Terror in Israel is nowhere to be found on a list of dozens of attacks distributed Monday by the White House to support US President Donald Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that the media deliberately downplays jihadist atrocities.
Trump earlier Monday had accused the media of downplaying the terror threat that his administration cites to justify its controversial travel ban, saying it purposefully ignored jihadist atrocities.
The new commander in chief did not immediately offer evidence to support his claims of a media conspiracy, made during his first visit to the headquarters for US Central Command.
But the White House, attempting to back up his allegation, compiled a list of 78 attacks it said were “executed or inspired by” the Islamic State group since September 2014, saying most failed to receive adequate media coverage.
The White House said “most” on the list did not get sufficient media attention, although it did not explain what it deemed sufficient. Some of the incidents on the list received widespread attention and deep reporting, such as July’s truck attack in Nice, France, and the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
The list covered the period from September 2014 to December 2016, and though Israel experienced a sharp uptick in stabbings, shootings and vehicular attacks during part of that period, no incidents in Israel were included on the roster.
At least two of the attacks were inspired by the Islamic State terror group, according to Israeli officials: a January 1, 2016, shooting in Tel Aviv that left two bar-goers and a cab driver dead, and a truck attack in Jerusalem in December 2016 in which four soldiers on a tour of cultural sites were slain.
Both attacks were widely covered in Israel and abroad, though they received less international attention than larger, deadlier attacks in Europe and the US.
Trump said other attacks had been ignored by the media.
“You’ve seen what happened in Paris and Nice. All over Europe it’s happening. It’s gotten to a point where it’s not even being reported,” Trump said during his first visit to the headquarters for US Central Command on Monday. “And in many cases, the very, very dishonest press doesn’t want to report it. They have their reasons and you understand that.”
Trump, who has made relentless criticism of the media a hallmark of his presidency, did not explain why he thinks news outlets minimize attention on such attacks.
The White House was not immediately available to comment on the choice of terror attacks included in the list.
A White House official says "most" of these 78 attacks since 2014 have not received enough attention from media. pic.twitter.com/v66rcHxAFI
— Dan Merica (@merica) February 7, 2017
White House spokesman Sean Spicer tried to tone down the president’s remarks, saying it was a question of balance: “Like a protest gets blown out of the water, and yet an attack or a foiled attack doesn’t necessarily get the same coverage.”
The Associated Press could not verify that each of the incidents had connections to the Islamic State group. The list appeared to be hastily assembled, including several misspellings of the word “attacker.”
Trump and the White House were criticized last month for omitting Jews and anti-Semitism from a statement marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Administration officials defended the wording by pointing out that not only Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
Agencies contributed to this report.