Connect with us

RSS

Why Is CNN Downplaying UNRWA’s Scandals?

CNN logo. Photo: Josh Hallett / Flickr

In a January 29 CNN article entitled “What we know about Israel’s allegations against UN staffers in Gaza,” the network got it wrong when it comes to definitions of Palestinian “refugees.” While CNN later corrected that error after media criticism, the authors (Sophie Tanno, Hira Humayun, Richard Roth, Heather Chen, and Alex Marquardt) also failed to capture the extent of the scandals plaguing UNRWA, the refugee agency for Palestinians.

Beginning with the definitional error, the article originally stated:

The organization characterizes Palestinian refugees as any “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 War.” Those who fit that definition now number 5.9 million, made up largely of the descendants of original refugees.

This statement is not true, since the definition says nothing of descendants, who would clearly not fit that definition provided.

The figure of 5.9 million instead reflects the UNRWA definition of “refugees” as changed over the years to automatically include all descendants of “Palestine refugee males.” UNRWA’s website itself acknowledges this, albeit quietly. Worth noting, this is unique to Palestinians. No other group on earth is allowed to have their descendants automatically given “refugee” status.

The real number of Palestinians who would fit the definition, according to a post by then Secretary of State Mike Pompeo following a State Department study, is less than 200,000, not 5.9 million.

After CAMERA informed CNN that the original UNRWA definition of a refugee, which was quoted in the article, had been expanded in subsequent years to automatically include descendants of Palestinian refugees, the network updated the language to clarify the definition and the numbers the article had assigned to that definition.

The network published the following correction:

This article has been updated to clarify the definition of who qualifies for UNRWA aid.

The language now reads:

The organization characterizes Palestinian refugees as any “persons whose normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948, and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 War.” Those who fit that definition and their descendants now number 5.9 million, all of whom are considered eligible for UNRWA support.

We commend CNN for the correction.

But CNN’s article is also misleading in another way. It fails to capture the extent of the scandals plaguing UNRWA. The authors commendably report the most recent development, namely the revelation that at least 12 UNRWA staffers were involved in the October 7 massacre in southern Israel.

They omit, however, an even more important revelation: that approximately 10% of the agency’s 12,000-plus employees are linked with internationally-designated terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

Similarly, CNN’s website appears devoid of any mention of the UNRWA staff Telegram channel, documented and exposed by UN Watch, which is rife with incitement and glorification of terrorism by UNRWA employees, including celebrating the October 7 massacre. Notably, rather than take the issue seriously, the United Nations responded by trying to insult the organization that produced the evidence.

Nor does CNN mention the many documented instances in which terrorist infrastructure and weaponry have been found inside or underneath UNRWA institutions, a fact which the United Nations has lied about as recently as earlier this month.

There is no mention of the fact that a former UNRWA union head was fired only after it was publicly exposed that he was a Hamas political leader, and that the former UNRWA Gaza director was removed from his position simply because he admitted Israeli strikes were precise during the May 2021 Israel-Hamas war. During the current war, there have also been documented instances of terrorists firing from UNRWA facilities.

The long, documented history of UNRWA schools teaching content that incites terrorism and hatred is also omitted.

This history is important context for CNN’s audience. It would inform them that this is not an isolated incident of bad behavior at UNRWA. It explains why so many countries are now suspending aid to the agency, given its long record of bad behavior.

Instead, CNN’s Newsroom resorted to bringing in former UNRWA Director-General Christopher Gunness, who oversaw many of these scandals, to whitewash the agency’s bad behavior. Rather than acknowledge the seriousness of the issue, Gunness implied the revelations were a “political attack” timed with the International Court of Justice proceedings, presumably to take attention away.

Given CNN’s fondness for investigations, one is left to wonder: why isn’t CNN devoting any substantial effort to holding UNRWA to account by asking the hard questions of the agency?

David M. Litman is a Research Analyst at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA), where a version of this article first appeared.

The post Why Is CNN Downplaying UNRWA’s Scandals? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

RSS

TikTok’s pro-Israel investors face conundrum as platform is blamed for fueling antisemitism

(JTA) — Last year, as fighting swirled over the Israeli government’s efforts to reshape the country’s judiciary, Israeli and American critics turned their attention to Arthur Dantchik, a Jewish billionaire who bankrolled a think tank behind the proposed reforms.

