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‘Hamas Restricts Journalists in Gaza,’ New York Times Confesses — That Could Explain the Hospital Obsession

Israeli soldiers inspect the Al Shifa hospital complex, amid their ground operation against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, in Gaza City, Nov. 15, 2023, in this handout image. Photo: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS

Instead of covering the war between Israel and Iran-backed Hamas, the New York Times has turned itself into the newsletter of the Gaza hospital association.

Since the war began with Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, the Times has published, by my count, 19 front-page articles that are either primarily or substantially about the impact of the war on Gaza hospitals. That’s far more front-page articles than the Times has published on other aspects of the war that might be more newsworthy — say, the fate of the approximately 240 hostages, or the nature of Iran’s involvement in training and financing the Hamas terrorists, or plans for the future of Gaza after Israel achieves its goals of dismantling Hamas and recovering the hostages.

Most of the coverage has been of the he said/she said variety. The Times repeats Israeli statements that the hospitals are terrorist headquarters, while also repeating denials by Hamas and hospital officials.

The Nov. 11 edition of the New York Times had a front-page article headlined, “Gaza’s Hospitals Bear the Brunt As Battles Rage.” It reported, “Hamas denies operating within the hospital or under it, as does the hospital director, Mohammad Abu Salmiya.”

The Nov. 12 edition of the Times had a front-page article headlined, “Plight of Gaza’s Main Hospital Worsens as Israeli Forces Close In.” It reported, “The Israeli military has accused Hamas of operating an underground command center below Al-Shifa, using it as a shield. The hospital’s administration and Hamas have denied that.”

This is boilerplate that just gets copied and pasted into each day’s new front-page Times article on the same topic.

On Nov. 14: “Hospital Shakes In Gaza as Fights Rage at Doorstep.” The article reported, “Israeli officials say Hamas uses hospitals in Gaza, including Al-Shifa, as shields to conceal vast complexes for their fighters in tunnels underneath. Hamas has denied the allegations.”

On Nov. 15: “Israeli Military Reports Assault at Gaza Hospital.” The article reported, “Israel asserts that Hamas has dug a network of tunnels beneath Gaza’s hospitals, using the patients and workers inside them as human shields for its command centers and safe houses. Hamas and hospital officials have denied the accusations.”

The Times international editor and associate managing editor, Phil Pan, who hadn’t had a byline in the newspaper since 2018, went to Gaza City himself to check into Al Shifa hospital and report under his own byline that his visit “will not settle the question of whether Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that rules Gaza, has been using Al-Shifa Hospital to hide weapons and command centers.”

I don’t know what Pan expected he’d find there. A sign behind the main information desk with colorful arrows? “Cardiology, third floor. Cafeteria, second floor. Hamas Terrorist Headquarters, basement.”

Even before this war, there was ample evidence that Hamas was using Gaza hospitals as bases. And the Times has already published one editors’ note conceding that the newspaper “should have taken more care” with coverage of an explosion by an errant Palestinian rocket at a parking lot near one Gaza hospital. David Collier reported that one of the doctors frequently quoted in the Times denying Hamas’ presence at the hospital has a history of social media posts celebrating terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

A spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Lt. Col. Richard Hecht, notes that evidence has mounted. The IDF says it found that one of the hostages, 19-year-old Noa Marciano, had been murdered by Hamas terrorists inside the Shifa hospital. It published video of armed terrorists hustling Nepalese and Thai civilian hostages into the hospital. It found a terrorist tunnel with a blast-proof door and a firing hole. It found a booby-trapped vehicle full of weapons. It found Hamas weapons and uniforms hidden inside the hospital’s MRI area, where security cameras had been covered up.

“It’s increasingly clear that our assertion that Hamas uses hospitals as civilians shields — not just Shifa — is true,” Hecht writes. He says that translates into a journalistic point: “Same-sideness doesn’t always work. Israel is a liberal democracy. Hamas is a recognized terrorist organization. Giving equal weight to claims from both sides — one with a functional check and balance systems and another that knowingly butchers children in a surprise attack — is just plain wrong.”

