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Media Fails at Hebrew University

Media Fails at Hebrew University

The media tries to justify the bombing of an Israeli cafeteria as some kind of tit-for-tat.


The civilized world is shocked at the latest Palestinian bombing, this time defiling the sanctity of an academic campus -- one in which Jewish, Arab and foreign students mixed freely.

The media has distorted the events of Wednesday’s Hebrew University bombing in 4 significant ways. Monitor your local media and call their attention to the following points.

=== DISTORTION #1 ===

The media reported the attack as a response to Israel's killing of Hamas leader Salah Shehadeh in Gaza.

Knight-Ridder correspondent Soraya Sarhaddi Nelson leads off by writing: "Palestinians seeking revenge for a recent Israeli airstrike on the Gaza Strip detonated a bomb Wednesday in a crowded cafeteria at Hebrew University..."

It is spurious to categorize this attack as a response, when Hamas was already planning attacks anyway. According to Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer, Shehadeh was planning six simultaneous terror attacks in six different Israeli cities, including mega-attacks intended to kill hundreds of Israelis. The LA Times reports that Israel's top internal security official believed that at least 60 terror attacks were already being planned.

Some media even parroted the propagandist claim that Hamas was on the brink of a cease-fire. This argument is preposterous, considering that Hamas has waged a ceaseless campaign of terror against Israeli civilians, claiming credit for at least 28 major bombing attacks against Israeli civilians since the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993.

=== DISTORTION #2 ===

The media presents the Hebrew U attack as an appropriate retaliation, a tit-for-tat for the deaths of civilians in Shehadeh’s apartment building.

However, the media fails to note one crucial difference: Israel was targeting a terrorist mastermind, with the civilians’ deaths regrettable collateral damage. By contrast, in the Hebrew U attack, Palestinians were intentionally targeting civilians.

This key point is omitted in a Reuters report, which fails to mention of why Israel attacked "a crowded area of Gaza City," implying that Israel is no better than Palestinian bombers:

"Palestinian militants have vowed to avenge an Israeli missile strike on a crowded area of Gaza City last week that sparked strong international condemnation..."

We ask: Would the media consider it an appropriate retaliation for Israel to now go massacre Palestinian university students? Of course not. As the UK Independent put it:

"Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, Hamas' spiritual leader, said: 'When Israel bombs a civilian building full of women and children, and kills 15 people, this is the response they should expect.' It was a response that quickly eroded the international sympathy for the Palestinians prompted by the Gaza air strike. 'Why is somebody targeting students sitting down to their lunch?'...”

=== DISTORTION #3 ===

The media failed to report the mass celebrations in Gaza following the Hebrew U attack. An estimated 10,000 Palestinian men, women and children celebrated in the streets with clapping, singing and distributing sweets -- while carrying pictures of Hamas spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and calling for more suicide bombings.

This is in sharp contrast to the Israeli soul-searching and regret following the deaths of civilians in the Shehadeh strike.

Amazingly, mention of the Gaza rally and celebrations was totally omitted by many major news agencies, including:

- The New York Times

- The Washington Post


Associated Press notes the rally, but doesn’t mention any celebrations.

This mysterious omission calls to mind September 11, when Palestinians in Beirut, Nablus and Jerusalem exploded in street celebrations -- rejoicing, dancing and handing out candies.

Then, to prevent the world from seeing these incriminating images, armed Palestinians (some in PA uniform) detained foreign journalists and confiscated videotape, film and other camera equipment -- while festivities continued in the streets. Journalists were threatened with their life if the footage was broadcast. The scene was repeated three days later, when 1,500 Palestinians demonstrated in Gaza by waving posters of Osama bin Laden.

Were this week's Gaza celebrations subject to similar forms of intimidation? Or perhaps journalists are practicing a form of self-censorship, knowing the consequence of portraying Palestinians in an unfavorable light.

=== DISTORTION #4 ===

The media subtly implies some justification for the attack by suggesting that Hebrew University is located on disputed land.

For example, the Washington Post map places the university clearly in the West Bank:

Reuters reports that "The bomb exploded in the cafeteria in the Frank Sinatra International Students Center, on the university's Mount Scopus campus near Arab East Jerusalem."

In truth, Hebrew University's Mt. Scopus campus was inaugurated in 1925, and was located on Jewish land long before the establishment of the State of Israel. It flourished until Israel's 1948 War of Independence, when Jordanians seized the surrounding land, even as Israel continued to hold the Mt. Scopus site as an enclave. After the surrounding neighborhoods were restored to Israeli control in 1967, Mt. Scopus again flourished as Hebrew University's main campus.