After facing protests outside his Philadelphia-area home, Dantchik gave in. He announced that he would stop donating to the Kohelet Policy Forum, saying that Israel had become “dangerously fragmented” and calling for “healing and national unity.”

Months later, Dantchik is quietly sitting on the front row of another fight that many Jews say has deep repercussions for their safety: the battle over antisemitism on social media. Susquehanna International Group, the investment firm founded by Dantchik and another American Jewish billionaire, Jeffrey Yass, controls a 15% stake in ByteDance, owner of the popular video app TikTok. Dantchik also serves as one of five members on ByteDance’s board of directors.

As criticism has mounted over TikTok’s role in amplifying antisemitic and anti-Israel content in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack on Israel, their names have largely stayed out of the public conversation.

The situation is not a perfect parallel to Dantchik’s relationship with Kohelet: Donors have the power to pressure nonprofits by withholding funding, while investors have certain obligations to their companies.

Still, if Dantchik and Yass — who have donated millions to Jewish and Israel-related causes — have pushed for a greater effort to rein in antisemitic content on TikTok, it’s not known. Through a spokesperson, they declined a request for interviews. But it’s clear that they have the potential to force a conversation about Jewish concerns within the Chinese company, as well as incentives not to if increased anti-Israel rhetoric proves good for business.

“Their desire to maximize the value of TikTok may conflict with their desire to promote the interests of the Jewish people and Israel,” said Michael Connor, the executive director of Open MIC, an advocacy organization focused on corporate accountability in the tech industry. “There may be that conflict and they may not want to wade into it. It’s a complicated situation.”

Many social media platforms have faced pressure over content relating to the Israel-Hamas war. But with surveys showing increased criticism of Israel and a rise in pro-Palestinian sentiment among young Americans, many pro-Israel advocates have raised alarm bells over the influence of TikTok in particular.

The company’s top lobbyist in Israel resigned Monday in protest of the company’s alleged anti-Israel bias.

“I resigned from TikTok,” Barak Herscowitz announced in a post on X, formerly Twitter. “We live in a time in which our very existence as Jews and Israelis is under attack and in danger. And in an era of such instability, people’s priorities sharpen.”

He added, “Am Yisrael Chai,” Hebrew for “the nation of Israel lives,” adding in an Israeli flag and flexing muscle emojis.

Herscowitz’s public resignation follows repeated instances of Jewish employees at TikTok leaking internal screenshots or speaking anonymously to make allegations of antisemitism within the company.

Criticism of TikTok flared after the results of a survey went viral in November, suggesting that for every 30 minutes that someone watches videos on the platform, they became 17% more antisemitic.

The statistic originates from a graphic shared by tech executive Anthony Goldbloom, based on a survey he commissioned by Generation Lab, a research company specializing in the views of young people.

Presidential candidate Nikki Haley cited the finding during a Republican primary debate. Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz have also referred to it.

Goldbloom’s claims spread rapidly and have continued even after the company that ran the survey said his conclusions aren’t fully supported by the data. (He did not respond to requests for comment.)

Among the experts who sprung into action to assess TikTok amid the criticism is Yaël Eisenstat, who looked into the social network last year while working as head of the Anti-Defamation League’s Center for Technology and Society. She left the role in January for a job focused on safeguarding the integrity of the upcoming elections.

“Here’s the challenge: As long as TikTok makes it excessively difficult to study their platform, I don’t hold it against people who try to figure out how to do so with the tools available to them,” Eisenstat said in an interview with the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Eisenstat said she has not seen conclusive evidence showing that the company is manipulating its algorithm to promote antisemitism.

“I am not convinced TikTok intentionally has its thumbs on the scale in any direction. Am I convinced that there’s an antisemitism problem on TikTok? Probably. But that is different from implying that they are intentionally skewing information in a certain direction.”

TikTok has rejected accusations that it is a purveyor of antisemitism, saying the company has made special efforts to fight the spread of hate speech and misinformation resulting from the Israel-Hamas war.

