December 2, 2004
Time To Tell The Truth About Convicted Murderers
Dear HonestReporting Canada subscriber:
With Yasser Arafat permanently out of the picture, new Palestinian elections are slated for January 9, 2005. While former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas is considered a shoe-in for the top job, yesterday jailed terrorist leader Marwan Barghouti announced his candidacy by sending his wife to register him as a candidate at Palestinian election headquarters in Ramallah.
Barghouti, a former Fatah-Tanzim militia commander, was convicted of murder in May 2004 for his involvement in three terrorist attacks that killed five people in Israel. These included a June 2001 attack in which a Greek monk was murdered, and a March 2002 attack at a seafood restaurant that left three dead. In June 2004 an Israeli court sentenced Barghouti to five consecutive life terms plus 40 years.
In reporting Barghouti’s candidacy, many news outlets pointed out the reason for his imprisonment. The New York Times’s Greg Myre, for example, reported that “the Israelis routinely describe Mr. Barghouti as a ‘terrorist’” and added that “Mr. Barghouti was arrested in April 2002 near Ramallah. Israel charged him with involvement in 26 killings, and he was convicted in five of the deaths.”
The National Post similarly called Barghouti a “convicted terrorist” and reported that he was “sentenced to five life terms last June after being convicted of ordering terrorist attacks that killed Israelis.” And the Globe and Mail’s Matthew Kalman reported that Barghouti “was arrested again in 2002, tried on charges of orchestrating ambushes and suicide bombings and given five life sentences.”
In contrast, the Toronto Star’s Mitch Potter played down Barghouti’s terrorist past by calling him a “jailed Palestinian rebel” and “45-year-old activist.” While allowing that Barghouti is “currently serving five life sentences in an Israeli prison,” Potter declined to inform his readers that it was for Barghouti’s role in killing at least 5 innocents.
In another instance, Potter referred to Hamas (a Canadian-designated terrorist organization) simply as “the militant Islamic group Hamas.” In contrast, the New York Times reported that “Hamas is officially committed to the destruction of Israel and has always refused to be part of the Palestinian Authority, which was created under a 1993 interim agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
And in a third example, Potter referred to Zakaria al-Zubeidi of the Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades (also a Canadian-designated terrorist organization) simply as “one of Barghouti’s most hard-line supporters.” Yet as HonestReporting Canada has previously pointed out, Zubeidi himself is a terrorist leader who planned a series of deadly attacks in which at least nine Israeli citizens and one foreign worker were killed, including a November 28, 2002 attack that killed six and wounded thirty at a Likud voting station. In contrast to Mr. Potter, the Globe and Mail identified the Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigades as “the terrorist wing of Fatah that Mr. Barghouti helped to arm and finance.”
Isn’t it time for Mr. Potter to join his fellow journalists in telling the truth about terrorists and convicted murderers?
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW
Send a letter to firstname.lastname@example.org expressing your concern at Mr. Potter’s failure to properly identify terrorist leaders and convicted murderers as such for his Canadian audience.
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