By Jon Sutz, Editor, SaveTheWest.com
This page contains deep background materials about Ezra Schwartz, an American teenager who was murdered by Palestinian terrorists while visiting Israel. In my 2016 documentary, below, I profile Ezra’s murder, and how the Huffington Post dehumanized him — while super-humanizing aggrieved Palestinians and those mourning relatives who engaged in anti-Israel violence.
The segment featuring Ezra is from to 10:59 to 16:58:
An extension of “Chronology of Palestinian attacks during the Third Intifada”
(1) About Ezra Schwartz, and his murder
Gush Etzion: On November 18, 2015 a Palestinian terrorist opened fire with a submachine gun at cars in a traffic jam at the Alon Shvut junction, south of Jerusalem, killing three Jews. The victims were identified as Ezra Schwartz, 18, an American citizen from Sharon, Massachusetts, and Yaakov Don, 49, of Alon Shvut, and Shadi Arafa, 40, of Hebron, in the disputed territory. Four others were lightly wounded. The terrorist was apprehended.
From the Times of Israel:
Ezra Schwartz had ‘unconditional’ love of Israel, helped friends overcome fears […] Remembering him as both compassionate and tough, friends of Ezra Schwartz reflected on his short life during the hours following news of the 18-year old’s murder by a Palestinian terrorist on Thursday.
A native of Sharon, Massachusetts, Schwartz was spending his gap year before college at a yeshiva in Beit Shemesh. Early on Thursday, Schwartz and several classmates visited Gush Etzion, south of Jerusalem, to deliver food to lone soldiers and visit a memorial for three Israeli boys murdered last summer. As Schwartz and his friends waited in a traffic jam to leave the area, an Uzi-wielding Palestinian, now in custody, killed the American teenager and two men, leaving five other yeshiva students wounded.
From lifelong camp buddies to teammates on his high school baseball team, friends of Schwartz recalled a highly driven young man, known for telling good jokes and helping bring others out of their shells. “Ezra was always asking me how he could do better, and he was always checking up on even the quietest camper,” said Aliza Abolafia, a University of Massachusetts sophomore who supervised Schwartz in his role as counselor at New Hampshire’s Camp Yavneh.
“He brought warmth and silliness to every room that he entered,” Abolafia told The Times of Israel, along with the revelation that Schwartz had been a “notoriously mischievous camper” during his younger days at the sleepaway camp. […]
“Ezra’s soul yearned to help others,” said Tibbetts. “He was the kind of person who would invest hours in others, who would go out of his way to sit with a kid who was struggling. I wasn’t surprised to hear that he was volunteering to distribute food to lone soldiers — it fits who Ezra was and always will be,” he added.
On November 23, 2015 the New England Patriots, of whom Ezra was a huge fan, devoted a moment of silence to him, by name, and to reflect on his murder, at the hands of terrorists:
(2) The Huffington Post whitewashed, downplayed, then quickly removed the story about Ezra’s murder
The news about Ezra’s murder broke in the U.S. on November 19, 2015.
(2.1) Reuters and other news sources played the story straight
On November 19, Reuters ran the following story:
The website Heavy.com had an extensive, picture-rich profile of Ezra (caution: graphic imagery), the murder scene, and the outpouring of sympathy from his friends and loved ones:
Heavy also documented the fact that Hamas was publicly cheering Ezra’s murder as a “heroic” act:
(2.2) HuffPost ran the Reuters story , but changed “Palestinian attacks” to “Israel attacks”
On November 20, HuffPost published the Reuters story, and promoted it on its front page and World page. Yet look at how radically it altered Reuters’ headline, on both pages:
Why did HuffPost remove the “Palestinian attacks” copy from the Reuters headline – and instead insert “in Israel attacks”? If one only got their news from HuffPost, as demonstrated in our Chronology of Palestinian attacks during the Third Intifada, they would only know that nondescript “violence” and “unrest” was intermittently occurring in the region, in which “Israelis and Palestinians are losing their lives.” Atop that foundation of unawareness, if that person saw this headline, would they have any indication whatsoever who killed this American teen? Absolutely not.
