Reality Check, AP: Palestinian Terrorists Don’t Do ‘the Same Thing’ as Ukrainians Resisting Russia
Following in the footsteps of Mehdi Hasan and publications including The Nation, the Associated Press (AP) wire service this week became the latest to lend credence to false analogies between Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians.
In a March 29 article entitled “Many in Mideast see hypocrisy in Western embrace of Ukraine,” AP writer Joseph Krauss claims that “the world has cheered Ukrainians as they stockpile Molotov cocktails and take up arms against an occupying army,” while Palestinians are branded “terrorists and legitimate targets.”
Although Krauss acknowledges that there are “important differences between the war in Ukraine — a clear case of one UN-member state invading another — and the conflicts in the Middle East, which often involve civil war and Islamic extremism,” the piece nonetheless perpetuates a narrative that paints Palestinian attacks against innocent Israelis as “resistance.”
And that’s just one of the problems with the article.
The AP article asserts that Ukrainians and Palestinians “do the same thing” when they throw Molotov cocktails. Yet, as HonestReporting has pointed out (see here, here, and here), moral equivalences between the plight of the Ukrainian people under attack by Russia and Palestinians attacking Israelis are not grounded in facts.
According to official Israel Security Agency (ISA) data, Palestinian terrorists in February 2022 alone carried out at least 136 attacks on Israelis using Molotov cocktails. The ISA furthermore recorded 29 attacks involving pipe bombs, 14 attacks with firearms, and many instances of arson and stone-throwing.
While some attacks were directed at IDF personnel, many targeted civilians.
For instance, on March 24, terrorists firebombed an Israeli bus on Road 446 near the Arab village of Shuqba. The week before, Palestinians hurled Molotov cocktails at Israeli vehicles on the Gush Etzion-Hebron road, and towards the security fence surrounding the Israeli community of Ofra.
Palestinian terror groups do not discriminate between soldiers, civilians, men, women, children, or babies — with Gaza-based Hamas referring to all citizens of the Jewish state as “Zionist soldiers,” all the while encouraging their members to carry out unprovoked attacks on Israelis.
By contrast, Ukrainians are taking up arms to fight off a military invasion that — according to most members of the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly — violates Article 2(4) of the UN Charter that requires member states to refrain from the “use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state.”
Notably, Ukraine did not commit or threaten to commit an armed attack against Russia or any other UN member state prior to Moscow’s military action.
Furthermore, there have been no recorded instances of Ukrainians attacking Russian civilians.
As such, the disparity between the two situations could not be more striking.
In the March 29 piece, the Associated Press also draws a false parallel between the decisions by multinational companies to halt their operations in Russia and the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign against Israel:
The U.S., Israel and Germany have passed legislation aimed at suppressing the Palestinian-led boycott movement, while major firms like McDonald’s, Exxon Mobil and Apple have won praise by suspending business in Russia.
The AP attempts to equate private businesses choosing to no longer do business with Russia — in many cases temporarily and aimed at stopping the “needless human suffering unfolding in Ukraine” — with BDS, which seeks to put an end to Israel’s existence as the world’s only Jewish state.
It is important to note that the recent boycott of Russia gained steam following broad-ranging international sanctions against the country. BDS, on the other hand, has been condemned by world leaders as a form of anti-Jewish racism.
The Associated Press informs millions of people around the world about rapidly developing events. As such, the news wire service helps set the tone of global coverage. It is therefore vital that the AP base its reporting on the facts, and leave narratives on the opinion page.
Accordingly, we call on the Associated Press to add crucial context to the piece, particularly as it relates to the implicit characterization of Palestinian attacks against civilians as “resistance.”