Of all the many egregious embarrassments of the New York Times in its flawed coverage of the Israel-Hamas war, hospitals consistently have been at the forefront.
First the Times fell for a Hamas propaganda stunt blaming Israel for killing hundreds at Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City. It subsequently emerged that the damage was from a misfired terrorist missile aimed at Israel. The Times had to publish an editors’ note confessing that editors “should have taken more care.”
Then the Times spent weeks obsessing again and again on the front page about another Gaza City hospital, Shifa Hospital, ritualistically including lines about how “Hamas denies operating within the hospital or under it, as does the hospital director, Mohammad Abu Salmiya.” With that hospital, too, the Times put itself to shame. It never really explained to readers why it passed along the Hamas denials or those of the hospital officials, even though everyone knew they were lying.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said 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.
Now the Times has egg on its face for coverage of a third Gaza hospital, Kamal Adwan Hospital. Yet again, the Times gullibly, or complicitly, has advanced the false Hamas narrative about cruel Israel targeting innocent doctors and patients.
Under the headline, “Israeli forces raid another hospital and detail doctors, Gaza’s health ministry says,” the Times reported, “Israeli forces rounded up civilians and medical staff in the hospital’s courtyard, and five people were injured by gunfire, according to the health ministry in the Hamas-run enclave. They also interrogated medical personnel under duress, taking some to an unknown location, it said.”
The Times dispatch, by a reporter named Anushka Patil who was not in Gaza, went on as basically a press release accusing Israel of various atrocities. “Twelve children at the hospital were on life support equipment, raising fears about their survival, the Gaza health ministry said … Like many medical facilities in the enclave, it was struggling to function under severe shortages of medicine, water, food, and fuel even before it was surrounded by Israeli forces in recent days,” the Times reported. “Surgeries at the hospital were already being performed by cellphone flashlight and without anesthesia, the director of the pediatric ward, Dr. Hussam Abu Safyia, told the New York Times last month.”
As it did with coverage of the other hospitals, the Times piled on with more coverage the next day, this time from Matthew Mpoke Bigg, another Times reporter who was not in Gaza. He recycled UN attacks on Israel: “Kamal Adwan Hospital had been under siege by Israeli forces for several days, according to the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who said earlier this week that he was ‘extremely worried’ about Israeli operations there,” the second Times article said. “The United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said in a report on Thursday that Israeli forces, accompanied by tanks, had raided the hospital for a second successive day ‘with reports of mass arrests and ill treatment of people who they have detained,’ including beatings.”
None of the Times articles said, by the way, who Kamal Adwan was. He was a PLO terrorist who was involved in plotting the kidnapping and murder of the 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. It seems like a strange person to name a hospital after.
The Times piled on some more with yet a third story about Kamal Adwan Hospital, this one headlined, “Israeli forces withdraw after besieging Gaza hospital, leaving behind bodies and destruction.” Hamas claims were passed along by the Times at face value: “The Palestinian health ministry said that during the Israeli siege, 12 premature babies had been trapped inside the incubators without access to milk or life support.” Israeli claims, in contrast, were given super-skeptical treatment by the Times, including “scare quotes”: “a statement by the Israel military … that hospital workers ‘confessed’ that incubators for premature babies were being used to store weapons. The Israeli military’s claims could not be independently verified.”
A video released by the Israeli government this week showed the director of the hospital, Ahmad al-Kahlout, or Abu Hassan, acknowledging that he’s the equivalent of a brigadier general in Hamas and that 16 hospital officials — doctors, nurses, clerks — have Hamas military roles. Hamas used the hospital and an ambulance as a hiding place for a kidnapped Israeli soldier, according to the video. The Israeli military also issued a video showing that Hamas used incubators in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the hospital to hide weapons. The New York Times so far does not appear to have shared news of either video with its readers.
An honest newspaper would make that the headline — “Hamas Terrorists Used Hospital as Hiding Place.” Too much of the New York Times coverage of this war is not honest, however. It is Hamas hype. So instead of honest headlines, Times readers get headlines about “Israeli forces … besieging Gaza hospital, leaving behind bodies and destruction.” The ones destroying Gaza are the Hamas terrorists using hospitals as hiding places. The New York Times is serving as the terrorists’ propagandists.