From left to right, Jason Citron, CEO of Discord, Evan Spiegel, CEO of Snap, Shou Zi Chew, CEO of TikTok, Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, and Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta are sworn-in as they testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee at the Dirksen Senate Office Building on January 31, 2024 in Washington, DC. The committee heard testimony from the heads of the largest tech firms on the dangers of child sexual exploitation on social media. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

In the absence of transparency about the algorithms behind social media platforms, many critics have focused their attention on the platforms’ owners. As Elon Musk transformed Twitter into X, allowing antisemitic and hateful content to spread in the name of free speech, he became a villain for many on the left, but he also seemed to be courting this attention by incessantly posting controversial statements.

Meta’s primary owner, Mark Zuckerberg, has been vilified on both sides of the political spectrum over content moderation decisions on Facebook and Instagram. On Wednesday, in a Senate hearing on online child abuse and social media safety, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham told major tech CEOs, including TikTok’s, “You have blood on your hands.”

In the case of TokTok, condemnation has tended to center on TikTok’s Chinese ownership, which is perhaps unsurprising given that many American politicians view China as an enemy ,combined with the fact that since Oct. 7, antisemitism and anti-Israel sentiment have become rampant on the Chinese internet and in state-run media. TikTok is also a special case in that it is not publicly traded — unlike Meta, YouTube, or Snapchat — meaning there are fewer avenues for shareholder engagement.

Conservative commentator Jonah Goldberg argued in a column that there’s a relationship between the type of content that is popular on TikTok and China’s interests in its power struggle with the United States.

“China’s fomenting hatred of Israel and Jews appears to be a useful distraction from its own sins and a way to pander to, and encourage, global antisemitism and anti-Americanism,” Goldberg wrote.

Lawmakers have echoed the same ideas. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida wrote in November on X, “TikTok is a tool China uses to spread propaganda to Americans, now it’s being used to downplay Hamas terrorism.” Democratic Rep. Josh Gottheimer last week posted that “China-owned @tiktok_us has been pushing antisemitic, anti-American, & pro-Hamas content.”

(The company has denied that the Chinese government dictates how it may operate.)

In contrast to the preoccupation with China in the discussion of TikTok’s antisemitism problem, no major public figure or campaign has so far publicly named Yass and Dantchik, whose early investment in the app helped propel them onto Forbes’ list of the richest Americans.

After decades of maintaining a low profile as Wall Street traders, Yass and Dantchik have been repeatedly mentioned in the press in recent years — and not only because of articles tying them to the think tank behind Israel’s proposed judicial overhaul. They have also become known as major donors to Republican campaignslibertarian causes and philanthropy supporting Israel.

Tax records and other disclosures link the pair with millions in donations to an array of Jewish charities including Birthright Israel, American Friends of Hebrew University, and Hadassah Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Either directly or through foundations they run, they have given to a synagogue near their homes in the Philadelphia area, a Jewish federation in Florida, and the Shalom Hartman Institute.

Dantchik also donated to the 2013 Israeli election campaign of Naftali Bennett, then a right-wing politician heading Jewish Home, a religious Zionist party.

Protesters demonstrating against the Kohelet Policy Forum carry placards linking the group to Arthur Dantchik and Jeff Yass of Susquehanna International Group outside the company’s headquarters in suburban Philadelphia, May 19, 2023. (Rotem Elinav)

Many in the Jewish world who were familiar with and even critical of Yass and Dantchik’s philanthropy didn’t respond or declined to comment for this article, saying they weren’t aware of their ties to TikTok. But the ties aren’t exactly a secret, said one leader of a national Jewish organization, who requested anonymity so that they could speak freely.

“Everybody knows that Susquehanna is a problem — everybody knows that they own this big chunk of TikTok,” the leader said. “All these guys are supposedly right-wing, Zionist, pro-Israel, anti-China and they own part of TikTok but nobody, for a reason that I don’t fully understand, is targeting them. Maybe they are doing stuff under the radar, but I don’t see a campaign asking the Susquehanna guys to divest from TikTok, which is pretty surprising.”

Meanwhile, a representative of the Anti-Defamation League, which accuses TikTok of amplifying antisemitism and anti-Zionism, rebuffed inquiries about whether it was aware of Yass and Dantchik’s stake in the company.

“We don’t accept the premise of the question,” Daniel Kelley, director of Strategy and Operations for the ADL’s Center for Technology and Society, said in a written statement.

