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Media Give Platform to Gaza Journalists Who Infiltrated Israel or Praised Hamas Massacre

The bodies of people, some of them elderly, lie on a street after they were killed during a mass-infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip, in Sderot, southern Israel, Oct. 7, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

International media outlets have given an uncritical platform over the last month to independent Gaza journalists and social media influencers who either infiltrated Israel to cover Hamas’ atrocities on October 7, or praised them.

The New York Times, Reuters, NBC News and LA Times have legitimized these journalists’ and influencers’ presence inside Israel — or their extremist views — by using their materials or quoting them as reliable witnesses.

On October 9, two days after the deadly Hamas attack on Israel and despite plenty of other sources to rely upon, The New York Times published a piece putting front and center a Gaza reporter who broadcast live from the massacre.

Muthana Al-Najjar, an independent Gaza-based journalist who operates a Telegram channel with over 200k subscribers, entered Israel on October 7 to document the butchering of Israelis by Hamas.

His stand-up to camera from Kibbutz Nahal Oz, as gunshots are heard in the background, shocked many Israelis that day. He did not wear a press vest or a helmet to make him identifiable as a member of the press. He clearly did not feel under threat from the Hamas terrorists in his midst. He also shared a picture showing two of the terrorists triumphantly stepping on the body of a murdered Israeli, with a comment translated from Arabic: “Their dead under the feet of the warriors of al-Qassam Brigades.”

 

 

Yet The New York Times didn’t see any problem in dedicating an empathetic piece to Al-Najjar’s October 7 coverage (in the middle section of this news wrap). He was even interviewed to give a first-hand account:

Mr. Al-Najjar, a freelance reporter who posted the footage to social media, initially entered Israel through a breach in the fence along the perimeter with Gaza. He said it was the first time he had ever left Gaza in his life, because of the blockade imposed by Israel and backed by Egypt that restricts movement in and out of the enclave.

While women were raped, families tortured to death and children burnt alive, The New York Times still made sure to highlight how it was the first time Al-Najjar set foot — like the terrorists — on Israel’s territory. And the terrorists clearly let him do his job uninterrupted.

The piece also mentions Al-Najjar’s filming the kidnapping of a terrified mother and her two children and a video in which he seems to document himself taking a ride on a motorbike into the kibbutz where the abduction took place.

The author of the piece, Yousur Al-Hlou, attempts to humanize Al-Najjar by including sentences like: “The person filming, Muthana Al-Najjar, a 39-year-old from Gaza, can be heard asking the gunmen not to harm them.”

The piece shamefully ends with Al-Najjar’s quote concerning dead terrorists he had recognized, which makes it seem as if they were victims rather than perpetrators:

Mr. Al-Najjar said that as he was leaving Nir Oz, he saw at least two gunmen whose faces he recognized lying dead in a field, and he thought there were likely others.

“There are dozens missing there, as well as dead and injured,” Mr. Al-Najjar said. “No one knows how many.”

It is worth noting that Al-Hlou is also the author of a piece published by The New York Times on November 9, featuring a video by none other than discredited photojournalist Hassan Eslaiah, who was exposed by HonestReporting a day earlier and whose acquaintance with Yahya Sinwar — the Hamas mastermind of the October 7 attacks — has been made public.

The piece presents the work of three Gazan self-proclaimed journalists (see below for further details on two of them). It does clarify they are not neutral observers. But it includes an Instagram video featuring one of them that — according to the Arabic watermark (circled in red in the screenshot above) — has been shot by Eslaiah. It seems like Eslaiah even interviewed the person he had filmed, although the question answered is edited out.

While one can only hope that Al-Hlou and her editors at The New York Times missed this tiny detail, they should have done a better job checking the source of what they wished to present to their audience. Especially considering CNN and AP announced within hours after the HonestReporting expose that they had cut ties with Eslaiah.

Reuters, LA Times and NBC News Rely on Influencers Who Praised Hamas Attack

Furthermore, a joint investigation by The Jerusalem Post and HonestReporting has revealed the names of several Gazan social media influencers who have praised Hamas’ October 7th attack, and whose work is used, reported on, or relied upon by international media.

