Today’s AFP Media Bias: “Hardline Jews”

The phrase “hardline Jews” appears at least twice in recent AFP reports.

One is in a discussion of Peace Now:

Loathed or loved by many Israelis, Peace Now this week marks 30 years as a movement which has deeply influenced public opinion but not achieved its vision of peace with the Palestinians.

…The peace movement was a counterforce to hardline Jews who settled the West Bank and Gaza Strip after their occupation in the 1967 Middle East war.

Their usage of language certainly makes clear what AFP thinks of Peace Now and of “hardline Jews.” You will never see them refer to Peace Now as an “extreme Left group” or as being comprised of “hardline terrorist enablers,” both of which are more accurate than to consider them a “peace” group.

Today, we see the identical phrase used in a more curious manner, in a headline, no less:

Hardline Jews make night pilgrimages to West Bank tomb

NABLUS, West Bank (AFP) — Headlights pierce the misty night as the armoured bus packed with hardline Jews winds down the road from a hilltop settlement into the heart of the Palestinian town of Nablus.

Their destination is the burial place of the biblical patriarch Joseph, a pilgrimage site that has become a grim symbol of the region’s intractable conflict.

Nearly 100 men wearing black hats or skullcaps and clutching prayer books huddle in the bus, some reading prayers by the light of mobile phones.

“This is a path of devotion for God. I have gone this way dozens of times and will continue doing it,” says Benjamin Makhleb, a 23-year-old member of the Hassidic Breslav movement who had come from Jerusalem.

The tense silence that grips this cloak-and-dagger mission gives way to raptured singing and praying as the two buses pass through the checkpoint at the entrance to Nablus, under heavy military escort.

It is just past 2 am.

“This is the cradle of our existence as a Jewish people. Joseph’s Tomb is part of every Jew and it is shameful to see us having to sneak in here like thieves in the night,” says 23-year-old Nathan Azur.

“It saddens and angers me to see this,” says the bearded student from a town near Tel Aviv.

Everyone makes the journey for religious reasons, but for many extreme right-wing Israelis it is also an affirmation of what they see as the Jews’ right to control and govern their sacred sites in the Holy Land.

So the desire to have Jews control Jewish sacred sites is the definition, according to AFP, of being an “extreme right-wing Israeli.” Of course, this definition works well for those who want to see historic Jerusalem and the rest of Judea and Samaria – where essentially every major Jewish shrine lies – to be Judenrein.

Would AFP consider any Muslims who travel to pray at the Al Aqsa mosque in territory controlled by Jews to be “hardline Muslims” or would that be considered a normal, and normative, human right? Would AFP consider Palestinian Authority members who advocate the Arabization of all of Israel to be “extreme Palestinian nationalists”?

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