“ADL raises awareness about antisemitism irrespective of the faith or orientation of the directors on a company’s board, the company’s investors, or any other potential relationships,’ the statement continued. “We have not studied the capital structure of the company nor have any comment on the information as presented. As we do in any situation, we work to reduce instances of antisemitism and hate wherever they might emerge and utilize all avenues to engage the actors such as TikTok on the relevant issues of concern on the platform.”

Connor, the executive director of Open MIC, has not studied TikTok or been involved in campaigns targeting the company but he concluded, based on his experience engaging shareholders of other tech giants including Meta, Alphabet, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft, that Yass and Dantchik are facing a delicate set of circumstances.

Social media platforms can profit from outrage and friction, which have been shown to drive increased user attention. “The business model in many ways benefits from the spread of hate speech and conflict, because people click on it more and they react to it more,” Connor said.

Concerned board members can’t always push for changes because they are legally required to represent the financial interests of investors — they would have to argue that becoming a haven for hate is ultimately bad for business.

But even when a social media company is convinced it has a problem and wants to address it, a solution is often elusive. Identifying and removing content that promotes hate is notoriously difficult.

“The question is: To what degree are they capable of removing content?” Connor said. “That’s an open question and they may not be able to. One of the biggest concerns about social media is that the technology has outpaced our ability to control it in a responsible way.”

Amid all the challenges and unknowns, Connor said one thing is certain about Yass and Dantchik.

“They can make their voice heard at the board of directors,” he said. “They can raise concerns.”


The post TikTok’s pro-Israel investors face conundrum as platform is blamed for fueling antisemitism appeared first on Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

Continue Reading

RSS

Are the Houthis a Direct Threat to Israel’s Security?

People gather near burning Israeli and US flags, as supporters of the Houthis rally to denounce air strikes launched by the US and Britain on Houthi targets, in Sanaa, Yemen, Jan. 12, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

The ongoing Israel-Hamas war (dubbed by Israel the Swords of Iron War) has seen the materializing of what has been until now a vague and somewhat imaginary-seeming threat from the Yemeni Houthi regime. The Houthis (or, more precisely, the Houthi movement, which was named after its founder, Hussein Al Houthi) is an extremist Shia Islamist movement that wrested control of the mountainous region of Yemen from the previous pro-Western government by capturing the capital city of Sana’a in 2015.

Following this coup, the Houthi movement proclaimed itself the legal government of the entire country. Like Hamas in Gaza and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the movement has a civilian arm that deals with civil affairs and welfare, as well as a military arm — one that is now indistinguishable from a regular army.

The Houthis practice Yazidi Islam, which is a branch of global Shia Islam. Yazidi Muslims ruled Yemen for nearly a millennium until they were deposed in 1962 by a revolt by an Arab nationalist faction. Thus, the capture of Sana’a by the Houthis and reestablishment of Yazidi control over part of the country can be viewed as a counterrevolution that restored Yemeni Shias to their former position. Yemeni Shias constitute about 65% of the population of northern Yemen.

The extremism of the Houthi movement is reflected in its flag, which, true to its faith, bears no graven images. Instead, it features a five-line slogan: “God is great, Death to America, Death to Israel, A Curse Upon the Jews, Victory to Islam.” It is hardly surprising that the ayatollahs of the Islamic Republic of Iran embraced the Houthi movement from the day of its establishment in 2004, and have supported it ever since with ample funds and arms.

Soon after the capture of Sana’a in 2015, a Sunni Arab coalition of nations headed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates embarked on a military campaign to oust the Houthi regime and reinstate the previous, internationally-recognized government of Yemen (which still controls parts of southern Yemen). The Arab coalition military campaign against the Houthi regime continued until a temporary ceasefire was achieved in April 2022.

During the seven years of warfare, Iran supported the Houthi regime to the hilt, copiously supplying it with money, arms, and military expertise and training by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corp and Lebanese Hezbollah. Circumventing the UN Security Council embargo on arming the Houthi regime, the Revolutionary Guards flooded their protégés with light arms, ammunition, rockets, missiles, and UAVs. Moreover, the Iranians delivered machinery and know-how to the Houthi regime to help it establish local defense industries that now provide the Houthi armed forces with some of its equipment, including UAVs and possibly some types of missiles and rockets.