One of them is Doaa Rouqa, a freelance Reuters photojournalist, who has over 270k followers on Instagram. On October 7, she posted praise for Hamas’ attack on her Facebook page.

One post reads in Arabic: “October, Gaza, Glorious — history will record. Alaqsa flood.” Another, showing a picture of Hamas terrorists inside Israel, reads: “May God protect them. #alAqsa Flood … A morning and day like no other on the road to liberation and great victory, God willing.”

 

This overt support for terror did not prevent Reuters from buying her photos, which according to the news agency’s database, mainly feature Gazans suffering at Al-Shifa Hospital.

Did Reuters check Rouqa’s background or ask about her ability to deliver impartial coverage from where, according to the Israeli army, Hamas commanders are hiding?

Other outlets, like NBC News, have written about “the unfiltered coverage” of popular digital creators like Motaz Azaiza or Hind Khoudary:

The unfiltered coverage, as seen in the Instagram post below, adds a unique element to the broader journalistic efforts to capture what’s happening in Gaza.

But NBC News failed to mention that Khoudary is a Hamas collaborator who had turned Palestinians working for peace with Israelis over to Hamas.

It also failed to mention that Azaiza had posted on social media platform X a video of the kidnapping of Israelis into Gaza. He also posted a video showing Hamas terrorists inside Israel with a triumphant caption reading in Arabic: “The Gazans entered the settlements!!!!!!!! With jeeps we see in the streets of Gaza.”

 

The piece includes a video of Khoudary and Azaiza shot by another Gaza influencer with 2.4 million followers on Instagram, Ahmed Hijazee. On October 7, Hijazee posted on X the following praise for Hamas’ October 7 attack with a heart emoji and a Palestinian flag: “The men of the resistance are traveling inside our occupied territory.”

He also posted a video showing the terrorists celebrating over the mutilated body of an Israeli soldier, with an emoji of a handshake and a comment saying in Arabic: “The talk is about kidnapping a soldier and bringing him to the center of Bani Shaila. He was presented in front of the people.”

 

Khoudary and Azaiza are also mentioned in a Los Angeles Times piece from October 29. The piece quotes them as unbiased witnesses who had bravely shared their experiences of a weekend blackout in Gaza. Nowhere does it mention Khoudary’s background or Azaiza’s uploads.

International media should not be a careless mouthpiece for pro-Hamas voices. They should not lend legitimacy or credibility to people who praise terrorism.

The least they can do is properly vet and question the Gazan journalists and social media influencers they give a platform to or rely upon, bearing in mind how the territory is run by a terrorist organization that controls the flow of information.

The audience has a right to know that these people are not neutral bystanders supplying objective materials and information. The media have a duty to exercise transparency.

HonestReporting is a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Media Give Platform to Gaza Journalists Who Infiltrated Israel or Praised Hamas Massacre first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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2,500 Rabbis Call for Columbia University President’s Resignation

Columbia University administrators and faculty, led by President Minouche Shafik, testified before the US House Committee on Education and the Workforce on April 17, 2024. Photo: Jack Gruber/Reuters Connect

Thousands of rabbis are calling on Columbia University president Minouche Shafik to resign over her choosing not to fire four administrators who sent each other text messages which, she said herself, “disturbingly touched on ancient antisemitic tropes” during a panel featuring Jewish speakers.

As previously reported, Columbia administrators Susan Chang-Kim, Cristen Kromm, Matthew Patashnick, and Josef Sorett, who is dean of Columbia College, sent a series of messages which denigrated Jews while spurning their concerns about rising antisemitism and the fate of Israel, denouncing them as “privileged” and venal. The remarks were exchanged amid a deluge of antisemitic incidents at Columbia and specifically denounced Jewish leaders who appeared at the school as panelists to plea for help and explain the link between anti-Zionism and antisemitism.

