Terrorists Are Terrorists . . . Unless Their Victims Are Israelis, According to the Star Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, April 2, 2002 -- Why does the Minneapolis Star Tribune refuse to identify Palestinian suicide bombers who deliberately target Israeli civilians as "terrorists"? That's the question asked by more than 350 prominent Minnesotans -- including U.S. Senators Paul Wellstone and Mark Dayton, Gov. Jesse Ventura, Congressmen Martin Sabo, Mark Kennedy, Bill Luther, and Betty McCullom, Attorney General Mike Hatch and former Attorney General Skip Humphrey, former Gov. Arne Carlson, former U.S. Senators Rudy Boschwitz and Dave Durenberger, former Mayors Norm Coleman and Sharon Sayles-Belton, and hundreds of other political leaders, rabbis and ministers, business executives and citizens -- who signed a startling full-page advertisement appearing today in the Star Tribune.

Sponsored by Minnesotans Against Terrorism, a non-profit, grassroots organization founded by two Minnesotans who were eyewitnesses to a terrorist bombing in Jerusalem, the April 2 advertisement asks: "Aren't all Suicide Bombers Terrorists? Not According to the Star Tribune," and urges the Star Tribune to change its 'double-standard ' policy.

Reproduced in the ad is a now-famous February 2002 Wall Street Journal online editorial by James Taranto, who publicly condemned the Star Tribune for concluding that Palestinian suicide bombers, in Taranto's words, enjoy this kind of special editorial protection: "If you murder only Jews, you are not a terrorist -- at least in the eyes of those who edit Minnesota's largest newspaper."

Taranto concluded that the Star Tribune's policy of refraining from consistently calling terrorist groups "terrorists" in both its news and editorial commentaries is "plainly a double-standard at the expense of the Jewish state."

The Minnesotans Against Terrorism ad notes that although the U.S. Government has officially declared Hamas, Islamic Jihad, al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and other violent Palestinian groups to be "terrorist organizations" because they target Israeli civilians for death, the Star Tribune has an official policy of avoiding the term "terrorist" when Israeli Jews are targets. Recently, the Star Tribune's March 28 front-page story on the 'Passover Massacre' in Netanya, Israel, delicately referred to terrorist spokespeople as "officials," and to Hamas as "an Islamic militant group, " rather than as terrorists.

(-- More --)

(Minnesotans Against Terrorism, page 2 of 2)

"Terrorism is terrorism, and terrorists are terrorists -- no matter whether they are blowing up a hotel in Israel filled with Passover worshippers or the World Trade Center, " says Mark Rotenberg, the Twin Cities attorney who co-founded Minnesotans Against Terrorism with local marketing executive Marc Grossfield.
"Why can't the Star Tribune understand that? "

"We're talking about terrorists who pack their bombs with nails and bolts to shred civilians, and then intentionally locate themselves near innocent women, children and teenagers before detonating their weapons," adds Marc Grossfield. "Today's advertisement brings together hundreds of Minnesotans from every walk of life to say: The Star Tribune is wrong in its policy of referring to suicide bombers, who deliberately try to kill as many women and children as possible, as anything but terrorists. These killers are not just 'militants,' 'freedom fighters,' 'rebels' or 'activists.' Such words suggest that their madness might be entitled to some moral justification. They are terrorists, just as Osama bin-Laden's hijackers were terrorists on September 11.

"The Star Tribune's policy plays into an ideology that holds that Israeli civilians targeted in these suicide attacks are somehow less human than the World Trade Center victims, " says Grossfield. "No matter how you believe the Israeli-Arab conflict should be resolved -- calling the targeted killing of innocent civilians anything but terrorism is completely unconscionable."

Rotenberg and Grossfield were visiting Jerusalem last December 5, when a terrorist detonated himself just seconds before their taxi cab stopped at a red light in front of the Hilton Hotel. Although the two Minnesotans escaped injury, they were shocked at how U.S. media coverage of subsequent terrorist attacks in Israel were ascribed to 'militants, ' 'gunmen' or 'activists' in media coverage -- particularly in the Star Tribune.

In addition to the Minnesota leaders listed earlier, other prominent business, professional and religious leaders who signed Minnesotans Against Terrorism's advertisement include: House Speaker Steve Sviggum, House Majority Leader Tim Pawlenty, Metropolitan Council Chair Ted Mondale, Pastor Mac Hammond, Father Michael O'Connell and United Synagogue President Judy Yudof.

"Jews and Gentiles, Republicans, Democrats and Independents -- the outpouring of leading Minnesotans and ordinary citizens willing to say 'Enough' to the Star Tribune's double-standard has been extraordinary, " said Rotenberg. "No news organization can be taken seriously if it willfully refuses to describe the targeted killings of civilians to achieve political objectives by its proper name: terrorism. Wake up, Star Tribune! "

Minnesotans Against Terrorism also unveiled a new Web site Tuesday April 2 (, at which Minnesotans can learn how terrorists target Israeli and American civilians -- teaching Palestinian children to believe that Americans and Israelis are Satanic "infidels" who deserve to die.

To join efforts to ensure accurate coverage of terrorism against Israel, please contact Minnesotans Against Terrorism at or write Minnesotans Against Terrorism, P.O. Box 368, Hopkins, MN 55343-0368

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