Iran used the Yemen war to test its indigenously designed weapons systems — but at the same time, showed sensitivity to the UN embargo. This is shown by the lengths to which the Iranian regime went to dissociate itself from its arms supply to the Houthi regime. To this effect, they made efforts to disguise the Iranian origin of their supplied armaments. In some cases, the effort was superficial, like painting Houthi-destined ballistic missiles different colors from the Iranian originals. More frequently, the effort was significant and profound.

The prime example of a sophisticated dissociation effort was the development by Iran of UAVs and rockets tailored specifically for Houthi use — that is, not to be used by Iran’s own armed forces (at least at first). The claim was made that these weapons were indigenous Yemeni designs. A case in point is the rudimentary cruise missile Quds 1, first unveiled at a Sana’a arms expo in July 2019. There is clear evidence that the missile was designed and developed in Iran, but the Houthi regime bragged that the weapon had been indigenously designed and produced in Yemen. The Iranians, meanwhile, surreptitiously used the weapon operationally to attack the Saudi oil industry while avoiding displaying it at their own military parades and expos until 2023, when they finally featured it under a different name. The Iranians continue to maintain the fiction that they are complying with the UN embargo, and that the modern and deadly UAVs and missiles used by the Houthis were indigenously designed and built in Yemen by Yemeni scientists and engineers.

During the seven-year war in Yemen, the Houthis launched a significant campaign against Saudi Arabia that included attacks by rockets, ballistic missiles, and UAVs on population centers, military bases, industrial plants, and state symbols. Most of the attacks targeted the southern provinces of Saudi Arabia that border Yemen. Saudi Arabia’s hinterland also came under attack, and its capital city of Riyadh was hit at least eight times by Iran-supplied, Houthi-operated ballistic missiles and UAVs. Oil installations deep within Saudi territory were also subjected to mainly long-range UAV and cruise missile attacks, including the oil terminals at the port of Jeddah, the oil pipeline that connects the oil fields of northern Saudi Arabia to the Red Sea ports, and to oil fields like Shaiba in the eastern part of the Kingdom.

The United Arab Emirates, too, was a victim of several missile and UAV attacks from Houthi-controlled Yemen. These attacks targeted the construction site of the UAE’s nuclear power reactor and Abu Dhabi as well as the Dubai and Abu Dhabi airports. In the most recent attack in January 2022, Houthi-launched UAVs and missiles caused several casualties in an Abu Dhabi suburb. The Saudi Armed Forces spokesperson disclosed in December 2021 that a total of 851 UAVs and 430 rockets and ballistic missiles had been launched by the Houthis against Saudi targets since the start of the Yemen war in 2015.

The longest range reached by Houthi missiles during the Yemen war was about 1,200 km. How far their UAVs and cruise missiles struck is not precisely known, but it seems that their maximum range was about 1,000 km. At the time of the ceasefire, the Houthi regime had in its possession a significant arsenal of long-range weapons that could threaten the entire territory of Saudi Arabia. Their range was not, however, sufficient to hit Israel, the southernmost point of which is about 1,700 km away from the nearest point in Yemen.

Several Israeli analysts foresaw that once the war with Saudi Arabia abated, the Houthi regime would turn its long-range capabilities against Israel. One clear warning of Houthi intentions was provided by a video clip released by the Houthi regime in 2019 that featured the newly unveiled Quds 1 cruise missile. This propaganda video had Hebrew subtitles threatening Israel, ending with the words — in Hebrew — “In the future, many more (missiles).” It was clear that the range gap could be bridged by extending the reach of the cruise missile and introducing heavier ballistic missiles.

As predicted, extended-range missiles were unveiled at a military parade held in Sana’a on September 22, 2023, barely two weeks before the Hamas attack on Israel and subsequent outbreak of the Israel-Hamas war. At the parade, the Houthis unveiled two new missile types: the Quds 4 cruise missile, which has a longer range than earlier variants (the exact range was not specified); and a new, larger ballistic missile dubbed the “Toufan” that was clearly the 1,900 km Iranian Ghader F — an extended-range version of the liquid propellant Shahab 3. Since the Houthis don’t need missiles with ranges beyond 1,200 km to threaten Saudi Arabia, it was clear that the intended target of the two new missiles was Israel.

