(JNS) Among the media’s customary Israel-bashers, reporting on Israel’s military operation this week against terrorist enclaves in the city of Jenin was predictably atrocious.
Jenin had become a hub of deadly terrorism, responsible for the murder of 31 Israelis in 2022 and 24 so far this year.
Almost half the inhabitants of Jenin belong to Hamas or Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ). In 2023, more than 50 shooting attacks emanated from Jenin. Recently, two rockets were launched from there towards Israel.
During the two-day operation, the IDF uncovered bomb-making laboratories, a homemade rocket launcher, tons of explosives, masses of weapons and military gear.
Yet The New York Times saluted Palestinian Arab terrorism as “an ethos of defiance” and described Jenin admiringly as having “a long legacy as a bastion of armed struggle."
Other media outlets misrepresented Israel’s response to murderous terrorism as wanton aggression. They did so through systematic decontextualization, having largely ignored the growing toll of Israeli terrorist victims and the attacks that Israeli security forces thwart almost daily.
The day after the launch of the IDF operation, a car-ramming and stabbing attack took place in Tel Aviv in which at least nine people were injured and a pregnant woman lost her baby.
The usual suspects in the media instantly misrepresented this as an all-too predictable “revenge” attack in a dismal cycle of violence. But there is no “cycle of violence.” There are unending attempts to murder Israelis and there is the Israeli attempt to deter further attacks.
Moreover, there is a fundamental difference between the Palestinian Arabs’ deliberate attempts to murder Israeli civilians and the enormous care the IDF takes to avoid civilian deaths.
The IDF reported that all 12 of the Palestinian Arabs killed in the Jenin operation were combatants. In such a densely populated area, where terrorist caches and operation rooms are deliberately situated next to schools and hospitals, causing no civilian deaths in such an intense raid was an extraordinary achievement.
Not only was this given no credit by the media, but the entire event was framed in the most distorted and malevolent way. The leading offender in this—and the most important on account of its unique global reach and reputation for trustworthiness—was the BBC.
In an interview with former Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, BBC anchor Anjana Gadgil said, “The Israeli military are calling this a ‘military operation,’ but we now know that young people are being killed, four of them under 18. Is that really what the military set out to do?”
Bennett replied robustly that all the Palestinian Arabs killed were terrorists. To which Gadgil said, “Terrorists, but children. The Israeli forces are happy to kill children.”
After receiving several complaints, the BBC apologized, saying, “The language used in this line of questioning was not phrased well and was inappropriate.”
While any BBC apology is rare, this was wholly inadequate for such a malicious incident. The BBC’s reporting on Israel and the Palestinians is not only consistently distorted but actively promotes hatred of Israel and the Jews who support it.
The BBC’s general reporting on the Jenin operation parroted the outlet’s standard narrative of oppressed and deprived Palestinian Arabs fighting hopelessly against Israel in an endless cycle of attack and retaliation.
It failed to mention the century-old Arab war of extermination against Israel, in which the Palestinian Arabs have refused repeated offers of a state of their own and instead redoubled their murderous attacks.
Melanie Phillips, a British journalist, broadcaster and author, writes a weekly column for JNS. Currently a columnist for The Times of London, her personal and political memoir, Guardian Angel, has been published by Bombardier, which also published her first novel, The Legacy, in 2018. To access her work, go to: melaniephillips.substack.com.