The media response to the Jerusalem killings betrays a widespread assumption: that Palestinians are "noble savages" who are not responsible for their actions
By Alan Johnson for The Telegraph
There were some odd media reactions this week to the murder of four Jews at prayer (and the heroic Israeli Druze first responder Zidan Saif who tried to rescue them) by two Palestinians perpetrators in Jerusalem.
• The Canadian Broadcast Company tweeted “Jerusalem police fatally shoot 2 after apparent synagogue attack
• The CNN headline read ‘4 Israelis, 2 Palestinians dead in Jerusalem’ without noting that the two Palestinians were the terrorists. (CNN later apologised. See the memes here.)
• The Guardian altered a Reuters dispatch about the massacre in Jerusalem to remove any reference to Palestinians.
• In the Left-wing Israeli newspaper Haaretz, the writer Amira Hass wrote about "the despair and anger that pushed the Abu Jamals to attack Jews in a synagogue (emphasis added)."
Of course not all reporting was of this character. But still, what explains the exculpatory impulse, also widespread on social media?
Part of the explanation lies in the profound influence that the anti-Zionist ideology (a system of demonising ideas and representations about Israel and the Jews) now exercises in our culture. At the heart of the ideology is a deeply buried, often unconscious, assumption about the dichotomous natures of Israelis and Palestinians that warps our understanding of the conflict. Here it is: Palestinians (and Arabs in general) do not have agency and choice, and so cannot be held accountable and responsible. Israelis do and can; always, and exclusively.