click here to jump to start of article
  • Torah Reading: Naso
Join Our Newsletter

Get latest articles and videos with Jewish inspiration and insights​

Misrepresenting Terror

Misrepresenting Terror

The Washington Post sympathizes with a Hamas leader, and Time magazine 'blames' Israel for decreasing the violence.


This week, Israel made a pinpoint strike against another top Hamas terrorist, Nasser Jarrar. Jarrar had lost both his legs and an arm last year, when a bomb he was making exploded. Still he continued to organize and direct terror activities, recruiting suicide bombers and planning a major attack to destroy a multi-story building in Israel.

In reporting on Israel's strike against Jarrar, many media outlets portrayed him as "an invalid" (BBC), and confined to a wheelchair (ABC Radio) -- only mentioning at the very end of the report (if at all) the circumstances under which Jarrar lost his limbs.

The Washington Post was one of the worst offenders, publishing the following headline:


Writer Molly Moore glorifies Jarrar as some type of folk hero, referring to his "resilient career." Only in the final paragraph does the Post throw in the reason why Jarrar lost his limbs.

See the article at:

Readers will recall this is the same Washington Post which last year published a 1300-word defense of Aziz Salha, the Palestinian who proudly waved his bloody hands out the window of a Ramallah police station after lynching two Israeli soldiers. The Post wrote: "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... he was a calm, good-natured and athletic kid..."

And let's not forget the Washington Post's sympathetic profile of Palestinian homicide bomber Dia Tawil, a 19-year-old "star" student, "headed toward a career in electrical engineering" and an "unlikely candidate for a suicide mission."

Comments to:

Letters to the Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th Street Northwest
Washington, DC 20071

Letters should always include full name, address, and phone number.

We encourage you to monitor your local media to see how they portrayed the Jarrar strike.


This week, Time magazine carries a 3300-word tome, "The Palestinians, Close Up," featuring the lives of 7 Palestinians and how they've been affected by the current violence. Reporter Matt Rees writes:

"Destroying the homes of Palestinian assailants is Israel's latest contribution to the escalating battle between the two sides over who can hurt whom more.",8599,335996,00.html#

Something is askew here. The Israeli policy of home demolitions does not "escalate the battle;" rather it reduces the violence by getting terrorists to think twice, knowing there may be consequences to their families -- as a counter-balance to the sheik's promise of heaven for 70 family members.

The Israeli policy is a further deterrent in that it creates pressure within Palestinian society to oppose terrorism. As The UK Guardian reports:

"The army claims its policy of putting pressure on family members is showing signs of success in the case of house demolitions. Palestinian sources said on Monday that a man living near Jenin recently shot his son in the leg to keep the youth from carrying out a planned suicide attack. The father was thought to fear the Israeli reaction.",4273,4481246,00.html

Ha'aretz reports that another father brought his son to an IDF checkpoint and turned him in, claiming that the young man was planning a suicide attack.

This month, the IDF reported that two would-be suicide terrorists were deterred by concern over family property. Jilal Khalil Jarar, a 17-year-old resident of the village of Yamoun near Jenin, admitted during questioning that he had refused to perpetrate a suicide attack for Islamic Jihad, out of concerned that his parents' house would be demolished if he carried out the attack.

Meanwhile, Oumiyeh Muhammed Damaj, a 24-year-old female resident of the Jenin refugee camp, surrendered herself to an Israeli unit on July 27. Prior to Operation Defensive Shield, Oumiyeh had prepared a personal letter to her family in which she announced her intention to carry out a suicide attack. A few days later she was videotaped reading out her will while holding a rifle and a Koran. When Oumiyeh subsequently surrendered herself to Israeli security forces, she said she had done so out of concern that her family home would be demolished if she carried out an attack.

If you believe that Matt Rees has misrepresented the Israeli policy, write to:

August 17, 2002

Give Tzedakah! Help create inspiring
articles, videos and blogs featuring timeless Jewish wisdom.
The opinions expressed in the comment section are the personal views of the commenters. Comments are moderated, so please keep it civil.

Visitor Comments: 4

(4) Anonymous, October 16, 2002 12:00 AM

Thank God for Israel.

Only Israel is fighting the terror of Islam bravely. Other nations esp Europe and the third world practice regular biased critism from the safety of their homes. as a hindu frm India, we know the atrocities committed by muslims for centuries. But not anymore, Indians will give kick for kick to the terror tactics of Muslims.

(3) Anonymous, August 20, 2002 12:00 AM

Jewish people need to ban institutions like the Post

Cnn got the message. Writing letters is important but not as effective as a general blacklisting of those who distort the truth and show blantant approval of what the terrorists do and stand for. Many groups in the U.S. have found that when you withdraw finacially from these groups, eg. stop buying their products,airtime in the case of radio stations, or withdraw your adds in a paper, They get the message real quick. If we are really serious about not liking what the post and the " so called people who distort facts" then we have to show them we really don't.

It is as simple as that. It won't change the fact that they are antiJewish, anti-Isreal but it will stop them from Publishing it with glee.

(2) Debora Lummus, August 19, 2002 12:00 AM

a house for a child

this is a copy of the letter that I sent to the news sources you listed in your article. I hope I have adequately expressed my support of the good work the Israeli government is doing to curtail terrorism.

