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For a Bright Post-Hamas Future, Gaza Needs Education Reform

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One of the key questions occupying politicians, academics, media personalities, and concerned laypeople is what will happen to Gaza the day after the Israel-Hamas war is over and the terrorist organization is routed from the leadership of the coastal enclave.

Along with concerns over who will administer the Gaza Strip, how its infrastructure will be rebuilt, and how a sense of security will return to Israel’s border communities, there is also the question of how Palestinian society in Gaza will be de-radicalized after 18 years of Hamas control.

The key to that question is education reform.

And to those who claim that the effect of Israel’s war against Hamas on the average Palestinian civilian coupled with decades of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish education is a surefire recipe for continued radicalism in the Gaza Strip, there is a historical precedent for education reform helping to de-radicalize and moderate societies that were headed by political movements just as fanatic as Hamas.

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Following the end of World War II, both Germany* and Japan underwent a process of de-radicalization that worked to upend the militaristic political and social infrastructure that guided their aggressive expansionism, ultimately leading to world war.

Under the initial influence of the Allied forces and later under the initiative of local civil servants, both Germany and Japan reformed their education systems by emphasizing the value of democracy, removing ultra-nationalism and militarism from the school curricula, giving a greater role to local authorities instead of the central government, and updating the teacher accreditation system.

It should be noted that these reforms occurred after the destruction and displacement wrought by the Allies in their fight against Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. Despite the resentment that the German and Japanese peoples might have felt against the Allies for their conduct during the war, this did not produce a more radical society than existed prior to the defeat of each major Axis power.

While the German and Japanese societies did not change overnight, the education reforms implemented in the immediate aftermath of World War II helped pave the way for each country to become the strong democracies and robust economies that they are today.

Related Reading: Antisemitism in America: Teachers Introduce BDS-like Materials for Pre-Schoolers

Even in the past few years, we have seen how education reform is part and parcel of peace processes and de-radicalization.

Following the signing of the Abraham Accords with Israel in 2020, the United Arab Emirates has undertaken a process of moderating its educational texts, removing harmful passages about both Jews and Israel. While there are some negative depictions of Israel still available in certain texts, the moderation process has been deemed “overwhelmingly positive.”

This moderation of the UAE’s school curriculum has also included the recent introduction of Holocaust studies for both primary and secondary school students.

In Bahrain (another Abraham Accord signee), there have been steps toward moderating that country’s educational curriculum about Israel but grassroots opposition from local religious figures has called into question how far these reforms will go.

Even Saudi Arabia, a regional powerhouse that has slowly opened up to Israel even though the two countries do not share official relations, has undertaken an incremental moderation of its educational texts concerning Israel and Jewish people. While negative depictions of Israel still exist in these texts, this moderation process is a promising first step.

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After Hamas no longer controls Gaza, the local education system must undergo a comprehensive reform to undo the damage wrought by 18 years of Hamas leadership.

However, it is just as important to know who will be conducting this reform.

Both the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority and UNRWA, the main UN body operating in Palestinian areas, have been mentioned as being prime actors in the rehabilitation of Gaza following the war. However, these two bodies are already part of the problem: UNRWA runs several schools in Gaza while Hamas uses the core PA curriculum in its local schools.

According to the education monitoring organization IMPACT-se, textbooks used in both PA and UNRWA schools extoll terrorism, advocate for the destruction of Israel, and perpetuate antisemitic stereotypes.

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If the international community wishes for a bright future for a post-Hamas Gaza, it must insist on a democratic and moderate curriculum introduced into local Palestinian schools that will negate terrorism and promote peaceful relations with neighboring Israel.

If teaching materials akin to those offered by the PA and UNRWA are used to replace those used by Hamas, this is not a recipe for a brighter Gazan future. Instead, it is a formula for another October 7.

* While the initial education reforms in post-war Germany were similar under the guiding hand of the Western Allies and the Soviet Union, there ultimately were differences between how the education systems were reformed in West Germany and East Germany.

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Ramadan Violence at Al-Aqsa Mosque: Palestinian Riots & the Israeli Response

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As Muslims around the world begin to observe the holy month of Ramadan, many media outlets have been particularly focused on connecting Ramadan to the ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza as well as the possibility of rising tensions surrounding prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Some outlets have referenced incidents of violence between Israeli police and Palestinian rioters that have occurred in the mosque and its environs during Ramadan over the past few years.

However, these reports fail to properly convey what led to these disturbances, either leaving out who started the melee or placing the blame solely on Israeli security forces.

For example, The Washington Post described the 2021 violence as “fighting between police and Palestinians” and the 2023 disturbances as “an Israeli police raid last spring to clear protesters who had locked themselves inside.”

Contrary to The Post’s description, the Israeli police were not simply fighting “Palestinians” or mere “protesters.”

