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August 5, 2014 1

The Foreign Media Fails to Cover Hamas

With a shaky cease fire in place, for­eign jour­nal­ists are begin­ning to leave Gaza, some of them reveal­ing for the first time on-the-ground photo and video evi­dence of Hamas oper­a­tions in civil­ian areas.

Dur­ing the four weeks of Israel’s Oper­a­tion Pro­tec­tive Edge, there has been plenty of video and pho­tos taken by for­eign jour­nal­ists in Gaza, most of it depict­ing the civil­ian human­i­tar­ian toll. To the con­ster­na­tion of many, there were vir­tu­ally no videos of Hamas oper­a­tives launch­ing one of the over 3,000 rock­ets sent against Israel, no pho­tos of armed Hamas oper­a­tives on the streets, few descrip­tions of Hamas oper­a­tions cen­ters or safe houses.

On August 5, the Indian net­work NDTV fea­tured an “exclu­sive” video of a rocket being pre­pared and fired from a loca­tion just out­side their hotel, in an area of civil­ian homes and com­mer­cial businesses.

Why have these pho­tos and videos been lack­ing until now?   There have been alle­ga­tions that jour­nal­ists in Gaza were bul­lied into silence, reports that those who reported on or pho­tographed Hamas oper­at­ing in civil­ian areas were forcibly removed from Gaza.   In explain­ing why news sto­ries haven’t men­tioned the well-known fact that Hamas has an oper­a­tion cen­ter in a bunker directly under­neath one of Gaza’s main hos­pi­tals, Tablet Mag­a­zine explained:

“What Hamas has done, there­fore, is to turn Shifa Hos­pi­tal into a Hol­ly­wood sound-stage filled with real, live war vic­tims who are used to score pro­pa­ganda points, while the ter­ror­ists inside the hos­pi­tal itself are erased from pho­tographs and news accounts through a com­bi­na­tion of pres­sure and threats, in order to pro­duce the sto­ries that Hamas wants.”

Oth­ers claim that such pho­tos were just not avail­able to be taken.  In an inter­view for The New York Times’ The Lens Blog, pho­tog­ra­pher Tyler Hicks explained why among the hun­dreds of pho­tos he took over a two week period in Gaza, almost none were of Hamas rock­ets, weapons or operatives:

Q: We have many pho­tos of the casu­al­ties and destruc­tion in Gaza. Why don’t we have many pho­tos of Hamas fight­ers or mis­siles? A: This is a war fought largely behind the scenes. Hamas fight­ers are not able to expose them­selves. If they were to even step a foot on the street they would be spot­ted by an Israeli drone and imme­di­ately blown up. We don’t see those fight­ers. They are oper­at­ing out of build­ings and homes and at night. They are mov­ing around very care­fully. You don’t see any signs of author­ity on the streets. If you can imag­ine every police offi­cer, every per­son of author­ity in Amer­ica gone, this is what that would look like.  If we had access to them, we would be pho­tograph­ing them. I never saw a sin­gle device for launch­ing the rock­ets to Israel. It’s as if they don’t exist.  Some­times peo­ple assume that you can have access to every­thing, that you can see every­thing. But the fight­ers are vir­tu­ally invis­i­ble to us. What we do as pho­tog­ra­phers is doc­u­ment what we can to show that side of the war. There are funer­als, there are peo­ple being rushed to the hos­pi­tal, but you can’t dif­fer­en­ti­ate the fight­ers from the civil­ians. They are not wear­ing uni­forms. If there is some­one com­ing into the hos­pi­tal injured, you can’t tell if that’s just a shop­keeper or if this is some­one who just fired a rocket towards Israel. It’s impos­si­ble to know who’s who. We tried to cover this as objec­tively as possible.

Other news crews have inad­ver­tently filmed rock­ets.  For exam­ple, this France24 reporter was sur­prised when a rocket was fired right behind him dur­ing his July 31 live report. Upon post­ing the video of the rocket launch­ing, NDTV explained that it was being made pub­lic because the news team respon­si­ble for the clip had left Gaza:

This report is being aired on NDTV and pub­lished on ndtv.com after our team left the Gaza strip — Hamas has not taken very kindly to any report­ing of its rock­ets being fired. But just as we reported the dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences of Israel’s offen­sive on Gaza’s civil­ians, it is equally impor­tant to report on how Hamas places those very civil­ians at risk by fir­ing rock­ets deep from the heart of civil­ian zones.

As jour­nal­ists begin to stream out of Gaza  to cover other crises around the world, it is likely we will be see­ing more and more of these “exclu­sive” videos and pho­tos of Hamas oper­a­tions sud­denly revealed.