This threat first materialized on October 19, 2023, when a salvo of UAVs was launched from Yemen towards Israel. This salvo was apparently intercepted and destroyed by US warships stationed in the Red Sea. In another attack on October 27, some Yemeni-launched UAVs reached the Gulf of Aqaba. Two of them struck towns in Egyptian Sinai and others were shot down by Israel Air Force (IAF) fighter aircraft. Four days later, a Houthi-launched ballistic missile that targeted Eilat, Israel’s southernmost city, was intercepted and destroyed by the Arrow anti-missile system. Subsequently, two more Houthi-launched ballistic missiles were destroyed by Arrow interceptors well before they could hit Eilat. Further UAV attacks were foiled by the IAF, and from video footage released by the IAF of these interceptions, it seems the intercepted threats were Quds 4 cruise missiles. According to media reports, some of the UAVs launched against Israel were intercepted and destroyed by Saudi Air Defense command.

The impression is that while the nominal range of the Quds 4 cruise missile covers southern Israel, including Eilat and points north, in real life its range is only marginally sufficient to reach Eilat. One clue suggesting this to be true is the debris of a Houthi cruise missile found in the deserts of southern Jordan, about 200 km short of Eilat. It might have failed to reach Eilat because of a technical glitch, but it also might have run out of fuel earlier than anticipated.

It appears that Israel’s Air Defense Command prepared in time to face potential missile threats from Houthi Yemen. This has enabled it (with the help of the US Navy) to parry all Houthi-launched cruise and ballistic missile attacks up to now. At the same time, there is little doubt that the Houthis, aided by their Iranian patrons, will make further efforts to improve their performance and break through the defensive arrays of the US Navy and Israel’s Air Defense Command (and probably that of Saudi Arabia’s air defense too). The Houthi regime formally declared war on Israel on October 31, 2023, so it stands to reason that it will persist in its efforts to hit Israel with its missiles, both to show solidarity with Hamas, a fellow Iranian proxy, and to dilute Israel’s air defenses against the rockets, missiles and UAVs of Hamas and Hezbollah.

The Houthi missile threat is clearly destined to become a permanent feature of Israel’s missile threat environment. Israel’s Air Defense Command will probably redeploy its assets for instant readiness against the threat from the south, a threat that has now became as tangible and dangerous as the missile threats from Gaza and Lebanon.

Dr. Uzi Rubin, a senior researcher at The BESA Center, is a former founder and director of the Arrow project in the Defense Ministry and an expert on missile defense systems. A version of this article was originally published by The BESA Center.

The post Are the Houthis a Direct Threat to Israel’s Security? first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

RSS

The Washington Post Has Abandoned ‘Truth’ and ‘Fairness’ in Its Israel Coverage

An Israeli soldier helps to provide incubators to Al Shifa Hospital in Gaza. Photo: Screenshot

Despite The Washington Post espousing principles of “truth” and “fairness,” its expansive coverage of the Israel-Hamas war since October 7 has been marred by its bias against Israel’s defensive actions and conduct in the region.

Over the past four months, HonestReporting has tracked this biased coverage, focusing on three particularly concerning areas:

The narrative produced by The Washington Post’s general reporting;
The opinions expressed in its editorials;
Its disconcerting reliance on the testimony of controversial sources.

“Civilians,” “Fighters” & “Captives”: The Washington Post’s Skewed Reporting

Through its use of certain terminology, skewed facts, and context-free assertions, The Washington Post’s general reporting on the war helps to create a narrative that implicitly portrays Israel as the aggressor while simultaneously downplaying the ruthlessness of Hamas and its regional allies, including Hezbollah.

One of its most influential pieces produced since October 7 has been the investigation into the IDF’s claims regarding Hamas’ use of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City.

In order to undermine the evidence presented by Israel to the public (which is not the full extent of its relevant intelligence), the Post made a variety of speculations and context-less assertions to lay doubts in its readers’ minds as to the veracity of Israel’s case.

The Post used this amateurish “muddying the waters” tactic to subvert the IDF’s justified entrance into the hospital complex, portraying Israel as the aggressor while relinquishing Hamas of any responsibility for using civilian infrastructure for terrorist purposes.

Washington Post Muddies the Waters of Israel’s Shifa Hospital Operation

“This reporting is neither groundbreaking nor conclusive. It’s simply a lazy attempt to vilify Israel and absolve Hamas.”