Similarly, The Guardian referred to the 2022 and 2023 eruptions of violence simply as “police raids on the mosque,” while The New York Times has described them as “raids into the Aqsa compound by baton-wielding police forces firing tear gas and sponge-tipped bullets who have clashed with Palestinians throwing stones and setting off fireworks.”

As will be seen below, in the violent eruptions that occurred on the Temple Mount during Ramadan in recent years, each incident was initiated by Palestinian rioters and instigators and was responded to with force by the Israeli police, working to protect innocent worshipers, fellow security officers, and innocent bystanders outside the holy compound.

Related Reading: ‘Al-Aqsa Is in Danger’: The Anatomy of a Lie

Although there had been violent disturbances between Palestinian rioters and the Israeli police throughout Ramadan in 2021, the violence peaked in the last weekend of the holy month (May 7 to 10).

On the night of May 7, following the last Friday prayers of Ramadan, Israeli police were compelled to respond with force after officers stationed on the Temple Mount were attacked with stone slabs, rocks, bottles, and firecrackers. In order to stem the violence and disrupt the rioters, Israeli security forces were forced to enter the Al-Aqsa Mosque itself.

According to Israeli authorities, these projectiles had been stockpiled in previous days throughout the holy complex in anticipation of that Friday’s disturbances and were reportedly meant to be used against Israeli security forces as well as against Jewish worshipers at the Western Wall below.

Following that Friday’s violence, intermittent disturbances continued throughout the weekend and into Monday, May 10 at the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex and the surrounding area.

That rioting included the barricading of the mosque as well as attacks against Israeli security forces with rocks, firecrackers, and other projectiles. It was only on that Monday that Israeli police were finally able to restore peace and order to the Temple Mount compound.

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In 2022, Ramadan violence at the Al-Aqsa Mosque was once again instigated by a minority of Palestinian rioters and hooligans.

On Fridays April 15, April 22, and April 29, Israeli police were forced to enter the compound in order to disrupt riots that included the throwing of rocks, firecrackers, and other projectiles at security forces and toward the rear of the Western Wall, as well as the barricading of rioters within the mosque, preventing proper access to worshipers.

On April 29 (the last Friday of Ramadan that year), the rioting in the morning was so bad that at least one projectile landed in the Western Wall compound below. However, by that afternoon, order was restored and Ramadan prayers were able to end relatively peacefully.

Related Reading: Ramadan in Israel: There’s More Than Meets the Eye

In 2023, violence was instigated at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the night of April 4/early morning of April 5, when rioters barricaded themselves within the mosque and attacked Israeli security forces with explosive devices, fireworks, and rocks.

In order to quell the disturbances, Israeli police were forced to enter the mosque and use riot dispersal methods while arresting those responsible for the violence.

During the melee that unfolded following the entry of Israeli forces into the Muslim holy site, social media erupted with context-free videos of Israeli police using violence against Palestinian agitators, inciting violence within the region and driving a false narrative of Israeli aggression around the world.

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Every year, before Ramadan, the Israeli police undertake intensive preparations to “enable the freedom of worship while maintaining security and public order.”

So, too, this year, the Israeli police have released guidelines for the upcoming month of Ramadan, detailing the traffic changes, regulating of crowds, reinforcement of security forces, and restrictions that are in place (which are similar to past years’ guidelines).

However, despite all the police preparations, there is the possibility this year that some Palestinians will seek to take advantage of the large crowds at the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the tense atmosphere due to the ongoing Israel-Hamas War in order to disrupt prayers and instigate violence against Israeli security forces.

If disturbances do erupt at Al-Aqsa Mosque during this year’s Ramadan, will the media report correctly on how the violence erupted, or will they only start the story with Israel’s response?

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▶️ War in Israel’s North? Hezbollah, Iran, and the Ring of Fire

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Please turn subtitles on your video to get translations where needed. You will see an icon at the bottom right of the video [CC] to enable that.

The Ring Of Fire. I wish it was a reference to the Johnny Cash hit, but it’s not. It’s a reference to something far more sinister – and something that has to be understood in order to really contextualize what’s happening; not in Israel, not in Gaza, not even in the Middle East, but on a global stage.

At the beginning of February, I returned to Israel for two days. In those two days, I went to the most dangerous parts of the country. No, I did not go to the South this time. Instead I travelled North with the help of the team at HonestReporting who accompanied me to various evacuated areas all along the border between Israel and Lebanon to explore the looming threat of Hezbollah, and the wider question of the Iranian regime. There we made a miniature documentary about what’s happening in Israel’s northern communities, where some 60,000 Israelis have been displaced, and where a constant question of a war on a second front with Hezbollah is in the air.

I visited an IDF post in the Golan Heights to talk to voluntary reservists, who have been stationed away from their families for months. I visited two kibbutzim: Metzuba and Dafna, both abandoned, and interviewed residents who came back just to talk about the dangers in their home villages. The latter, Dafna, is in the finger of the tip of Israel, moments from both the Syrian and Lebanese borders. The only living creatures remaining there now are the cows, and the cats, who are cared for by IDF soldiers.