(2.3) HuffPost knew Ezra’s name at the time it published this story – as its own website proves.
Here is a zoomed-in screencap of the page on which HuffPost published the Reuters story, on November 20; note that the URL mentions Ezra by name:
As in the other Incidents listed above, HuffPost clearly knew who was attacking whom (in general, and in this attack), and the name of the American victim, for it was all described in its own story page (emphasis added):
A Palestinian fatally stabbed two people in a Tel Aviv office building and three other people were killed in an attack in the occupied West Bank on Thursday, Israeli police and the army said. In the latest attack near the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the West Bank, a police commander said a Palestinian drove along the shoulder of the main road and shot at crawling traffic, killing three people and wounding others. […] Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld… said an American citizen was one of three people killed. […]
The American was identified as Ezra Schwartz, 18, who was studying in Israel, according to a Facebook post by the American Jewish Committee. CBS’s Boston affiliate said Schwartz was from Sharon, Massachusetts.
Yet HuffPost chose to alter the headline that Reuters provided with this story, to remove any indication of the fact that this nameless “American teen” was the latest Jew to be murdered in the more than two months of practically nonstop Palestinian terrorist attacks, 90%+ of which it ignored, or, as indicated above, whitewashed to indicate was only nondescript “violence” or “unrest.”
(2.4) HuffPost also did not include a single picture of Ezra on its story page.
Even though by the time HuffPost published its story, there were dozens of pictures of Ezra available on the Internet, it included not a single picture of Ezra on its story page – or of the crime scene, or anything. Take a look for yourself; this screencap was taken the evening of November 20:
(2.5) HuffPost removed the story containing information about the murder of Ezra Schwartz from its front page after only 19 hours. HuffPost’s story page claims it published the story at 4:02 am on November 20. Yet our documentation shows that HuffPost completely removed the story from the front page by 11:15pm, meaning that it let the story remain on the front page for 19 hours.
Contrast this to the fact that HuffPost routinely keeps stories about those for whom it feels sympathy – including terrorists, convicted murderers, celebrities and animals – on its front page for 2, 3, 4 or even 7 days in a row (see Section 5).
HuffPost also ignored the fact that the New England Patriots devoted a moment of silence to Ezra.
- Why did HuffPost so materially change the headline it had been provided by Reuters, especially since the opening sentence of the story clearly indicated that it was Palestinian terrorists – not “Israel” – that perpetrated the attack that claimed the life of Ezra and two others?
- Why did HuffPost not include even a single picture of Ezra, or his story, or the comments by his grieving loved ones, or the New England Patriots’ tribute to him?
- Why, as we’ll see in Section 3, did HuffPost shower another American teen who was killed in the region, with a splash headline of his picture, and a story page containing his name and (a sanitized) version of his personal story?
- Why, as we’ll see in Section 4, did HuffPost feel that abused animals deserved to have their faces, names and sad stories published on its front page -but Ezra did not?
- And why, as we’ll see in Section 5, does HuffPost shower Palestinian victims of violence with prominent, often sustained coverage, replete with sympathetic pictures and personal stories – but gave Ezra and his loved ones not one iota of this treatment?
Only HuffPost’s editors can answer those questions.
(3) Contrast HuffPost’s treatment of Ezra’s murder, to the prominent, personalized coverage it showered on another American teen who was killed in the region
While HuffPost whitewashed and downplayed Ezra’s murder, it gave prominent, personalized, sympathetic treatment atop its World page to another American teen who was killed – yet who was not the innocent child that Ezra was:
This splash led to a story page in which HuffPost presented the teen’s name in the headline, and assigned responsibility for his death to Israel:
What makes this contrast even more notable is the fact that unlike Ezra, an innocent civilian who was riding in a car when a Palestinian terrorist shot him, this “American” teen, Furkan Doğan was born in America, but his family relocated to Turkey when he was two years old, where he remained ever since. And he was killed under disputed circumstances, aboard a ship with Islamist militants who were intent on penetrating Israel’s lawful blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, and who then tried to murder Israeli soldiers when they attempted to enforce the blockade – an attack that was captured on video:
In fact, as was discovered soon after his killing, hours before the attack aboard the flotilla, Doğan claimed in his diary and to his brother that his objective was to die as “a martyr” – a claim also made by the militant Islamists on the ship who attempted to murder the IDF soldiers.