Why is the Times focusing so obsessively about the Gaza hospitals rather than on other newsworthy stories in Gaza and in Israel, or, for that matter, in Lebanon, Iran, and China? A hint comes in a dispatch by the newspaper’s Jerusalem bureau chief, the error-prone Patrick Kingsley, who acknowledged, “Hamas restricts journalists in Gaza.”

Talk about burying the lede. What would be useful from the Times is more transparency about precisely how Hamas has been restricting journalists in Gaza. Does Hamas threaten the journalists with violence? Does Hamas tell the journalists that they should write about the hospitals and not about other topics? Does it order the journalists to report the doctors’ denials of Hamas activity even though everyone knows those denials are bogus?

The disclaimer that “Hamas restricts journalists in Gaza” is worth remembering as a cautionary label on everything the Times reports about the place.

The Times may eventually retreat from the Gaza topic and move on to other classical anti-Israel themes such as depicting the Jews as killers of innocent children. Before the Gaza hospital association newsletter drops the subject, though, would it be too much to ask for these intrepid Times journalists to go back to the Gazan doctors and ask: When they said there were no Hamasniks in the hospital, were they intentionally lying to the press? And when the journalists repeated the denial, did they, too, know it was a lie? Times editors may prefer to describe the situation as an unsettled question, but at a certain point readers may begin to wonder why the Times journalists have been so skeptical of Israel’s claims and so solicitous of Hamas’ denials.

Ira Stoll was managing editor of The Forward and North American editor of The Jerusalem Post. His media critique, a regular Algemeiner feature, can be found here.

The post ‘Hamas Restricts Journalists in Gaza,’ New York Times Confesses — That Could Explain the Hospital Obsession first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Israel, US Blast ‘Outrageous’ ICC Request for Netanyahu’s Arrest

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Jerusalem, Feb. 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday issued blistering condemnations of the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor’s demand for arrest warrants for the Israeli premier, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, and Hamas terror chief Yahye Sinwar.

Biden said the move by Karim Khan was “outrageous” and “shameful,” adding, “Let me be clear: Whatever this prosecutor might imply, there is no equivalence — none — between Israel and Hamas. We will always stand with Israel against threats to its security.”

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken added that the US “fundamentally rejects the announcement.”

In a video message, Netanyahu called the warrant application “absurd and false” and said it “was not directed only against the prime minister of Israel and the defense minister, but against the entire State of Israel and against the IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers, who are fighting with otherworldly heroism against the depraved Hamas murderers who attacked us with savage butchery on the seventh of October.”

Addressing the chief prosecutor, Netanyahu continued: “With what chutzpah do you dare compare the monsters of Hamas to the soldiers of the IDF, the most moral army in the world? With what audacity do you compare between Hamas that murdered, burned, butchered, raped, and kidnapped our brothers and sisters, and the IDF soldiers who are fighting a just war that is incomparable, with a morality that is unmatched?”

In addition to Sinwar, the request also called for the arrests of Hamas’ political leader in Qatar, Ismail Haniyeh, and the Palestinian terror group’s military head, Mohammed Deif, on charges of war crimes.

Blinken called the prosecutor’s equivalence of Israel with Hamas “shameful.”

“Hamas is a brutal terrorist organization that carried out the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust and is still holding dozens of innocent people hostage, including Americans,” Blinken said.

He emphasized that the ICC had “no jurisdiction” over the war, and noted that both Israel and the US are not parties of the Rome Statute, the international treaty that established the court. The top US diplomat also called into question “deeply troubling processes” by Khan, who was supposed to send a team to Israel on Monday to coordinate his own visit next week.

“Israel was informed that they did not board their flight around the same time that the prosecutor went on cable television to announce the charges. These and other circumstances call into question the legitimacy and credibility of this investigation,” Blinken said.

An unprecedented majority in Israel’s parliament, the Knesset — 106 out of 120 MKs — signed a petition on Monday afternoon against what they said was an “unerasable historical crime.”

“The scandalous comparison by the Hague prosecutor between Israel’s leaders and the heads of terror organizations is an unerasable historical crime and a clear expression of antisemitism,” the petition read. “We reject this with revulsion. Eighty years after the Holocaust, no one will prevent the Jewish state from defending itself.”

