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Where the Killer Is A Victim

Why does WorldNetDaily have as its Jerusalem reporter someone who is so cozy with a militant Jewish movement that he whitewashes and obscures its history of violence and extremism?

By Terry Krepel
Posted 8/12/2005

How pro-Israel is WorldNetDaily? It is condoning and whitewashing violence by a militant Jewish faction and portraying an AWOL Israeli soldier who killed four people and wounded a dozen others as a victim.

WND didn't start out this way. But how did it get to this point of condoning a killer? Let's go back to October 1997, when WND editor Joseph Farah wrote a column that listed the Israel's ultra-orthodox Kach movement as one of the "terror-supporting groups" on a Clinton administration list that he as "no use for."

The Kach movement advocated the forcible removal of Arabs from all of Israel, including the disputed areas of Gaza and the West Bank, and advocated the creation of a theocracy to rule Israel that would ban marriage between Arabs and Jews. The Kach political party was banned in 1988 and declared a terrorist organization by Israel in 1994.

Kach was led by Meir Kahane until he was killed in New York by an Egyptian militant in 1990. After his death, an offshoot organization, Kahane Chai, was formed by Kahane's son, Binyamin (he and his wife were killed in 2000). A member of Kach/Kahane Chai, Baruch Goldstein, killed 29 Arabs in the Cave of the Patriarchs (a site in Hebron holy to both Jews and Muslims) in 1994; he was then beaten to death by survivors.

Fast forward to 2004 and Israeli efforts to pull out of Gaza, where we learn that Farah has a use for Kach after all.

This is also when Aaron Klein -- he of the lopsided pro-Israel bias and the retracted article -- stated filing dispatches from Jerusalem for WorldNetDaily. One early WND effort was an Aug. 7, 2004 article that attempted to whitewash the Kach movement.

It described a "leisurely chat" the Israeli internal security minister had with Kahane sympathizers (Klein never uses the name Kahane Chai). Klein references the Baruch Goldstein massacre as performed by "a member of the Kach movement" to try and prove that instances of "Jewish terrorism" are "considered extremely rare. But he fails to point out that Kach and Kahane are one in the same. A July 28, 2004, Klein article made the same argument in trying to portray the Goldstein massacre as an anomaly, quoting the same unnamed Gaza settler claiming "But just because of this, settlers don't deserve these labels."

Klein got even more obscure about Kach extremism in a July 6, 2004, WND article describing one Gaza settler, Itamar Ben-Gvir, merely as "an activist in the Kach movement, which was started by Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane." Later in the article, Klein wrote that Ben-Gvir "was recently convicted on charges of supporting a terrorist organization" without stating what that terrorist organization was -- presumably, Kach/Kahane Chai. An Aug. 5, 2004, Klein article quoted a "former Kahane leader" without detailing anything about the Kahane movement.

In a Feb. 15 article, Klein noted Meir Kahane as among "politicians who in the past raised the possibility of expelling the Palestinian population" who were "largely sidelined by the mainstream Israeli media and general population" without noting all that violence and theocracy stuff Kahane was associated with.

Klein also used WND to promote other far-right Israeli extremists and obscure their militant ties; as blogger Richard Bartholomew points out, Klein's articles on a march to the Temple Mount failed to note that a leader of it, David Ha'ivri, is tied to the Kahane movement.

Fast forward again, to Aug. 4, when Eden Natan Zada, a soldier AWOL from the Israeli military, opened fire on a bus, killing four Arabs and wounding a dozen. Zada was then killed by a mob before he could reload. In the lead of his main article on the deaths, Klein bizarrely paints Zada as the victim and Zada's victims as an afterthought:

A mob of Palestinians tonight murdered a Jewish Israeli man in a police uniform after he opened fire on a bus and killed four Arabs, allegedly in protest of the Gaza withdrawal plan.

Nowhere does Klein use the word "murder" to describe the fate of the four people Zada killed.

Klein goes on to quote "a former Kahane leader" blaming Zada's massacre on the Israeli "disengagement" plan of moving settlers out of Gaza. But for the first time in any WND article, Klein uses the term "Kahane Chai" to describe the Kahane-Kach movement and explicitly links it to the Goldstein massacre.

In a follow-up article, Klein quotes more people painting Zada as a victim. It's only in a third article -- in the final paragraph -- that Klein quotes anyone noting that Zada "took the lives of innocent people."

Bartholomew, meanwhile, notes via the Forward something that Klein hasn't -- that Zada was arrested during one David Ha'ivri-led Temple Mount march.

An Aug. 5 WND article by Art Moore took a different, but equally bizarre, tack. Moore cited the Council on American-Islamic Relations' condemnation of the Zada shootings, but then quoted two so-called terrorism experts, Robert Spencer (last seen here trying to whip up anti-Islamic sentiment in the death of a family that turned out not to be Islamic-related at all) and Steven Emerson (who has peddled misinformation in the past). But nowhere on the blogs operated by Spencer (Jihad Watch) or Emerson (Counterterrorism Blog) will you see a condemnation of the Zada shootings.

Nor has one appeared on WorldNetDaily.

Then again, we shouldn't be surprised that WND considers some "victims" more worthy than others; it is, after all, the home of Jack Cashill's misleading, seven-part attempt to portray abortion-doctor-killer James Kopp as an innocent victim, as well as a portrayal of anti-abortion extremist Neal Horsley as a victim that somehow forgot to include any hint of the behavior that was causing that victimhood, i.e., maintaining the "Nuremburg Files" web site that kept a list of murdered abortion doctors.

While ConWebWatch is not taking sides in the Arab-Israeli conflict, perhaps Farah and WorldNetDaily should explain why it has no interest in condemning the Zada killings to the extent that it condemns, say, Palestinian militant group Hamas. As Farah wrote back in June, "Hamas exists to destroy Israel. It does not believe in any compromise." (Did we mention that two of the four people Zada killed were Arab Christians -- just like Farah?)

And perhaps, too, WND should explain why a person who appears to be little more than a PR man for an extremist movement with a history of violence is working as its Jerusalem reporter.

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