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In Nasser Hospital Coverage, New York Times Underperforms the Babylon Bee

A taxi passes by in front of The New York Times head office, Feb. 7, 2013. Photo: Reuters / Carlo Allegri / File.

Will the New York Times ever stop falling for the Gaza “hospitals threatened” Hamas publicity stunt?

The New York Times of Thursday February 15 resumed the newspaper’s preferred post-October 7 status as a kind of Gaza hospital trade association newsletter. “Hundreds Vacate Hospital in Fear of Israeli Attack,” is the lead, front-page headline.

The article carries the bylines of three Times journalists, with “reporting was contributed” credits for another seven, for a total of ten journalists. Among those contributing reporting is a newer name, Rawan Sheikh Ahmad. Her social media timeline is full of retweets of journalistically objective material such as “Across the country Zionists are beating, gassing, shooting, lynching Palestinians. They’re unhinged. The videos we’re seeing are reminiscent of the Nakba. State-settler collusion emboldening an unquenchable thirst for Palestinian blood & land. Terrorist, genocidal nation” and “IDF Soldier Recounts Harrowing, Heroic War Story Of Killing 8-Month-Old Child.”

You might think that by now the Times would have learned from its mistakes in terms of covering Gaza hospitals that turn out to be Hamas terrorist bases.

Back in October, the Times published an editors’ note confessing that editors “should have taken more care,” instead of falling for false Hamas claims blaming Israel for killing hundreds at Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City.

Earlier this week, the Times even belatedly acknowledged about Al-Shifa Hospital that “Hamas used the hospital for cover, stored weapons inside it and maintained a hardened tunnel beneath the complex. The Times had obsessed about that hospital on its front page for weeks, passing along to its readers ritualistic denials from Hamas and the hospital’s leadership notwithstanding that they were transparently bogus.

This time around, with Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, the Times dials up the Gaza hospital hype yet again. “Thousands of Gazans have sheltered at the Nasser Medical Complex in the southern city of Khan Younis for weeks, and many are terrified that Israeli forces will bombard or storm the complex, said Mohammed Abu Lehya, a doctor there,” the Times says. “Hanin Abu Tiba, 27, an English teacher sheltering at the hospital, described dire conditions inside, with food running out and aid convoys all but unable to deliver supplies.”

“We are all scared,” the Times quotes a radiologist named Dr. Mohammad Abu Moussa as saying.

“Terrified,” “dire,” “scared.” Get the emotional message? The Times also duly trots out the same World Health Organization officials that warned about the other hospitals that turned out to be Hamas headquarters. The whole Times framing is to accuse Israel for attacking the hospital, rather than to accuse the Hamas terrorist organization of using the hospital as cover.

The same doctors, English teacher, and World Health Organization official that the Times has access to for quoting about how scared they are of the Israelis are not asked by the Times, at least in the story, about whether they’ve seen any Israeli hostages. They are not asked, at least in the story, whether Hamas has used the hospital as a base. They aren’t asked, at least in the Times article, about whether they are scared of Hamas. They aren’t asked, at least in the Times article, what Hamas would do to them if they didn’t provide the New York Times with appropriately alarmist quotes that make Israel sound like the aggressor.

Israel Defense Forces spokesman Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari announced late Thursday that Israel found hiding in the Nasser hospital complex “three confirmed terrorists,” including two who he said participated in the October 7 attack, among dozens of other suspects. The IDF also released interrogation video in which a captured Hamas operative described ten hostages being held in Nasser hospital.

Perhaps a few months from now the Times will get around, as it did with Al-Shifa, to acknowledging that the hospital was being used as a terrorist hiding place, and that the physicians being quoted in the Times article were probably well aware of that.

As a business strategy, there may be some kind of short-term upside to this approach. The Times gets traffic from the Israel-haters sharing the story about those cruel Israelis targeting a hospital and causing the “dire” conditions. And then, months later, it later gets traffic from the pro-Israel crowd sharing the eventual acknowledgement that, yes, the hospital was a terrorist nest. But there’s a cost to the newspaper’s credibility. Readers who expect the Times overall to serve consistently as a skeptical, independent voice rather than a purveyor of anti-Israel propaganda eventually will tire of seeing the newspaper they once loved and respected become a joke.

The parody humor sites get it. The Babylon Bee is running headlines like “Hamas Says All The AK-47s Found In Gaza Hospital Were Strictly For Medicinal Use” and “Palestinian Authority Warns That Gaza Hospitals Running Dangerously Low On Ammunition.” Why can’t the Times editors see it?

That’s not to say that there are not Gazans with real, acute, medical needs. Israel has in some cases facilitated evacuations for them, or coordinated their safe passage to other facilities. The situation for innocent, sick Gazans is surely dire, and they surely are scared. Yet the Times coverage places the blame on Israel while pretty much giving a pass to Hamas.

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.

