A Gaza photojournalist working for the international media called on residents of the coastal enclave to cross the border into Israel on October 7, after Hamas terrorists had breached it, an HonestReporting investigation has found.
Mohammed Fayq Abu Mostafa, a freelancer who has been working for Reuters, made the comments while excitedly displaying footage of Hamas atrocities on an Instagram Live hosted in Gaza by another photojournalist, Ashraf Amra.
Amra has been working for AP, Reuters, and APA Images, as well as for Turkish agency Anadolu. The investigation also found Amra had been honored with kisses by Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh on two previous occasions.
The revelation casts doubt on the journalistic impartiality of the two freelance photojournalists and the vetting procedures of media outlets that have relied on their work.
The following information was compiled based on a probe of Amra’s and Abu Mostafa’s social media accounts. We also looked at articles and visuals published online and checked image databases of relevant media outlets.
“Whoever Can Go — Go”
On October 7, Amra hosted an Instagram Live from Khan Younis to provide updates following Hamas’ deadly cross-border assault on Israel, in which 1,200 people were killed and some 240 taken hostage.
During the broadcast, Amra willingly let a thrilled Abu Mostafa, who had just returned from Israeli territory, display the brutal acts that he had captured on his phone at the breached border area.
Amra can be seen laughing and smiling while Abu Mostafa presented footage of the lynching of an Israeli soldier:
Abu Mostafa went on to say: “We were there two hours ago, since the beginning.”
He detailed what he saw at the border and deep inside Israel, in Sderot. He described breaking into a room where Israelis were hiding before being taken by Hamas terrorists.
He then called on people to cross into the sovereign Jewish state: “Advice, whoever can go — go. It is a one-time event that will not happen again.”
And Amra replies: “Really, it will not repeat itself.”
Abu Mostafa’s border photos, one of which seems to show the lynching he had shared on Amra’s Live, were recently selected by Reuters and The New York Times to be included in their 2023 “Images of the Year.”
Amra was also at the border earlier in the day. In the Instagram Live he said:
I just returned from the Khuza’a area, near the Khuza’a area on the eastern border of the Gaza Strip. Tens of armed Palestinian men are constantly storming the border toward the settlements around Gaza.
Some media outlets published a photo credited to “Ashraf Amra/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images,” showing a digger breaching the border fence. Reuters selected another photo by Amra, taken on October 7 inside Gaza, as one of its “Pictures of the Month” for October 2023.
In November, HonestReporting published an expose that raised serious ethical questions regarding the early morning presence of Gaza photojournalists — including Abu Mostafa — at the breached Gaza-Israel border on October 7.
We questioned the morality and professionalism of those photojournalists who appeared to accompany Hamas terrorists on their rampage and inquired as to what level of knowledge these freelancers had prior to the Hamas infiltration, asking whether it was only physical borders that were breached.
Now, the exposure of a journalist who proudly proclaims he has been at the border “since the beginning” — coupled with his call to infiltrate Israel while displaying Hamas atrocities — crosses more boundaries. Particularly when he had been given the platform to do so by another fellow journalist, who was happy to share it with his 188K Instagram followers.
Kissed By Haniyeh
Amra’s willingness to utilize his social media channel in this manner may be explained by the special personal treatment he has received from Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.
In mid-September, the terror group leader paid a visit to Amra who was being treated for a hand injury in an Istanbul hospital.
Amra had been injured while covering Gaza border riots (without a press vest), and he blamed Israeli troops for targeting him.
In the photos and videos published after the meeting, Haniyeh is seen kissing Amra’s cheeks and arm cast.
According to media reports, Haniyeh told Amra during the visit that he appreciated his role and that of the Palestinian media in exposing “the crimes of the occupation.” Amra replied that the injury won’t prevent him from returning to his “national role.”
The high-profile hospital visit was not the first time Haniyeh had honored the veteran photojournalist, to whom he presented an award back in 2012:
Does Haniyeh provide such VIP treatment to every Gaza-based journalist who may have been injured while working? What is the nature of his connection with Amra? Does it explain Amra’s easy access to coverage of Hamas leadership and training in Gaza?
