Headline RoundupFebruary 26th, 2024

US Airman Dies After Self-Immolation in Front of Israeli Embassy

Summary from the AllSides News Team

A U.S. Air Force member died after setting himself on fire and shouting “Free Palestine” in front of the Israeli embassy in Washington, D.C. on Sunday afternoon.

The Details: The man, identified by police as 25-year-old Aaron Bushnell, reportedly live-streamed himself on Twitch, saying, “I will no longer be complicit in genocide. I am about to engage in an extreme act of protest, but compared to what people have been experiencing in Palestine at the hands of their colonizers, it’s not extreme at all.” Video shows the man yelling “Free Palestine” after igniting himself. Secret Service members responded to the scene, along with D.C. Fire and EMS. An Air Force spokeswoman confirmed Bushnell’s death Sunday night. 

For Context: Many Palestinians, and many of their supporters, see Israel's actions in the war against Hamas as a form of genocide or ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Bushnell appears to have been among them. These Palestinian supporters, mainly associated with the political left, have put pressure on President Joe Biden to cut off support for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. 

How the Media Covered It: Coverage was common across the spectrum, with some sensationalism; a New York Post (Lean Right bias) homepage tagline read, “GRIM END.” Coverage sometimes varied in including more or less of the man’s pre-immolation statement; of articles reviewed by AllSides, The New York Times' (Lean Left bias) article appeared to include more of the quote than other outlets did. Independent journalist Talia Jane was cited as having first reported the Twitch video. 

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