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.
South Dakota Passes Bill Adopting IHRA Definition of Antisemitism
South Dakota’s state Senate passed on Thursday a bill requiring law enforcement agencies to refer to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism when investigating anti-Jewish hate crimes.
South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem (R) already adopted the definition, which has been embraced by lawmakers across the political spectrum, via executive order in 2021. This latest measure, HB 1076, aims to further integrate the IHRA’s guidance into law and includes the organization’s examples of antisemitism. It now awaits a vote by the state House of Representatives.
“As antisemitism continues to rise across America, having a clear and standardized definition enables a more unified stance against this hatred,” the Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), said in a statement. “We appreciate Governor Kristi Noem for making this legislation a policy goal of hers, strengthening the use of the IHRA Working Definition in South Dakota through legislation, following the December 2021 adoption via executive proclamation.”
CAM called on lawmakers in the lower house to follow the Senate’s lead and implored “other states to join the fight against antisemitism by adopting the IHRA definition, ensuring the safety and well-being of their Jewish residents.”
First adopted in 2005 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism states that “antisemitism is a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews,” and includes a list of illustrative examples ranging from Holocaust denial to the rejection of the Jewish people’s right to self-determination. The definition is used by hundreds of governing institutions, including the US State Department, European Union, and the United Nations.
Widely regard as the world’s leading definition of antisemitism, it was adopted by 97 governmental and nonprofit organizations in 2023, according to a report Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM) Antisemitism Research Center issued in January.
Earlier this month, Georgia became the latest US state to pass legislation applying IHRA’s guidance to state law. 33 US States have as well, including Virginia, Texas, New York, and Florida.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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Columbia University Sued for Allowing Antisemitic Violence and Discrimination
Columbia University allowed for antisemitism to explode on campus endangering the welfare of Jewish students and faculty, StandWithUs Center for Legal Justice and Students Against Antisemitism (SAA) alleges in a lawsuit announced on Wednesday.
Filed in the US District Court of Southern New York, the complaint recounts dozens of reported antisemitic incidents that occurred after Oct. 7 which the university allegedly failed to respond to adequately because of anti-Jewish, as well as anti-Zionist, bias.
“Columbia refuses to enforce its policies or protect Jewish and Israeli members of the campus community,” Yael Lerman, director of SWU Center for Legal Justice said on Wednesday in a press release. “Columbia has created a pervasively hostile campus environment in which antisemitic activists act with impunity, knowing that there will be no real repercussions for their violations of campus policies.”
“We decline to comment on pending litigation,” Columbia University spokesperson and vice president for communications told The Algemeiner on Friday.
The plaintiffs in the case accuse Columbia University of violating their contract, to which it is bound upon receiving payment for their tuition, and contravening Title VI of the Civil Rights Act. They are seeking damages as well as injunctive relief.
“F— the Jews,” “Death to Jews, “Jews will not defeat us,” and “From water to water, Palestine will be Arab,” students chanted on campus grounds after the tragedy, violating the school’s code of conduct and never facing consequences, the complaint says. 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.”
300 faculty signed a letter proclaiming “unwavering solidarity” with Massad, and in the following days, Students for Justice in Palestine defended Hamas’ actions as “rooted in international law.” In response, Columbia University president Minouche Shafik, opting not to address their rhetoric directly, issued a statement mentioning “violence that is affecting so many people” but not, the complaint noted, explicitly condemning Hamas, terrorism, and antisemitism. Nine days later, Shafik rejected an invitation to participate in a viewing of footage of the Oct. 7 attacks captured by CCTV cameras.
The complaint goes on to allege that after bullying Jewish students and rubbing their noses in the carnage Hamas wrought on their people, pro-Hamas students were still unsatisfied and resulted to violence. They 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.
