Reversing cause and effect

The world media is reporting on Mahmoud Abbas’ fiery speech on the tenth anniversary of mass murderer Yasser Arafat’s death. They breathlessly report his accusations that Israel is “provoking” a “religious war”. And this is why, according to the Guardian. Note not only the reversal of importance–the Muslim claim is always put first–but the minimization of the importance of the site in Judaism.

The clashes of the past three weeks – which have included four deadly attacks and an attempted assassination – have been exacerbated by tension over Israeli-controlled access to Jerusalem’s holiest place, revered by Muslims as the Noble Sanctuary and site of the al-Aqsa mosque, and by Jews as the mount where ancient Jewish temples once stood.

But that’s not surprising. As you scroll down, you’ll see a chart that purports to have a timeline of major incidences that caused the recent outbreak of terrorist attacks. What’s missing from the chart? The murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas terrorists that started everything.

Now let’s look at the AP article on current events. Remember that there was no reporting by the AP about Ayatollah Khamenei’s tweets about the destruction of Israel. But here’s what they do have the ability to report:

The Palestinian president on Tuesday accused Israel of provoking a “religious war” as new violence between the sides broke out in the West Bank, leaving a Palestinian man dead, amid mounting concerns that the long-running conflict is entering a new and dangerous phase.

Really, AP? Really? “violence between the sides”? And what, pray tell, is that “violence”? Oh, you mean Palestinians attacking and murdering Israelis with knife attacks in the West Bank and Tel Aviv? Of course, the AP barely mentions that. No, more important is the shooting of a Palestinian “protestor”. Here’s what that protestor was doing.

The violence from the Israeli side? I believe it’s called “riot control”.

Tuesday’s clashes erupted near the city of Hebron where about 150 Palestinian demonstrators were throwing rocks and firebombs at Israeli soldiers, the army said.

The AP also reverses the order of importance of the holy sites. The Muslim claim to the Temple Mount is always put first. And somehow, the AP managed to make the phrase “the most sacred place in Judaism” pale in contrast to the descriptions of the Muslim mosques on the Temple Mount. Perhaps it’s the weasel-word “considered”. Note that the mosques are declared holy sites, but the Temple Mount is only “considered” to be sacred–as if there’s some aspect of doubt.

It is home to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the gold-topped Dome of the Rock, the third-holiest site in Islam after Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. It is also revered as the location where the ancient Hebrew temples once stood and today is considered the most sacred place in Judaism.

There is also the acceptance by the AP that there is something wrong with Jews praying at their holiest site.

While Jews are permitted to visit the hilltop compound, they are not supposed to pray. Palestinian fears have been heightened by an increased number of visits by Jewish hard-liners and calls by members of Netanyahu’s governing coalition for an expanded Jewish presence there. They also object to Israeli restrictions on Muslims entering the compound. Israel says the restrictions are security measures.

OMG, Jews praying is frightening to Palestinians! Because… because… yeah, I got nothin’. But the AP is happy to toe the Palestinian line on that.

Matti Friedman’s accusation of overwhelming anti-Israel bias at the AP continues to ring true. But then, anyone who’s been reading this blog since at least 2002 already knew that.

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