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Media Critique #27 - White-Washing the Bloody Hands

Media Critique #27 - White-Washing the Bloody Hands

A vile, insulting screed from the Washington Post tries to win sympathy for the bloody-handed Ramallah lyncher.


"Poor Timothy McVeigh. He had a rough childhood. A girl once made fun of his acne. He was a good soldier, and loved his mother. He didn't really want to blow up those people. Or maybe it was all a case of mistaken identity."

If a reporter wrote the above fictional paragraph, he'd be thrown off the newspaper before the ink dried. There can be no rationale or validation for a bestial murder that disembowels victims and rip human limbs apart.

But that is precisely what The Washington Post's Lee Hockstader did in his July 7 article, "Infamous Killer or Mistaken ID?" Hockstader presented a 1300-word defense of Aziz Salha, the Palestinian photographed as he proudly waved his bloody hands out of the windows of a Ramallah police station after brutally lynching two Israeli reserves soldiers.

Hockstader turns on the sympathy and it gushes forth:

"The young man was very ill when he was a baby, he stuttered, he was shy ... maybe it really wasn't him photographed in the window ... people's emotions were boiling over because of Palestinians teens shot by Israeli soldiers ... Israel's settlements and occupation were on Salha's mind ... he was a calm, good-natured and athletic kid..."

Hockstader adds for good measure that the Palestinians have their own picture to compete with the bloody hands image: the video of "terrified 12-year-old Mohammed Dura, cowering behind his father seconds before he was raked by Israeli machine-gun fire."

Read Hockstader's vile report at:

If you believe the Hockstader article is biased and opinionated, send comments to:

The most effective method is to write a letter in your own words. Otherwise, cut-and-paste the critique below.


To the Editor of The Washington Post:

I was shocked by Lee Hockstader's article (July 7) on Aziz Salha, the man photographed proudly waving his bloody hands after killing two Israeli reserve soldiers in October.

Hockstader attempts to rationalize and mitigate Salha's actions by referring to his illness as a baby, his speech impediment, his shyness, and his family's character references. Hockstader suggests that the famous picture is not really Salha. And, to provide sympathy for Salha and a motive to the ghastly murder, Hockstader suggested that Israeli policies made people's emotion boiling over.

Hockstader's article is morally repugnant for trying to provide a rationale and motive for a brutal, bestial murderous mob which strangled, stabbed, disemboweled, and tore two men limb from limb.

If Salha were innocent, and the Israelis made a mistake in identifying the murderer, as Hockstader suggested, why did Salha's father hide him away in the Palestinian Authority for months? Even Salha's family admits he was at the scene.

Hockstader attempts to lessen the impact of Salha's bloody hands by reminding readers of 12-year-old Mohammed Dura "seconds before he was raked by Israeli machine-gun fire." Even if the child's death was caused by Israeli bullets -– by no means certain -- it is a grave insult to compare Salha's proud and bloody bare-handed killing, with an accidental death in the crossfire of a battlefield.

Imagine the moral outrage if a reporter presented a similar screed on the childhood illnesses, personal traumas and nice personalities of Timothy McVeigh, or the Wyoming homophobes who tortured Matthew Shepard, or the Jasper, Texas racists who dragged African-American James Byrd behind their pickup truck until his body tore apart.

Why the double-standard, O' Washington Post?

July 9, 2001

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The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 2

(2) JERRY PERLMUTTER, July 16, 2001 12:00 AM



(1) Steven Block, July 16, 2001 12:00 AM

This is bad but I've seen worse

This article was opinionated. It had only the Palistinian view to it(and therefore was lacking). It didn't see any lies on the other hand. Since I believe in freedom of speech I cannot fully condemn the WA Post for posting it. I can only disagree. I do condemn them for not posting enough pro-Israel articles. My request to any Jews reading this is that you speak up and submit articles in support of Israel for the Washington Post to publish.

What I really condemn is media filled with lies. One documentary I am referring to is titled "Curfew in Palistine". I find this to be offensive because there is no official state of Palistine, and the film is filled with lies. My message to Aish is that these are the types of media that we should criticize instead.

Comcast Cable: I disagree with the BBC's propaganda against Israel and Sharon. I will not subscribe to your service, unless you can sell me a package without their stations.

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