More request to the university went unanswered and administrators told Jewish students they could not guarantee their safety while Students for Justice in Palestine held demonstrations. The school’s powerlessness to prevent anti-Jewish violence was cited as the reason why Students Supporting Israel (SSI), a recognized school club, was denied permission to hold an event on self-defense. Events with “buzzwords” such as “Israel” and “Palestine” were forbidden, administrators allegedly said, but SJP continued to host events whole no one explained the inconsistency.
Virulent antisemitism at Columbia University on the heels of Oct. 7 was not a one-off occurance, the complaint alleges, retracing in over 100 pages 20 years of alleged anti-Jewish hatred at the school.
“Students at Columbia are enduring unprecedented levels of antisemitic and anti-Israel hate while coping with the trauma of Hamas’ October 7th massacre,” SWU CEO Roz Rothstein said in Wednesday’s press release. “We will ensure that Columbia University is held accountable for their gross failure to protect their Jewish and Israeli students.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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University of California-Los Angeles Student Government Passes BDS Resolution
The University of California-Los Angeles student government on Tuesday passed a resolution endorsing the boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) movement, as well as false accusation that Israel is committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza.
“The Israeli government has carried out a genocidal bombing campaign and ground invasion against Palestinians in Gaza — intentionally targeting hospitals universities, schools, shelters, churches, mosques, homes, neighborhoods, refugee camps, ambulances, medical personnel, [United Nations] workers, journalists and more,” the resolution, passed 10-3 by the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC), says, not mentioning that UN personnel in Gaza assisted Hamas’ massacre across southern Israel on Oct. 7.
It continued, “Let it be resolved that the Undergraduate Student Association of UCLA formally call upon the UC Regents to withdraw investments in securities, endowments mutual funds, and other monetary instruments….providing material assistance to the commission or maintenance of flagrant violations of international law.
The days leading up to the vote were fraught, The Daily Bruin, the university’s official student newspaper reported on Wednesday.
“Non-UCLA students” sent USAC council members emails imploring them to vote for or against the resolution and USAC Cultural Affairs Commissioner and sponsor of the resolution, Alicia Verdugo, was accused of antisemitism and deserving of impeachment. The UCLA Graduate Student Association and University of California-Davis’ student government had just endorsed BDS the previous week, prompting fervent anticipation for the outcome of Tuesday’s USAC session.
Before voting took place, members of the council ordered a secret ballot, withholding from their constituents a record of where they stood on an issue of monumental importance to the campus culture. According to The Daily Bruin, they expressed “concerns” about “privacy” and “security.” Some members intimated how they would vote, however. During a question and answer period, one student who co-sponsored the resolution, accused a Jewish student of being “classist” and using “coded” language because she argued that the council had advanced the resolution without fully appreciating the complexity of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the history of antisemitism.
“As a Guatemalan, …my country went through genocide,” he snapped at the young woman, The Daily Bruin’s reporting documented. “My family died in the Guatemalan Mayan genocide. I understand. I very well know what genocide looks like.”
Other council members voiced their support by co-sponsoring the resolution, which was co-authored by Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), a group that has held unauthorized demonstrations and terrorized Jewish students across the country.
Responding to USAC’s decision, Jewish students told the paper that they find the campaign for BDS and the attempts of pro-Palestinian students to defend Hamas’ atrocities myopic and offensive.
“How can anyone dare to contextualize since Oct. 7 without acknowledging that the Jewish people are victims of such a cataclysmic attack?” Mikayla Weinhouse said. “BDS intentionally aims to divide a community. Its supporters paint a complex and century-old conflict in the Middle East as a simplistic narrative that inspires hate rather than advocates for a solution.”
University of California-Los Angeles denounced the resolution for transgressing school policy and the spirit of academic freedom.
“The University of California and UCLA, which, like all nine other UC campuses, has consistently opposed calls for a boycott against and divestment from Israel,” the school said in a statement. “We stand firm in our conviction that a boycott of this sort poses a direct and serious threat to the academic freedom of our students and faculty and to the unfettered exchange of ideas and perspectives on this campus.”
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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