Wednesday, October 5th | 10 Tishri 5783

October 30, 2018 12:44 pm

Journalists Exploit Pittsburgh Attack to Bolster Their Own Biases

avatar by Ricki Hollander /


Mourners attend a memorial service at the Sailors and Soldiers Memorial Hall of the University of Pittsburgh, a day after 11 worshippers were shot dead at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S., October 28, 2018. REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton. – It was only a matter of time until partisan journalists began to exploit the tragic massacre of Jewish worshipers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh to promote their own biases. In no time, charges of antisemitism were wielded as a weapon with which to attack those of different political persuasions and support Israel.

In fact, the perpetrator was a typical, run-of-the-mill antisemite, the likes of which Jews have unfortunately been acquainted for centuries. And despite the mass murderer’s declared hostility towards the US president, whom he accused of philo-Semitism, Atlantic columnist Franklin Foer placed the blame for the massacre on Jews themselves — specifically, the president’s Jewish supporters. He called for them to be shunned by others in the Jewish community.

“Any strategy for enhancing the security of American Jewry should involve shunning Trump’s Jewish enablers,” he wrote. “Their money should be refused, their presence in synagogues not welcome. They have placed their community in danger.”

Worse yet was the journalist who sought to blame Jewish support of Israel for rising antisemitism. GQ reporter Julia Ioffe took aim at Jews who supported the U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem, suggesting that support for pro-Israel positions is to blame for murderous antisemitism:

And Haaretz columnist Chemi Shalev exploited the massacre not only to attack the American president, claiming that he was “blaming the Jewish victims for their deaths” by suggesting that an armed guard at the synagogue might have mitigated the extent of the brutal attack, but to attack the Israeli prime minister’s expressed sympathy and solidarity with the Jewish victims:

“If the support of their own foul-mouthed, race-baiting president wasn’t enough of a burden,” he said, “the hypocritical expressions of support emanating from Jerusalem — welcome as they may be — add insult to the American-Jewish injury. … So, in their time of need and despair, American Jews in general, and Pittsburgh’s in particular, are condemned to being comforted by a president whose rhetoric and conduct appalls them and consoled by an Israeli government that rejects them and their values. In their eyes, and in the eyes of the world, the worldviews of both are closer to those of their Nazi assailant than to the values of the Jews who were murdered in cold blood in their sacred house of prayer.”

Such hate rhetoric directed at American and Israeli leaders or at support for Israel does not reflect mainstream American Jewish views, as the journalists suggest, but only their own.

Is it any wonder why trust in the media continues to decline?

Ricki Hollander is a senior analyst at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

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