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Voice of America’s Gaza War Recap Omits Vital Context

An aerial view shows the bodies of victims of an attack following a mass infiltration by Hamas gunmen from the Gaza Strip lying on the ground in Kibbutz Kfar Aza, in southern Israel, Oct. 10, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Ilan Rosenberg

To mark six months of Israel’s war against Hamas in Gaza, Voice of America (VOA) released a three-minute video chronicling the effect that the war has had in both Israel and Gaza.

However, rather than provide its audience with a comprehensive overview of the war in Gaza, VOA produced a report that omitted a fair amount of context, ultimately leaving it heavily one-sided and uninformative.

The video report begins with recent Israeli protests calling for new elections, a hostage deal, and the ouster of the current government led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.  Meanwhile, there have been no protests in Gaza to Hamas’ massacre of 1,200 Israelis on October 7. In fact, Hamas still has the support of the vast majority of Gazans.

In its coverage of the anti-Netanyahu protests, VOA claims that the Israeli government has been unable “so far to secure the release of hostages captured on October 7.”

This statement omits the fact that, in November 2023, more than 100 hostages were released during a temporary ceasefire in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.

This claim also makes it appear that the onus lies with Israel when, in fact, Israel has agreed to several deals that would see the release of more hostages from Hamas captivity, all of which have been rejected by the leadership of the Gaza-based terror group.

After profiling the Israeli protest movement, VOA then turns its attention to Gaza.

The report quotes the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health, alleging that “more than 33,000 Palestinians” have been killed by Israel during the war.

However, the report fails to qualify this statistic with the vital context that the Gaza Ministry of Health does not differentiate between civilians and combatants — and that all the numbers are unverified. Hamas has even said it can’t provide full details for its claims.

Similarly, the report goes on to claim that “Israel’s widespread aerial attacks have leveled much of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza, creating a humanitarian crisis.”

This point is reiterated later on by World Central Kitchen head José Andrés, who is quoted as saying that Israel is “destroying every building, every hospital, every school, every university.”

Aside from these allegations being exaggerations of the reality on the ground, what is missing from this picture is the necessary understanding that Israel is combating Hamas’ terror infrastructure, which is purposefully embedded in civilian areas.

Further on in this video report, VOA claims that Netanyahu “remains steadfast in ignoring international calls for a humanitarian ceasefire until Hamas releases all hostages held,” later adding that “publicly, there remains no plan for an immediate ceasefire, hostage release or an end to hostilities.”

As mentioned earlier, these statements ignore the fact that Israel has okayed hostage agreements (including temporary ceasefires) that have been rejected by Hamas. Israel has also agreed to a ceasefire as part of an agreement in which the hostages are released in stages.

Aside from the fact that some of the main allegations made in this video report are missing a proper context, another issue with this overall report is the lack of focus on how the war has affected Israel.

Despite being titled “Israel marks 6 months since deadly Hamas attack,” the report is silent on the deadly cost of the war for Israeli society, the fact that Hamas and Hezbollah are still firing rockets at Israeli civilian centers in both the north and south, and the fact that there are still tens of thousands of internally displaced Israelis who are unable to return to their homes.

Israel has agreed in hostage negotiations in Egypt to concessions about the return of Palestinians to the north of Gaza, but believes Hamas does not want to strike a deal, Israeli officials said on Wednesday.https://t.co/J3vwyyOf25

— The Jerusalem Post (@Jerusalem_Post) April 10, 2024

If VOA truly wanted to provide its audience with a complete picture of the war between Israel and Hamas six months in, it would need to add more context to its allegations and provide a broader picture of the war, not just those aspects that can be used to besmirch Israel’s image.

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.

The post Voice of America’s Gaza War Recap Omits Vital Context first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander

Antisemitic hate crimes continue to account for more than any other category of reported hate crimes in Toronto, according to the head of Toronto police intelligence. Superintendent Katherine Stephenson of Toronto Police Service (TPS) confirmed the ongoing spike in hate occurrences during a presentation at Holy Blossom Temple on May 29, where she addressed 350 […]

The post Hate crimes in Toronto are predominantly antisemitic—and the numbers continue to rise: TPS security and intelligence commander appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘Israel Is Not Jewish People,’ New York Times ‘Daily’ Guest Really Wants You to Know

Anti-Israel protesters outside Columbia University in Manhattan, New York City, April 22, 2024. Photo: USA TODAY NETWORK via Reuters Connect

When producers from the New York Times podcast “The Daily” posted on social media looking for “Jewish students who represent a range of feelings and experiences, from being enthusiastically pro Palestinian to enthusiastically pro Israel, and everything in between,” I replied, “This is a trap! They’ll use the ‘pro-Palestinian’ (the polite term they use for the ones who want to wipe Israel off the map) ones to make it sound like the Jewish community is divided and give listeners the illusion that the anti-Israel protests aren’t antisemitic.”

Sure enough, the Times podcast episode that finally aired, headlined, “The Campus Protesters Explain Themselves,” included three students.

Mustafa Yowell, of Irving, Texas, said his mother was from “Nablus, Palestine” and described himself as a Palestinian Arab. He’s a student at the University of Texas, Austin who complained to the Times that “two IDF [Israel Defense Forces] soldiers had infiltrated the campus.” By “IDF soldiers” he meant Israeli students at the university who had, like many Israelis, served in the army before college.

The second student interviewed, Elisha Baker, a student at Columbia University, described himself as a proud Zionist and a graduate of Jewish day school.

