Foreign Policy’s Distorting Palestinian Filter
Foreign Policy magazine online June 19 highlighted the vandalization and torching of a West Bank mosque, linking to a New York Times dispatch about recent violence by extremist settlers. The story was listed
second among Middle East-related items, between U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s discussion of policy regarding Syria and Iran’s latest defiance in negotiations with the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russia, France and Germany in which it rejected efforts to curb its production of enriched uranium.
Absent from Foreign Policy’s Middle East links was the killing on the same day of an Israeli worker assigned to border fence construction. Three gunmen infiltrated Israel through Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and shot the Israeli in an attack 20 miles south of the Gaza Strip. The detonation of large quantities of explosives they carried left two assailants dead. The third fled, reportedly to rejoin others on the Egyptian side of the border in the increasingly dangerous Sinai.
Foreign Policy’s decision to give priority to the West Bank mosque in a news cycle that contained Israel-related news of greater significance implies an editorial preference. That preference, conscious or otherwise, was to portray Palestinian victimization—even without injury or loss of life—as more newsworthy than the declining security conditions in Sinai and the attendant, sometimes fatal consequences they impose on individual Israelis and the country in general.
Conversely, Foreign Policy’s big brother, The Washington Post (both publications are owned by The Washington Post Co.) published news about the cross-border raid and killing, and Israel’s construction of a Sinai border fence, as a stand-alone article that emphasized Israeli concern about growing lawlessness in the
peninsula. (The Post’s online version contains several additional paragraphs of background on Sinai violence, including Friday’s rocket attacks on Israel, not in the print edition).
To retain its reputation as an authoritative source on international news, Foreign Policy needs to keep Israeli and Palestinian-related developments in perspective. The news is not always all about Palestinian Arabs.