John Leo

Part of the problem is that the attacks on Israeli civilians are too common to be considered news. Also some reporters think Israel should shut up about suicide bombers and just learn to live with the problem. A report on the ABC News Web site struck this note the other day, pointing out that suicide bombers are nothing new, and besides, "Terrorism experts also note that a society's propensity to get rattled by suicide bomber attacks also contributes to the effectiveness of such attacks." ABC said Sri Lanka has adjusted calmly to suicide attacks by the Black Tiger bombers.

Of course, Sri Lanka has suffered about 200 bombings. Israel, when you add in all the non-suicide bombings, shootings and so forth, has suffered many thousands of terror attacks. In the eight weeks ending April 7, the Israeli government reported 1,495 attacks. That's 27 per day. It's a staggering onslaught aimed at breaking the nation's will to survive. Israel is supposed to adjust to this and not get rattled?

The media, meanwhile, haven't been rattled by other stories that have spun out of the current Middle East crisis. The takeover of the Church of the Nativity in Bethlethem has not evoked much journalistic response, even though one Franciscan monk says the barricaded Palestinians grained entrance by shooting off the locks. Presumably if Christians took over a mosque in Mecca, coverage would be more intense.

The media have also given short shrift to the startling rise of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic sentiment in Europe and the apparent inability of the French government to do much about attacks on synagogues. Could rising anti-Israeli sentiment in Europe be partly driven by a fear of violence from its Muslim immigrant population? Don't turn to the morning paper or the evening news for answers.

Another underreported topic is the new alliance on U.S. campuses between Muslim militants and conventional hate-America, hate-Israel lefties. The militants failed in their first attempt to silence a pro-Israel speaker (Daniel Pipes at the University of Washington). But they will get more skilled, particularly with the help of the lefties, who are experienced at this sort of thing.

Some odd attitudes are now on the loose among our media and our intelligentsia. Astonishingly, human-rights groups are calling for a divestment campaign against Israel like the one that targeted racist South Africa. Israel equals South Africa? Get serious. An open and democratic nation, Israel deserves our respect and honest coverage from our media.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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