By @SimonPlosker of @HonestReporting https://t.co/RGIWnfGv7a

— Algemeiner (@Algemeiner) December 25, 2023

In another investigative report, the Post sought to cast a dark pall over the IDF’s actions in Gaza by claiming that the number of children killed in this conflict might be unprecedented in the annals of 21st-century warfare.

However, the Post was only able to reach these conclusions by skewing the statistics against Israel: It relied on selective data that didn’t provide a complete picture of the damage wrought by these other conflicts and also relied on verified statistics for the other conflicts while relying on Hamas’ unverified number for the Gazan casualties.

While both the Al-Shifa hospital report and the comparison of Gaza with other conflict zones were blatant hit pieces directed against the IDF’s activities in Gaza, there are more subtle ways in which the Post’s bias has skewed the narrative.

For example, while the Hamas-run Gaza Ministry of Health does not differentiate between combatants and civilians in its count of the daily dead during the war, it would be irrational to assume that all killed by the IDF were civilians. However, this didn’t stop the Post from referring on numerous occasions to all of Gaza’s dead as “civilians.”

Does @IgnatiusPost really believe that every single Palestinian killed in Gaza is a civilian or is it now @washingtonpost policy to simply regurgitate Hamas talking points? https://t.co/GXJIt81LTE pic.twitter.com/0bthk8UYO2

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) December 20, 2023

Similarly, in reporting on the November 2023 exchange of Israeli hostages held by Hamas for Palestinians held in Israeli prisons, the Post described it as an exchange of “captives” — implicitly equating civilians kidnapped by a terror organization to those imprisoned by a democratic country.

In addition, one of the reports on the exchange deal referred to Palestinian prisoners as “civilians,” sanitizing those who are members of internationally recognized terror organizations and/or in prison for violent activities.

Following the November exchange, the newspaper even uncritically quoted a Hamas official saying that all women and child hostages had been released, even though that was patently untrue.

This is not the only instance in which the Post has parroted Hamas’ claims to its audience.

Days after the October 7 massacre, the news outlet published an explainer on what Hamas is and why it had invaded southern Israel. This included detailing Hamas’ reasoning for its attack without any editorial rebuttal, implicitly justifying the terror group’s twisted logic.

Similarly, following the IDF’s entrance into Al-Shifa Hospital, the Post uncritically tweeted Hamas’ claim that this constituted “war crimes and crimes against humanity” to its 20 million followers.

Is this a @washingtonpost or a Hamas tweet?

Hard to tell. https://t.co/LpezGoDiPG

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) November 18, 2023

The Washington Post has sought to create a moral equivalence between Israel and Hamas by comparing Hamas’ indiscriminate rocket fire directed against Israeli civilian centers to Israel’s strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza.

Similarly, clashes on the northern front between the IDF and Hezbollah have been described as “tit for tat” fighting, where Israel attacks Lebanon and then Hezbollah attacks Israel even though it is actually the opposite: Hezbollah initiated hostilities on that front and Israel is forced to respond to the terror organization’s attacks against northern Israel.

The Post’s bias is not limited to reporting on the present; it can also be observed in the newspaper’s revisionist view of Israeli history.

For example, in one article, the outlet claimed that during the creation of Israel, “750,000 Palestinians were expelled.”

This is a gross mischaracterization of history (which serves to perpetuate the myth of Palestinians being the victims of Israeli aggression), as most of the Palestinian population that was displaced during that time voluntarily fled to escape the fighting.

Similarly, describing the 1967 Six-Day War, the Post claimed that Israel “launched” the “war against Syria, Jordan and Egypt,” ignoring the fact that in the month prior to the outbreak of the war, Syria and Egypt had engaged in acts of war against the Jewish state and Israel only fought Jordan after the latter attacked Israeli positions after the war had started.

.@washingtonpost‘s history section isn’t so hot on actual history.

Israel didn’t simply “launch” the 1967 war. It responded to Arab threats to annihilate it & other belligerent actions with a pre-emptive strike.
Israel warned Jordan to stay out of the fighting. Jordan… pic.twitter.com/opqRooviOE

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 16, 2024

The Washington Post has also published an array of anti-Israel opinion pieces, both those written by its staff and those contributed by guest writers.

In the month following the October 7 attack, columnist Karen Attiah published several opinion pieces that sought to tarnish Israel’s reputation and its fight against Hamas through misleading statements, a skewed analysis, and unfounded opinions.

