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Media Distortion: The AP Turns Hamas Member into Innocent Victim

Israeli military vehicles are lined up on a beach, amid the ongoing ground operation of the Israeli army to destroy Palestinian Islamist terror group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip as seen in a handout picture released by the Israel Defense Forces on November 13, 2023. Photo: Israel Defense Forces/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

The Associated Press prides itself on “expand[ing] the reach of factual reporting,” but that reach has its clear limits.

Last week’s 1200-word feature on the overnight Jan. 5 fatal shooting of Palestinian Osaid Rimawi once again demonstrates the boundaries of AP’s commitment to “advancing the power of facts” (“Video appears to show the Israeli army shot 3 Palestinians, killing 1, without provocation“).

About 17-year-old Osaid Rimawi, described as “a high school student studying to become a barber,” the AP’s Julia Frankel reported: “Security camera video from a West Bank village shows a young man standing in a central square when he is suddenly shot and drops to the ground.”

Frankel recounted that, according to a witness, Rimawi had gathered cardboard boxes and scraps of paper and was preparing to light them to keep warm when Israeli troops shot him dead, unprovoked. He slipped something into his pocket right before he was shot dead. His brother later found Osaid had been carrying a lighter, 20 shekels, and a pack of cigarettes in his pocket when he died. His brothers Mohammed and Nader, who were also wounded in the shooting, normally work in a factory, packaging prepared salads. They will not be able to work until they can walk again.

Indeed, Frankel provides an abundance of details and facts in her 1200 investigative piece.

But it’s more what Frankel neglects to report which exposes the AP’s curbed commitment to factual reporting.

At no point does the long, in-depth investigative piece share with readers that the aspiring young barber already had some beyond-his-years experience under his belt: he was a member of Hamas, a designated terror organization which just three months ago carried out one of the worst massacres in recent history with thousands of barbaric atrocities targeting civilians, including women, children, people with special needs, and the elderly.

@AP describes 17-year-old fatality Osaid Rimawi as “a high school student studying to become a barber.” You know what @FrankelJulia doesn’t say about Rimawi in her 1200+ word piece? He belonged to a designated terror org. Here he is in @AP photo w/Hamas headband

— Tamar Sternthal (@TamarSternthal) January 10, 2024

While Frankel seemingly left no stone unturned analyzing both a video of the fatal incident obtained from a nearby smoke shop, along with social media postings about the deadly shooting, she completely ignored the AP’s own photographs from Osaid Rimawi’s funeral. Those photographs show Rimawi’s body decked out with a Hamas headband adorning his head, testifying to his affiliation in the designated terror organization.

Notably, the AP’s devotion to expanding the reach of factual reporting stops at the factual description of Hamas as a designated terror organization. Its style guide encourages its reporters to refrain from calling the Oct. 7 massacre terrorism, and from referring to Hamas as terrorists, directives which have prompted a bipartisan Congressional rebuke.

But in this story, Frankel doesn’t even share that Rimawi was a Hamas “militant,” as the AP urges its writers to whitewash.

Instead, she “cleaned up” the Hamas terrorist, presenting him as nothing more than an uninvolved high school student with dreams of being a barber. His affiliation with the terror organization is highly relevant to any factual reporting of his death given that it casts doubt on Frankel’s carefully constructed narrative of Rimawi’s innocence in the allegedly unprovoked shooting.

Indeed, in the accompanying video, the AP goes all the way with its “unprovoked” allegation, stating the unproven scenario as fact without any kind of qualification (1:59 into the video):

The unprovoked shooting is part of a pattern Palestinians say has worsened since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza three months ago.

Thus, instead of expanding the reach of factual reporting, the AP expands the definition of factual reporting to include unproven suppositions.