Interestingly, according to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, Amra has also been working alongside Hassan Eslaiah, a freelance photojournalist whose infiltration into Israel and close ties with Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar were detailed in HonestReporting’s expose in November. Subsequently, AP and CNN cut ties with Eslaiah.
All of the above should sound the alarm bells for news organizations and their audiences worldwide.
The exhilaration at the display of Hamas atrocities, along with the sharing of a call to infiltrate Israel, where Hamas had been brutalizing, raping, and murdering innocent Israelis on October 7, are appalling in their own right.
So is the flattery their actions earned from the head of a genocidal terror organization.
There are serious questions for the international media outlets who prominently showcased these photojournalists’ work:
Did they vet Amra and Abu Mostafa before publishing their work?
Were any outlets aware of the photojournalists’ social media activity and of Amra’s recognition by the leader of a proscribed terror group?
What exactly are their vetting procedures for freelancers in Gaza?
And, if there are different codes of conduct for freelancers vs. permanent staff, then why isn’t that disclosed on every article that a freelancer works on?
A commitment to journalistic ethics should prompt the news organizations we have named to answer these very basic questions.
And basic humanity should compel them to answer these questions.
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 Shocking Revelation: Gaza Photojournalists Shared Call to Infiltrate Israel on Oct. 7 first appeared on Algemeiner.com.
Montreal’s Jewish Public Library moves books by local children’s author Elise Gravel to closed stacks in response to her series of illustrated messages criticizing Israel
Montreal’s Jewish Public Library has relocated renowned Montreal children’s author Elise Gravel’s books to the closed stacks after Jewish advocacy groups singled out some of her social media posts as antisemitic. Gravel is “one of Quebec’s most beloved children’s book authors. Her work is vibrant, thoughtful, funny, and educational,” said a statement from the Jewish […]
The post Montreal’s Jewish Public Library moves books by local children’s author Elise Gravel to closed stacks in response to her series of illustrated messages criticizing Israel appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.
‘I’m Speaking Up Against Evil’: Israeli Columbia University Professor Addresses Smear Campaign
Columbia University professor Shai Davidai, a Jewish Israeli, defended his right to condemn Hamas’ atrocities on Thursday after learning that an anonymous group of graduate students has accused him of anti-Palestinian racism and demanded a professional association of which he is a member to publicly censure him.
Anti-Zionist TikTok influencer Jessica Burbank first reported the accusations the graduate students lodged in a letter to the Society for Personality and Social Psychology (SPSP), an organization founded in 1974 to promote the social psychology field and its usefulness to society. Comprising over 7,500 student and faculty members, it provides invaluable funding and networking opportunities.
Accusing Davidai of “targeting individuals — especially Palestinians and students of color,” the students’ letter describes his efforts to hold pro-Hamas student groups accountable for harassing Jewish students and defending terror as “decolonization” as “blatant dereliction of duty with respect to his responsibilities and ethical standards as a professor and faculty member of SPSP.” The students additionally accused him of promoting “doxxing” and “misrepresenting” the views of pro-Hamas groups, all of whom have defended Hamas’ atrocities on Oct. 7 while calling for a ceasefire, a strategy they have employed to portray themselves as a pro-peace movement.
On Thursday, Professor Davidai told The Algemeiner that the man depicted in the letter is not someone his community, students, and peers would recognize, and he accepts that enduring assaults on his character is a consequence of defending the Jewish people wherever they are, be it Israel or New York City.
“Look, I’m speaking up against evil, and against the support of evil,” he said. “I’m willing to take the reputational hits because people that won’t like me for saying what I’m saying — I don’t need them to like me. This isn’t about the performative virtue signaling that is en vogue right now. This is about having a moral compass and standing up for what’s right.”
Davidai went on to express concern that his colleagues in the field have not defended him, a silence which suggests that criminating pro-Israel activists with baseless accusations will not be denounced or resisted even by moderates holding nuanced views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Israel’s war against Hamas.
“If I have to pay the price, I’ll pay the price. Thousands and thousands of Jews and non-Jews contact me to say that calling out pro-Hamas support on US college campuses is the right thing to do,” he continued. “And the irony is that I won’t be silenced. They might take away my reputation. They might take away my job and my career. But I’m not the kind of person who will be quiet now that there’s a personal cost for telling the truth. They’re just proving my point.”
