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September 5, 2003

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PAGE4 HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, SEPTEMBER 5 David Bornstein Dealing with a Pynn-head I don't know about you, but I breathed a parture, partly due to the intelligence and huge sigh of relief when Charley Reese re- diligence of our Federation's Jewish Com- tired from the Orlando Sentinel several years munity Relations Committee, currently ago. spearheaded by Dan Coultoff. The current Better still, the Sentinel announced it thorn in qur side is more ofa splinter, really, wasn't even going to carry his serialized but it rankles me nonetheless. vitriol anymore. Remember Charley's ex- How many of you read Manning Pynn's treme slant on Middle East history? His mis- column on Aug. 24, titled "Militant or Ter- representation of facts and misuse of au- rorist: Judging the News"? In it Pynn, the thorities who were so blatantly biased in public editor (as opposed to the private favor of Palestinian positions? editor?) of the Sentinel wrote, "When the Well, the truth is the Central Florida Jew- Sentinel mentions al-Qaeda, the organiza- ish community's relationship with the Sen- tion held responsible for destroying the tinel has improved dramatically during the World Trade Center towers and damaging past several years, partly due to Reese's de- the Pentagon, it refers to "terrorists. When the newspaper writes about Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which bragged of blowing up a Jerusalem bus this past week, it refers to "militants." He goes on to explain that the Sentinel reviewed use of the words "militant" and "terrorist" and came up with the following policy: "Use caution when using these terms [militants, terrorists], which can show bias toward one side in a conflict. Generally, 'bombers,' 'attackers' or 'suicide bombers' are preferred terms." He argues that it's all right for Hamas and Islamic Jihad to be labeled as militant organizations because suicide bombers are resisting occupation, and because Israel and the Palestinians have been in armed conflict for years, whereas the United States was attacked out of the blue (literally) by al-Qaeda, marking them as a terrorist organization. Now I don't think Manning Pynn is in the same class as Charley Reese. A case could be made that Reese was either anti-Semitic, had been bought off or seduced by pro-Palestin- ians, or was just plain extreme. Mr. Pynn, I think, suffers from a severe case of blindness. He misses the boat on what marks a terrorist organization by so much I'm surprised he's not drowning in his own naivete. He quotes Sami Qubty, president of the Arab-American Community Center of Cen- tral Florida, who says, "suicide bombings resemble (my italics) terrorism." Qutby lik- ens them to the actions of Israelis "when they go out and shoot a missile and kill innocent bystanders." "By that standard," Pynn responds, " any nation at war could be labeled when attacks take civilian lives." And he's right. That's what makes standard Qutby outlines so any war there are civilian casualties, families and nations who suffer the ties often call their attackers truth be told, terrorists can be defined I their actions, simply and directly. A terrorist organization is one that civilians in order to create fear and/or rupt society. Those are my words. My bold type. Note key words: targets civilians. casualties of war different than a bomber blowing up a bus loaded with cents. There is no intent to take out target. No attempt to assassinate an The target is children, women, the So my question to Mannin one. Unless my standard makes no unless I'm way off base, why a problem labeling organizations like and Islamic Jihad as terrorist, when clearly use terrorist tactics by targeting ians rather than military targets? And to Dan Coultoff and the Relations Committee, keep hammerin This is one case where your good need to shed light on the Sentinel's choice of their own verbiage. The opinions expressed in the writer's, any other Jewish organization. That's good word week. Write the tage, or e-mail Editor's note: This is the text of a letter have background information as to Hamas's written by Community Relations Commit- avowed goal of replacing Israel with a Taliban- tee chairman, Daniel Coultoff, in response like Islamic regime? to the Orlando Sentinel 's public editor, Man- That the terrorists have a"cause," whether ning Pynn's Commentary: 'Militant or ter- "resisting occupation" or some other raison rorist Judging the