Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

When Rockets Are Just ‘Bee Stings’ For The Washington Post

November 25, 2012 3:51 am 8 comments

You can safely bet the ranch on it: When a Washington Post writer dismisses thousands of rockets as not much more than “bee stings” on a “bear’s behind,” the country that is targeted with these rockets is Israel.

The callous dismissal of the roughly 12 000 rockets and mortars that have been raining down on Israel’s south and its 1 million residents in the past 12 years – yes, on average a thousand attacks a year – is all the more outrageous when you consider that it comes from the Washington Post’s ombudsman Patrick Pexton. Officially, Pexton “represents readers who have concerns or complaints on topics including accuracy, fairness, ethics and the news-gathering process. He also serves as The Post’s internal critic and strives to promote public understanding of the newspaper, its Web site and journalism more generally.”

With his response to criticism of a recent front page photograph showing a grief-stricken father from Gaza holding the shrouded body of his infant son, Pexton certainly succeeded in giving the public a glimpse of the multiple biases that apparently guide his own work when it comes to Israel’s efforts to defend its citizens against bombs and terrorism.

First it is noteworthy that Pexton emphasizes that the criticism came from “Jewish groups and American Jews” – which of course makes one wonder if all the individuals who protested the photo indeed mentioned that they were Jewish.

Secondly, it is worthwhile pondering Pexton’s principal defense of the photo, which he gives right at the outset of his article:

“A photograph may be worth a thousand words, but even at its most revealing it never tells an entire story. It is the capture of a single moment, a split-second version of the truth. But if it is an effective photograph, it moves the viewer toward a larger truth.”

It is not entirely clear from Pexton’s article what exactly he regards as the “larger truth,” but he later on notes that the controversial photo “depicted […] the horrific cost to innocents on both sides of the violence in the Middle East.”

However, this seemingly “balanced” statement inevitably acquires a purely perfunctory character when Pexton then claims that, while being “disruptive and traumatic,” the “overwhelming majority of rockets fired from Gaza are like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind. These rockets are unguided and erratic, and they carry very small explosive payloads; they generally fall in open areas, causing little damage and fewer injuries.”

It is also noteworthy that Pexton links in his first paragraph to a Washington Post article on “The Israeli-Palestinian politics of a bloodied child’s photo.“

As the following screenshot shows, this article features three images: the first on the left is the photo that was the controversial choice for the Washington Post’s front page; the one in the middle is an injured Israeli infant, and the third photo is again from a boy killed in Gaza who was rushed to Gaza’s Shifa Hospital just when Egypt’s Prime Minister was visiting there with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

One could argue that there is a “larger truth” here – but it’s a truth that isn’t revealed by the three pictures, and it isn’t spelled out by the Washington Post.

This larger truth is that ultimately, all three children were victims of Hamas.

This is most obviously true for the injured Israeli infant; but it is also true for the boy in the third picture, who, as blogger Elder of Ziyon has documented, was killed by one of the more than 150 Hamas rockets that crashed back into Gaza.

Even in the case that was featured on the Washington Post front page, it is by no means clear that the son of Jihad Masharawi was killed by Israeli fire. As again Elder of Ziyon has pointed out, there are many reasons to question the uncritically accepted claims that Masharawi’s home was hit by an Israeli missile – and it is most definitely untrue to assert that it was deliberately “targeted” by the IDF if it was just a civilian residence.

But whatever ordinance struck the Masharawi home, the unfortunate truth is that the family’s apartment is located in the al-Zaytoun neighborhood where Hamas chose to conceal a launching site for the long-range missiles fired at the metropolitan Tel Aviv area and Jerusalem. Acting with the same open cynicism, Hamas also launched a missile on Jerusalem from the vicinity of Gaza’s Shifa Hospital; and there are many more similar incidents that have been documented and reported.

As Alan Dershowitz has argued:

“so long as Hamas continues to fire rockets from densely populated civilian areas, rather than from the many open areas outside of Gaza City, this cynical tactic—which constitutes a double war crime—will guarantee that some Palestinian women and children will be killed.”

And this is the larger truth that the Washington Post and most mainstream media outlets tend to ignore: Hamas hides among Gaza’s civilians to launch rockets on Israeli civilians, and no matter on which side civilians are killed and wounded as a result, Hamas can claim “success”: there will be open celebrations when Israelis are terrorized, wounded or killed; and when civilians in Gaza are the victims, Hamas can count on the media to spread dramatic images that feed the myth of a brutal und utterly “disproportionate” Israeli response to something that, after all, is mostly “like bee stings on the Israeli bear’s behind.”

Last but not least, it’s worthwhile to note that the image of a bear stung by bees echoes an Aesop fable for children – and unsurprisingly, the bear is the aggressor, while the bees valiantly (and successfully) defend their honey. Pexton’s Israeli bear stung by Palestinian bees seems to be just another reflection of the bias that obviously mars the judgment of the Washington Post’s ombudsman when it comes to Israel. Hamas will love the image, because after all, the cause of the bees is just, and they win against the bear.

8 Comments

  • Pexton also ignores the fact that the rockets that are fired into Israel are intended to wound and kill as many civilians as possible. It is only Israeli readiness, and Iron Dome, that prevented the body count from being higher. Pexton needs to be fired – or maybe sent on assignment to southern Israel. He isn’t afraid of a bee sting, is he?

