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Media Analyses





The Los Angeles Times, Jordan, Israel and Selective Affronts


An online Los Angeles Times article yesterday about how Jordanian-Israeli relations "have hit rock bottom" exclusively blames Israeli decisions (one rescinded) "widely seen as an affront to Jordan's King Abdullah II" ("Relations between Israel and Jordan have become 'very dangerous'"). Special correspondent Noga Tarnopolsky is completely mum about Jordanian actions "widely seen as an affront" to Israelis.
 
About those Jordanian actions which so angered many Israelis, Avi Issacharoff wrote in Times of Israel:
But amid the political and regional uproar over Israel’s decision to place metal detectors at the gates to the Temple Mount, where the Jordanian Waqf has administrative authority, Jordan is not only refusing at the moment to allow the security guard to return to Israel, despite his diplomatic immunity, but is also demanding to interrogate him. . . .
 
Jordanian media heavily criticized Israel, as is its wont, but the Jordanian Parliament Speaker Atef Tarawneh set the official tone, by calling the Arab-Israeli terrorists from Umm al-Fahm who carried out the attack, killing two Druze cops, “martyrs who sowed and watered the pure land.”

“May Allah have mercy on our young people, members of the Jabarin family, whose family members deserve to receive glory and honor,” Tarawneh said during a session in parliament. . . .

Jordan’s incitement against Israel has intensified in recent days, with the metal detectors as the focus. The Waqf officials who chose not to enter the Temple Mount via the new metal detectors, and who have led the opposition to the security measures, are employed by Jordan, with their salaries paid by Jordan.

But Tarnopolsky turns a completely blind eye to the Jordanian praise for the Israeli Arab assailants in the deadly July 14 shooting attack on two Israeli policemen, along with other Jordanian actions which angered many Israelis. Instead, she exclusively cites "twin decisions by the Israeli government that have been widely seen as an affront to Jordan's King Abdullah II" as the cause of the deterioration in Jordanian-Israeli relations.
 
The second paragraph, which describes one of those decisions – the placement of metal detectors outside the Temple Mount – contains not one word of the critical event which prompted the Israeli decision: the fatal shooting attack by three Israeli Arabs of two Israeli policemen, in which the attackers stored their weapons on the Temple Mount and fled back to the holy site after the attack.  Indeed, the entire article contains not a single mention of the fatal July 14 attack on the Israeli policemen.
 

Murdered Israeli policemen Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, left, and Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe,
ignored by Tarnopolsky. Their murders prompted the Israeli decision to install
metal detectors at the holy site. Jordan's parliament speaker praised their murderers
 
Here is Tarnopolsky's incomplete description of the decision to install metal detectors, in which she completely strips out the deadly catalyst for that decision:
The first was Israel's order, since rescinded, to install metal detectors at the Noble Sanctuary, the Muslim name for the disputed plateau in Jerusalem's Old City that holds the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock. Although Israel backed down, the decision was seen as a slap to Jordan was seen as a slap to Jordan, which is the legal custodian of the site.
It is indefensible that the Times reports on the metal detector decision, characterizing it as "widely seen as an affront to Jordan's King Abdullah II," without any mention whatsoever reason for the decision. Obviously a (hypothetical) arbitrary decision to add metal detectors for no reason at all would be cause for affront much more than a decision reached in the wake of a deadly attack in an effort to continue to allow worship for Muslims and safe visitation for all.
 
(Notably, Agence France Presse, which initially reported the Israeli decision to erect metal detectors while ignoring the deadly attacks which were the reason for that decision, commendably added in the crucial missing information in both photo captions and a news story after CAMERA called out the wire service on this point.)
 
