Reporting on Presidential Visit to Israel, NBC Downplays Palestinian Terrorism and Misrepresents King David Hotel Bombing

NBC has published an article on its website about the preparations that were made for President Trump’s visit to Israel, including his stay at the King David Hotel (May 22, “Trump’s Israel Visit: Major Security in Jerusalem, Bethlehem”). While many of the details about the security efforts are interesting, several notable omissions created a distorted view of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The 1946 bombing of the King David Hotel was misrepresented as an attack that targeted civilians, while the extent of Palestinian terrorism was downplayed. In addition, as has become all too common, the article ignored Palestinian intransigence.

The article begins with a detailed description of the extensive security preparations at the King David, after which it notes that the hotel has been targeted before, “most famously in 1946 when militant Zionists fighting for an independent state bombed the building and killed 91.” There is even an accompanying photo showing the aftermath of this incident. What the article fails to note, however, is that at the time of that bombing, the building was being used as a British military headquarters. As CAMERA has explained before:

In 1946, the Irgun bombed the British military headquarters in the southern wing of the King David Hotel.This target was not a civilian one, but rather the site of the British military command and criminal investigation division. The bombersissued threewarnings to enable evacuation – to the hotel, to the French Consulate and to the Palestine Post.The British chose to believe the calls were a hoax.

This omission creates a false impression that the attack on the hotel by Zionist groups in pre-state Israel targeted civilians.

At the same time, the article downplays Palestinian terrorism. NBC writes:

According to Israeli emergency services, some 48 Israelis have been killed and 608 wounded in attacks by individual Palestinians since August 2015 – the latest bout of violence. During the same period, around 260 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces and more than 18,000 wounded, according to Palestinian officials.

Missing from this paragraph is the highly relevant fact that most of the Palestinians that have been killed were assailants. This omission creates a false equivalency between the Israelis that were killed and the Palestinians that were killed.

Moreover, the only attack referred to explicitly in the article is the decades-old attack on the King David by the Irgun. Since September of 2015, there have been “177 stabbing attacks and 117 attempted stabbings; 144 shootings; 58 vehicular (ramming) attacks; and one vehicular (bus) bombing” against Israelis, according to the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Yet, none of the attacks by Palestinians are specifically mentioned – ignoring the reason that such extensive security preparations are necessary. Thus, the article creates a false impression that a specific Jewish attack was terrorism, while it downplays actual terrorism by Palestinians.

Moreover, while the article quotes Sheldon Ritz, operations manager of the King David, saying that in addition to the existing hotel security, “still the U.S. is bringing rocket-proof glass to put in front of the window,” there is no mention of why rocket-proof glass might be necessary – that is, because Hamas has fired thousands of rockets into Israel since 2007.

Finally, the article resorts to the common trope that all Palestinians want is a state of their own, and that this desire is “at the heart of the conflict.” The facts contradict this claim: nowhere does the article mention that Palestinians have turned down numerous opportunities to have such a state, and continued through the end of Obama’s tenure as President to refuse to negotiate for such a state without preconditions.

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