Haaretz’s Textbook Case of Media Bias
Over 50 Christian and Muslim sites have been vandalized in Israel and the West Bank since 2009, but only nine indictments have been filed and only seven convictions handed down, according to Public Security Ministry data. Moreover, only eight of the 53 cases are still under investigation, with the other 45 all closed.
Based of this story, Haaretz wrote a lead editorial with the title, “Israel’s Public Security Minister Is Soft on Crimes Against Christian and Muslim Sites.”
Here is the bias:
At no point does Haaretz investigate how many times the arson of Jewish sites resulted in indictments or convictions.
Haaretz is trying to say that the Israeli police do not prioritize hate crimes against Muslims and Christians, but the implication is that this isn’t the case for Jews.
Haaretz is also trying to say that the 53 incidents over 8 years is a huge number — but it doesn’t give a comparable accounting of how many anti-Jewish incidents there were.
I don’t know the answer. Perhaps there is bias in favor of crimes against Jews. Certainly more resources could be used to find these criminals. But without knowing how many Jewish sites were attacked and how many attackers were caught, this story is innuendo — not news.
In 2007, I visited the burial place of Samuel the Prophet, right after it was vandalized by Arabs. Torahs were desecrated, books were destroyed, the Ark badly damaged. The story was barely reported in Arutz Sheva, and ignored by all of the other Israeli English language media outlets. Haaretz certainly didn’t report on it. The people at the site described the attack to me as a “pogrom,” and told me that this wasn’t the first — or only — time that it had happened.
Were the vandals caught? I have no idea. But I doubt it.
There are plenty of arson and vandalism attacks against Jewish sites in Israel, from the desecration of graves on the Mount of Olives by Arabs, to attacks by bored teens, to attacks by atheists against synagogues, and intra-Jewish attacks as well. I don’t know how many are committed by Arabs, and how many by Jews. I don’t know how many attacks were only graffiti, and how many resulted in actual damage done to holy objects on either side.
But that’s the whole problem. A real newspaper would compile all these statistics. A newspaper with an anti-Jewish bias, however, would do exactly what Haaretz did.
While any attack is too many, 53 attacks over 8 years is about one every two months — hardly an epidemic.