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January 31, 2014 0

Newseum & Smithsonian Select Anti-Semitic Paper For Upcoming Media Exhibit

arab-american-news-newseum-smithsonian

Car­toon pub­lished in Arab Amer­i­can News in March 2010

The New­seum and the Smith­son­ian Insti­tute have cho­sen the Arab Amer­i­can News¸ an Arabic-English lan­guage weekly news­pa­per based in Dear­born, Michi­gan, with a long his­tory of pub­lish­ing anti-Semitic arti­cles, for an exhibit show­cas­ing media from var­i­ous eth­nic com­mu­ni­ties the U.S.

The May 2014 exhibit,One Nation With News for All,“will tell the story of how immi­grants and minori­ties used the power of the press to fight for their rights and change Amer­i­can his­tory,” accord­ing the New­seum website. 

The stated pur­pose of the exhibit to cel­e­brate the rich cul­tural, eth­nic and reli­gious back­grounds of hun­dreds of com­mu­ni­ties that have made the U.S. their home, is laud­able. The selec­tion of the Arab Amer­i­can News to rep­re­sent the Arabic-speaking com­mu­nity is a par­tic­u­larly poor choice to rep­re­sent the pos­i­tive mes­sage of the exhibit.

The news­pa­per has a long his­tory of pub­lish­ing arti­cles that prop­a­gate the­o­ries of Jew­ish con­trol over the U.S. gov­ern­ment and for­eign pol­icy. The English-language sec­tion of the news­pa­per has pro­vided a plat­form for known anti-Semites, Holo­caust deniers and 9/11 con­spir­acy the­o­rists, such as Jeff Gates, Paul Craig Roberts and Alan Sabrosky. Its Editor-in-Chief Osama Siblani has expressed pub­lic sup­port for ter­ror­ist organizations. 

Exam­ples of the anti-Semitic and con­spir­a­to­r­ial arti­cles in the Arab Amer­i­can News can be found in ADL’s Pro­file: Osama Siblani & The Arab Amer­i­can News

The New­seum stirred con­tro­versy in May 2013 when it included the names of two jour­nal­ists from Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV as part of its ongo­ing memo­r­ial to jour­nal­ists who lost their lives in the line of duty. Although the New­seum had indi­cated that it would “reeval­u­ate” the inclu­sion of the jour­nal­ists, the museum ulti­mately decided to include the names in the memorial.

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January 30, 2014 0

The Media’s Coverage of Palestinian Incitement Towards Israel

Recently, the New York Times ran an infor­ma­tive piece on the pro­lif­er­a­tion of Hamas train­ing camps in Gaza, where impres­sion­able Pales­tin­ian teens are taught to hate Israel through par­tic­i­pa­tion in military-style boot camps, where they are trained to fire guns and build bombs in order to attack the Jew­ish State.

While the arti­cle itself was inter­est­ing, the tim­ing seemed to sug­gest that Pales­tin­ian incite­ment was some­thing of a new phe­nom­e­non. The real­ity is that this type of vio­lent indoc­tri­na­tion equip­ping chil­dren with the skills and moti­va­tion to kill Israelis, as well as other forms of Pales­tin­ian incite­ment, are noth­ing new.

A recent Israeli gov­ern­ment report high­lights how Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials, media out­lets and edu­ca­tional insti­tu­tions are engaged in an ongo­ing incite­ment cam­paign towards Israel. Hitler is quoted on school Face­book pages, Jews are described on TV as “bar­baric mon­keys” and the “mur­ders of Mohammed,” and Pales­tin­ian Pres­i­dent Abbas has repeat­edly embraced released Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ists as “heroes.”

Per­haps one of the most infa­mous instances of Pales­tin­ian incite­ment occurred in 2007 with Mickey Mouse “Far­four” episode, where Mickey was shown on Hamas TV being beaten to death by an actor pos­ing as an Israeli agent try­ing to buy land. Young view­ers of the TV pro­gram were than told that “Far­four was mar­tyred while defend­ing his land” and was killed “by the killers of chil­dren.” The Hamas TV episode was so hor­rific it even mer­ited a spot on The Daily Show.

With Israel and the Pales­tini­ans cur­rently engaged in an intense and pro­tracted period of nego­ti­a­tions over the poten­tial for a future Pales­tin­ian state, the need to high­light and coun­ter­act the dan­gers of incite­ment is even more press­ing. The issue has been repeat­edly raised in recent weeks by Israeli polit­i­cal lead­ers in meet­ings with inter­na­tional lead­ers, pub­lic speeches and other forums, but hasn’t received as much inter­na­tional media atten­tion as it should.

In order for peace to be achieved, the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity must end the incite­ment cam­paign against Israel. It is the task of respon­si­ble media out­lets to con­tinue to draw atten­tion to the issue, and not allow incite­ment to con­tinue exist­ing under the surface.

 

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