When it comes to media reporting about the Middle East and Israel, there is a trend toward misinformation that reflects both the indoctrination reporters have experienced and their approach – from a place of privilege – to the security concerns of the Jewish people.
The recent reporting on the security situation in Jenin is a reflection of these biases. Only by challenging these biases can we find meaningful ways to be liberated from hostility and terrorism.
The city of Jenin has endured a long cycle of domination from the Romans to now Iranian-backed terrorists. The city, once known as Ein-Ganim, holds a rich history that spans numerous occupations, from the Romans to the Crusaders, the Ottomans to the British, the Jordanians, and now to Iranian-backed terrorists. This Israelite city has endured a long cycle of domination and control, perpetuating a tragic legacy of conflict and suffering.
Between 1948 and 1967, the Jordanians took control of Jenin and established a settlement nearby for those displaced by the war initiated by Arab armies against the established State of Israel. However, like many occupying powers, the Jordanians neglected the well-being and integration of those under their control.
Instead, they fostered a “victim mentality” and fueled hatred toward Jews, opting for the easier path of turning people into so-called refugees, consumed by a burning hatred, rather than embracing them as fellow human beings.
Decades of indoctrination with Jew-hatred followed, as an entire generation of Arabs grew up under Jordanian rule. This festering animosity spawned generations of recruits to terrorism, perpetuating violence, and thwarting opportunities for a peaceful resolution.
Despite chances for many to leave the so-called refugee camps and lead normal lives, the collective brainwashing and indoctrination by Islamist Jew-haters rendered such progress impossible. This is something I saw first-hand when I was researching and filming my award-winning documentary, The Making of a Martyr.
After the Oslo Accords, the administration of Jenin fell under the Palestinian Authority’s control. However, for those indoctrinated, Yasser Arafat and the PLO were seen as too weak against “the Jews,” paving the way for Iranian-backed terrorist groups to seize power in Jenin. Over the last two decades, Jenin has transformed into a hub for terrorist activities and a command center for attacks against Israeli civilians. The planning and execution of violent murders against Jews – and Muslims – are orchestrated within Jenin’s borders.
Media reporting on Palestinian terror is rife with antisemitic blood libels
IT IS crucial to provide this historical context, as mainstream media often neglects these facts. Instead, what is portrayed on TV and online are blood libels – distorted narratives where bloodthirsty Jews are depicted as entering Jenin to harm children and destroy the homes of “innocent” civilians. Such reports fail to acknowledge the reality that these young individuals are often exploited as armed combatants by Hamas and other Iranian proxies. Moreover, the buildings targeted are often arms depots storing weapons and explosives from Iran.
The reporting on Jenin, and on Jews in our indigenous homeland more broadly, stems from a position of privilege. In the West, we are accustomed to crimes on a smaller scale, viewing violent acts and murder as minor risks that affect only a few individuals rather than the whole of society. Even crimes with larger societal impacts are often regarded as “quality of life” issues rather than existential threats. Rare terrorist attacks are dismissed as aberrations and quickly forgotten.
The absence of direct experience with brainwashed, genocidal terrorists seeking to eradicate an entire people, leads to privileged reporting that often invokes moral equivalences where none exists. The same Jew-hating indoctrination, that has plagued generations in places like Jenin, has permeated Western society, as indoctrination knows no boundaries and spreads rapidly in the digital age.
This creates, and then normalizes, a biased and distorted narrative that stands reality on its head: Jews are portrayed as “occupiers” of their indigenous homeland, while Arabs (especially ones involved in acts of violence) are portrayed as “victims.”
The victim mentality has spread far and wide, from Arab reporting to the institutions that employ and collaborate with them, aided by foreign funding that has allowed indoctrination to flourish within media, and society itself. Bias and Jew-hatred have become normalized, particularly within the media. Islamist groups have long understood that once they indoctrinate the media and education systems, it becomes easier to manipulate the masses. Sadly, the privileged are the most susceptible to this manipulation.
Why? Because the suffering inflicted on others is not their problem. Even better, it aligns with the age-old stereotype of “blaming the Jew.” The privileged fail to grasp the reality of having rockets launched at their homes by terrorists whose sole aim is genocide.
They cannot comprehend the fear of walking down their own streets, uncertain if today will be the day they are targeted for execution based solely on their identity. They do not tuck their children into bed in bomb shelters or worry about a hostile army mere miles away. They are not plagued by mobs marching in the streets, advocating for the globalization of the intifada.
Thus, they unwittingly contribute to the indoctrination, glamorize terrorists, and indirectly fund them through government support. Privilege blinds them to the suffering endured by the Jewish people, which has persisted throughout history.
To combat this bias and privilege, we must call it out explicitly. Merely presenting facts will not be sufficient to eradicate Jew-hatred. What we need is a profound cultural shift, one that exposes the privilege and bias that have shaped a false narrative. We must demand social justice not only for Jews in the United States, but for Jewish communities worldwide.
Throughout history, other minority groups have fought against privilege and bias, achieving monumental gains in terms of respect for their identity and civil rights. We must strive for the same progress for the Jewish people, as our identity, religion, culture, and indigenous homeland are all at stake. It is essential to challenge and denormalize systemic bias while fighting for our rights to be free from hatred and terror. Now more than ever, we must unite and work tirelessly to #EndJewHatred within our lifetime.
The writer is co-founder of #EndJewHatred and author of the upcoming book End Jew-Hatred: A Manual for Mobilization.