I cannot put to words the surreal nature of visiting abandoned kibbutzim in the North, versus my experience in December visiting the torched and annihilated kibbutzim of the South, including Kfar Aza, Nir Oz and Be’eri. The northern kibbutzim, such as Metzuba and Dafna, showed me just how the southern communities would have appeared (albeit empty) were it not for Hamas’s destruction and devastation on October 7. And I couldn’t help but feel uncertain about whether or not these northern communities won’t be vulnerable to pogroms in the future. It is unthinkable, and yet we must think about it. We must conceive of it. We must be prepared for it. This is the reality. And the only reason why it’s the reality of these Israelis, and not the reality of anyone in the West, is because Israelis are most proximate to the threat from the Mullah regime of Iran.

In the documentary, which you can watch exclusively below, at the end of this post, you will meet two experts. The first is Sarit Zehavi of the Alma Center, who took me to a lookout in the same town that Romi Gonen (the 23-year-old hostage who remains in Gaza, and who was taken from the Nova music festival) grew up in. Sarit is former IDF intelligence, and runs a non-profit overlooking the northern territories, from which she assesses the threats every day. I could have spent a month going through Sarit’s information. Alas, we had a few hours. Sarit showed me the urgency of Hezbollah’s presence and how at any given moment, their army could attack the Galilee. Furthermore, Sarit gave me a birdseye perspective on the global threat that Israel understands better than anyone. The threat of fundamentalist Islam and its vision for the world.

It looks something like this:

Alma

This is a graphic of all of the Iranian proxies. You may recognize some of the flags, which appear on placards and posters at protests currently taking place all over the West, purporting to support progress and freedom. “You should do something about that,” said Sarit to me, joking. Dark humor is a salve during such upside-down times.

To understand why Hamas launched the war on October 7, you have to understand that the Abraham Accords, and the normalization process between Israel and various states, including the UAE, Sudan and Jordan, and potentially Saudi Arabia, has isolated Iran, and the Palestinians – who have their own independent power struggle between Hamas and Fatah; a struggle that is of no significance to Iran’s hegemonic vision.

Someone who was able to delve deeper into this with me was Avi Melamed; again, an expert I could have interviewed for a week. Iran’s vision, he explains, is anti-Western, and will not relent until Israel (the emblem of Western ideas in the Middle East) is annihilated via the Ring Of Fire; a circle of Iranian-funded proxies that are spread like the tentacles of an Octopus throughout Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Iraq, Iran and the Gaza Strip. On October 7, Hamas bolted early and alone, with its plan to exhaust Israel, but Hamas expected the “unifying of arenas”, where a war would be launched simultaneously via the other proxies. This hasn’t yet happened, likely because Hamas pursued its own glory and didn’t wait on a signal from the other proxies, who have no empathy for Hamas’s subsequent struggles. The question isn’t whether the other proxies will strike. The question is when will they strike…

Via Inside The Middle East – Intelligence Perspectives

Avi is also former IDF intelligence and has an encyclopedic knowledge of the Arab world and its inner conflicts. I asked him: is expansion of the war possible? Of course. But the how and the when is not guaranteed.

During our second day of reporting, Avi spoke to me at a lookout in view of Tiberius, and he made a point that’s now forever enshrined in my perspective. Imagine the hubris of the West in its screams and chants since October 7, knowing full well that most of those doing the screaming and chanting don’t even speak the langauges of the Arab world. And even if they did, they do not and cannot understand the riddles that the leaders of these proxies talk in. They speak in coded language that can appear as hyperbole or metaphor, but is often just an expression of intent. The West has foolishly fallen prey to the orchestrated and strategic propaganda campaign, led by disinformation armies that thrive on social media sites such as X, Instagram and Telegram, lapping up disinformation by the milisecond, in complete denial that it doesn’t even share a common language with those it purports to be soldiering on for.

Avi brilliantly explained the ignorant confusion of those chanting “From The River To The Sea…” while holding signs advocating for a caliphate; two ideas in direct opposition to one another. A caliphate, which is the desire of the Mullah regime of Iran, would eradicate all freedoms and liberties for all peoples. Under such a regime, there would no free land of Palestine. The question of Palestinian statehood, and of Israel’s part in that, is but a pawn for the Mullah regime, to distract the world while it focuses on becoming a superpower, with the help of several proxies (which form the “Ring Of Fire”, including Hamas and Hezbollah) and the aforementioned global propaganda campaign that romanticizes notions of “justice” and “freedom” in the context of Palestine, but is in reality ushering in an extreme ideology that mirrors the true face of Hamas; the true face of terrorism. The end desired result is to completely destabilize the West. It’s already happening. You just have to assess the latest most extreme case of US soldier Aaron Bushnell’s self-immolation at the gates of the Israeli embassy in Washington DC to understand the levels of brainwashing that have captured vulnerable Americans who are prepared, like Islamic Jihadists, to pay the ultimate price for their beliefs. “Free Palestine!” he screamed, on his phone camera, after pouring gasoline all over himself, and lighting a match. Bushnell is dead now. Who needs a middle man?