"Two Israelis, Two Palestinians Killed in Suicide Bombings and Ambushes"
Agence France-Presse -

In this case, two does not equal two. The two dead Israelis were brothers who had gone on Tuesday to a Palestinian village to sell fuel. The two dead Palestinians were a suicide bomber (Jerusalem falafel stand), and a man who broke into a Jewish home and stabbed two Israelis, before being shot by security guards.

Complaints to:


August 3, 2002

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Visitor Comments: 3

(3) Waldo, August 6, 2002 12:00 AM

What are the statistics on students by religion/ethnic?

What is the composition of the student body by ethnic/religion at Hebrew university? I visited the Hebrew University home page and found no mention of diversity, no statistics on the student body composition.

(2) Jeff Pomykala, August 6, 2002 12:00 AM

Western media should learn.....

I wish the western media would learn Arabic and translate what is written in the governmentally and religiously controlled (read: NOT free) Arab media. They would be shocked at what idiots the Arabs take the Western nations for....and maybe we ARE naive idiots....believing the quick little snippets of propaganda and reporting things through the "rosey" lens of extremist liberal bias. "Oh, if we just talk nicely to this rabid dog and give him some bones everything will be just fine!".….Yeah, right.
...Well, the rabid dog could care less about the niceties of civilized society ~ and the dog is not only ready to attack the world, it's already been biting on Israel for years and is busy fomenting problems in India and Indonesia as well as other places to come because no one has stopped it ~ just as no one stopped Hitler (and his “spirit of evil and hatred”) as he began building his power base. The media misrepresents the truth because of the idiocy and blindness of the "intelligentsia" and liberal “elites” of this world who somehow really believe that the rabid dog thinks just like they do! Yippee! One big happy family! And they propagate this “New Age” way of thinking, sincerely (and wrongly) believing they can negotiate with a rabid dog. Worse, somehow, they honestly believe that the reason the dog is acting that way isn’t because it’s been poisoned and misled by it’s leaders… the problem must be … Israel!! Yeah, that’s it! It’s those “Jews”!! THEY are the problem!....”Not that we’re anti-semites in the media – it’s just that we report the facts as we see them and” ---
Ahem….therein lies the problem, because they see what they WANT to see instead of what truly IS. Unfortunately, reality is: if one reaches out to pet a rabid dog, no amount of wishful, pretty thinking will keep that dog from biting you.

I just wish the world would let you (Israel) go in and FINISH the war once and for all. Rabid dogs (radical Islamic terrorists) should be put down.…A strong hand is the only thing they know and respect. Heck, just look at how much they fight amongst themselves over some perceived injustice to their medieval, misguided sense of "honor". “You have sneezed in the direction of Mecca!! I must kill you now!”…..GROW UP, ISHMAEL, AND REJOIN THE CIVILIZED WORLD OF MEN!!!

Israel, do the world and yourselves a favor: Ignore the liberal, idiotic media and the “Intelligentsia” of this world who proclaim how wise they (think they) are, and instead act as fools. Go on the major offensive and put the radical, rabid dogs encircling and biting at Israel down for good.
….And afterwards, just as America did for Germany and Japan after WW2, go in and help the PEOPLE and citizens rebuild ~~ Show them what REAL nations are made of and how REAL men behave to those around them....SHOW them that light and guidance (AND STRENGTH!!) from G-d that you have carried since the dawn of civilization. ONE ISRAEL!!! ~ LIVING THE WORDS WE HAVE BEEN GIVEN BY G-D!!! ~~ and we will then see Moshiach ushering in The Promise.
May there be true peace in Israel – soon.

(1) Anshu verma, August 5, 2002 12:00 AM

I agree

I am hundred percent agree with you that Media should not emulate terrorism with self defence.
Appeasing terrorist states and terrorist leaders is disastrous for entire world peace.Earlier USA did it with Taliban to curb communist govt. of Afghanistan and later burnt its own hands and now the USA is doing same with Palestine and Pakistan which are the main terrorist generating soils on the earth.
USA and other nations must understand that these despotic,undemocratic and barbaric leaders like Arafaat,Musharraf,Gaddafi and Saddam
don't understand the language of peace and harmony.
The attack on Hebrew university and later the bus bomb blast should be an eye opener for USA.These were the same people who celebrated 11 sept with crackers and candies.

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