The international press has a longstanding reputation for being biased against Israel. From multiple Gaza operations to dealing with ongoing terror attacks, the story is told as if Israel is the oppressor and the Palestinians are the oppressed. However, with the gradual normalization of Jew hatred and the expansion of woke culture to include a demonization of all things Zionist, bias against Israel in the media is becoming nothing less than a bias against Jews. Sadly, the international coverage of the hostage-taking attack in Colleyville, Texas, proved this last week, and the FBI’s comments only added fuel to the antisemitic fire in the press coverage.
On January 15, 2022, Malik Faisal Akram walked into a synagogue during Shabbat services armed and took members of the Jewish community hostage for 10 hours, demanding that an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist, Aafia Siddiqui, be released from the 86-year prison sentence she’s currently serving. The FBI conducted a lengthy negotiation and eventually the hostages were freed. There are numerous reports about Akram’s behavior during the negotiations and prior to the attack that demonstrated his antisemitic worldviews, such as ranting about “f*****g Jews” and stating explicitly “I want to kill Jews;” however, apparently none of this mattered to the international media.
For example, The Daily Telegraph’s headline read “Man with English accent ‘holds rabbi and congregation hostage’ at Texas synagogue.” Similarly, the BBC’s headline also put hostage in quotation marks. In contrast to other hostage takings, such as in Ukraine or Rio de Janeiro, the BBC never use quotation marks. Only when Jews are held hostage does the BBC express skepticism, subtly implying the hostage situation is a perspective, rather than the reality. This isn’t reporting the news, this is intentionally obfuscating the truth in order to promote a political bias.
There was also a concerted effort to deliberately distract from the radical Islamic nature of the terrorist, his antisemitism and his ethnicity. The Daily Telegraph mentioned a British accent and the BBC ran a story with the headline “Texas synagogue hostage taker was British,” as if it’s pertinent to the developing story that the attacker was British, yet intentionally leaving off the fact he was British Pakistani. The toxic effort of trying to be politically correct prevented mainstream international media from reporting facts about an ongoing hostage crisis.
To make matters worse, throughout the negotiations the media continued to peddle the story that there wasn’t a clear motive, from CNN to MSNBC. Anchors and pundits acted utterly bewildered as to why this British man would hold Jews hostage in a synagogue – never mind the fact that his demands for releasing an Al Qaeda terrorist were made crystal clear, that he took Jews hostage at gunpoint during Shabbat services or that he believed in outrageous antisemitic conspiracy theories. The latter leading him to demand that the rabbi he held hostage call another New York rabbi, whom Akram believed had the ability to free Siddiqui from prison through his all-powerful Jewish connections.
In the aftermath of the hostage situation, the FBI issued an absurd statement, which they later clarified, claiming the hostage taker’s demands were focused on the issue and not connected to the Jewish community. The irony is that the issue was antisemitism.
As if on cue, the media lapped up the statement, quick to minimize any antisemitic motivations of the terrorist. The Associated Press even ran the headline “FBI: Hostage taker was not focused on Jewish community.” Except he very much was, that’s why he researched rabbis ahead of time and stated he wanted to kill Jews. That’s why he referred to Siddiqui as his sister. Siddiqui notably demanded in her trial that the jurors be genetically tested to prove they aren’t Zionists or Jews.
Pretending that taking Jews hostage at gunpoint in a synagogue on Shabbat because you want a known antisemitic terrorist released is actively contributing to antisemitism today and that is what the media did with their outrageous coverage of the Colleyville hostage-taking attack. There is no excuse for the intentional misrepresentation of the facts of the case throughout the 10-hour ordeal and no excuse for the anti-Jewish bias that’s spreading in the media, while it is Jews who are actually being attacked just for going to synagogue.
What began with bias and inaccuracy over Israel has now expanded to bias and gaslighting of the American Jewish community as well, and we cannot remain silent about the role of the media on this issue.
The writer is the CEO of Social Lite Creative LLC.