According to Columbia provost Angela Olinto, it has been decided that Sorett will remain in his position to “mend relationships, repair trust, and rebuild accountability.” There is, however, deep-seated opposition among Jewish alumni, faculty, and students to his remaining as dean, and since last week, over 2,000 people have signed a petition calling for his firing, arguing that he “actively joined his colleagues in mocking panelists” and is equally culpable for the comments they wrote.

On Thursday, 2,500 rabbis organized by the Coalition for Jewish Values (CVJ), which represents “traditional, Orthodox rabbis in American public policy,” echoed their sentiment while shifting focus to Shafik’s tenure in office, which, to them, has harmed both the school’s Jewish community and its reputation.

“The bigotry and double standards are blatant, and entirely at odds with the experiences that I and others had at Columbia in the past. Imagine if something like this had happened during a session when Black, Latino, Pacific Islander, or LGBTQ faculty and students were speaking about hostility they faced on campus,” CVJ vice president Rabbi Steven Pruzansky said in a statement. “Any faculty dismissing their concerns, much less ridiculing them or sharing hateful sentiments, would find themselves unemployed without delay.”

He continued, “But regarding antisemitism, President Shafik demonstrates the very ‘lack of seriousness’ she claims to decry. It is clear that all four who exchanged antisemitic messages, plus Shafik herself, must be removed from the faculty and replaced by others committed to opposing and preventing hate against Jews and all other campus minorities. This is the only way that Columbia can hope to return to being a serious academic institution where all students feel safe and valued.”

Columbia University’s decision not to fire anyone involved in the text message scandal comes on the heels of a tumultuous year in which pro-Hamas agitators roiled the campus with illegal occupations of school property, vandalism, and even alleged antisemitic hate crimes.

In April, an explosion of anti-Israel demonstrations on the eve of the Jewish holiday of Passover forced the administration to shutter the campus and institute “virtual” learning. Prior to that, footage of the protest showed Columbia students — who commandeered a section of campus and named it a “Gaza Solidarity Encampment” — chanting in support of the Hamas terrorist group, calling for the destruction of Israel, and even threatening to harm members of the Jewish community on campus. The situation was so severe that security officials deactivated Columbia Professors Shai Davidai’s identification card and temporarily banned him from campus because his safety could not be “guaranteed,” a measure which reflected the administration’s suspicion that its students, as well as the non-students they have attracted to campus, would have resorted to violence to make their point.

The events of spring semester continued a trend that began in the fall, after Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

“F—k the Jews,” “Death to Jews,” “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds in the weeks after the tragedy, according to a lawsuit filed by the StandWithUs Legal Center for Justice (SCLJ). Faculty engaged in similar behavior. On Oct. 8, professor Joseph Massad published in Electronic Intifada an essay cheering Hamas’ atrocities, which included slaughtering children and raping women, as “awesome” and describing men who paraglided into a music festival to kill young people as “the air force of the Palestinian resistance.”

After bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on the Jewish people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence, according to the lawsuit. They allegedly beat up five Jewish students in Columbia’s Butler Library. Another attacked a Jewish students with a stick, lacerating his head and breaking his finger, after being asked to return missing persons posters she had stolen.

Facing a wave of investigations and litigation related to its handling of antisemitism on the campus, Columbia recently decided to settle a lawsuit, brought by one of its students, which accused school officials of neglecting their obligation to foster a safe learning environment.

The resolution of the case, first reported by Reuters, calls for Columbia to hire a “Safe Passage Liaison” who will monitor protests and “walking escorts” who will accompany students whose safety is threatened around the campus. Other details of the settlement include “accommodations” for students whose academic lives are disrupted by protests and new security policies for controlling access to school property.

Shafik, who took office in July 2023, has recently attempted to assuage concerns that Columbia has become a sanctuary for antisemites.

“We will launch a vigorous program of antisemitism and antidiscrimination [sic] training for faculty and staff this fall, with related training for students under the auspices of university life,” she said in a recent statement addressing the administrators’ conduct. “Columbia’s leadership team recognizes this as an important moment to implement changes that will build a stronger institution as a result. I know that you all share this commitment.”

Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.

The post 2,500 Rabbis Call for Columbia University President’s Resignation first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Biden Doesn’t Mention US Hostages in Gaza, Calls for End to Israel-Hamas War in NATO Press Conference

US President Joe Biden holds a press conference during NATO’s 75th anniversary summit, in Washington, DC, July 11, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Nathan Howard

US President Joe Biden gave an update concerning ceasefire negotiations to halt fighting in Gaza and reflected on what he regrets about his approach to the Israel-Hamas war during his high-stakes NATO press conference on Thursday.

During Biden’s initial remarks, he spoke about the ongoing ceasefire negotiations between Israel and Hamas being mediated by the US, Egypt, and Qatar. “There are still gaps but we are making progress and the trend is positive,” he said.

The press conference came amid reporting in The Washington Post quoting a senior US official who said “the framework [of a deal] is agreed.” Now, the parties are just “negotiating details of how it will be implemented,” according to the report.

However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has accused Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group that rules Gaza, of making demands that contradict the framework brokered by the US, creating uncertainty about whether the two sides are as close to a deal as Biden let on.

Biden was also asked a question regarding what he regrets most about the way he has handled the Israel-Hamas war. In his answer, which was approximately five minutes long, he did not mention the hostages kidnapped by Hamas during its onslaught across southern Israel on Oct. 7 or the eight Americans still in captivity in Gaza, whose release he has been unable to secure.

Some observers have accused Biden of framing the issues in the war as primarily the fault of Israel, rather than Hamas.

The President of the United States was just asked what his regrets were over the Israel-Hamas war.

Not once in his 5 minute answer did he mention the word “hostages” or the inability to secure the release of the 8 American hostages *still* being held in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/MltY5Qr6ok

— Shabbos Kestenbaum (@ShabbosK) July 12, 2024

The US president spoke about the difficulty of getting humanitarian aid into Gaza and claimed Israel has been “less than cooperative” at times. He did not note that Hamas reportedly steals a significant portion of aid that goes into the enclave, making it difficult for regular civilians to get access to it. And, when people are able to get aid, many times it is being sold for high prices after it was stolen.

Biden also lamented that Israel’s “war cabinet is one of the most conservative war cabinets in the history of Israel” when discussing how it has been, at times, difficult to get the Jewish state to do what he wanted in the war. He appeared to confuse the broader government cabinet, which includes some far-right ministers, with the recently disbanded war cabinet, a unity body that included centrist opposition leaders Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz.

“There’s a lot of things that in retrospect, I wish I had been able to convince Israelis to do,” Biden said.

Biden also spoke about the “day after” in Gaza, saying the war “should end now” and neither Israel nor Hamas should “occupy” the Palestinian enclave once the fighting is over.

“The day after in Gaza has to be … no occupation by Israel of the Gaza Strip as well as the ability for us to access, get in, and out as rapidly as you can all that’s needed there,” Biden said, apparently referring to a freer flow of humanitarian assistance into the enclave. “Don’t make the same mistake America did after bin Laden. There’s no need to occupy anywhere, go after the people who did the job.”

Biden also reiterated his call for a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Thursday’s press conference was widely seen as particularly high stakes because it came two weeks after his poor debate performance against former US President Donald Trump. There has been increasing buzz regarding the question of whether Biden will stay in the 2024 presidential race, and this press conference was viewed as an important test to see if he just had a bad debate night or if he may not be mentally fit to seek re-election in November.

The post Biden Doesn’t Mention US Hostages in Gaza, Calls for End to Israel-Hamas War in NATO Press Conference first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Kosher organizations go to court, arguing that current meat production regulations jeopardize ritual slaughter practices

Canadian kosher organizations were in court in Montreal this week, asking for an injunction that would allow them to continue the practice of shechitah, or Jewish ritual slaughter, amidst newly imposed regulations by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. In a hearing before the Federal Court on July 10 and July 11, the Jewish Community Council […]

The post Kosher organizations go to court, arguing that current meat production regulations jeopardize ritual slaughter practices appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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