Israel will likely lobby the US Congress to pursue sanctions against the ICC. Several Republican senators last month warned against issuing warrants, saying they would push for sanctions against Khan including barring entry to the US.

One of them, US Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), said on Monday he will “feverishly work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in both chambers to levy damning sanctions against the ICC,” adding that “Prosecutor Khan is drunk with self-importance and has done a lot of damage to the peace process and to the ability to find a way forward.”

Former US national security adviser John Bolton also called for the US to impose sanctions on the ICC, saying the Hague court had proved its “fundamental illegitimacy.”

“To aid our ally Israel, the US should take steps both in Congress and in the White House to condemn the ICC and impose sanctions,” he wrote on X/Twitter.

The ICC action also received strong criticism in Europe.

Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala called Khan’s decision “appalling and completely unacceptable.”

“We must not forget that it was Hamas that attacked Israel in October and killed, injured, and kidnapped thousands of innocent people,” he wrote on X. “It was this completely unprovoked terrorist attack that led to the current war in Gaza and the suffering of civilians in Gaza, Israel and Lebanon.”

Other European leaders, however, supported the ICC move.

“Crimes committed in Gaza must be prosecuted at the highest level, regardless of the perpetrators,” Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib wrote. “The fight against impunity wherever crimes occur is a priority for Belgium.”

The call for arrest warrants “is an important step in the investigation of the situation in Palestine,” she added.

The post Israel, US Blast ‘Outrageous’ ICC Request for Netanyahu’s Arrest first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Republican Jewish Coalition Unveils $50,000 Ad Buy to Woo Jewish Voters Ahead of 2024 Presidential Election

US President Joe Biden speaks at a Detroit Branch NAACP annual Fight for Freedom Fund Dinner in Detroit, Michigan, US, May 19, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Elizabeth Frantz

The Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) will purchase $50,000 worth of digital ads in key battleground states with the purpose of targeting Jewish voters ahead of the 2024 US presidential election, according to a statement released by the group on Monday.

The RJC, an organization that seeks to build support for the Republican Party among Jewish voters, claimed it would release new ads underlining what it described as the deteriorating relationship between Israel and the United States during the Biden administration. The ads suggest that US President Joe Biden has undermined Israel’s military campaign in Gaza against Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that launched the ongoing war with its Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

As antisemitism spikes to record highs and America’s relationship with our ally Israel continues to reach new lows, the Jewish community is more energized than ever to turn the page from the failures, broken promises, and betrayals by Joe Biden,” RNC chair Norm Coleman and CEO Matt Brooks said in a statement.

The two ads will be deployed in states considered critical in the 2024 presidential election: Pennsylvania, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, and Michigan. Both ads swipe at Biden over his decision to pause offensive arm shipments to Israel and suggest the president has “stabbed Israel in the back.” They also accuse Biden of not being “strong” enough to guarantee Israel’s security and urge voters to support Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee for president.

“Biden is siding with Hamas, Iran, and Hezbollah over Israel at the most crucial time, a blunder of historic proportions that will lead to more death and destruction,” one of the ads says. 

Biden expressed strong support for Israel following the Oct. 7 onslaught, and since then the US has sent significant amounts of munitions to the Jewish state for its war effort against Hamas. In recent weeks, however, he has adopted a much more critical posture toward Jerusalem, culminating with his decision earlier this month to withhold sending certain weapons to Israel due to disagreements over Israeli military operations in Gaza.

In the months following Hamas’ Oct. 7 terror attacks on Israel, Republican politicians have attempted to capitalize on the growing tension between Democrats and Jewish voters. On May 9, Trump lambasted Jewish supporters of Biden.

“If you’re Jewish, and you vote for him, I say shame on you,” Trump said. 

Ammiel Hirsch, a rabbi of Stephen Wise Free Synagogue, penned a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week warning Democrats not to take Jewish voters for granted. 

“American Jews increasingly feel politically homeless. Liberal Jewish voters consider President Biden a longtime friend. At the same time, they are troubled by the growing influence of anti-Israel forces in the Democratic Party,” Hirsch wrote.

In his final statement before passing away earlier this year, former US Senator and Democratic Party vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman similarly warned Democrats and Biden about the political danger of turning against Israel.

