JTNews offers a One Sided Story

TERROR VICTIM’S FATHER SHARES PERSPECTIVE ON CONTROVERSIAL GROUP

Arnold Roth with daughter Malki a few months before the Sbarro attack. (Photo via JewishPress.com and courtesy of Arnold Roth)

Arnold Roth with daughter Malki a few months before the Sbarro attack. (Photo via JewishPress.com and courtesy of Arnold Roth)

Too many parents have endured the unbearable pain of losing a child as a result of what Arnold and Frimet Roth refer to as this ongoing war“, which is also the name of their blog. The Roth’s know first hand the cruel, indifferent hand of Palestinian terror, having lost their fifteen year old daughter Malki in the Hamas engineered Sbarro massacre in 2001.

Since that awful day, Malki’s parents have carried their grief with a quiet dignity, fastidiously avoiding politics,  focusing their energies instead on the charitable foundation they founded in their daughter’s memory, Keren Malki.

That is not to say that Arnold and Frimet Roth have remained silent in the face of injustice or have forfeited their right to speak when they believe their experience is exploited to promote a political agenda.

The JTNews, reported on just such an instance of exploitation in an October 17th article titled “Bereaved parents who chose understanding over revenge“.  In that piece,  JTNews Correspondent, Dikla Tuchman offered her take on a Parents Circle-Family Forum lecture at St, Marks Cathedral and co-sponsored by Temple De-Hirsch Sinai.

Arnold Roth along with other victim families have publicly voiced their displeasure with the Parents Circle organization.  Roth explained to The Mike Report the reasoning behind the objections he and other grieving parents have expressed regarding Parents Circle and what he sees as their political rather than humanitarian agenda.

Roth said of Parents Circle “I watched them from a distance for years, first becoming aware of their message in the aftermath of the murder of my fifteen year-old daughter Malki in 2001. This past July, after consulting with many friends in Israel’s community of bereaved families, I published a short op ed characterized in roughly equal parts by anger and pain:  (“Behind the facade at Parents Circle, messages that are deeply disturbing to bereaved families”).

Parents Circle, which claims to be made up of 600 families, all of whom have lost a close family member as a result of the Arab-Israeli conflict, wishes to be presented as “Supporting Peace, Reconciliation and Tolerance”.  Which is exactly the message the  JTNews delivered to their readership.

Roth disagrees. “We believe Parents Circle leverages our collective bereavement to secure funding for advancing a very specific and particular political line – a line even they concede is unrepresentative of Israel’s bereaved families.”

Said Roth “reviewing the public statements of Parents Circle’s key figures over the past decade, a consistent and depressingly familiar political agenda emerges. The Israelis are the aggressors. The Palestinians are the victims. The occupation is at the heart of the conflict. And as for the role of the terrorists, their ideologies and decades of Arab rejectionist politics – that is simply absent.”

The Israelis are the aggressors. The Palestinians are the victims. The occupation is at the heart of the conflict. And as for the role of the terrorists, their ideologies and decades of Arab rejectionist politics – that is simply absent.

Parents Circle rests much of their appeal on the notion that they offer an alternative to other grieving parents whose despair morphs into anger and perpetuates a cycle of violence. Roth found this premise as presented in the JTNews to be offensive to his family as well as to other terror victim families.

“The Parents Circle marketing message is that they stand for an alternative to hatred and revenge” said Roth.  “The JTNews report drives this home, referring to how they chose not to turn grief into rage, preferring to discover their humanity and allowing the public to know there is no revenge for a lost child”.

“It was startling to me to realize that the hatred and revenge to which Parents Circle offer “an alternative” is what they want you to believe the rest of us bereaved families feel” said Roth.  “It is a hopelessly inaccurate and offensive view of reality”.

It is a hopelessly inaccurate and offensive view of reality”.

Elaborating on the casuistic narrative of Parents Circle, Roth explained that  “the Parents Circle message wishes out of existence the ongoing, very real existential threat to the lives of our families posed by the terrorists” . Adding  “in fact, the work of Parents Circle is at least, and perhaps more, a political undertaking than it is a healing one – and we understand and respect the need for healing more than many people do.”

 JTNews editor Joel Magalnick has previously defended his publishing of grossly anti-Israel perspectives citing his “paper’s commitment to the concept of free speech”.  Magalnick, exhibiting his paper’s dedication to presenting  varied perspectives, went so far as to solicit and  publish a rebuttal to counter a report on a vicious anti-Semitic assault.

Interestingly this commitment to thorough and fair reporting did not manifest itself well in the JTNews  article on the Parents Circle event.  JTNews reporter Dikla Tuchman gave no hint of  the controversial nature of the Parents Circle presentation.  She offered no alternative perspective, nor does it appear there was any attempt to contact grieving parents who feel their narrative is being exploited by Parents Circle.  Further, in an act of journalistic malpractice, Ms. Tuchman prevented her readers from learning of the provocative (and newsworthy) assertion made by Parents Circle Presenter Basaam Aramin that the Hamas terror organization and the Shas Sephardic political party are moral equivalents.

Reflecting on the collation by Parents Circle of  Shas & Hamas, Arnold Roth told The Mike Report  “Bassam Aramin made a marginally-coherent comment to the audience at St Mark’s in which Hamas and Shas were somehow conflated, and mentioned in the same sentence. His intentions may have been good – it’s hard to tell. But if his intent was to compare the two, that would be outrageous and, frankly, absurd. I suspect he knows relatively little about the Israeli political scene, and less about Shas.  Shas has a legitimate place in mainstream Israeli politics. They’re not my party. But if someone seriously wants to put them, or any Israeli political party, on the same plane as the murderous leadership of Hamas, then the discussion has gone off the rails entirely and fails to contribute much to anyone listening in”. 

Being wrong on this, with respect, ought to take a speaker out of polite dialogue.”

Roth added ” One actually doesn’t need to resort to specific quotations in order to make a distinction between active terror-loving jihadist groups, and the political parties that fight it out in Israel’s robust democratic institutions. Being wrong on this, with respect, ought to take a speaker out of polite dialogue.”

In their article, The JTNews, intentionally or not,  colluded with Parents Circle to help them maintain their well financed, agenda driven image of  what some terror victim families assert is a crude exploitation of their suffering.  Of equal concern is the naïveté and willingness of organizations like Temple De-Hirsch Sinai,  Stroum Jewish Community Center and Hillel UW in promoting the Parents Circle’s seductive, but ultimately misleading and one sided message.

Keren Malki is the Non-Profit charity founded by Arnold and Frimet Roth in memory of their daughter Malki.  Keren Malki, the Malki Foundation, a non-political, non-sectarian, not-for-profit organization, honors the tragically short life of a girl dedicated to bringing happiness and support into the lives of special-needs children

READ MORE ABOUT PARENTS CIRCLE

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