  • I wonder if Pexton would be quite so dismissive if the rockets were fired at Southern California or Texas from Mexico. Let us not forget that Israel was urged by international leaders to pull out of Gaza and got many plus points when it did so. When Hamas seized power and began its overt agression, where were these leaders?

  • Patrick Pexton’s resume includes the fact that he was previously the head editorial writer for DER STURMER.

    • OK, so you’re mightily upset — but you surely realize that by resorting to hyperbole, you make it easy for those who upset you to dismiss you?

  • how do we barrage the washington post with their shilling for jihad?

  • E Pluribus Beagle

    Fair enough. If Hamas rockets are nothing than Gazan deaths caused by them are nothing. Their lives are nothing and they are trash.

    Carry on, defenders of Hamas, carry on.

  • Nicely presented article.

    I am shocked to discover that Pexton is employed as an Ombudsman – a job that requires one to rise above personal biases and Pexton is clearly incapable of doing this.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Blogs Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Natalie Portman Says She Behaved Like ‘Average Everyday Jewish Mother’ on Set of Latest Movie

    Actress Natalie Portman acted like a typical “Jewish mother” on the set of her latest movie, Jane Got a Gun, the Israeli-born star told the New York Post‘s Page Six on Sunday. The 34-year-old, who also co-produced the western, said she made it her job to look out for everyone involved in the project, because the film has had to overcome “so many obstacles,” such as losing its director early on. She explained: “Actors changed. We suffered financial and legal challenges. We endured so many replacements. There were delays. […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    Scorpions Lead Singer Sends Message to Israel Ahead of World Tour, Tel Aviv Performance (VIDEO)

    “We’re looking very much forward to coming back to Israel this summer,” said the lead singer of the German rock band Scorpions in a video on Monday. “Make sure you don’t miss it because we rock you like a hurricane!” said a jovial Klaus Meine, quoting the band’s seminal 1984 anthem, “Rock You Like a Hurricane.” The hard rock band lands in Israel for a show at the Menorah Mivtachim Arena on July 14 as part of its 50th anniversary tour. It will be the band’s third time […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Book Reviews The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    The Collected Works of Primo Levi, Edited by Ann Goldstein (REVIEW)

    Primo Levi and Elie Wiesel were the two most immediate and authentic literary voices who gave witness to the Holocaust. Wiesel was an extrovert and a very public figure who wrote initially in French. Levi was a modest retiring chemist who wrote in Italian. Whereas Wiesel was rooted in the Eastern European Jewish Hassidic world, Levi was the product of an assimilated, secular Italian society that saw itself as Italian first and Jewish as an accident of birth. As Levi himself said, “At Auschwitz I […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Lifestyle Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    Wine Brings Judea and Samaria to Tel Aviv

    JNS.org – Wine has long been considered a social lubricant, and it’s Nir Lavie’s hope that wine from his Har Bracha Winery in the Samarian hills will serve as a social lubricant between the city-goers of Tel Aviv and the Jewish communities of Judea and Samaria, two locales split geographically, and often politically, on the left and right of the country. The new flagship store of Har Bracha has recently popped its corks on 190 Ben Yehuda Street in Tel Aviv, […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Gentile Actor Zachary Levi Says He’s Denied Roles for Being ‘Too Jewish’

    Actor Zachary Levi said casting directors have denied him roles for being “too Jewish,” despite the fact that he is not a Jew, the New York Daily News‘ Confidenti@l reported on Wednesday. “I guess they were looking for more of a corn-fed, white boy look,” he said. “My family is from f****** Indiana! Come on, I’m like dying here!” The Thor star clarified that he is Welsh, and that Levi is actually his middle name, while his real last name is Pugh. He said he […]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Spirituality/Tradition Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    Tracing Chabad’s History and Success (REVIEW)

    The secret of Chabad’s worldwide success is revealed by veteran Chabad shliach (emissary) Rabbi David Eliezrie in his new book, The Secret of Chabad. The Chabad movement was founded by Rabbi Schnur Zalman of Liadi, Belarus, in 1775. Years later it came to the US with the arrival of Rabbi Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn in 1940, after his escape from Nazi-occupied Warsaw. Upon his arrival in New York, a number of his co-religionists advised him that there was no place for traditional […]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Rapper B.o.B’s New Song Invoking Antisemitism, Holocaust Denial Has Jewish Group ‘Deeply Troubled’

    Rapper B.o.B’s New Song Invoking Antisemitism, Holocaust Denial Has Jewish Group ‘Deeply Troubled’

    A Jewish human rights organization expressed concern on Wednesday over a new song by a popular US rapper that includes lyrics promoting antisemitic conspiracy theories and cites a Holocaust denier, The Algemeiner has learned. The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) was responding to Tuesday’s release of B.o.B’s “Flatline,” the lyrics of which include: “But before you try to curve it, do your research on David Irving; Stalin was way worse than Hitler, That’s why the POTUS gotta wear a Kippa.” Irving is a historian who has questioned […]

    Read more →
  • Business Features World-Changing Israeli Technologies Wow at Global Investor Summit

    World-Changing Israeli Technologies Wow at Global Investor Summit

    JNS.org – You’re cruising along the highway. Suddenly, your car starts to sputter, your engine grumbles, and your car comes to a screeching halt. The tow truck drags the car to a local auto mechanic. Damage: $1,000. You have no idea whether or not the mechanic is trying to do one over on you, but you will soon, thanks to a new Israeli innovation. Engie puts the car owner in the driver’s seat by providing a special malfunction reader that simply […]

    Read more →