news. It was published d'etre, ispartofWebsterDictionary'sdefini- Sunday, Aug. 24, 2003. Link: http:// tionofterrorism. Sami Qubti ironically provides one of the columnists/orl-edppubco1082403082403 best arguments for using the term "terror- aug24,0,6600761.column, ism" to describe the terrorism of Hamas. You Given recent front-page headlines about correctly found Mr. Qubti's apparent defini- "militants," your column on Sunday (Aug. tion ofterrorism, whichwouldinclude unin- 24) was not unexpected, but very disappoint- tentional collateral damage, when a nation ing. such as Israel or the United States defends I am certain of the Sentinel's sincerity itself from the United States defends itself when you state that the editors want impar- from terrorists, wrong. tiality in the Sentinel's news stories. Indeed, What I find also ironic is that, in a that is a good journalist's goal. However, the New York Times op-ed a couple of years Sentinel cannot achieve impartiality with- ago, Yasser Arafat himself termed suicidal out truthful reporting. TQ sanitize bombings in Israel as "terrorism." Yet the scription of terrorists who deliberately tour- Sentinel's news editors pretend otherwise. dered a half-dozen children on a bus, includ- We hope the Sentinel reconsiders its posi- ing a nursing baby, does not achieve impar- tion. The deviations from the style tiality, by any measure, by any stretch, committee's recommendations, when it To refrain from calling obvious terrorism comes to matters Israeli or Jewish, creates "terrorism" is editorializing. Even if unin- theunfortunateperceptionthattheSentinel tentional, such a sanitized description sug- is not impartial in its news reporting. gests a legitimacy as to the terrorist's cause In the interest of providing relevant infor- and methods, mation to your readers, the Sentinel's stylis- Simply, the Sentinel should abide by the tic guideline should encourage its editors to dictionary definition of terrorism regardless identify when the United States Department of the perpetrator, and regardless of the vic- of State lists the "militant group" at issue as tim. The Sentinel should identify terrorists a "terrorist organization." For example, a as "terrorists," when they deliberately kill simple sentence, "The United States State civilians for avowedly political or ideological Department lists Hamas as a terrorist orga- purposes, in a manner that invokes fear, nization," if incorporated with some consis- wherever the terrorism occurs, and regard- tency into the news stories, would, (1) pro- less of the victim's ethnicity. That would vide a truthful description; and (2) giveyour achieve true impartiality, readers important background information; The bus bombing in Israel last week is the and (3) help to further the Sentinel's inten- perfect example of the Sentinel's failure to tion to report the news with impartiality. Of describe the terrorists according to the dic- course, this would not be necessary if the tionary. Did the nature of the crime not Sentinel treated all terrorism equally. suggest that the terrorists intended to in- Thank you for considering my suggestion. voke fear amongthe low-income people who I hope perhaps something good can come play Russian roulette each time they step out of this discussion. And I do appreciate onto a bus, everyday? Did the passenger the Sentinel'sinternaldeliberationsandyour manifest of the dead, including six children, public comments on the issue. pot inform the Sentinel's news editor that Respectfully yours, the terrorists were deliberately targeting ci- DANIEL COULTOFF, vilians? Did the Sentinel's news editor not Chair, Community Relations Committee THE VIEWS EXPRESSED ON THIS PAGE ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE VIEWS OF HERITAGE MANAGEMENT. O O O CENTRAL FLORIDA'S O ISSN 0199-0721 Winner of 36 Press Awards INDEPENDENT JEWISH VOICE O O Editor/Publisher Jeffrey Gaeser Editor Emeritus Associate Editor Gene Stare Kim Fischer HERITAGEFloridaJewishNews (ISN 0199.0721) is published weekly for $34.95 per year to Florida ad- dresses ($41.95 for the rest of the U~S.) by HERITAGE Central Florida Jewish News, inc 207 O'Brien Road, Suite 101, Fern Park, FL32730. Periodicals postage paid at Fern Park and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes and other correspondence to: HERITAGE, P.O. Box 300742, Fern Park, FL 32730. MAILING ADDRESS PHONE NUMBER P.O. Box 300742 (407) 834-8787 Fern Park, FL 32730 FAX (407) 831-0507 emaih Society Editor Bookkeeping Gloria Yousha Elaine Schooping Account Executives Barbara do