The New York Times immediately described the Manhattan truck attack as “terror” multiple times:
Readers complained about why this attack was considered “terror” and not the attacks in Las Vegas and elsewhere. The response pointed readers to an “Interpreter” column on that topic, where he doesn’t specifically talk about the NYT editorial standards but a more general definition of terrorism:
On the surface, this could be considered a straightforward question of motive. Terrorism is defined as an attack on civilians meant to frighten a larger community for political purposes.
But the new generation of Islamist terrorism, conducted by individuals citing far-off inspiration, has blurred the distinctions between terrorist and disturbed loner. So have recent mass shooters who show signs of both mental illness and an attachment to vague ideological causes.
In tacitly defending the use of the word “terror” to describe the truck attack, the Times defines terror – accurately – as “an attack on civilians meant to frighten a larger community for political purposes.” the Las Vegas attack does not neatly fit into that definition.
Attacks in Israel that are virtually to the vehicle attack in New York definitely fit exactly into the definition of terror that the Times gives. Yet – they were never called terror by that newspaper:
A 2014 car ramming attack killing a baby in Jerusalem was not described as terror.
A 2015 car ramming attack at a Jerusalem bus stop was not described as terror.
Even an analysis of the string of car ramming attacks in Israel, with Palestinian social media being quoted as encouraging it, did not use the word “terror:”
One cartoon circulating on social networks on Thursday depicted a car as the barrel of an automatic weapon, captioned in Arabic, “Revolt and resist, even by your car.” Another showed an odometer with the slogan, “Oh, revolutionary, use more gasoline, so we can have Palestine back.” A third simply had a vehicle in the red, white and green of the Palestinian flag hitting two men with Jewish stars on their black hats.
These cartoons prove that the car ramming attacks in Israel were “meant to frighten a larger community for political purposes.”
Yet the New York Times studiously avoided the word “terror” in reporting these attacks.
Was it only because the ramming was in New York and therefore closer to home? Not at all. The New York Times described the Barcelona attack as terror. It described the ramming attack in London as terror.
Only in Israel are vehicle ramming attacks dismissed as mere “attacks.”
There is only one reason that this is the case. When there are Islamist terror attacks around the world, the editors of the New York Times are perplexed. The attacks are “senseless.” The goals are nebulous – destroying the US or Europe? That’s crazy!
But Palestinian attacks on Israel, they can understand. After all, they have reported extensively on Israeli actions that make Palestinians uncomfortable, like blockading a territory from where thousands of rockets have been fired. To them, these attacks aren’t “senseless” – there is some justification that they can understand. Killing Israeli Jews is normalized, understandable, routine. But killing British or American citizens is outrageous.
The attacks are identical. The motives – to destroy the host country – are identical. The underlying religious justifications of martyrdom are identical. But in Israel’s case, the Jewish victims have an amount of culpability that European and American victims do not.
This is clear, direct anti-Israel bias. And while the NYT bends over backwards to explain the difference between attacks Las Vegas and New York, they don’t want to tell the world why they see a difference between attacks in Jerusalem and New York, It would reveal their hypocrisy.
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