Dear Washington Post: On rocks, you got it wrong


To the editor of the Washington Post:

Do you want to know why most American Jews don’t believe what you publish about Israel? An article in The Washington Post this week explains it all.

It had to do with a Palestinian Arab rock-thrower murdering an Israeli man.

The facts of what happened are beyond dispute. On May 24, Israeli soldiers entered al-Amari, a neighborhood near the Palestinian Authority capital city of Ramallah, in pursuit of terrorists. Residents took to their rooftops and began hurling objects at the soldiers. A chunk of concrete thrown by a Palestinian from the third floor of a building struck 20-year-old Ronen Lubarsky, shattering his helmet and inflicting severe injuries. Three days later, he died of his wounds.

This episode is especially newsworthy because it runs so counter to the narrative that is typically presented by the American news media. Mobs of Palestinian Arabs throwing rocks at Israelis are portrayed as peaceful protesters. Rocks are not considered potentially lethal weapons, even though 16 Israelis have been murdered by rock-throwers.

So here we have an important man-bites-dog story. Maybe that explains why The Washington Post buried it—because it contradicts so much of what the Post tells its readers about the Palestinians.

The news about the murder-by-rock of Lubarsky was confined to the Post’s “news briefs” section. And it was near the end of the briefs—below much longer ones about Ebola vaccinations in the Congo and plans for a right-wing march in Germany.

Not only was the story buried, it was miniscule. The murder of a young man by terrorist merited just a single paragraph. A grand total of 60 words.

And, incredibly, the word “Palestinian” never appeared in the article. Not once.

The headline read: “Israeli Soldier Wounded in Action Dies.” They could have written “Palestinian Kills Israeli Soldier.” But, no. He just “dies,” in the passive tense. A reader might think he suffered his injuries in a traffic mishap, or a friendly-fire accident.

The article began: “The Israeli military says” (note the word “says,” as if there is a doubt), “a soldier who was seriously wounded in action last week has died.” He was “wounded in action.” By whom? The Post wouldn’t say.

The article continued: “The soldier was mortally wounded Thursday when, during an arrest near Ramallah” — a city name which most readers would not recognize as Palestinian — “a large marble block was dropped on his head from the top of a building.” Thrown by whom? Why? Have they done these sorts of things before? The Post wouldn’t say.

Acknowledging that rocks can kill reminds readers that many Palestinian “protesters” are would-be murderers. Acknowledging that Palestinians have murdered 16 Israelis in rock-throwing incidents reminds readers of the dangers Israelis face. Giving such a story prominence would only create sympathy for Israel. All of which impedes the campaign to create a Palestinian state in Israel’s backyard.

And it’s clear that is why the Post handled the story the way it did. The motives of the editors are transparently obvious. This isn’t journalism. It’s blatant political advocacy.

The Washington Post is not the only newspaper that does this. Almost every major American daily newspaper, wire service and television news program incorporates a similar bias when it comes to Israel. That’s why I’m addressing this letter to all of you. Because you’ve all given American Jewry a mountain of reasons to distrust what you publish about the Jewish state and its citizens.

Sincerely, Stephen M. Flatow

Stephen M. Flatow, a vice president of the Religious Zionists of America, is an attorney in New Jersey and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.