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January 19, 2015 12:39 pm

CNN Distorts Facts on Settler Violence, Smears All Israelis

avatar by Ardie Geldman

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Judea and Samaria. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Recently, a film crew from CNN’s Middle-East Bureau paid a visit to Caliber 3, the Israeli Counter Terrorism and Security Academy – a privately owned enterprise located in the industrial area of Gush Etzion. The visit was pre-arranged with the management, who were told that CNN was running a piece on settlers who, in the wake of the surge of recent terrorist attacks against them, feel the need for personal defensive training. CNN called the item “Israelis Learn Self-Defense.” It was uploaded to the CNN website on January 2.

The CNN team filmed a class of ten adult men and women. That day’s lesson focused on warding off knife attacks. The report included a few seconds of footage of an actual fatal stabbing attack captured by security cameras at the entrance to the nearby community of Alon Shvut, with this voiceover: “Last November, a Palestinian man went on a rampage with a knife in a nearby settlement bloc. He’s taken down eventually, but not before killing one person and injuring three others.”

The knife wielding murderer is deemed by the CNN editor to be “a man,” not a terrorist, not even the usual “militant.” The nameless “one person,” neither man nor woman, who was “killed” that day (maybe by a falling rock, but not murdered in cold blood), had a name. She was Dalia Lemkus.

Viewers learn of the “United Nations recording more than 200 attacks against Israeli settlers in 2014.” Israelis, it appears, are on the receiving end of Palestinian violence.

Then, however, comes the switch – and the piece’s intended message. Israeli settlers, it seems, are responsible, according to UN statistics, for more than 300 attacks against Palestinians in the same year. But whereas Palestinian attacks against “settlers” are purposefully violent and carried out with intent to kill, the vast majority of “settler attacks” on record are against Palestinian property -in other words, vandalism. CNN fails to make this distinction.

To demonstrate settler violence, the report singles out the story Yusef Machaleil, who was purportedly murdered by a settler in 2011 when he was 15 years old. CNN reporter Ian Lee brings us into his family’s home and offers viewers a touching and personal description of this victim.

Of course, CNN paid no visit to the homes and parents of the nameless Israeli victims. Viewers next witness the boy’s mother spitefully saying, “There is no justice in Israel. Palestinians are attacked and killed every day.” This hyperbolic and untrue statement goes unchallenged.

CNN’s camera returns to Caliber 3 for the final scene of the report, where the Israeli class stands abreast, each student extending a mock pistol, aiming as if to shoot. The CNN camera is positioned in front of one of the students whose fake gun points directly into the lens. This militant image contrasts with the former pacific scene of Yusef’s father, an elderly farmer, speaking to the CNN reporter from his peach grove.

The true thrust of this story is Israeli power and Palestinian weakness. The message is conveyed via imagery and emotion. While reporter Ian Lee concludes that “each side may pose a danger to the other,” it is made clear to CNN’s viewers that it’s only the dominant and better equipped Israeli settlers, not the Palestinians, who possess the means to do so.

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