Davidai first achieved national notoriety after delivering a thunderous speech before a crowd of students and others gathered on campus in which he called the school’s president a “coward” for refusing to condemn Hamas apologists and anti-Zionist demonstrations on campus.
“I’m talking to you as a dad, and I want you to know we cannot protect your children from pro-terror student organizations, because the president of Columbia University will not speak out,” Davidai said to the students, whom he asked to film and send the remarks to their parents. “Citizens of the US are right now kidnapped in Gaza, and yet the president of the university is allowing — is giving — her support to pro-terror student organizations.”
In many ways, becoming a public figure has been a detriment, Davidai said. His email is flooded daily with notes from antisemites accusing him of being an “Elder of Zion” and a “genocidal baby killer.”
His colleagues, furious that his exposing antisemitism and left-wing radicalism at Columbia University has caused important donors to pull their support from the school, have never commented on the hate mail even though they are always copied as recipients of it, he alleged.
Follow Dion J. Pierre @DionJPierre.
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‘We Have Lost All Confidence’: Bipartisan Letter Urges Blinken to Demand Top UN Officials Resign
A bipartisan group of 12 US legislators sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week urging him to demand that United Nations Secretary General António Guterres and the head of UNRWA — the UN agency dedicated to Palestinian refugees — Philippe Lazzarini resign over the recent revelation that UNRWA employees were involved in Hamas’ October 7 terrorist attack.
“We have lost all confidence in Secretary-General António Guterres’ ability to ensure that the U.N. is not actively supporting terrorism or giving refuge to known terrorists. Therefore, we ask you to demand that Secretary-General Guterres and UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini immediately resign from their posts,” the letter states.
The signatories were Democratic Representatives Josh Gottheimer, Don Davis, Jared Moskowitz, Brad Schneider, Haley Stevens, and Ritchie Torres — along with Republican Representatives Don Bacon, Anthony D’Esposito, Brian Mast, Max Miller, Michelle Steel, and Claudia Tenney.
The letter laments what the legislators say was an inappropriate response to October 7 by the UN, pointing out that “While innocent blood was still fresh on the ground, the UN’s first response to these atrocities was to draw a moral equivalency between the Hamas terrorists and Israel, who acted in her own self-defense and the defense of innocent civilians, including Americans.”
“UN Women,” the letter continued, “also failed to condemn the heinous attacks on women in a timely manner — even after widespread, well-documented cases of sexual assaults, rape, and genital mutilation.”
It then turned its attention to UNRWA, the UN agency dedicated solely to Palestinian refugees. Recent reports have revealed that at least twelve UNRWA employees — including teachers — took part in Hamas’s October 7 attack. Seven infiltrated Israel itself along with Hamas terrorists, others helped to kidnap Israelis and provide ammunition.
Not only that, but the Israeli ground offensive in Gaza has exposed that “Hamas has stored weapons in UNRWA buildings, used UNRWA resources for terrorist activities, and built tunnels under UNRWA facilities,” the letter says. The reps ask: “How long before we acknowledge the truth and label UNRWA as a tool for Hamas and others to recruit and train?”
A recent Wall Street Journal report estimates that around 10% of UNRWA employees are terrorist-linked — about 1,200 of the 12,000 UNRWA employees in Gaza.
Blinken has not yet responded to the letter. But after the initial allegations against UNRWA were made, he wrote in a statement that The United States is extremely troubled” by them and that “The Department of State has temporarily paused additional funding for UNRWA while we review these allegations and the steps the United Nations is taking to address them.”
The reports, based on evidence gathered and shared by Israel, caused more than a dozen countries to pause funding to the agency.
However, the statement also noted that “UNRWA plays a critical role in providing lifesaving assistance to Palestinians, including essential food, medicine, shelter, and other vital humanitarian support. Their work has saved lives, and it is important that UNRWA address these allegations and take any appropriate corrective measures, including reviewing its existing policies and procedures.”
The post ‘We Have Lost All Confidence’: Bipartisan Letter Urges Blinken to Demand Top UN Officials Resign first appeared on Algemeiner.com.