The Anti-Defamation League blasted HuffPost’s dishonest depiction of Doğan‘s killing as “outrageous”:
“(Doğan) was among a group of extremists on the Mavi Marmara who came aboard with axes, knives and other weapons with intent to attack and kill Israeli personnel when they boarded the ship. Israeli naval forces acted in self-defense when numbers of their group found themselves under vicious assault and their lives in jeopardy.”
Outrageous Flotilla Comparison (HuffPost), the Anti-Defamation League, June 7, 2010.
Learn more about the reality of the “Flotilla of Terror” in this video.
Yet as in many other well-documented instances, HuffPost provided sympathetic, personalized, top coverage to those who perpetrate or support terrorist acts to advance the interests of radical Islamists – while ignoring, whitewashing and/or downplaying their victims, as in the case of Ezra Schwartz.
(4) So what kinds of personalized “news” items did Huffington Post publish on its front page and World page, instead of one that focused on Ezra?
Ezra was murdered on November 18. News of his murder broke in the U.S. and elsewhere on November 19. As noted above, HuffPost published its whitewashed version of the story about the attack that killed him at 4:02 am on November 20.
Starting at that point, the following is a sampling of personalized “news” stories that HuffPost’s editors decided were more worthy of appearing on its front page and World page, on November 20 and 21:
November 21: HuffPost decided these abused puppies deserved to have their faces and stories told on its front page; Ezra and his murder… not:
Nov. 21: HuffPost was able to find, and decided to give front-page coverage to a “news” story about transsexual males’ “periods” – but decided that Ezra’s story, and murder, should be ignored:
Nov. 21: HuffPost decided that the story of this model losing “followers” on social media deserved three straight days of coverage as “news” on its front page, replete with her face – but Ezra’s face and story deserved none:
Nov. 20: A woman’s personal story (with her face) of cheating on her husband was, according to HuffPost, front-page “news”; Ezra’s face and murder… not:
And here is a sampling of the tribute-type “news” stories that appeared on HuffPosts front page on November 24-25, the 48-hour period after the New England Patriots devoted a moment of silence to pay tribute to Ezra, on Nov. 23:
Nov. 24: HuffPost paid “tribute” to an abused puppy on its front page; to Ezra…nothing:
(5) How does Huffington Post’s decision to ignore this story compare with the coverage that it provides to Palestinians, terrorists, animals and others who meet with misfortune?
January 23, 2016: An American university student, Otto Frederick Warmbier, was arrested in North Korea, for allegedly perpetrating a “crime against the state.”
Note the significant differences between HuffPost’s coverage of this story, which it placed on both its front page and World page, versus how it covered Ezra’s murder:
- Had HuffPost applied the same standard to this young man that it did to Ezra, it would have merely said in its headline, “American college student arrested in North Korea.” Instead, it editorialized the headline, to place the blame firmly on the North Koreans: “North Korea’s Arrest Of An American College Student Should Come As No Surprise.”
- Had HuffPost applied the same standard to this young man that it did to Ezra, it would have matched the headline with a picture of a North Korean government building, or one of its courtrooms. Instead, it chose to recognize Otto’s humanity, by including his picture in the headline – which it placed on its front page.
- Note also that while HuffPost relied on a wire service (Reuters) for the entire content of Ezra’s story (sans the headline, which HuffPost rewrote), in Otto’s case it assigned one of its “journalists” to write an original story about his plight.
Why is HuffPost providing Otto with such personalized, sympathetic treatment – all of which it denied to Ezra? If you’d like to ask HuffPost that question, use its Contact Us form.