So as informed – and hopefully morally sound – people, what is our objective? What about the “day after Hamas”? Well, Israel must permanently change the structure of Gaza, and ensure that Hamas and Islamic Jihad are no longer regional players for Iran. This isn’t just in Israel’s best interests, it’s in the Gazans’ best interests, and indeed the best interests of the rest of the world, who can only benefit from stability and lasting peace. To stop this social contagion that is imprisoning the otherwise free minds of generations of Westerners.

Here is a short documentary that I hope will provide a picture of an as-yet untold story. Many thanks to the team at HonestReporting, and a very special thank you to cameraman Daniel Moore and our incredible driver Shachar.

This piece was republished from Eve Barlow’s newsletter on Substack called Blacklisted.

Eve Barlow is an LA-based music and pop culture journalist. She previously served as Deputy Editor of the New Musical Express (NME) and currently contributes to New York Magazine, The Guardian, Billboard, LA Times, Pitchfork, and GQ, among other publications. Barlow is also an outspoken voice on Jewish identity, Zionism, and fighting antisemitism on social media, and has also shared her views in publications such as Tablet. Barlow was also named one of The Algemeiner’s Top 100 People Positively Influencing Jewish Life.

Image credits: Eve: Daniel Moore, via Getty Images: Soldiers: Nasser Ishtayeh/SOPA Images/LightRocket, Explosion: Fadel Senna/AFP.

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Systemic Bias? Top Reuters Editors Share Disturbing Content Online

Two top news editors at Reuters have shared unsettling social media posts throughout the Israel-Hamas war, HonestReporting revealed this week, casting doubt on their adherence to journalistic impartiality.

The revelation, which comes after a series of exposés by HonestReporting of the news agency’s Gaza-based photojournalists who had either infiltrated into Israel with Hamas on October 7 or praised its terrorists, raises concerns that anti-Israel bias in the wire service hasn’t plagued only its bottom ranks.

The online posts, by Reuters Executive Editor Simon Robinson and Global Foreign Policy Editor Samia Nakhoul, have been visible to many Reuters journalists who follow the two senior editors on LinkedIn and social media platform X. Yet the message of these posts is not a call for fair and balanced reporting on Israel, nor is it a demand for journalists’ objectivity.

Anti-Israel Content

On March 3, Robinson posted on his LinkedIn a 7,500-word anti-Israel essay from the London Review of Books that includes criticism of Western media coverage of the Jewish state.

Titled “The Shoah after Gaza,” the essay by Indian author Pankaj Mishra asks questions like: “How can the Western political and journalistic mainstream ignore, even justify, its [Israel’s] clearly systematic cruelties and injustices?”

It also includes claims such as: “The liquidation of Gaza… is daily obfuscated, if not denied, by the instruments of the West’s military & cultural hegemony,” including “prestigious news outlets deploying the passive voice while relating the massacres carried out in Gaza.”

Another paragraph reads: “Why have Western politicians and journalists kept presenting tens of thousands of dead and maimed Palestinians as collateral damage, in a war of self-defence forced on the world’s most moral army, as the IDF claims to be?”

And there’s also, as the title suggests, an inevitable shoehorning of the Holocaust: “A strenuously willed affiliation with the Shoah has also marked and diminished much American journalism about Israel.”

The post is still visible on Robinson’s profile, with comments ranging from “excellent article” to “that article is horrifically anti-Israel” and “Why can’t you call for fair and balanced reporting on Israel?”

But the senior editor–who is also Reuters’ Deputy Editor-in-Chief–has kept silent. He hasn’t removed the post nor tried to justify the unprofessional and inhuman spread of anti-Israel content online.

Related Reading: EXPOSED: Gaza Photojournalists Shared Call to Infiltrate Israel on Oct. 7

Pernicious Reposts

Perhaps Robinson felt safe doing so because earlier in the war, his colleague Nakhoul had seemingly set the tone.

On November 25, she reposted on X a message by BBC journalist Nada Abdelsamad, who had been investigated by her network over accusations of praise for the deadly October 7 Hamas attack on southern Israel that sparked the war.

In the Arabic message reposted by Nakhoul, Abdelsamad says she has sued the BBC over “professional abuse against me.”

According to The Telegraph, Abdelsamad had been exposed by the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) after retweeting a video of Israelis hiding in fear on October 7, entitled: “settlers hiding inside a tin container in fear of the Palestinian resistance warriors.” The Telegraph added it came with a hashtag translated as “promise of the hereafter,” a Quranic reference to the killing of the Jews.

Doesn’t Nakhoul think a journalist who publicly voices such sentiment should be held to account?

An earlier repost by Nakhoul may provide an answer.

On November 3, she reposted a tweet that defended Abdelsamad, claiming “Her sin was to RE-tweet, in the chaotic early hours of 7/10, a news post referring to Hamas fighters as “resisters.”

