web analytics
September 2, 2014 / 7 Elul, 5774
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (L) visits the JewishPress.com booth at The Event. And the Winners of the JewishPress.com Raffle Are…

Congratulations to all the winners of the JewishPress.com raffle at The Event



Home » InDepth » Monitor »

Kill This Myth


Media-Monitor-logo

It’s been raining rumor and myth since the September 11 terrorist attacks on the United States. And though most of the so-called urban legends that now abound on the Internet and even make an appearance or two in mainstream news outlets are easily dispelled by their very outlandishness, there are some that just won’t go away.

Perhaps the most persistent is the claim that one of the Sept. 11 terrorists had been released from an Israeli prison at the insistence of the U.S. The following (or a very close variation) is the e-mail that has made its way to millions of Internet users worldwide over the past six or seven weeks:

In case you didn’t know…please pass it on. Terrorist pilot Mohammed Atta blew up a bus in Israel in 1986. The Israelis captured, tried and imprisoned him. As part of the Oslo agreement Israel had to agree to release so-called ‘political prisoners.’ However, they would not release any with “blood on their hands.” A well-meaning American president, Ronald Reagan, and his secretary of state, George Shultz, ‘insisted’ that all be released.

Thus Mr. Atta was freed and eventually “thanked” the U.S. by flying an airplane into tower one of the World Trade Center. This was reported by many of the networks at the time that the terrorists were first identified. It was censored in the U.S.A. from all later reports. The American public must be made aware of this fact.

We know this will burst the bubble of many a conspiracy theorist, but the only “fact” about the above-quoted e-mail is that it is nothing more than a patchwork of mistaken identity, historical illiteracy and outright falsehood, all adding up to one gargantuan lie. That the Monitor was still receiving versions of it as late as last week – after it had been thoroughly discredited by several newspapers and on a number of specialty websites – testifies both to the rumor-generating powers of the Internet and the boundless gullibility of the American public.

To begin with the matter of mistaken identity, back in 1986 a 33-year-old Palestinian named Mahmoud Atta (aka Mahmoud Abad Ahmad) shot up an Israeli bus, killing the driver and wounding several passengers. Some months later Atta, a naturalized American citizen, was apprehended in Venezuela and deported to the U.S. because there was no extradition treaty between Venezuela and Israel.

After spending three years in a U.S. jail, Atta was extradited to Israel where he was sentenced, in October 1991, to life in prison. The Israeli Supreme Court eventually freed him on a technicality, and his present whereabouts are unknown.

But as the Jerusalem Post reported earlier this month, that particular Mohammed Atta was a Palestinian born in Ramallah who would be 47 years old today; the Mohammed Atta identified by the FBI as one of the Sept. 11 terrorists was a 33-year-old Egyptian.

Now, about the e-mail’s historical illiteracy: As the myth-busting website Snopes.com points out, “The Atta who attacked a bus was arrested by the FBI and extradited to Israel, not ‘captured by Israelis,’ and his extradition didn’t take place until two years after Reagan left office. In fact, the Oslo agreement itself wasn’t signed until nearly five years after Reagan left office. All of this makes it rather difficult to support the claim that Atta was released under the terms of the Oslo agreement at the insistence of President Ronald Reagan and Secretary of State George Shultz.”

As for the e-mail’s outright falsehood, the misinformation about Atta was certainly not “censored in the U.S.A. from all later reports.” (Besides, only a cretin could believe that American journalists would knowingly “censor” a story this sensational if it were true.)

What happened was that while some news outlets initially ran stories that misidentified the Palestinian Atta as the Sept. 11 Atta, the erroneousness of those reports became obvious rather quickly – so that other than some embarrassed retractions, there were no “later reports.” This was not a case of a story being “censored” – there simply was no story there.

Jason Maoz can be reached at jmaoz@jewishpress.com

About the Author: Jason Maoz is the Senior Editor of The Jewish Press.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Kill This Myth”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Police set up roadblocks throughout the Sharon region and beyond to track down terrorists believed to have infiltrated the area.
Arab Terrorist Attack Foiled Near Netanya
Latest Indepth Stories
0.5-Shekel-hatasham-RJP

The War projects to lower Israel’s 2014 GDP 0.5% but will have little influence on foreign investors

The_United_Nations_Building

It is in the nature of the Nations of the World to be hostile towards the Jewish People.

champions

Hamas and Islamic Jihad are actually fighting to “liberate Jerusalem and all Palestine.”

IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz reviewing maps on the Golan Heights.

The bad news is that ISIS and Al Qaeda are on the Syrian Golan. The good news is that every terrorist in Syria is killing each other.

The congregants, Ethiopians spanning generations, were beaming with joy and pride.

The withdrawal from the Gaza Strip nine years ago did not enhance Israel’s security.

How does a soldier from a religious home fall in love with a soldier from a non- religious kibbutz?

In 19th century entire ancient Jewish communities fled Palestine to escape brutal Muslim authorities

Responsibility lies with both the UN and Hamas, and better commitments should have been demanded from both parties in the ceasefire.

But the world is forever challenging our Jewish principle and our practices.

If this is how we play the game, we will lose. By that I mean we will lose everything.

Reportedly, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates have formed a bloc that seeks to counter Islamist influence in the Middle East.

One wonders how the IDF could be expected to so quickly determine the facts.

While there is no formula that will work for everyone, there are some strategies that if followed carefully and consistently can help our children – and us – gain the most from the upcoming school year.

More Articles from Jason Maoz
Charles Krauthammer

Wye would be seen to have set the groundwork for the creation of a Palestinian state

Presidential-Seal-062014

These are not necessarily the best all-around biographies or studies of the individual presidents listed (though some rank right up there), but the strongest in terms of exploring presidential attitudes and policies toward Israel.

The Clintonan “engagement” liberals remember with such fondness did nothing but embolden Arafat and Hamas and Hizbullah as they witnessed Israel’s only real ally elevate process ahead of policy.

What really makes one wonder about the affinity felt by certain Jews for Grant was the welcome mat he put out for some of the country’s most pernicious anti-Semites.

With 2013 marking half a century since Kennedy’s fateful limousine ride in Dallas, the current revels are exceeding the revisionist frenzies of years past, with a seemingly endless parade of books, articles and television specials designed to assure us that, despite everything that has come to light about him since his death, JFK was a great president, or at least a very good president who would have been great had his life not been so cruelly cut short.

As someone who for the past fifteen years has been writing a column that largely focuses on the news media, I’ve read what is no doubt an altogether unhealthy number of books on the subject. Most of them were instantly forgettable while some created a brief buzz but failed to pass the test of time. And then there were those select few that merited a permanent spot on the bookshelf.

George W. Bush has been getting some positive media coverage lately, with recent polls showing him at least as popular as his successor, Barack Obama, and a big new book about the Bush presidency by New York Times chief White House correspondent Peter Baker (Days of Fire, Doubleday) portraying Bush as a much more hands-on chief executive than his detractors ever imagined.

Readers who’ve stuck with the Monitor over the years will forgive this rerun of sorts, but as we approach the fortieth anniversary of the Yom Kippur War – and with the stench of presidential indecisiveness hanging so heavily over Washington these days – it seemed only appropriate to revisit Richard Nixon’s role in enabling Israel to recover from the staggering setbacks it suffered in the first week of fighting.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/media-monitor/media-monitor-22/2001/12/19/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: