Media blackout of deadly anti-Arab mob attack in Israel

The sexual abuse of reporter Lara Logan in Cairo’s Tahrir square was certainly worthy of all the worldwide media coverage it has received, and raises disturbing questions about misogynist and xenophobic elements in the Egyptian revolutionary movement. But the incident’s propagandistic exploitation by Islamophobes to discredit the Egyptian revolution altogether has also been a lugubrious spectacle. By way of contrast, there has been no global media outcry over the killing of a young Palestinian man in Jerusalem, apparently at the hands of a Jewish mob in an anti-Arab frenzy sparked in reaction to the revolutionary rising in Egypt. Joseph Dana noted on his +972 blog Feb. 23:

Did Israeli media sideline racist motives in killing of Arab youth?
Amid the revolutionary cheer that was emanating from Egypt last week, a group of Israeli Jews attacked and killed a Palestinian in the heart of West Jerusalem. 24-year-old Palestinian Hussam Rwidy was killed by a group of nationalist Jewish youth screaming “death to Arabs” as he was walking home from work. The Israeli government quickly put a media blackout on the case fearing a violent reactions from Palestinians in Jerusalem, Israel and the West Bank. Once the media blackout was lifted, select Israeli media outlets covered the story as a “drunken brawl turned bad.” According to one Jerusalem resident who helped the victims after the attack, neither of them were drunk.

The Alternative Information Center has posted a video report about the killing and racism in the holy city. Anyone who has visited Jerusalem will recognize the street where the attack took place as ground zero of birthright trips and tourists to the city.

UPDATE: 15:11
As this piece was posted, Ynet has reported that four young settlers have been arrested in connection with the crime. The story was posted today at 14:44 and is currently only in Hebrew. You can view the story here and I will post any new major developments as they happen. The article now appears in Haaretz in English.

The Haaretz story makes clear that the “blackout” was actually an official gag order imposed by the courts. Will the commentators who waxed so indignant about the Lara Logan affair have anything to say about this? Or does it get consigned to the Memory Hole, with Hussam Rwidy becoming an “unperson”?

See our last posts on Israel/Palestine and Jerusalem.

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