Following Sunday's truck-ramming attack in Jerusalem, an American academic took to Twitter to admonish journalists for calling "all acts of Arab violence terrorism," when the target is Israeli soldiers.
Noura Erakat, assistant professor of international studies at George Mason University in Virginia and a Palestinian rights lawyer, wrote: "Journos, pundits show true colors when they [do this]. Don't get it twisted. #Jerusalem."
Calling it "irresponsible to elide distinction bw civilians & soldiers," Erakat — the founder of the online magazine Jadaliyya, which focuses on the Middle East and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — also criticized a Wall Street Journal headline that read: "Truck plows into pedestrians in Jerusalem, killing four."
In response, she tweeted:
Damn where did journo integrity go? These were soldiers,not civilians. The distinction is everything. Dont play dumb https://twitter.com/wsj/status/818078815767433217 ...
Eugene Kontorovich, professor of constitutional and international law at Northwestern University, told The Algemeiner that Erakat's differentiation between the killing of civilians and soldiers is a "valid distinction," but said it is important to know whether she has condemned the many car-ramming attackers who have killed Israeli civilians.
Erakat did not respond to The Algemeiner's requests for comment.
As The Algemeiner reported, thousands of Israelis attended the funerals on Monday of each of the four IDF soldiers killed in the truck-ramming attack, which took place at the Haas Promenade in the Armon Hanatziv neighborhood of Jerusalem.
The soldiers, participants in an officers' course killed during an educational tour in the nation's capital by 28-year-old east Jerusalem resident Fadi al-Qanbar, who Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced was a supporter of ISIS, were: 20-year-old Lt. Yael Yekutiel of Givatayim; 22-year-old cadet Shir Hajaj of Ma'aleh Adumim; 20-year-old cadet Shira Tzur of Haifa; and 20-year-old cadet Erez Orbach of Alon Shvut.
Update: On Wednesday, Prof Erakat responded to The Algemeiner's request for comment.
Asked if she will condemn the perpetrators of car-ramming, stabbing, shooting and bombing attacks that have killed Israeli civilians, Erakat declined to answer yes or no, and said "armed combatants...cannot kill a civilian unless the civilian is a direct participant in hostilities."
"I don't think civilians should ever be targeted and sadly the most egregious violators of this principle have been states, including the United States and Israel," Erakat added.
Asked if those killed on Sunday were legitimate targets of "combatants," Erakat said that "an active combat soldier, even if not in the field, can be killed."