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No Due Diligence: Media Silent on Terror-Supporting Ministers of New PA Cabinet

FILE PHOTO: Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas appoints Mohammad Mustafa as prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (PA), in Ramallah, in the West Bank March 14, 2024 in this handout image. Photo: Palestinian president office/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

Media outlets should always report the facts — but also questions about them. Last week, however, the media reported on the formation of a new Palestinian Authority (PA) cabinet, but hadn’t researched the background of its ministers, two of whom have been exposed as avid terror supporters.

Instead, the media painted a flawed picture of the potential reform of the Palestinian Authority by either being uncritical of the new cabinet, or by mentioning challenges it faces that have nothing to do with terrorism.

Background Checks

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) published damning evidence about two new Palestinian ministers on March 31, two days after media had reported on the formation of the new cabinet.

PMW discovered that:

The new Palestinian Minister for Religious Affairs, Muhammad Mustafa Najem, has said that “Allah turned [the Jews] into apes and pigs,” and called to “afflict the Jews with the worst torment.” He did so in a 2002 sermon aired on official Palestinian Authority television during the Second Intifada, a bloody period during which Palestinians murdered hundreds of Israelis.
The new Palestinian Minister of Women’s Affairs, Muna Al-Khalili, called one of the deadliest attacks in Israel’s history — the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre in which 37 civilians were killed, including 12 children — a “quality resistance operation.” Her praise was quoted in an official Palestinian Authority daily in 2018.
Merely three weeks after the deadly Hamas October 7 massacre in southern Israel, Al-Khalili spoke at a conference about emphasizing “the Palestinian people’s right to resist the occupation (i.e., Israel) that has continued for the past 75 years.” She also participated in a demonstration calling for the release of terrorist prisoners.

Muhammad Mustafa Najem called Jews “apes and pigs.”


Muna Al-Khalili participates in activities praising terrorism.

None of this has been mentioned by mainstream media, which means one of two things:

Palestinian reporters working for international media outlets have knowingly withheld information they most probably have been aware of; or
Reporters and editors alike didn’t bother to run in-depth background checks on the new cabinet members.

In any case, it’s bad journalism.

But what’s doubly disturbing is the approach taken by some media reports about the PA.

At worst, these stories have been uncritical of the new cabinet that is meant to lead to a “reformed” PA. At best, they were selectively skeptical about the issues it faces — from corruption to non-democracy — ignoring the PA’s decades-old support for terrorism.

CNN, AFP, and Reuters simply echoed the report of Wafa, the official Palestinian news agency, announcing the new cabinet.

CNN didn’t provide any context, except for quoting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ call to reform the PA, and adding one line at the bottom saying, “it has long been seen as corrupt by US politicians and Palestinians themselves.”

AFP went a bit deeper, mentioning the US message about the potential for a “revitalized” PA. It even counted how many female ministers are included in the new cabinet, and mentioned some members’ hometowns: “the new government is made up of 23 ministers, including three women and six Palestinians from Gaza.”

Reuters declared that Abbas had “appointed the new government in a demonstration of willingness to meet international demands for change in the administration.” The agency did provide five paragraphs of background, but focused on the strained internal Palestinian divisions and the financial woes of the PA.

Nowhere did they mention the PA’s policy of “Pay-for-Slay” — where terrorists and their families are given salaries for life for slaying innocent Israeli women, children, and men — or the anti-Israeli incitement in the PA’s schools.

Selective Skepticism

Some outlets have been more skeptical, but selectively.

The AP’s headline and first few paragraphs — which are what most people bother reading — are in the context of the expected reform of the PA. The wire service even details some background on certain members of the new cabinet, but not on Najem or Al-Khalili.

The AP’s skepticism, which kicks in only in the seventh paragraph, only focuses on issues like the PA’s corruption, non-democracy, and inner divisions.

Again, there is no mention of the PA’s support for terrorism, which is the first thing any reasonable reporter should wonder about in light of October 7 and any talk of its future rule in Gaza.

The same issues plague the reports of NPR, The New York Times, and The Washington Post. Terror-supporting ministers and terror-supporting policies aren’t mentioned.

Had it been a new Israeli government, media would have scrutinized every minister with a fine-tooth comb. Reporters would have asked critical questions.

Why is it any different when it comes to reporting on the Palestinian Authority?

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

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University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing

The University of Toronto is now seeking a court injunction to put and end to the encampment in King’s College Circle after the 8 a.m. deadline passed Monday morning—while unionized workers joined students, faculty and other protesters at a rainy morning rally. Shortly after the ultimatum hour, the university announced in a statement from UofT […]

The post University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire

Mayor Olivia Chow was among those who addressed the crowd.

The post Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Chatsworth, South Africa, May 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Jewish leaders castigated their country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for what they described as him calling for a “genocide” against Jews in Israel over the weekend.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an election rally in Johannesburg on Saturday when he deviated from his prepared speech to lead the crowd in in a chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free” — a popular slogan among anti-Israel activists that has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The address took place at FNB Stadium, where South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held its final rally before South African elections on Wednesday. According to Politicsweb, a news website focused on South Africa, a call for the release of the “hostages held in Gaza” who Hamas terrorists kidnapped from southern Israel on Oct. 7 appeared in Ramaphosa’s prepared remarks but not in his final speech.

The South African Jewish community lambasted Ramaphosa for his remarks in a statement shared with The Algemeiner, expressing “its revulsion at the introduction of a call to exterminate Jews from their homeland” by the president.

“The president of the ruling ANC party and the head of state of a democratic country has called for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the culmination of the ANC president’s election speech made to thousands of ANC members and on national television,” said Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). “He uses the populist slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ which is widely regarded as a call to genocide of the Jewish people. The call to remove all Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea equates to removing all Jews from Israel.”

Kahn compared the slogan with Hamas’ goal to “see Israel as ‘Judenfrei,’ or Jew free,” before noting that such an endpoint contradicts the South African government’s stated policy of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The chanting of this slogan by a head of state of a government that recurrently tries to express their commitment to a ‘two-state Solution’ as their policy on Israel and Palestine is hypocritical to the full,” the SAJBD said. “How does a sitting president reject his own government and own party’s international relations policy? This reconfirms our understanding that President Ramaphosa and his government are not looking for a peaceful solution to the tragic conflict, but rather to cause discord among fellow South Africans against its Jewish community.”

Kahn added, “The president’s contempt for South African Jewry is evident in this unscripted outburst at the rally which amounts to nothing more than Jew hatred. The SAJBD is reviewing its options for holding the president accountable for these hateful words.”

South Africa’s ANC government has been one of the harshest critics of Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war in Gaza with their invasion of and massacre across southern Israeli communities.

South Africa temporarily withdrew its diplomats from Israel and shuttered its embassy in Tel Aviv shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, saying that the Pretoria government was “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in Gaza.

In December, South Africa hosted two Hamas officials who attended a government-sponsored conference in solidarity with the Palestinians. One of the officials had been sanctioned by the US government for his role with the terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, members of South Africa’s Jewish community protested Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent call for students and university leaders to intensify the anti-Israel demonstrations that have engulfed college campuses across the US.

In January, the South African government failed in its bid to argue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s defensive war in Gaza constituted a “genocide.” However, the top UN court last week ordered Israel to halt its military operations against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The emergency ruling was part of South Africa’s ongoing case at the ICJ.

The post ‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’ first appeared on

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