“We are here to say that you can no longer simply count on our vote just because Jews traditionally have voted Democratic. We are here to say you must earn our vote,” the joint statement read. “We want to continue to support Democratic candidates, but you need to know that if you abandon Israel in order to garner the support of anti-Israel extremists within the Democratic Party, it will be difficult for us to support Democrats who are on the ballot this November.”

Lieberman, an ardent supporter of Israel, was the first Jewish candidate on a major party presidential ticket in the US.

The post Republican Jewish Coalition Unveils $50,000 Ad Buy to Woo Jewish Voters Ahead of 2024 Presidential Election first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Pro-Hamas Encampment at Drexel University Pushes School Into Lockdown

“Gaza Solidarity Encampment” at Drexel University. Photo: X/Twitter

A “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” was erected suddenly at Drexel University in Philadelphia over the weekend, forcing school officials to lock down the campus to protect it from a flood of non-students who joined the demonstration.

“This demonstration has already proved intolerably disruptive to normal university operations and has raised serious concerns about the conduct of some participants, including distressing reports and images of protesters subjecting passersby to antisemitic speech, signs, and chants,” Drexel University president John Fry said on Sunday in a letter to the campus community. “These kinds of hateful and intimidating acts must be condemned, and they cannot and will not be tolerated.”

Fry added that “it has become increasingly apparent that most of the encampment participants are outside individuals who are unaffiliated with Drexel.”

The group responsible for the demonstration, Drexel Palestine Coalition (DPC), is demanding that the school adopt the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel and “terminate” its Hillel and Chabad chapters.

“These organizations must be replaced by non-Zionist Jewish ones that in no way support the ongoing genocide, occupation, or apartheid in Palestine,” DPC said in a statement posted on social media.

DPC also wants the university’s police force to be abolished, amnesty granted to any protester charged with violating school rules, and a “60 percent” reduction in Fry’s salary, the savings of which would be invested “into local community efforts such as affordable housing, co-ops, land trusts — specifically towards Black Bottom residents — and the rebuilding of Palestinian institutions such as hospitals and universities.”

Footage of the demonstration shows some aggressive behavior, including the protesters’ dismantling police barricades. According to the latest reports, there have been no arrests.

“Hillel continues to be grateful to have partners on campus who believe that a university experience should be filled with opportunities to engage thoroughly and thoughtfully around issues where there is both deep investment and deep disagreement while recognizing that a prerequisite for any such conversation is a demonstrated commitment to the safety, well being, and shared sense of belonging of all of the students, faculty, and staff who call our university home,” Drexel Hillel said on Sunday in a statement issued about the encampment.

The protesters’ demands are not the first assault on Jewish organizations at Drexel University this academic year.

Last month, the Raymond G. Perelman Center for Jewish Life was vandalized, with the culprits removing large channel letters spelling out Perelman’s name from a brick structure near the entrance to the building. The disturbing act, which occurred amid an explosion of antisemitic hate crimes across the US, was filmed by surveillance cameras, but the persons responsible cannot yet be identified because they wore masks.

“It bears repeating that vandalizing centers of Jewish life and learning, defacing property with antisemitic graffiti, or ripping mezuzot off doorposts in residence halls does not constitute any legitimate form of protests,” Fry said at the time. “Such acts are antisemitic in their intent to disrupt Jewish life and intimidate our Jewish communities, and have no place at Drexel or in our democratic society.”

Drexel University joins the list of over 100 schools where anti-Zionists have taken over sections of campus and refused to leave unless school administrators agree to condemn and boycott Israel. Other demonstrations timed to coincide with the end of the academic year petered out earlier this month, but at Drexel, which uses the quarter system, classes do not end until June 8. Because of this, the encampment there could last as many as three weeks.

In the interim, the school remains locked down, and on Monday, Fry ordered that all classes be conducted virtually.

“We will continue to provide updates regarding this situation or any changes to the university’s operations,” Fry said in Sunday’s letter. “I ask for everyone’s patience and understanding as we work toward ensuring that our campus can soon return to normal.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post Pro-Hamas Encampment at Drexel University Pushes School Into Lockdown first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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