Blood on the Hands of Haaretz and the NY Times

Newspapers incite, violence increases. They must bear responsibility.

Ronn Torossian,

OpEds Ronn Torossian
Ronn Torossian

In an era where the worldwide media daily prints slanderous and inaccurate stories about Israel, the words of Prime Minister Netanyahu last year regarding the media must be remembered.

Netanyahu was recorded as saying that the two main enemies of Israel are the New York Times and Haaretz. He said, “They set the agenda for an anti-Israel campaign all over the world. Journalists read these publications every morning and base their news stories … on what they read in the New York Times and Haaretz.” And indeed his words remain accurate. In recent weeks, we have seen both of these newspapers despicably call for violence against Israel.

Haaretz has just published a story by its writer in charge of news from the "occupied territories", Amira Hess, which read “Throwing stones is the right and the duty of anyone living under foreign rule. Persecution of stone-throwers, including 8-year-old children, is an inseparable part − though it’s not always spelled out − of the job requirements of the foreign ruler, no less than shooting, torture, land theft, restrictions on movement, and the unequal distribution of water sources.”

The right and duty ? And so then the right and duty of soldiers protecting a sovereign free country is to shoot them as any police force would do anywhere in the world.

There is no doubt at all from reading these words, as The Yesha Council and others have stated in their police complaints, that this is clearly declared justification for violence against Israelis. This is clearly calling for stone-throwers to continue to throw rocks and practice violence. It is not only condoning, but encouraging violence. This is screaming "Fire" in a crowded theatre.

As despicable as Amira Hess’ article is, it is not alone. It is a follow-up to an article last week in The New York Times entitled “If There is a Third Intifada, We Want to be the Ones who Started It” which similarly encourages violence against the Jewish State.

The article mentioned in passing that a poster of Jerusalem hung in the Tamimi family living room. Tamimi was responsible for the 15 deaths in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem. Indeed, they want to destroy all of Israel – not just take over the “West Bank.” The article spoke of how “A framed image of Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque hung above the television”, lauded how “they formed what is known as the 'popular resistance,' a loosely coordinated effort that has maintained what has arguably been the only form of active and organized resistance to the Israeli presence in the West Bank since the end of the second intifada in 2005. If there is a third intifada, we want to be the ones who started it." Over a thousand people were murdered in the intifada.

As the New York Times put it when detailing a Palestinian Arab protest leader – “'We see our stones as our message,' Bassem explained. Bassem said, 'Our sign is the stone.'" Indeed, their sign is the stone – which kills people and is violent. This media is inciting terrorists to murder and commit violence against citizens of Israel. Nowhere in the world are rock-throwers considered peaceful people.

What would happen in the streets of Paris or New York, Sydney or Tokyo if groups of people gathered to throw rocks at police and security officials? They would be shot – as they should be - and hauled off to jail. Rocks are dangerous weapons anywhere in the world – even when they are aimed at Jews.

As Naftali Bennett said, “Rocks kill… Some people take rock throwing lightly, and prevent action against them. Rock throwers are trying to murder and they need to be treated accordingly.”

Thankfully, today there is a government which will respond accordingly, as Avigdor Lieberman and others are pushing for the Israel Defense Forces to be allowed to change the rules of engagement and treat stone-throwing the same as live fire.

Rock-throwers are terrorists, and this media incitement has to end. The New York Times and Haaretz should be held responsible by anyone harmed as a result for their call for violence. These reporters are putting innocent people in danger by commentary because of their political opinions. It needs to stop, as words have grave consequences.

Running a large PR agency, I pray and hope the media stops calling for violence in the Middle East, because the blood will be on their hands.

Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and author. His book "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations" and has been called “the best book ever on Israel public relations” by Likud MK Danny Danon, Israel’s Deputy Minister of Defense. To order a copy of the book, click here.