So does Nakhoul think it’s okay for a journalist to do what Abdelsamad had done?

And would she care to explain that to her Jewish-Israeli colleagues?

Related Reading: Reuters Uses Gaza Journalist Who Praised Hamas’ Oct. 7 Massacre

What sort of message do Robinson and Nakhhoul’s posts send their subordinates, who look up to them as responsible leaders, mentors, and guides?

As Reuters fails to get to grips with HonestReporting’s exposé of a terror-praising Gaza journalist and others who had called on Gazans to infiltrate Israel on October 7, could it be that something is systemically rotten in the once-respected wire service?

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Reckless Reporting: Why Won’t The New York Times Let the Facts Decide?

In the aftermath of our expose of Palestinian photojournalists who infiltrated Israel’s border from Gaza on October 7, several media outlets reacted by attacking HonestReporting’s integrity. As we noted at the time, this appeared to be an attempt to avoid the uncomfortable question of their freelancers’ activity by trying to reframe the conversation. They denied having advanced knowledge of the attack (which we did not claim), and then accused HonestReporting of spreading misinformation.

Notably, many of those very same media outlets either publicly severed ties with their Gazan freelancers or quietly stopped working with them.

All except for The New York Times, which publicly backed Gazan photojournalist Yousef Masoud to the hilt even though we had noted in our original expose that Masoud was working for the Associated Press on the morning of October 7.

Masoud to Receive Journalism Award

Masoud’s name reappeared on the radar just last week as it was announced that he is to be a recipient of the prestigious George Polk Award for his photojournalism coverage for The New York Times from inside Gaza.

The announcement of the award prompted Itay Milner, the spokesperson for the Consulate General of Israel in New York, to write a letter of protest to the award committee at Long Island University.

The New York Times fired back with its own letter. Aside from taking Milner to task, the letter said:

The false accusations against Mr. Masoud can be traced back to the reckless posting by the advocacy group Honest Reporting that insinuated — without any evidence — that Mr. Masoud, a freelance photographer who has done work for The New York Times, may have had prior knowledge of the Oct. 7 attack.

The basis for Honest Reporting’s claim is a fabrication: that Mr. Masoud began shooting pictures at 5:30 a.m. when the attack began an hour later. Wrong. Mr. Masoud, we know from the photographic evidence, began shooting photographs after 6:30 a.m. – from his home’s rooftop with the fighting visible in the distance – when the noise of combat awoke him.

So what was the basis for our supposed “fabrication?” The New York Times’ own story, published the day after our expose, explained Masoud “was woken at home in Khan Younis, in southern Gaza, by the sound of rocket fire, shortly after 5:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.” HonestReporting asked how he could have been woken by rocket fire at 5:30 a.m. when rockets did not start until 6:30 a.m.

We repeated this question after the announcement of Masoud’s award.

The AP’s Metadata Discrepancy

It has now come to light that three days after its story, The New York Times issued a correction, changing the time Masoud was awoken to 6:30 a.m. In that same article, they explain that his first photograph was taken more than 90 minutes after the attack began.

Yet the AP image database shows metadata confirming that the photo he took of Gazans standing atop a tank east of the security fence was created at 6:41 a.m. (13 minutes after the attack began).

So, if Masoud’s first picture was, as The New York Times claimed, taken “from his home’s rooftop with the fighting visible in the distance – when the noise of combat awoke him,” how did he manage to get from his rooftop to the other side of the border in little more than ten minutes to snap the photo of Gazans on top of an Israeli tank?

Curiously, the same photo also appears on the AP’s image database with a later creation date of 10:11 a.m. Different submission dates are understandable as a photojournalist might send images to an employer at random times. But how to account for this discrepancy in the creation date?

We asked a professional photojournalist with many decades of experience in the media. He pointed out the ease at which photo metadata can, at worst, be manipulated or might be incorrect due to erroneous settings on the camera. We hope that the AP can provide a logical explanation.

Our original article led to subsequent investigations that credibly linked some photojournalists to terrorist organizations. Given all of these discrepancies, it is entirely reasonable for HonestReporting to be raising these questions and holding Masoud, the AP, and The New York Times publicly accountable.

On November 12, we wrote that by publishing our expose, our intentions were to: “shine a light on the conversation surrounding the media’s use of Palestinian stringers who, at best, operate in an environment controlled by Hamas, and at worst, are active accomplices. There are clear complications surrounding freedom of the press in Gaza. While international news agencies want to work with local Gaza photojournalists or other Palestinian stringers, they owe their readers transparency.”

This conversation continues to prove its legitimacy as evidence emerges of Gazan journalists having ties to terrorist organizations.

New York Times Twists HR’s Words

Included in The New York Times’ letter to Itay Milner was a claim that has been repeated in multiple media outlets since our expose:

Gil Hoffman, executive director of Honest Reporting, has since admitted the group had no evidence for the insinuations against the freelance journalists although for reasons that only Mr. Hoffman can explain, Honest Reporting has once again been trafficking in falsehoods about Mr. Masoud.