Some of the most egregious examples of Attiah’s disdain for the Jewish state and whitewashing of Hamas include the claim that Israel is committing “ethnic cleansing” against the Palestinians, the implicit comparison of Israel to Nazi Germany, the complete disregard for the rise in global antisemitism since October 7, and the undermining of the term “human shields” in regards to Hamas’ cynical use of Gazan civilians for its nefarious purposes.

The Nazis trapped millions of Jews & transported them to their deaths.

Israel is helping Palestinians escape while rooting out Hamas evil that’s ACTUALLY perpetrating atrocities based on identity.

How dare @washingtonpost allow @KarenAttiah‘s antisemitism to infect its pages. https://t.co/biLeEPboRT pic.twitter.com/IBZ7F3kJ1d

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) October 14, 2023

Ishaan Tharoor has used his column to promote the false idea that Israel is committing genocide in Gaza and to present a one-sided view of Israeli administrative detention.

Like Karen Attiah, Tharoor relies on biased sources, skewed analyses, and misleading statements to denigrate the Jewish state in the eyes of The Post’s readership.

But it’s not only seasoned columnists like Ishaan Tharoor and Karen Attiah who have been given a platform to spread their anti-Israel views.

In December 2023, Perry Bacon Jr. (who rarely comments on Israel) penned an op-ed accusing Israel of “indiscriminately bombing” Gaza while simultaneously downplaying the role of Hamas, its misappropriation of civilian infrastructure, and its October 7 atrocities to make them seem almost irrelevant.

Similarly, in a guest op-ed by Benjamin Moser, Israel is blamed entirely for the collapse of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process with nary a mention of the numerous Palestinian terror attacks, rejections of peace offers, and continued incitement against the Jewish state.

While opinion pieces may not reflect a newspaper’s official viewpoint, the fact that the pieces mentioned above were deemed acceptable for publication speaks volumes about how the Post’s editorial board views the conflict.

Why do @benjaminfmoser & @washingtonpost hold only Israeli government policies responsible for the lack of a Palestinian state?

Palestinians also have agency & responsibility for:
The Second Intifada
Terrorism against Israeli civilians
Rejecting multiple peace offers… pic.twitter.com/4TaV6w9O4z

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 3, 2024

On January 8, 2024, HonestReporting published an investigation into two Gaza-based freelance journalists who had supported the October 7 invasion of Israel.

One of these freelancers, Ashraf Amra, hosted an Instagram Live where he encouraged Gazans to cross into Israel and gleefully watched footage of the lynching of an Israeli soldier. It was also revealed that Amra has at least twice had friendly interactions with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh.

Mere hours after HonestReporting published its investigation, Ashra Amra was quoted by name in a Washington Post report.

The same day we exposed Gaza freelancer Ashraf Amra enjoying footage of an IDF soldier being lynched on Oct. 7 as well as his relationship with Hamas’ Ismail Haniyeh, @washingtonpost quoted Amra.

Amra should never be cited again. In any media outlet. https://t.co/GfLlUuXcUb

— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) January 9, 2024

This is not the only time that the Post has relied on the testimony or evidence of a controversial Gaza-based figure.

In late October 2024, the Post’s Instagram page shared a video of Israel’s military activities taken by Palestinian journalist Hind Khoudary.

It was revealed in 2020 that Khoudary had reported to Hamas a group of Palestinian youth who had engaged in a Zoom dialogue with Israelis.

Members of this group were later arrested by Hamas for “normalization.”

In January 2024, the Post advertised a talk about life in Gaza during the war to be given by Plestia Alaqad, an “aspiring journalist.”

However, Alaqad has been known to spread Hamas propaganda and anti-Israel libels, including claims of genocide and the assertion that Israel had committed a “massacre” at the Al-Ahli Hospital (the explosion outside the hospital was actually determined to have been caused by an errant Palestinian rocket).

While it should be noted that The Washington Post has also featured some opinion pieces and reports that are favorable to Israel, this does nothing to “balance” what remains the clear evidence of bias against Israel in its pages.

This should concern anyone who looks to The Washington Post for an objective and fair take on the current conflict between Israel and Hamas.

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 The Washington Post Has Abandoned ‘Truth’ and ‘Fairness’ in Its Israel Coverage first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

Continue Reading

Copyright © 2017 - 2023 Jewish Post & News