Friday, August 13, 2010

Elias Abuelazam? Not a Jew

I wanted to leave this morning's Rav Kook post on top for several days, but my ire is up.

Like pretty much every other North American citizen, I've spent the past news cycle reading about Elias Abuelazam and his killing spree - apparently a racist attack against African-Americans, to boot. And every report I've read in the North American press has identified him as "an Israeli."

Great - A Jew goes off the rails and starts knifing people in the US, that's another one for the anti-Jewish crowd to eat up. They've wrung every drop of Jewish blood they could out of the Flotilla ambush, and they did their best with the Lebanese border attack until video showed that the Lebanese army had staged it, so they need a new reason to attack Jews - and Elias Abuelazam, aka "Israeli citizen arrested in serial stabbing case," is ideal.

But it ain't quite the way the media is painting it. People hear "Israeli," they assume, "Israeli Jew." But, in fact, he is an Arab Christian.

You wouldn't know that from the major news outlets. To quote headlines collected by a blogger named Sheila B:
New York Times: '...arrested at the airport as he tried to board a plane to Israel...'
CNN: First two words in headline, 'Israeli Citizen'.
NBC: Headline, 'Serial Stabbing Suspect Nabbed on Way to Israel'.
CBS: Headline, 'Israeli Suspect Nabbed in Deadly Stabbing Spree'.
ABC: Headline: 'Serial Stabber Suspect Arrested in Airport Trying to Flee to Israel'. And finally, finally, ABC did mention he's an 'Israeli-Arab'.
FOX described him as an Israeli citizen.

Of course, it doesn't matter whether he is Jew, Christian, Muslim or Martian - people have been murdered, families have been destroyed. The killer's ethnicity shouldn't be the story.

But it bugs me. What justification is there for this obfuscation? The media are normally not allergic to identifying Israeli Arabs as separate from Jews; just the opposite, they look to play up differences between the two populations, even when there are none. Remember the "Apartheid state" canard?

So why is he simply an "Israeli" now? Why encourage people to blame the Jews?


  1. Thanks for the heads up Rabbi. Yet again the media have shown that bias and prejudice are alive and well and printed in the newspapers sold around the world, and on the news sites on the Internet.

  2. Thank you Rabbi for pointing this out! I was sickened when I kept hearing on the news this morning that he was an "Israeli". It seems there's so much prejudice against Jews and Israel in the Media and more incorrect stories are definitely not needed!

  3. I share your anger on this one.

  4. You are most welcome, and thanks for commenting. And ProfK, thanks for the link.

  5. I see what you're saying.

    I've been on the other side of that coin for a while. I'm just glad it's not anyone I identify with, for once. And AH they caught him.

  6. Sheila B. has updated her blog post with the information that the media has begun identifying him as a Christian.