As we said at the time, Hoffman’s subsequent conversations with Reuters and AP were misconstrued and taken out of context in an attempt to discredit our original exposé. To avoid the uncomfortable question of their freelancers’ activity on October 7, the media tried to reframe the conversation. They denied having advanced knowledge of the attack (which we did not claim), and then accused HonestReporting of spreading misinformation. We wholeheartedly reject this baseless assertion. HonestReporting noticed the details and asked the questions that fact-checkers and editors at these news organizations should have asked themselves.

Gil Hoffman tweeted a response to the media claims against him at the time, which was also ignored by those media outlets.

Enough is enough. It’s time the media, and particularly The New York Times, started giving proper answers instead of denigrating the people who are asking the relevant questions.

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Israel at War: The Media Battlefield – Briefing #21

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HonestReporting has been working around the clock to identify and respond to the worst media bias since the appalling events of October 7 and the subsequent launch of Israeli military action against Hamas.

You can already see many of the posts that we’ve published on our website but here’s a roundup of just some of the issues and media outlets that we’ve flagged on social media over the past several days that didn’t make it into full articles.

Make sure to follow us on X/Twitter to get all of our content in real time during this period.

TAKE ACTION NOW: You can make a difference. We’ve included contact details for many of the examples of media bias below. Please send your considered comments to the media and hold them accountable.

Associated Press Parrots Hamas Disinformation

Open AP Customer Zone & select Editorial and News from the dropdown options: https://customerzone.ap.org/cz/s/contactsupport

The Guardian’s Op-Ed Lionizes Disturbed Self-Immolator

Contact The Guardian readers’ editor: [email protected]

The New York Times Digs Up Boar Libel

Contact: [email protected]

Reuters Falsely Implies Israel Operating Against Gaza

Contact Reuters Customer Support: https://liaison.reuters.com/contact-us

Washington Post Legitimizes an Antisemite

Contact the Washington Post Readers Representative: [email protected]

The Independent Commits a Capital Offense

Fill out The Independent’s contact form: https://help.independent.co.uk/hc/en-us/requests/new

The New York Times Fails to Recognize Hypocrisy

Contact: [email protected]

Foreign Affairs Claims Hamas “Inherited” Gaza’s Tunnels From Israel

Contact: [email protected]

Sky News Guest Makes Moral Equivalence Between Israeli Hostages and Palestinian Prisoners

Contact: [email protected]

The New York Times Underplays South African and Brazilian Hostility

Contact: [email protected]

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Ghoulish Media Praise ‘Humanity’ of Aaron Bushnell Who Set Himself On Fire Outside Israeli Embassy

The death of active-duty US serviceman Aaron Bushnell, who killed himself by self-immolation outside the Israeli embassy in Washington DC, was met with a profoundly unsettling response.

Bushnell, 25, live-streamed his death on the broadcasting website Twitch, filming himself saying: “I am an active-duty member of the United States Air Force. And 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. This is what our ruling class has decided will be normal.”

Outside the embassy, he put his camera on the ground, poured an accelerant over himself, set himself ablaze, and shouted, “Free Palestine!” until he collapsed.

Bushnell was taken to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Shortly after his identity was confirmed, details about Bushnell’s disturbing views emerged.

A review of his social media profiles found that he held extreme anarchist views and had posted numerous anti-Israel comments online, including one in which he seemingly condoned the October 7 Hamas massacre in which scores of Israeli civilians were raped, tortured and murdered.

According to posts seen by the ADL, Bushnell posted on Reddit earlier this month: “Israel is a white supremacist, ethnonationalist, settler-colonial apartheid state… it has no right to exist.”

In October 2023, he wrote: “Can you or I really say that Indigenous people are wrong for retaliating against colonizers who are rubbing their domination in their face?”

Worryingly, however, Bushell’s warped and antisemitic views that led him to set himself alight in front of horrified bystanders have not stopped some high-profile journalists from lionizing him.

The Guardian published an op-ed four days after Bushnell’s death — more than a day after his social media history was uncovered — in which he is described as a “person of such profound commitment and depth of feeling” who “could be much more useful to the world alive than dead.”

Written by Moira Donegan, the headline of the piece laments what she deems the “loss” to society that is Bushnell’s death.

The Guardian Aaron Bushnell op-ed

Sickeningly, Donegan scorns commentators who rightfully questioned the state of Bushnell’s mental health before he killed himself. Such questioning, she contends, should be extended to Israel and its “insane” war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

It is insanity (apparently) to wage war against a genocidal terrorist group that slaughtered and kidnapped more than 1,200 Israelis — but, we must assume, it is not insane to douse yourself in gasoline in the middle of the street in protest of a war happening 6,000 miles away.

