people.
unto Mecca, but to return
Our people need not apolo-
unto Zion, and has remained
gize for this, but should have
silent as we opted to just live
long ago received an apology
in peace — yet we do not live
from those who twice
in peace, we have no love from
destroyed the Holy Temple of
the Jewish people and now
the world, and we continue to
have very little if any tolerance
from those who wrongfully
from our neighbors.
Commentary continue to occupy its holy
The news media speak
almost daily about "occupied
We must proclaim that our
territories," yet fail to admit and clear-
dream is not only to live in peace or
to just be tolerated; but as the Jewish
ly state that the holiest occupied terri-
tory of all is the Temple Mount,
people, the children of Israel we wish,
as it is written and said in the silent
where mosques were erected on the
whispers of our daily prayers, to
very ground that is the Holy Temple
of the Jewish people.
"rebuild the Temple speedily in our
Preferably, the mosques must be
days ..." and as it is sung in the
Hatikva, our national anthem, "To be
relocated by peaceful means. The
mosques had no business ever -being
a free people in our land — the land
of Zion and Jerusalem." CI
built on this spot, which is and has
Return Unto Zion
he Holocaust did not end
with Hitler's ovens, but
continues in a new form
appearing on the buses of
Israel's _cities, at a wedding, a holiday
or Sabbath festivity, and many other
places throughout Israel in the form
of terrorist suicide mass murderers.
Our existence as the Jewish people
and as the State of Israel cannot
depend solely on the good will of the
United States or the tolerance, which
is practically non-existent, of the
United Nations. The land of Israel
was not just given as a gift to us as
Yosef Cohen owns and operates the Web
site "Stock Maven, "www.stodunaven.com
which has a new section "Business and
the Holocaust." This commentary is
"Copyright Yosef Cohen 2003" and used
by permission. His e-mail address is