How Der Spiegel Covered the Terrorist Car-Ramming In Jerusalem


The German magazine Der Spiegel, which has a history of anti-Israel bias, in late June was at it again, publishing an article that appeared at first to blame the Israeli police for shooting an inoffensive Palestinian.

The story is here. The title of the Spiegel article read: “Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian at border crossing.”

The title first fixes the meaning in the reader’s mind. In this case, we have Israeli soldiers inexplicably shooting at an inoffensive Palestinian, who appears to have done nothing. Indeed, he was, we assume, likely stopped at the border crossing. That is not what happened. But the title insidiously has done damage to our apprehension of the story.

But then comes more detail in the first two sentences of the story:

A video showed the alleged Palestinian terrorist Ahmad Mustafa Erekat ramming his car into Israeli soldiers. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said Erekat “drove his vehicle quickly towards the direction of a female border police officer who was injured lightly.”

An “alleged Palestinian terrorist”? Apparently aiming his speeding vehicle toward a group of police is not enough to make you a “terrorist.” For Der Spiegel, you are still only “alleged.”

Let’s try a rewrite. First, here’s a much better title: “Palestinian attempting to run down Israeli police is shot.” Isn’t that what happened? And doesn’t it leave a different impression in the reader’s mind than “Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian at border crossing”? Then comes the first sentence: “A video showed the Palestinian terrorist Ahmad Mustafa Erekat ramming his car into Israeli soldiers.” Use of the word “alleged” is flatly wrong, and the word has been removed. Erekat did drive his car at the Israeli police. It’s on video. There’s no denying it. Der Spiegel is here no different from a reporter who writes that “George Floyd died from an alleged neck-on-knee hold.” There is nothing “alleged” about that, or about what Erekat did. He committed an obvious act of vehicular terrorism, like so many Palestinian terrorists before him.

…When pressed by the Post if Spiegel plans to correct the headline, [Anja zum Hingst, a Spiegel spokeswoman] said “the first sentence of the lead says that the Palestinian quickly approached an official.” She added that “the report is based on official Israeli information. Of course we don’t see anything anti-Israel or antisemitic in this.”

So Erekat “quickly approached an official”? Oh, that’s okay then. But what about the speeding car he was driving?

The report is “based on official Israeli information,” so according to Anja zum Hingst, it can’t be anti-Israel or antisemitic. Of course it can. The report in Der Spiegel is quite different from the “official Israeli information” in what it conveys, beginning with that title – “Israeli soldiers shoot Palestinian at border crossing” and that mention of an “alleged terrorist.”

A sample of other media outlets shows the role of the alleged Palestinian terrorist in the attack on Israeli soldiers. The AP titled its article “Palestinian Driver Killed In Alleged Attack On Israeli Guard,” and an Israeli media outlet used the headline “Driver tries to ram cops near Jerusalem, is shot and killed — police.”…

Though the AP title retains the word “alleged” — the attack was not “alleged” — it does supply the information, as do all the other headlines, about an attempted car-ramming: “Driver…attack on Israeli guard,” “Driver tries to ram cops,” “Palestinian driver who attempted car-ramming”

The Der Spiegel title (we only have that, and the first two sentences of the report) does suggest that for no reason at all Israeli police decided to open fire on an innocent Palestinian driver. “Kind of randomly killed.”

…In an article on the Mena-Watch website, the German journalist, Alex Feuerherdt, accused the Spiegel of “double standards” against the Jewish state. He wrote that “an editorially edited agency announcement appears on the Spiegel website with the headline: ‘Man is said to have stabbed police officers in Glasgow.”’

In reporting on that attack, in Scotland, Der Spiegel described the attack clearly in the headline. Had it taken place in Israel, one suspects the magazine would have written “Israeli police shoot man walking on road” leaving it for the reader to later on discover that the “man on road” had stabbed Israeli police officers.

…He [Feuerhdert] noted that necessity [required] providing context to the readers “about the terrorist means of the Palestinian car-ramming attacks,” adding “that shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

The report should have had this “accurate sequence of events” and information: 1. Palestinian drives car at top speed toward group of police officers, in car-ramming attack.

  1. Driver hits a female police officer.
  2. Driver is shot and killed by police.
  3. Driver later discovered to be nephew of Saeb Erekat, official in the Palestinian Authority.
  4. Car-ramming is a very common tactic used by terrorists against Israelis.

He [Feuerhdert] noted that necessity [required] providing context to the readers “about the terrorist means of the Palestinian car-ramming attacks,” adding “that shouldn’t be too much to ask.”

No, it shouldn’t. Readers of this report in Der Spiegel deserved to be reminded that Muslim terrorists have rammed cars and trucks into crowds of Infidels in Nice, Barcelona, Paris, London, Vienna, Berlin, Antwerp, Stockholm, Edmonton, and New York, as well as in dozens of places in Israel.

As Feuerhdert says, “that shouldn’t be too much to ask.” But apparently, for Der Spiegel, it was.

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