Even worse, Donegan states it would be wrong to question what “struggles” led to Bushnell’s suicide because it is “the wrong question to ask, a way to avoid confrontation with the stated meaning of Bushnell’s self-immolation: that Israel is conducting a genocide in Gaza, one that is only possible with US money and US support, and that this moral catastrophe implicates all Americans in complicity.”

Of course, the article ignores that Bushnell had defended the Hamas massacre, which presumably would make him seem less heroic.

Later in the piece, Donegan suggests that “the [political] left,” which is used as a synonym for pro-Palestinians, is a “much less violent group” than the right.

Publicly-available hate crime statistics, however, tell a different story.

Antisemitism has surged globally, with almost daily reports of Jews being physically assaulted, synagogues attacked and antisemitic graffiti sprayed in public spaces.

The pro-Palestinian marches that have taken place in major cities all over the world have also featured antisemitism.

Donegan isn’t alone in her praise of Bushnell.

Fellow Guardian opinion writer Owen Jones, who previously cast doubt on whether Hamas terrorists carried out rapes or intentionally killed children during the October 7 invasion, posted online that Bushnell died “because he had too much humanity for a world run by people who don’t have any.”

For the likes of Jones, it is a mark of one’s “humanity” to justify the rape and slaughter of Jews, as Bushnell did.

Others who also suggested Bushnell’s actions were in some way laudable included Hamas, which praised him as a  “heroic pilot” and The Nation’s “Palestine correspondent” Mohammed El-Kurd, who defended violent actions such as plane hijackings and throwing Molotov cocktails.

Aaron Bushnell’s death is a tragedy — but not for the reasons the likes of Moira Donegan and Owen Jones believe.

No, the tragedy is that he was so radicalized to hate Israel that he ended up doing the unthinkable and took his own life in such a gruesome and public manner.

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Behind the Numbers: Understanding American Support for Israel

On February 27, in an apparent rejoinder against US President Joe Biden’s warning about waning support for Israel’s war against Hamas, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cited a recently released Harvard CAPS-Harris poll that indicated that 82% of Americans support Israel.

This was not the first Harvard CAPS-Harris poll that made the news in Israel.

In December, the Israeli media was abuzz with the news that more than 50% of young Americans (18-24) reportedly believed that Israel should be “ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians.”

While it may seem like these two polls represent a tidal change in American feelings toward Israel over the past two months, an analysis of each Harvard CAPS-Harris poll on Israel and Hamas since October indicates that support for Israel has remained strong among Americans since the October 7 terror attack and that the negative focus on the war in the media and online has not led to a decrease in backing for Israel’s war against Hamas.

Since the beginning of the war, American support for Israel over Hamas has remained steady at around three-quarters of the population. In October, support for Israel stood at 79%, in November, December, and January, it hovered around 77%, while in February it jumped to 80%.

Surprisingly, among young Americans (18-24), which is traditionally viewed as the population bracket least sympathetic to Israel, support for Israel over Hamas has risen substantially since October. Initially, in the wake of the October 7 attack, support for Israel stood at 52%. By February 2024, it had risen to 72%, nearing the national average.

It’s not only in relation to Hamas that Israel garners a substantial amount of American support.

In October, pollsters asked whether the “land on Israel” [sic] was historically the homeland of the Jewish people or the Palestinian people. Roughly three-quarters of respondents held that it was historically the homeland of the Jewish people, including 56% of young Americans.

Similarly, in December 2023, Americans were asked whether “Israel has the right to exist as the homeland of the Jewish people.” The vast majority responded in the affirmative, including 69% of young Americans.

As this was the same poll in which 51% of young Americans said that they preferred that Israel be ended and given to Hamas and the Palestinians, it is clear that some respondents hold views on Israel that are self-contradictory.

Related Reading: Do Young Americans Really Dislike Israel? A Second Look at the Pew Report on American Views of the Jewish State

As part of this support for Israel over Hamas, a majority of polled Americans have also voiced support for Israel’s war aims (the return of the hostages and the destruction of Hamas). This support does not seem to have been overly affected by the negative representation of Israel’s war conduct in the media or online.

Between October and December (the last month when this question was asked), approximately 60% of Americans supported Israel continuing to fight in Gaza until the hostages are returned and Hamas’ fighting capability was reduced.

Similarly, over that same time period, roughly 80% of Americans said that Israel has the right to defend itself by launching targeted strikes in heavily populated Palestinian areas with proper warnings.

Surprisingly, the number of young Americans agreeing with this sentiment rose almost 20% during those three months, despite the toll on Palestinian civilians caused by Hamas’ use of human shields.

[embedded content]

Despite the large street crowds calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, which would ultimately benefit Hamas and weaken Israel’s position, it appears that these loud demonstrations are not representative of the overall American position.

Between December and February, support for an unconditional ceasefire has dropped among Americans, with roughly two-thirds supporting a ceasefire only after Hamas has been removed from power and the hostages freed.

Among young Americans polled in February, 53% support an unconditional surrender, down from 67% in December.

