In the anti-Israel sweepstakes, a new contestant has just entered the lists. She is Henriette Chacar, a young Israeli Arab from Jaffa, who prefers to be called a “Palestinian.” Somehow she managed to be hired by Reuters, and somehow, she’s managed to stay hired, despite her appallingly slanted coverage of Israel. More about her can be found here: “REVEALED: Reuters Journalist Rebuked by Editor After Sending ‘Outrageous’ Email About Israel,” by Rachel O’Donoghue, Honest Reporting, February 9, 2023:
Last year, we exposed Reuters correspondent Henriette Chacar’s alarming history of spreading misinformation about Israel, including accusing the country of “blatant and systemic racism” and claiming that “racist, fascist talking points are now mainstream.”
In one tweet, she called Israel “a [racist] light unto the nations,” a play on the Jewish adage to be a positive example and a force for good in the world.
Chacar, who was the deputy editor of the anti-Israel +972 Magazine, also suggested that Israel implemented “racist, segregationist policies” — even though, somewhat ironically, the self-defined “Palestinian journo from Jaffa” was educated at IDC Herzliya, a top Israeli academic institution.
What “racist, segregationist policies” did Ms. Chacar ever have to endure in Israel? Didn’t she attend IDC Herzliya, side by side with Israeli Jews? Was she ever mistreated for being an Israeli Arab? Of course not. She knows perfectly well that Israeli Arabs do not endure “apartheid.” They serve in the Knesset, sit on the Supreme Court, go abroad as ambassadors for Israel. The head of Israel’s largest bank, Bank Leumi, is an Arab. Israeli Jews and Arabs work in the same factories and offices, play on the same sports teams and in the same orchestras. They receive the same medical care in the same hospitals from both Jewish and Arab doctors and nurses. Their equal treatment is codified in Israel’s laws. The same civil, political, and religious rights are guaranteed for all. Only in one respect are Israeli Arabs treated differently, and it is to their advantage. Israeli Jews must serve in the military, but Arabs may do so only if they wish.
All of this Henriette Chacar knows perfectly well – she has lived in Israel her whole life — but despite that, she charges Israel with “blatant and systemic racism,” “racist and segregationist policies,” and she has now added the claim that “racist, fascist talking points” have entered the political mainstream In Israel.
Despite her clear animus toward the Jewish state, the global wire service Reuters, which produces material that is used by more than 2,000 news outlets in 128 counties, refused to sever ties with Chacar and instead entrusted her to continue reporting on Israeli-Palestinian issues.
This is in spite of evidence that Chacar has allowed her feelings about Israel to influence her reporting, including a bylined article this week in which she glorified the Palestinian teenage terrorist who opened fire on a group of Israelis in Jerusalem.
Her coverage of Mahmoud Aleiwat, the 13-year-old who shot and severely wounded an Israeli father and son, was scandalous for two reasons. First, Chacar described Alweilat as merely “accused,” when his shooting had been witnessed by many people; there was never any doubt about his guilt. Second, she tried in her report to win sympathy for him by going on about his dream, as a young boy, of someday becoming a chef, which is irrelevant to his crime, but intended to humanize him. Imagine a journalist reporting sympathetically on Adolf Hitler’s “boyhood dream of becoming a painter.”
It can now be revealed that Chacar was rebuked by bosses at Reuters over disturbing comments she sent to her editor in which she disputed whether there was a difference between Israeli civilians and combatants.
According to emails obtained by the Jewish Chronicle, she sent the now-retired Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Editor-in-Charge Jeffrey Heller a message that said: “Can we conclusively say that Palestinians have mostly targeted civilians?
“Many Israelis are either in active or reserve duty, and with the prime minister encouraging citizens to carry their guns, the line between civilians and combatants is quite blurred, so I do think it’s a tricky thing to highlight. It also seems redundant, since we already outline the number of Israeli civilians and security forces killed.”
Heller replied: “Hi, This line of thinking is outrageous and I will be raising it with our superiors.”
