Siege of the denialists

From a confronting opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, a disturbing trend towards ignoring the plight of targeted Jews in the Mumbai massacre, whilst softening down the references to who the perpetrators really are, which is a growing trend in world reporting.

Writer Tom Gross makes the point that the targets in Mumbai were specific, and drawn from a cross-section of religions in Mumbai, one of the most multi-religious cities in India, representative in terrorists minds of ‘infidels’, who deserve to die, yet some claimed this was a ‘random’ event.

The BBC’s amazing reluctance to accept that a Jewish centre was deliberately targeted is telling:

For some time, many have argued that an element of anti-Semitism has distorted the way the BBC covers the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But now, following the Mumbai events, we can perhaps see that anti-Semitism may even be at work in the way the BBC covers foreign news in general. For much of the Mumbai siege, the BBC went out of its way to avoid reporting that the Jewish community center was one of the seven targets. At one point viewers were told that “an office building” had been targeted (referring to the Jewish center as such).

Then on Friday morning, TV pictures of Indian commandos storming the besieged Jewish center were broadcast by networks around the world. Heavily armed commandos, their faces covered by balaclavas, rappelled from helicopters onto the roof while Indian sharpshooters in buildings opposite opened fire and a helicopter circled overhead. Huge crowds of onlookers could be seen looking aghast as they watched from nearby streets. While Sky News and other channels were gripped by these dramatic pictures, BBC World was not, almost pretending there was no siege at the Jewish center — even though by then it was one of only two sites that remained under attack in Mumbai. Had the terrorists chosen to besiege a church or mosque instead, can you imagine the BBC ignoring it this way?

Meanwhile — perhaps even more disgracefully — a New York Times report on the last day of the siege stated: “It is not known if the Jewish center was strategically chosen, or if it was an accidental hostage scene.”

Has the New York Times learned anything since the Holocaust, when, even after the war ended in the spring of 1945, the paper infamously refused to report that the Hungarians, Czechs, Slovaks, Germans and so on killed in the camps had been Jews, and killed as Jews?

Dozens of eyewitness accounts by local Indians said the gunmen shouted “Allah Akbar” from the Jewish center. It is housed in a nondescript block and is not obviously marked from the outside as a Jewish center. It is the one Jewish building in a densely crowded city of millions. And the Times, the self-proclaimed paper of record, wants to let readers think it might have been an accidental target?

Even the Times’s British equivalent, the Guardian, began its news story: “The inclusion of the headquarters of an ultra-orthodox Jewish group was obviously intended to send its own message.” Does the New York Times think that the seeking out and murder by Muslim terrorists of the only New York rabbi in Mumbai and his wife was “an accidental target”?

This siege mentality of denialists in the media is clearly alarming to the writer.

Are we being surrounded by fools, or are they right to report terror with tactful political ‘correctness’? Why?

UPDATE: It has been revealed that one of the female victims was six months pregnant. She and her husband were possibly slaughtered before her two year old son, Moshe, who may also have been beaten. This report in the Mail is very uncomfortable reading. [via The Currency Lad]

The Jewish mother murdered in the brutal Mumbai terror attacks last week was six month pregnant, her father revealed today at her funeral.

And Rivkah Holtzberg’s two-year-old son, Moshe, may have been beaten by the militants, reports have claimed.

His back was covered in bruises consistent with abuse, the chairman of Zaka, Israel’s ultraorthodox recovery service, told Sky News.

The Holtzbergs’ bodies – hers wrapped in a shroud, his in a prayer shawl – rested on chairs on the dais where the eulogies and prayers were delivered.

There are already fears that Moshe witnessed his parents’ murder after he was found by his nanny crying next to their bodies, covered in blood.

She dashed him to safety before commandos launched an attack on the Jewish house in which the terrorists were holding the family hostage last week.

In an emotional scene before the flight to Israel yesterday, Moshe repeatedly cried for his mother at a tearful memorial ceremony at a Mumbai synagogue. 

We can only wonder how much hatred had to be poured into the hearts of the youthful terrorists to compel them to act in the way they did. And how much more of this hatred is yet to saturate the lives of others under the spell of this dangerous ideology.

God deliver us from such evil, and console the heart of Moshe Holzburg.

7 thoughts on “Siege of the denialists

  1. I dont think it was political correctness or anti-semitism, probably just unclear at the time as the events unfolded exactly who was being targetted.

    If they had attacked a place of worship, a Church, Mosque or Synagogue then it would be immediately clear they were attacking members of that religion. As it was they took control of the Nariman House business and residential complex, which houses the Jewish centre.

    In the following hours and days it was to become clear why they targetted that complex, but probably wouldnt have been at the time. We were getting conflicting reports all the time that the siege was over when clearly it wasnt. The reporting on the ground was of varying standards.

    The BBC now report that the Jewish centre was one of the first targets.

  2. Does the ethnicity, religion, racial background of victims alter in any way the immorality of the terrorist acts?

  3. I guess the point must be, then, that the BBC and NYT, if they were truly impartial, were unbelievably slow on the uptake considering they claim to be at the forefront of news and opinion, which is highlighted by Gross’s reference to the Guardian, which connected the attack on the Jewish quarters early on in the piece.

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