Along with this opposition to an unconditional surrender, a majority of Americans polled in February (including 57% of young Americans) expressed support for Israel continuing its anti-Hamas operations in southern Gaza, despite the effect this might have on the Palestinian civilian population sheltering in that area.

As further proof of how the media’s narrative may not affect Americans’ perceptions of Israel’s war against Hamas, the number of respondents who believed that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza dropped between December and January, despite the focus on South Africa’s case against Israel at the International Court of Justice during that time.

Even though American support for Israel has remained strong, these polls also indicate that, as Gazan casualties mount (primarily due to Hamas’ exploitation of civilian infrastructure), Israel is receiving more of the blame for civilian casualties and the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Nevertheless, the majority of Americans still rightly blame Hamas for these unfortunate consequences of war.

In sum, despite the heavy focus on Israel’s war against Hamas and the media’s negative portrayal of Israel’s conduct in Gaza, these polls indicate that American support for Israel and its war aims has consistently stayed strong over the past five months of hostilities.

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Photo Credit: Ruskpp via Shutterstock

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Wire Services Face Fallout Over Exposure of Gaza Photojournalists’ Oct. 7 Actions

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The fallout from HonestReporting’s exposure of Gaza-based photojournalists who infiltrated into Israel from Gaza on October 7 continues. The conversation started by this organization concerning the ethics of both the Palestinian media workers and those outlets that employed them or used their work has been consequential.

In the past few days, the world’s two biggest news agencies have again found themselves in the spotlight.

Reuters Distances Itself from Gaza Freelancer

Writing in The Algemeiner, Ira Stoll reported on February 21 that Reuters “is distancing itself from a freelance photographer after a pro-Israel journalism watchdog organization found an Instagram video of the photographer on October 7 appearing to urge Gazans to cross over into Israel.”

The photographer, Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa was featured in HonestReporting’s expose that included his October 7 photo of a lynch mob brutalizing an Israeli soldier at the breached Gaza border.

Last month, we exposed an Instagram video in which Abu Mostafa laughed while sharing a video of the lynch and recounting his experience of being inside Israel while terrorists took innocent civilians out of their homes. It is in this Instagram video that he also called on Gazans to cross into Israel.

Related Reading: EXPOSED: Gaza Photojournalists Shared Call to Infiltrate Israel on Oct. 7

As The Algemeiner reports:

The media monitoring group HonestReporting published what it said was a video of the photographer, Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa, saying in Arabic, “Advice, whoever can go – go. It is a one-time event that will not happen again.”

While we appreciate the fact that Reuters told the Algemeiner that it “considers unacceptable the behavior in the video of Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa,” we wonder why the agency keeps highlighting his border lynch photo as one of its top images of the year.

Why give such recognition to a person who gleefully recounted how he had joined Hamas terrorists while they were rampaging through Israeli communities?

Is that really the standard Reuters wants to set?

Nonetheless, the “distancing” of Reuters from Abu Mostafa is a welcome success.

Lawsuit Accuses AP of “Materially Supporting Terrorism”

According to a New York Post report from February 21, a lawsuit has been filed that accuses the Associated Press of “materially supporting terrorism” by paying “alleged Hamas-associated” photojournalists for images captured during and immediately after the October 7 invasion, in which Hamas terrorists slaughtered 1,200 people in Israel and kidnapped about 250 others.

The lawsuit focuses mainly on Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance photojournalist with whom AP (as well as CNN) cut ties following HonestReporting’s November 8 expose in which we had questioned his early morning presence at the Israel-Gaza border and inside Israeli communities. A photo we produced showing him being kissed on the cheek by Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar also raised serious concerns.

Related Reading: Broken Borders: AP & Reuters Pictures of Hamas Atrocities Raise Ethical Questions

The NY Post quotes the lawsuit and also mentions the questions raised by HonestReporting:

“AP willfully chose to turn a blind eye to these facts, and instead profited from its terrorist photographer’s participation in the massacre through its publication of the ‘exclusive’ images, for which it certainly paid a premium, effectively funding a terrorist organization,” the suit alleges.

Questions about the photojournalists’ allegiances were first raised by pro-Israel media watchdog, Honest Reporting [sic], just days after the terrorists’ gruesome invasion of the Jewish nation.

The report adds that AP and Eslaiah did not immediately return requests for comment regarding the legal action, that has been filed as a federal complaint in the Southern District of Florida under the Anti-Terrorism Act.

We will, of course, be following developments with interest.

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▶️ Protesting for an Intifada? It’s Not Helping Palestinians

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“Freeing” Palestine “from the river to the sea” or calling for an intifada can’t bring peace because it’s calling for more violence. For the extremists, that’s exactly what they want. If you want peace you have to listen to what Israelis are saying as well.

Thumbnail credits via Flash90:

– Luke Tress
– Abed Rahim Khatib

Honest Reporting is a website that seeks to bring balance to the left slant in the major news media.

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