And the third student, Jasmine Jolly, a student at Cal Poly Humboldt, described herself as the daughter of a Catholic father and “of Ashkenazi descent on my mom’s side.” Jolly showed up at protests with a sign that said “in honor of my Jewish ancestors, I stand with Palestine.” Jolly also chanted “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.”

“There’s nothing that has come across to me as antisemitic if you are able to pause and remember that Israel is not Jewish people and Zionism is not Jewish people,” Jolly explained to the Times audience.

Jolly read an email from her Jewish grandfather claiming, “Israel is an increasingly apartheid state.”

This is just such a misleading view of reality on campus and in American Jewish life. Even polls like Pew that use an expansive definition of who is Jewish find overwhelming Jewish support for Israel and negligible support for Hamas, including among younger Jews 18 to 34.

In reality, a lot of the anti-Israel protesters aren’t even Palestinians; they are European or Asian students or white or black Americans who either have been brainwashed by their professors or who have underlying, pre-existing antisemitic attitudes. Few of them have been to the Middle East and many of them are ignorant about basic facts about it — remember the Wall Street Journal piece, “From Which River to Which Sea?

“The Daily” episode made it crisply concrete, with the Times representing Jews as being split 50-50, with one normative Jew and one Jew chanting “there is only one solution, intifada revolution.” That’s ridiculous, yet a similar approach contaminates other Times coverage of the Jewish community, misleadlingly portraying American Jewry as deeply divided rather than unified around the goals of getting the hostages back, eliminating the threat of Hamas, and making American college campuses safe for Jewish students.

The Times was at this game well before Oct. 7, 2023, proclaiming “the unraveling of American Zionism” and trotting out old chestnuts such as the Reform movement’s Pittsburgh Platform of 1885 and the New York Times‘ favorite Jew, Peter Beinart.

I find myself rolling my eyes at such depictions, but there is clearly some audience for them among the Times readership and top editorial ranks. The Times executive editor, Joe Kahn, told Semafor’s Ben Smith in a May interview, “I’m not an active Jew.” Maybe the New York Times can sell sweatshirts: “Inactive Jew.” Who, exactly, is supposed to find that distinction between “active” and “inactive” Jews reassuring? Maybe they can put it on top of the front page in place of “All the News That’s Fit to Print”: “Edited by someone who wants the public to know he’s not an active Jew.”

Of all the moments to choose to distance oneself publicly from the Jewish people, this is sure quite one to choose.

This “Daily” episode seems calculated to appeal to the inactive Jews, and to others who want justification to believe it’s not antisemitic to set up on Passover and falsely accuse Israel of genocide. It’s nice for the Times to include a Zionist voice on the program, but he wound up sandwiched in between a Palestinian and an “only one solution, intifada revolution” person. It’s fairly typical for the New York Times these days, but it isn’t pretty.

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. He also writes at TheEditors.com.

The post ‘Israel Is Not Jewish People,’ New York Times ‘Daily’ Guest Really Wants You to Know first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases Second Video of Israeli Hostage Sasha Troufanov

Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov as seen in an undated propaganda video released by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group on May 30, 2024. Photo: Screenshot

The Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist group on Thursday released a second propaganda video this week featuring Israeli hostage Alexander (Sasha) Trufanov, 28, who was kidnapped by Palestinian terrorists during Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre across southern Israel.

In the video, Trufanov says he is doing well and criticizes Israel’s prime minister and government in remarks that were likely scripted by his captors.

There was no information about when the video was filmed. However, Trufanov refers to Israel’s decision on May 5 to order the local offices of Qatar’s Al Jazeera satellite news network to close, indicating he may have been filmed in the last few weeks.

The latest video came just two days after Islamic Jihad, an Iran-backed Palestinian terrorist group in Gaza, released its first video featuring Trufanov.

The 30-second undated video shows Trufanov, an Amazon employee, identifying himself and saying that he will soon discuss what has happened to him and other hostages in Gaza.

Similar videos have been released by terrorists groups in Gaza. Israel has lambasted them as psychological warfare meant to torture the Israeli public, especially the families of the hostages being held in Gaza.

Trufanov’s mother said after the first video was released that she was happy to see her son after all this time, but it was “heartbreaking” that he had been a hostage for so long.

“Seeing my Sasha on my TV was very cheering, but it also breaks my heart that he’s still been in captivity for so long,” she said in a video released by the family. “I ask everyone, all the decision-makers: Please do everything, absolutely everything, to bring my son and all the hostages home now.”

Hamas-led Palestinian terrorists abducted over 250 people during their Oct. 7 onslaught. Sasha was kidnapped alongside his mother, grandmother, and girlfriend. All three women were released as part of a temporary ceasefire agreement negotiated in November. His father, Vitaly Trufanov, was one of the 1,200 people killed during the Hamas massacre.

“The proof of life from Alexsander (Sasha) Trufanov is additional evidence that the Israeli government must give a significant mandate to the negotiating team,” the Hostages Families Forum, which represents the families of the hostages, said in a statement.

More than 120 hostages remain in Gaza, which is ruled by Hamas. Islamic Jihad is a separate but allied terrorist organization in the Palestinian enclave. Both are backed by Iran, which provides them with money, weapons, and training.

Negotiations brokered by Qatar, Egypt, and the US to reach a ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas in Gaza have been stalled for weeks.

Trufanov was an engineer at the Israeli microelectronics company Annapurna Labs, which Amazon owns.

The post Palestinian Islamic Jihad Releases Second Video of Israeli Hostage Sasha Troufanov first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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