Chacar thinks that because all Israelis serve in the military, they therefore cannot really be considered “civilians”after they get out. The Palestinians who stab, shoot, and ram them with vehicles are not attacking “civilians,” but in Chacar’s bizarre calculus, people who “are either in active or reserve duty.” Israeli males serve in the army for two years and eight months, Israeli females serve for two years. Then they resume their civilian lives and status. It is also true that a sizable number, but not all, Israeli males serve in the Reserves until the age of 40. But that does not turn Israeli civilians — whose active duty ended in their early 20s — into the military. Chacar wants to efface the distinction, so that she can claim that the Palestinians who stab, shoot, and blow up mothers and young children, elderly Passover celebrants, families out for a pizza, or a hike in a nature preserve, or merely driving back from school, are targeting people — apparently including small children and pensioners — who are part of Israel’s military, and thus legitimate targets for killing. This — Chacar’s view – is both absurd and nauseating. And if more Israeli civilians now carry guns to protect themselves and their families against the latest upsurge in Palestinian terrorism that began in 2022, that doesn’t turn them into members of the military. They are no different from civilians anywhere who choose to arm themselves in the face of a crime or terror wave, or because they live in a dangerous neighborhood. And Israeli civilians definitely live in a dangerous neighborhood.
In the same email exchange, Chacar pushed to be allowed to “contextualize” Palestinian terror attacks, writing: “If we are going to explain Israel’s raids to readers by presenting them as a response to something, I think it’s crucial that we also contextualize Palestinian attacks. Perhaps something along the lines of: Israel says it conducts raids in Palestinian towns and villages to thwart ‘terror’ attacks. Palestinians say their armed struggle is a legitimate form of resistance to decades of Israeli occupation.”…
Yes, Chacar thinks Reuters should strive to be “fairer” in its coverage of the Palestinians and their — to her justified — attacks on Israelis. If Reuters won’t accept her view that there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian – all Israelis in her view are part of the Jewish state’s war machine – then perhaps the wire service will accept her argument to “contextualize” the attacks by the Palestinians on civilians. Take the recent Israeli raid on the camp in Jenin in late January. The Israelis had learned from the Shin Bet that terrorists in Jenin were planning an imminent attack on an Israeli target. The IDF went to arrest them in their hideout. The soldiers were met with gunfire. After a three-hour gun battle, seven terrorists – four were members of Hamas, two belonged to Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and one to Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade – were killed. One innocent bystander, a woman, was also killed. In Chacar’s view, the correct “context” consists of Israeli attacks, that then cause the Palestinians to engage in “defensive” attacks in response. Is this true? Are the Palestinians merely reacting to endless aggression by the Israelis or is it the other way round? How “defensive” was the Coastal Road Massacre? Or the murder of two dozen Israeli schoolgirls at Ma’alot? Or the mothers and children blown up by a suicide bomber at the Sbarro Pizzeria? What provocation did the elderly participants In a Passover Seder, blown up by another suicide bomber, constitute ? Does Israel blow up, or shoot, or stab, or ram with vehicles, Palestinian civilians? Israel does not launch, but responds to, terror attacks, whether by preventing those that are still in the planning stage, or by foiling terrorists as they are carrying out their attacks, or by punishing those who have completed their attacks by arresting or “neutralizing” them. The proper “context” for all this is the savage war conducted by the Palestinians who from early on, are taught to hate, and to want to kill, Israeli men, women, and children.
Henriette Chacar has had her chance as a Reuters journalist. She’s shown herself incapable of fairly covering Israel. Look at her attempts to humanize the terrorist Mahmoud Aleiwat, who “dreamed of becoming a chef.” Just look at her comments about the Jewish state on social media. She accuses the country of “blatant and systemic racism.” Israel, she insists, is a “[racist] light unto the nations.” She deplores its “racist, segregationist policies.” It’s now a place where “racist, fascist talking points are now mainstream.” Is it conceivable that such a creature could possibly cover Israel with a modicum of fairness? Of course not.
Reuters, think clearly. about this travesty of a journalist. Show Ms. Chacar the door. Don’t worry about her future. Al Jazeera will hire her in a heartbeat.