Jewish advocate blasts media coverage of Texas synagogue attack: 'Evil'

Media top headlines January 21

In media news today, Biden takes a swipe at a Fox News reporter for pressing him on the growing Russia-Ukraine conflict, Pete Buttigieg pushes back against Joy Reid’s claim that the infrastructure bill was a ‘White guy employment act,’ and an NPR public editor admits the SOCTUS masking story ‘merits clarification.’

The mainstream media’s coverage of the Texas synagogue attack last weekend in Colleyville, Texas is being flamed by one Jewish writer and advocate as “evil,” “terrifying,” and “typical” for a news cycle focused on violence against Jews. 

In a Grazia UK piece published Thursday, writer Eve Barlow blasted what she described as an effort by the media to avoid immediately labeling the attack as anti-Semitism and argued that Jews were not granted the same “collective protection” as Black and LGBTQ+ people. 

Barlow also blasted the reaction by authorities following the attack’s conclusion as “indicative of institutionalized anti-Jewish racism” and called on the non-Jewish world to “actively free itself from antisemitism.”

“The only thing more frightening than a violent act of antisemitism, is a violent act of antisemitism that the world is happy to ignore,” Barlow wrote before describing how British national Malik Faisal Akram took four people hostage at the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue for 11 hours as he demanded the release of convicted terrorist Aafia Siddiqui from prison. 

The situation concluded with the escape of the hostages and the death of Akram at the hands of law enforcement.

“As is typical for the Jewish news cycle, when mainstream media picked up the story, they doubted its authenticity,” Barlow wrote. “The BBC, Guardian and Telegraph all reported the situation with quotation marks around the word ‘hostage’, because apparently it wasn’t obvious enough that this was a hostage situation.”

This Jan. 2, 2022 photo provided by OurCalling, LLC shows Malik Faisal Akram, at a Dallas homeless shelter. Akram, the armed man who took four people hostage during a 10-hour standoff at a Texas synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, had spent time in area homeless shelters in the two weeks leading up to the attack, and was dropped off at one by someone he appeared to know. (OurCalling, LLC via AP) 
( (OurCalling, LLC via AP))

Barlow noted that the Associated Press wrote, “Hostages apparently taken at Texas synagogue,” a headline questioning whether hostages were actually taken, while The New York Times didn’t even have the story on its front page the following day. 

“It didn’t receive nearly as much coverage on rolling televised news as such events warrant. Why? It has no political use. It’s not on the agenda,” she added. 

Barlow pointed out that “Twitter pundits,” one week prior to the attack, were criticizing “Harry Potter” author JK Rowling over her depiction of goblins in the series as a possibly anti-Semitic trope, but there were “crickets” from the same pundits following the synagogue attack. 

“The opportunists who used Jewish victimhood to attack a now controversial public figure had no business with this more prescient instance of antisemitism. Disappointing doesn’t cover the angering sense of betrayal and abuse,” she wrote. 

Law enforcement process the scene in front of the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue, Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, in Colleyville, Texas. A man held hostages for more than 10 hours Saturday inside the temple. The hostages were able to escape and the hostage taker was killed. FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said a team would investigate "the shooting incident." 
(AP Photo/Brandon Wade)

Barlow expressed anger that some pundits actively tried to minimize the attack by making reactions to it about Islamophobia, and declared, “It’s evil that people have a hard time naming an attack on a synagogue an act of antisemitism.”

“If this had been a Black church or an LGBTQ+ nightclub, there’d have been no question calling the act what it was. But Jews are not granted the same ferocious collective protection,” she wrote. 

She referred to the FBI’s statement following the conclusion of the attack as “insane” because the briefing officer stated the attacker’s motive was “unclear” and that it couldn’t be determined if the attack was “specifically related to the Jewish community.”

Law enforcement officials gather at a local school near the Congregation Beth Israel synagogue on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022 in Colleyville, Texas.
(AP Photo/Gareth Patterson)

“Violent words lead to violent acts. When the prerogative of social justice warriors and leftist celebrities, ​and many of those who hold powerful positions in office and huge swathes of mainstream media is to spread untruths about Israel and Zionism, the ramifications are incidents such as that of last Saturday,” Barlow wrote.

Barlow added the press jeopardizes Jewish security.

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