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SPECIAL EFFECTS

the Massacre in Hebron

THE WAY THE NEWS MEDIA should treat some events seems obvious: when Dr. Baruch Goldstein, an American-born militant settler on the West Bank, raked a mosque full of Palestinian men and boys with gunfire as they prayed at Hebron’s Tomb of the Patriarchs in February, for example, the American press was more or less compelled to make appropriate noises about bloodshed, vigilante violence, and Israeli-government responsibility. Yet in choosing the photographs to illustrate their stories, the print media took a more conservative—and cynical—line: a bloodbath perpetrated on Palestinians became another pretext for the timeworn theme of Palestinian violence, and for downplaying the realities of Palestinian life under occupation.

Certainly the massacre forced damning information about Israeli society into relief. On Nightline, Ted Koppel allowed that with the massacre, “Israelis learned some unsettling

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