I am appalled at the apparent lack of unbiased journalism that is going on from your local and international news desks. I have been reading some articles pertaining to the Israeli use of home demolition as a deterrent for future homicide bombings and have yet to see what you could possibly find as unreasonable or wrong. Suffice it to say that your opinion of the Israeli government's decision to demolish the homes of wanna be murderers should be held in the lowest regard. The Israeli action, on the other hand, speaks for itself.

From the Palestinian viewpoint, the world is engaged in a jihad, a holy war to wipe out the oppressive Christians and Jews so that allah can reign. It appears that this holy war, so to speak, this calling of their god to destroy their enemies, is only good for them when it does not cost them anything. Any moron can convince himself that he will be doing the world a favor [and will go to heaven to boot] if he kills his enemies by strapping a bomb to his body and blowing himself up along with that enemy. Why not? Death is eminent. It is even immediate, painless, without retribution. All one does is push a button and one is instanteously dead, what a price to pay if you have no value placed on life to begin with. The one doing the killing does not suffer at all. Oh, and I am impressed with the ages of these wanna be homicidal maniacs too. Is it not ironic that the only persons the Palestinians can cough up to commit these "selfless acts of murder and suicide" are of the same generation (teens and early 20's) that most of our Western cultured suicide victims range in? Where are the 30, 40 and 50 year old homicide bombers? In Israel, it is obvious they are at home trying to prevent the destruction of their own homes. Jihad is only jihad if it does not cost you anything. The Japanese thought it was a wonderful way to heaven too. Send your babies out to die for your cause. Why? Because their passion will carry your cause. Why is that with allah, buddah and all the other "ah's" that one must sacrificially die to get to heaven? Since we are all going to die, what is the point? What about those who don't, do they go to a lesser heaven, is god unhappy with them, will allah scorn them for living out their lives and not dying by killing innocents? If so, why aren't Mommy and Daddy committing these same acts as well?

Now, however, it appears that this down right selfless act is not really a selfless act at all. It is not really important, it is not a matter of steadfast religious conviction or even an attempt to destroy one's mortal enemies. It is not a calling of god on your life or in this case, even your death. Now the act gets put into it's proper place; into it's proper perspective. It is a carefully orchestrated plan by the Palestinian authorities to use the passion of their own youth to do their dirty work. If killing Jews is a holy act, a jihad, then how does it lose it's impact, it's holiness so to speak, in the face of Mommy and Daddy losing their home? Should they not be willing to pay the price for jihad? Are they not part of jihad too? Would they not want their child to carry out a holy act against a mortal enemy that does not deserve to live knowing that such an act would usher that child into the presence of their god. Isn't that what every good parent would want for his/her own child? Of course, only the best for junior.......

I don' think so and obviously, neither do Mommy and Daddy. It is a double standard. It is only ok to murder innocent men, women and children if it does not cost you anything. Since the Israeli's have come up with this wonderful plan to make it cost the families of the homicidal bombers something, you would still choose your biased anti-Israeli stance in view of one of the simplest, cheapest, most successful means of preventing blood shed? What is your problem? I will tell you what it is, bias! You are substituting rationale for reasoning. You would rather see your ideology supported than see the good in what is being done. You would rather murders be committed than allowing an oppressed people to protect themselves and not shed any blood in so doing.

I applaud the Israeli's and I applaud the parents of the jihad wannabees for turning in their kids. The Israeli's are trying to protect the lives of their babies from being butchered, slaughtered and having life stolen from them. The Palestinian parents, well, they are just trying to make sure that they have a place to put their butts down to dinner that night. A house for the life of a child, here in America, that could become a slogan, a campaign slogan like, "every child needs a village to raise it". Sounds to me that even liberals understand that children need houses and your village does not have a purpose without children. So, what is your purpose? What is your point? Why bother? A house for a child, would you give your house for a child? My next question would be this, "Why not? What is wrong with you?" Reflect on that one a while. In the meantime, I am looking forward to seeing how many more parents are not willing to give up everything they have worked for in their lifetimes for one moment of homicidal bliss.

Thanks be to the God Israel who gives His people witty and clever ideas and has taught them that life has more meaning than anything else. I think I like their God a whole lot better. Rationalize your way out of that one.


Debora Lummus

645 Staffordshire Dr E

Jacksonville, Fl 32225

(1) Anonymous, August 18, 2002 12:00 AM

Time Magazine article commentary: A question.

Your critic mentioned the following phrase, "...knowing there may be consequences to their families - as a counter-balance to the sheik's promise of heaven for 70 family members."

I haven't heard of sheiks making this particular promise; but I have heard them promise the suicide/homicide bombers {martyrs) 72 black-eyed virgins in heaven. Sometimes they promise 70 black-eyed virgins instead of 72. My sources are translations of articles in the Arab press from Arabic (and Farsi) into English provided by the good folks at MEMRI.ORG. That stands for Middle East Media Research Institute. I highly recommend it. It will curl your hair!

Submit Your Comment:

  • Display my name?

  • Your email address is kept private. Our editor needs it in case we have a question about your comment.

  • * required field 2000
Submit Comment