Carmo Marci Gaeser Contdbuting Columnists Jim Shipley Carl Alpert Michael Gamson Tim Boxer David Bornstein Gall Simons Production Department David Lehman Ted Marks Charlene Weiss By Cad Alpert Guards at the entrance HAIFA--The recent bombings in the heart but some are unexpected. Not Ion of Israel's cities have further intensified the a guard opened the trunk of a car already vigilant system of protective guards the contents, he accidentally broke a at all public places where large numbers of light. The driver wrote to the companY! Israelis gather. Entrances to restaurants, which the guard worked and demandedP stores, shopping centers, sport events, con- ment of 300 shekels. They agreed to certs and all other placeswhere there may be informed the complainan[ that they a concentration of citizens are already sub- deduct that amount from the guard's ject to the close scrutiny of men who are She waived her request. charged with the unenviable task of seeking During a lull in pedestrian traffic at to identify which of the persons seeking en- entrance to our local, usually try, may be a potential suicide bomber. Some office, we struck up a conversation with restaurants have added an extra service alert watchman. As a frequent visitor to charge to their bills to cover the cost of the place, we had already estat security, but the public has reacted nega- tity, and are always greeted with a smile. tively to this. name is Yaniv. The guarding task includes not only psy- We asked him, innocently, chologicalappraisal of the potential suspect's ing for, and received the expected appearance, but also physical examination of what if you suspect that the suspicious the contents of women's purses and any ing man with a strange pack on his other potentially suspicious bundles, eager to squeeze into the crowded In many places, magnetic wands are room, may be a suicide bomber, we flashed about the bodies of men to locate ued, what do you do then? any possible hidden metal objects which He paused for a moment, and sharedl may be guns or parts of a bomb, so many of dilemma with us. which are loaded with nails and screws to In confronting a terrorist he is ex create greater injury. Thousands of men react not merely with diligence, but and women are now employed in this new decisive force. But our guard must occupation, careful not to take any aggressive All of this is now commonplace in Israel, against an individual who may be an and the local citizenry undergo the searches cent, law-abiding citizen, and who and inconvenience with patience and under- him for any injuries sustained. standing. We persisted. But what if it turns One of the reasons why many of the bomb- you have indeed intercepted a ings have taken place on buses is because a rorist who is intent on entering search system has not been in effect at bus office and blowing himself up stops. Crowds gather and often push impa- the dozens of people there? tiently to gain entrance and a seat. The bus Again Yaniv paused. He has thou drivers are too busy collecting fares or in- this many times. His first concern is to spectingpasses topay much attention to the vent entry. Simultaneously he must appearance of the passengers or to the bags immediate forceful, physical action to and bundles which so many of them carry, vent the terrorist from activatin Recent suicide bombers have gone to the which is within his fingers' reach. A lengths of assuming the garb of orthodox struggle may ensue, butawa3 Jews, hat and beard and heavy black coats If a bomb is detonated, he will at even in summer. There have also been sev- prevented a major disaster, which eral instances where the bomb carrying ter- was hired for, though at the cost of his rorists were innocent-lookingyoungwomen, life. He smiled glumly, and turned Consideration is now being given to insti- inspectthepurseofastran tution of a system for personal inspection of She was passed. The records show bus passengers at a point removed somewhat eral entrance guards have indeed from the entrance to the bus. in otherwise successful performance oft In the meantime, concentration is Still duties. placed on the entrance guards, and it is One can imagine the thoughts reported that any able-bodied man with a perpetually in the minds ofthese clean record can get a job. Rising unempioy- other day, an unemployed man ment has driven many to undertake the tasks on television, was asked why he which are not only unpleasant, but also dan- one of the available jobs as a security gerous. The risks involved may be obvious, His brief reply: "I'm afraid."