Indeed, the “unprovoked shooting” was not the only time today in which the AP repackaged unfounded assumptions as fact. In a separate Associated Press article, veteran reporter Edith M. Lederer alleges (“US defends its veto of call for Gaza cease-fire while Palestinians and others demand fighting stop“):

As a sign of the growing division among Jews over the war, three dozen rabbis from the group Rabbis 4 Ceasefire came to the U.N. as tourists to protest Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

What evidence is there of “growing division among Jews over the war?” While there is often an unfortunate media impulse to disproportionately highlight loud tiny minorities, polling data indicates overwhelming Jewish unity in support of Israel’s ground operation. As Jewish Insider recently reported (“Poll: Overwhelming majority of American Jews support Israel’s fight against Hamas”):

American Jews are overwhelmingly united in support of Israel continuing its ground operation in Gaza and also approve of President Joe Biden’s response to the war, according to a new survey commissioned by the Israel on Campus Coalition.

The poll, conducted by Schoen Cooperman Research (SCR), found that 81% of American Jews support Israel continuing its military operation to “recover all Israeli hostages and remove Hamas from power.” Only 12% of respondents said they preferred “an immediate ceasefire to save Palestinian lives, even if that means “Israeli hostages aren’t recovered and Hamas remains in power.”

Unless there are two polls taken at different times to demonstrate the alleged “growing division among Jews over the war,” factual reporting requires a correction. Moreover, absent such substantiation, factual reporting dictates noting that the radical fringe Rabbis 4 Ceasefire represents no one beyond their miniscule membership.

Tamar Sternthal is the director of CAMERA’s Israel Office. A version of this article previously appeared on the CAMERA website.

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‘The mobs will not silence my voice’ says Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman after her Thornhill office is plastered with anti-Israel posters

Posters slamming Israel and decrying Canada’s suspension of funding to UNRWA were found at the Thornhill, Ont., offices of Melissa Lantsman, a pro-Israel and Jewish Conservative MP who serves as deputy leader of the Official Opposition.   “Blood on Your Hands,” “Stop Arming Israel” and “Fund UNRWA Now” were among the messages found taped to […]

The post ‘The mobs will not silence my voice’ says Conservative MP Melissa Lantsman after her Thornhill office is plastered with anti-Israel posters appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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IDF Chief Weighs in on Ultra-Orthodox Military Service, Week After New Draft Bill Proposed

FILE PHOTO: Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi speaks during his transition ceremony with the Prime Minister, Defense Minister, and the outgoing chief, in Jerusalem, January 16, 2023. Maya Alleruzzo/Pool via REUTERS

IDF Chief of Staff Herzi Halevi called on the ultra-Orthodox public to mobilize for the current and future wars, a position at odds with their historic role in the state, in which they enjoy near blanket exemptions from military service.

“In these challenging days, there is one thing that is very clear: Everyone should mobilize for the defense of the homeland,” Halevi said.

He added: “This is a different era, and what was before it will certainly be re-examined. The IDF has always sought to bring into its ranks from all sections of Israeli society. This war illustrates the need to change. Join the service, protect the homeland. We have a historic opportunity to expand the sources of recruitment for the IDF at a time when the necessity is very high. We will know how to create the right solutions and conditions for any population that will join this noble mission.”

The issue of ultra-Orthodox enlistment in the IDF has been a hot button issue since the state’s establishment in 1948 and, in more recent years, the cause of wide scale backlash against the community. As part of an agreement when the state was founded, the ultra-Orthodox public was exempted completely from service. However, as the years progressed and the population grew exponentially, critics of the policy decried the unfairness of it.

A bill last week was introduced by the ruling Likud Party that called for an increase in military service time, particularly for reserve forces, yet failed to discuss the ultra-Orthodox issue. Backlash from both opposition and coalition members was swift.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich at the time said, “The ultra-Orthodox public is dear and loved and contributes a lot to the State of Israel, and it is now essential that it also take a more significant part in the tasks of defense and security. This move should happen out of dialogue and discussion and not by coercion or, God forbid, by defamation. Religious Zionism proves that it is possible to combine Torah study and observance of minor and severe mitzvot together with military service at the front. My ultra-Orthodox brothers, we need you!”

Halevi’s comments were his first on the highly contentious issue.

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The post Israeli victims of the Oct. 7 attacks present their case to the International Criminal Court, hoping for arrest warrants against Hamas appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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