This Times' omission is all the more of "an affront" in light of how the article buries the circumstances behind the fatal shooting of two Jordanians. In the third paragraph correspondent Tarnopolsky provides a truncated account of the Amman embassy shooting:
The other involved Israel's response to a deadly incident in the Jordanian capital, Amman, in which an Israeli Embassy guard killed two Jordanians, a 17-year-old delivery boy and an orthopedic surgeon.
Not until eight paragraphs later does the writer note why the Israeli shot the Jordanians:
The incident involved a dispute over a delayed delivery of furniture at the Israeli Embassy compound. Israeli and Jordanian officials said that the Jordanian teenager, Mohammed Jawawdeh, attacked Moyal with a screwdriver, and Moyal responded with shots that killed Jawawdeh and the surgeon and left another man critically injured.
How many readers will read this far to learn that Moyal shot his attacker?
 
Moreover, Tarnopolsky states as fact that the "incident involved a dispute over a delayed delivery of furniture." While Jordan maintains that the incident involved a disagreement over furniture, Israel disputes this, saying that the Jordanian's attack on Moyal was nationalistically motivated.
 
Finally, Tarnopolsky refers to Israeli lawmaker Oren Hazan as "a former pimp." An Israeli court found that although it could not be proven that Hazan solicited prostitutes for his casino clients, there was enough good-faith evidence that an Israeli journalist's claim that he did so are not considered slanderous. As Haaretz reported:
The court asserted that it cannot be proven that Hazan provided casino clients with call girls, but ruled that Segal's claims to that effect aren't slanderous because he cited several sources to back the claims. It further ruled that calling Hazan a "pimp" was a valid opinion based on his findings. 
Is The Times comfortable reporting as fact in a news article that Hazan was a pimp when an Israeli court said it cannot be proven, but it is a valid opinion? (Moreover, pimps run prostitutes, taking a percentage of their earnings. Hazan allegedly solicited prostitutes – also extremely reprehensible if true – but it wouldn't make him a pimp.)
 
It's also telling that in this extremely skewed article, Tarnpolosky dedicated a paragraph containing two sordid details about Hazan, the Israeli lawmaker, (that he was a pimp – which is unproven – and that he "crashed Donald Trump's arrival ceremony in Tel Aviv last May to snag a selfie with the president." In contrast, the journalist did not include any sordid details about Hazan's counterpart in the averted faceoff, Jordanian lawmaker Yehiya Saoud. About his unflattering history, Haaretz reported:
The parliament member has engaged in volatile behavior in the past, attacking lawmaker Qusay al-Damissi in 2013 and verbally abusing a female member of Jordanian parliament in 2014, claiming a gender quota was the only reason for her election.
Thus, on both the individual and national levels, Tarnopolsky highlights Israeli misdeeds, real and imagined, while ignoring Arab misdeeds.
 
CAMERA has contacted Los Angeles Times editors to request that the addition of information about the deadly attack on the Israeli policemen as well as clarification of the disputed claim, reported as fact, that the motive for the Jordanian's attack on the Israeli embassy guard was a dispute about furniture. Stay tuned for an update.
 
Aug. 8 Update: Noga Tarnopolsky Lashes Out at CAMERA
 
The Los Angeles Times has declined to make any changes to the article. On Sunday, however, The Los Angeles Times print edition ran this following important correction on a separate article by journalist Noga Tarnopolsky which appeared in Friday's paper:
Gay pride parade: An article in the Aug. 5 Section A about the annual gay pride march in Jerusalem stated that a man who killed a girl at the 2015 parade was recently released on parole. The assailant is still in prison, serving a life sentence.
(The Times has yet to correct Tarnopolsky's error on Shira Banki's killer in the digital edition.) 
 
Meanwhile, not for the first time, Tarnopolsky responded to serious, substantive criticism by unprofessionally lashing out on Twitter with a ridiculous ad hominem attack. She subsequently deleted her completely inappropriate tweet claiming "sad ladies" run CAMERA and suggesting that the organization is somehow involved with pimping and murder. A CAMERA staffer caught a screen capture:
 

 
Aug. 8 Update, 2:10 PM EST: LA Times Corrects Parole Claim Online
 
Following communication from CAMERA, The Los Angeles Times appended a correction to the digital version of Tarnopolsky's article in which she falsely claimed that Shira Banki's killer is out on parole.
 


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