The launch of a new website may reignite a smoldering media controversy over how Palestinian rock throwing – a common tactic directed at Israeli civilians and police forces – is portrayed. Last August the New York Times was blasted by media outlets and watchdog groups for what they described as the romanticization of Palestinians who target and kill Israelis with rocks. Today’s “Best Pictures of the Day” list at the Guardian includes a high-resolution shot of a Palestinian using “a sling to throw stones at Israeli soldiers” at a routine, weekly protest held in the West Bank.
The website, dubbed The Truth about Palestinian Rock Throwing, focuses both on specific cases – most recently an attack that severely injured 3 year old Adele Biton – as well as on broader dynamics.
Cornell Law Professor William Jacobson was effusive:
But there is an even more pernicious western media version of Pallywood, the outright bias and misleading characterization of acts of terror against Israel. These actions often are deliberate provocations set up by media and activists who side with the Palestinians, in which a phalanx of photographers and videographers waits to catch an Israeli soldier responding to a provocation. The use of children as provocateurs is a common tactic — nothing plays better in the media than the image of an Israeli soldier confronting a child. But those children often are engaged in violent behavior, particularly rock throwing. A “rock” can shatter a skull, or in where thrown at a moving vehicle, can cause a serious accident.
The site specifically calls attention to child-directed anti-Israel incitement conducted under the auspices of UN organizations, and urges readers to a sign a petition to withhold resources from those groups.
Media critics have accused outlets of being inconsistent on the issue. In 1990, after major injuries were caused by teenage boys tossing rocks onto the Capitol Beltway, the Washington Post editorialized that there was little difference “between assault with a deadly weapon – a shooting – and assault with rocks that hit cars at potentially lethal speeds.”
[Photo: hebronvideo / YouTube ]