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Time to call Terrorism by its name

[youtube][/youtube]Once again the West Australian has run an article that disguises the truth about what is happening in Israel.

Five members of a family were brutally murdered (warning, pictures on link are very disturbing). Rabbi Udi Vogel was 38 years old, and his wife Ruth Vogel was 35. They were bludgeoned to death along withtheir sons Yoav, 11 and Elad, 3 and their four-month old daughter Hadas. They had three further children who survived; Roi, aged 8, Yishai, aged 2 and Tamar, aged 12.  Imagine the horror of the 12 year old Tamar who came home to discover her family violently slaughtered!

The West Australian admittedly picks up internationally syndicated articles regarding the course of events. However these articles are loaded with political innuendo, distasteful attempts to sanitise the sheer horror of this terrorism, and a sub-tone narrative that tries to balance out the events by linking the crime of murder to the political issue of land settlement.

The entire article studiously avoids using the word terrorism, but Israel is reeling from this latest act of terror, and it is hard to fathom why reporters cannot describe this most vicious of crimes in such absolute clear terms: a “TERRORIST ATTACK”.

The bias in the article is principally through its inferred and loaded language of “settlement”. Both in the headline and in the article continually dehumanise the murdered family and attempts to provide some level of sanction/motivation for the attack due to branding the victims as “settlers”.  The article continually raises settlement as a pretext and a consequence of the terrorism. Linking the two is a foul and offensive means of delegitimising Israel through reporting.   Through this journalistic approach the article is effectively attempting to communicate that the murdered family were deserved of their fate due to their decision to commit to living their life in their ancestral homeland.

The article said “that a Hamas official has applauded the attack and local residents celebrated the killing of the settlers.”  Had this sentence supplemented the word settlers with “innocent family” and noted that Hamas had officially called the attack a “heroic operation” and shown images of children being given candy as a celebratory gift, this may have provided better context.

The article is also dishonest as it quotes condemnation of the attack by senior PA representatives Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad. However it does not expose the hypocrisy of such statements by showing how the PA itself continues to incite its population towards hatred and murder. There are plenty of recent examples right here.

Other salient points that were also not included in the West’s article include that as the West Bank checkpoints have recently been dismantled and there is a lower level of IDF border control, it was easier for the murderers to access the town of Itamar. Also, it should be of relevance to note that the Vogel family were evicted from their home when the Gaza Strip was ethnically cleansed of Jews in 2007 as part Israel’s disengagement.

The readers of any newspaper anywhere in the world deserve better than this. When people are brutally murdered, and the story is just absorbed into a political narrative, we all need to step back and start asking questions.   Why does a journalist attempt to justify murder as a consequence of “settlement”?

At this time, citizens of Libya are being massacred by their Government (with arms supplied by Syria), and diplomacy is failing. Across the Arab world regimes are falling like dominoes.  Yet Israel’s rightful and legitimate settlement of its homeland is a bigger news story in today’s paper.  The real story that I read into this article is not the murder of a family, but about the families place of residence.

From the headline, to the photo caption, to the article itself, the West has failed its readership by using the word “Settler” to describe the victims of this murder.  They could have used the word “family” “Israelis” “Jewish residents” or any of a number of terms to refer to the victims.  However the choice of the paper to use the word “Settler” once again is a political statement that becomes a libel against the Jewish people.  It is crass, and it is morally reprehensible.

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