How the Media Blame Israel for Being Attacked and Defending Itself

Pro-Hamas rally in New York City (Adam Gray/Getty Images)
October 11, 2023

According to mainstream media reporting on Hamas's slaughter and abduction over the weekend of hundreds of Israeli men, women, and children, the Jewish state had it coming.

The worst terrorist attack in Israeli history—with 1,200 people confirmed killed, including at least 22 Americans, and some 150 taken hostage—has not been enough to break the media's long habit of treating Israel as, at best, morally equivalent to Palestinian terrorists.

News outlets have suggested Israelis provoked the genocidal violence against them by, among other things, narrowly electing a right-wing government, allegedly praying at the holiest site in Judaism, and helping to blockade the territory run by the Palestinian terrorists who did the attacks.

Washington Post, Oct. 8: "Gaza Strip Explained: Who Controls It and What To Know":

The coordinated attack by Hamas caught Israel by surprise but comes after months of worsening tensions over violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque—a sacred Muslim site in the heart of Jerusalem located on the same spot as the Temple Mount revered by Jews—as well as continuing resentment of the punishing blockade and occupation of Palestinian lands. The presence of once-fringe Jewish supremacists and settler leaders in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's hard-right government has further inflamed tensions with the Palestinians and caused domestic strife inside Israel that has led to a perception of weakness.

Associated Press, Oct. 9: "What To Know as Israel Declares War and Bombards Gaza Strip After Unprecedented Hamas Attack":

In recent years, Israeli religious nationalists—such as Itamar Ben-Gvir, the national security minister—have increased their visits to the [Al-Aqsa Mosque] compound. Last week, during the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot, hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews and Israeli activists visited the site, prompting condemnation from Hamas and accusations that Jews were praying there in violation of the status quo agreement.

Hamas also has cited the expansion of Jewish settlements on lands Palestinians claim for a future state and Ben-Gvir's efforts to toughen restrictions on Palestinian prisoners in Israel.

NBC News, Oct. 8: "Gaza Strip Explained: Who Controls It and What To Know":

Despite pleas from the United Nations and human rights groups, Israel has maintained a land, air and sea blockade on Gaza since 2007 that has had a devastating effect on Palestinian civilians. Israel says the blockade, which gives it control of Gaza's borders and is also enforced by Egypt, is necessary to protect Israeli citizens from Hamas.

The International Committee of the Red Cross considers the blockade illegal and says it violates the Geneva Convention, a charge Israeli officials deny. The U.N., various human rights groups and legal scholars, citing the blockade, consider Gaza to still be under military occupation by Israel.

NPR, Oct. 8: "How the Al-Aqsa Mosque Became a Flashpoint in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict":

[Pro-Palestinian activist Yousef Munayyer:] You know, the Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip, the vast majority of them—they've been refugees living inside of Gaza for 75 years. And this is, of course, compounded by decades of military occupation and, in the last decade and a half, a brutal siege of the Gaza Strip, which has held 2 million Palestinians there hostage. In recent years and months, the escalation of violence against Palestinians has been noted by the United Nations and governments throughout the region who've been warning that this escalation of Israeli violence against Palestinians is going to lead to an explosion in the region.

New York Times, Oct. 7: "Gaza Has Suffered Under 16-Year Blockade":

For some Gazans, Saturday morning's surprise Palestinian attack into southern Israel seemed a justified response to a 16-year Israeli blockade. Others worried that the coordinated attack would only add to Gaza's misery as the tiny enclave braced for a large-scale response from Israel.

The Palestinian territory of Gaza has been under a suffocating Israeli blockade, backed by Egypt, since Hamas seized control of the coastal strip in 2007. The blockade restricts the import of goods, including electronic and computer equipment, that could be used to make weapons and prevents most people from leaving the territory.

As Israel has bombed Hamas targets in Gaza this week, the media have covered the retaliatory strikes  as comparable to the barbaric terrorism that provoked them.

The Times, like other outlets, has tallied the Israeli and Palestinian death tolls side by side—even though one side is a radical Islamist death cult that uses its own people as human shields.

The media have also assiduously avoided referring to the terrorists as such.

The Times went as far as to correct its use of the term.

Meanwhile, on X, formerly known as Twitter, some journalists have nitpicked reports of Hamas's atrocities, including accounts of the beheading of babies.

Others—including Mohammed El-Kurd, the Palestine correspondent for the Nation, Najma Sharif, a writer for Soho House magazine and Teen Vogue, and Karen Attiah, the Post's global opinions editorhave acknowledged the horrors but suggested they were inevitable, if not good.

Flashback: None is this is entirely new. Last time Hamas provoked a major clash with Israel, in May 2021, NBC News was on the streets of Gaza to broadcast the terrorist group's "victory" parade and talking points.

The Times devoted its front page to the 67 Gazan children who were killed during the 11 days of fighting.

The Times's Jerusalem Bureau did not respond to the Washington Free Beacon’s inquiry about whether a similar spread is planned for the Israeli children who were slain over the weekend.