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Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips

After a weekend overnight shutdown of Israeli airspace, during which time Iranian missiles and drones attacked the country, Canadians ware cautiously optimistic that travel to and from Ben Gurion Airport will resume regular schedules later this week. Air Canada cancelled departures from Toronto on Saturday and from Tel Aviv on Monday—the latter despite the airport […]

The post Air Canada cancelled two flights to Tel Aviv due to the Iranian missile attack—leaving some travellers to seek alternatives, or consider postponing their trips appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Harvard University Wants Antisemitism Lawsuit Dismissed, Denies Injury to Students

Students accusing Israel of genocide at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, US, Nov. 16, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Lawyers representing Harvard University in Massachusetts have requested the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by six Jewish students who accused the school of ignoring antisemitic discrimination.

According to The Harvard Crimson, the university said in a court filing that a lawsuit, as well as a period of discovery during which its conduct would be thoroughly examined, was not necessary due to the “tangible steps” it has taken to combat antisemitism in just the past few months. Additionally, the school argued that the civil suit, led by graduate student Shabbos Kestenbaum and Students Against Antisemitism, lacked standing.

“Without minimizing at all the importance of the need to address energetically antisemitism at the university, plaintiff’s dissatisfaction with the strategy and speed of Harvard’s essential work does not state a legally cognizable claim,” said the motion to dismiss, as quoted by The Crimson. “Consequently, the amended complaint should be dismissed.”

Harvard University recently received an “F” grade for its handling of antisemitism in a first-ever Campus Antisemitism Report Card issued by the Anti-Defamation League (ADL).

Since Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel, students have stormed the campus calling for the destruction of the Jewish state, terrorizing students and preventing some from attending class.

In November, a mob of anti-Zionists — including Ibrahim Bharmal, editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review — followed, surrounded, and intimidated a Jewish student. “Shame! Shame! Shame! Shame!” the crush of people screamed in a call-and-response chant into the ears of the student who —as seen in the footage — was forced to duck and dash the crowd to free himself from the cluster of bodies that encircled him.

In February, a faculty group posted on social an antisemitic cartoon which showed a left-hand tattooed with a Star of David dangling two men of color from a noose.

These incidents, and more, are currently being investigated by the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce, which is probing Harvard’s handling of skyrocketing instances of antisemitic intimidation and harassment on campus.

Proclaiming that Harvard “failed Jews repeatedly,” Kestenbaum told The Crimson that he would not stand down.

“Harvard’s meritless motion to dismiss our lawsuit only proves our point: It has never taken the concerns of us Jewish students seriously, and has no plans to start now,” he said in a statement. “We will continue to apply maximum pressure in both the court of law and the court of public opinion … We hope that donors and prospective students follow closely.”

No Ivy League school earned better than a “C” in the ADL’s landmark report, a grade awarded to Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Four others — Columbia University, Brown University, Cornell University, and the University of Pennsylvania — received “D’s” while Harvard and Princeton University both received “F’s.”

“Every campus should get an A — that’s not grade inflation, that’s the minimum that every group on every campus expects,” ADL chief executive officer Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement announcing the report. “They deserve a learning environment free from antisemitism and hate. But that hasn’t been the experience with antisemitism running rampant on campus since even before Oct. 7.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

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Israel Sets New Standards for Saving Wounded Troops in War

Israeli soldiers scan an area while sirens sound as rockets from Gaza are launched towards Israel, near Sderot, southern Israel, Oct. 9, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Amir Cohen

The Israeli army’s chief medical officer told a recent gathering of NATO and allied officials about the striking success of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in saving injured soldiers during the war against Hamas in Gaza.

According to IDF Medical Corps chief Elon Glassberg, the army has brought the time between the moment of injury and seeing a senior medical practitioner to under four minutes, and in many cases under one minute. One reason for the speed is that the IDF has changed its strategy for treating wounded soldiers from the typical field hospitals to which soldiers are evacuated and treated — and in serious cases transferred via helicopter to a hospital — to a system that brings doctors to the battlefield with soldiers.

The new system has, according to Glassberg, more than 670 doctors and paramedics embedded within combat groups in Gaza. As a result, wounded soldiers are given immediate care.

Additionally, the new policy calls for airlifting every wounded soldier to a hospital via helicopter, which are on standby at all times and outfitted to be like flying emergency rooms, staffed with surgeons and intensive care doctors.

The IDF has conducted over 950 such operations in the helicopters, according to Glassberg, bringing approximately 4,200 soldiers to hospitals. In the field, 80 soldiers were saved due to quick doses of plasma and 550 had bleeding stopped before the flights.

Of course, helicopter times to hospitals vary and are not predictable on the minute. The current time from moment of injury to arriving at the hospital stands at one hour and six minutes. This is in comparison to an average time of two hours and ten minutes during the 2014 Gaza War, also known as Operation Protective Edge.

The new processes by the IDF are saving lives. According to Glassberg, the current rate of death among wounded soldiers is 15 percent. In Gaza today, however, 6.3 percent of soldiers who are injured end up succumbing to their wounds, showing how quick action is key in ensuring the injured soldiers can return home after the war — or, in many cases, back to the battlefield.

Glassberg also pointed out how the IDF is continuing to learn how to best protect soldiers in the future. For example, he noted, a majority of deaths occurred due to injuries to parts of the body that are not protected by bulletproof vests. Therefore, Israel is already discussing new vests to give to soldiers to lower the casualty count.

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