Yesterday, the NYT published the findings of its investigation into the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh. They found that an Israeli soldier probably fired the shot that killed her. Last month I wrote an article about the rancid CNN investigation into the same incident which even disgracefully claimed Israel shot her deliberately. The Washington Post also ran an investigation into the killing. So did Bellingcat.
All of the basic truths remain the same. None of these reports have included a forensic analysis of the actual bullet that killed the journalist. Why? Because the Palestinians do not want this to take place.
For now, the Palestinians are milking a perfect scenario. Everyone is blaming Israel anyway, and the story is dragging out month after month. Eventually, if the Palestinians are confident an Israeli soldier did fire the shot, they may even produce the bullet for inspection – thus ‘proving’ Israel did it and creating a whole new round of ‘we were right’ stories in the international media. Of course, if the Palestinians have any doubt at all over what really happened, they wouldn’t dare risk the fall-out.
An Israeli soldier may have shot her. These things can and do happen in areas of conflict. That isn’t the point. The issue remains that Israel cannot know for sure, so is being held hostage by Palestinians who benefit from the very information void that they have created.
On the one side we have major media outlets scrambling to produce endless reports about the killing, on the other Jews are left able to do nothing but point to the weaknesses in all these investigations.
Jews are always left fighting a desperate corner, rather than pointing out the blatant discrimination that placed them there.
Because this is not an article about Shireen Abu Akleh. The real question is why are we seeing an endless stream of pointless dead-end investigations into this incident? This irrational obsession that surrounds her death is rooted in exceptionalism, discrimination, blatant bias and antisemitism. To highlight this I just want you to meet some people you probably have never – and will never – hear about:
Ricardo Alcides Avila
On May 26th the journalist Ricardo Alcides Avila was traveling from his home in Santa Cruz to his work in Choluteca in Honduras. He was shot in the head. The police put the shooting of the journalist down to a ‘common criminal assault‘. Yet whoever shot him did not touch his money, backpack, keys, phone or motorcycle. The killer, whoever it was, just wanted this journalist dead.
He is the fourth journalist killed in Honduras this year. UNESCO condemned the killing and called for an investigation.
Subhash Kumar Mahto
Six days earlier, on May 20th, the journalist Subhash Kumar Mahto was shot when he was returning from a community dinner at his friend’s house along with his father and other relatives. He was killed in the Begusarai district of Bihar in India. It is believed the journalist known for his reporting on local gangs may have been targeted by gunmen as a result of his work. The Committee to Protect Journalists, NUJ, Reporters without Borders and UNESCO have all called for an investigation.
The Journalist Frederic Leclerc-Imhoff was killed in Ukraine. His story is somewhat different because you may actually of seen his name mentioned – briefly. He was killed on May 30th. The Western press had every reason to obsess about this one (he was white, European and probably killed by the arch-enemy Russia). But they still didn’t. CNN mentioned it for a day and forgot. The NYT mentioned it once as part of their ‘European News’. Al-Jazeera also mentioned it for a day. The Washington Post ran the story for a day. Unsurprisingly, his name does not appear at all on the Bellingcat website. UNESCO called for an investigation into his death. France demanded a probe into his death. Not a single one of the outlets that have obsessed over the killing of Shireen Abu Akleh did anything more than yawn.
The Journalist Francisca Sandoval was shot on May1st. She lay in critical condition in hospital for 10 days before succumbing to her wounds. Sandoval was murdered. During a protest a group of men opened fire after a standoff with marchers and a bullet pierced Sandoval’s visor. The NYT do not even seem to have covered her killing. Nor do the Washington Post. CNN covered it in a single article on the violence, several weeks after her death. The rest of the English speaking press as a whole have long forgotten this killing. UNESCO called for an investigation.
Fighting racism is not whataboutery
Pointing at other incidents to highlight obsession and racism is not whataboutery – it is the very basis of almost *every* argument about racism. Anti-Jewish hatred and all forms of racism carry discrimination in their veins.
Why is the black child the only child being picked on? Pointing at other rowdy, misbehaving children that remain unpunished is not whataboutery. In fact the accusation of ‘whataboutery’ is often the last, desperate defence of the racist. They use it because there is no reason – no explanation – beyond the racism itself – for their actions – and they have simply no other defence.
Outside of family friends and those directly involved in the stories above, nobody on the planet remembers any of these names. Shireen Abu Akleh will be remembered forever. Just like Rachel Corrie and Muhammad al-Durrah.
Why? Why did the tragic shooting of Shireen Abu Akleh have so many mainstream media outlets in the US scrambling to spend untold resources on an investigation that they could never find an actual answer to?
A killing of a journalist covering conflict, however tragic, is not an unusual event. These outlets sought to milk an opportunity to demonise Israel. To have the Jews painted as killers – over and above all others. Part of a growing atmosphere of antisemitism that is spreading throughout the west. It is why you will remember the name Shireen Abu Akleh forever. There will even be annual campaigns to remind you.
That media obsession is the one true thing out of this whole sorry story that seriously needs to be investigated. Because once again, Jews are left fighting a desperate corner, rather than pointing out the blatant discrimination that placed them there.
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