LA Times: Giving a Voice to Hamas

The publication of Hamas op-eds in both the New York Times and Washington Post provoked an outcry. Not wishing to be outdone by its illustrious rivals, the LA Times gives free propaganda to Hamas in a July 10 op-ed by Hamas leader Mousa Abu Marzouk. We do not intend to reprint his false charges or to give Marzouk’s piece any more credibility. However, some of the most noxious parts of his diatribe deserve a response, if only to demonstrate that such content should not be appearing in supposedly respectable media outlets.

Irrespective of Marzouk’s “moderate” message to English-language media, he, like the rest of Hamas, advocates the destruction of the State of Israel. If you don’t believe it, watch this video of Marzouk openly expressing these sentiments to an Arabic-speaking audience. As for some of the false claims made in his LA Times op-ed:

  • Claim 1: Hamas “resistance” is justified under the Fourth Geneva Convention.

However, even Human Rights Watch, an organization not regarded as friendly towards Israel, clearly stated: “Hamas has repeatedly failed to respect a fundamental rule of international humanitarian law by attacking civilians and civilian objects.”

  • Claim 2: Hamas deserves a place at the international negotiating table.

This, despite the Hamas Charter which states: “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

  • Claim 3: Israel is guilty of “foundational crimes of murder and ethnic cleansing by means of which Israel took our towns and villages, our farms and orchards, and made us a nation of refugees.”

Marzouk conveniently forgets that the 1948 war was the direct result of an Arab invasion and rejection of the UN Partition Plan, which Israel accepted. Had the Arabs also accepted this, there would never have been a Palestinian refugee problem.

  • Claim 4: Israeli leaders made “repeated calls for the destruction of Palestine’s non-Jewish inhabitants”.

There has never been any official Israeli policy of this nature in nearly 60 years of statehood. The existence of a million-strong Arab minority living as citizens in Israel is testament to the utter absurdity of Marzouk’s statement. Moreover, while Marzouk makes false claims regarding non-existent Israeli policies, he attempts to distance Hamas from its own charter, which clearly lays out the organization’s murderous and anti-Semitic discourse.

Marzouk’s false claims, when properly deconstructed, demonstrate the danger of granting Hamas access to the mainstream media. Hamas clearly recognizes the value of reaching a Western audience. Editors and publishers must not allow their publications to be exploited by a terrorist organization that speaks in two voices – a “moderate” one for the West and its true, extremist voice which is often unheard except in the Arab media.

HonestReporting has previously drawn attention to the work of Shurat HaDin, which has successfully fought against organizations that have been found legally complicit in aiding terror groups. US courts have consistently ruled in favor of freezing assets, bank accounts and resources that could be directed towards helping terrorists.

The New York Times, Washington Post and now, the LA Times, by publishing Hamas op-eds, have aided and abetted a terror organization. If charity organizations can be prosecuted in American courts, why not media organizations? The propaganda value of an editorial in a widely-read US newspaper may not be measurable in the same way as illegally channeled donations. But it can be just as damaging and an even more potentially useful tool in the hands of terrorists adept at manipulating a naive audience.

Please write to the LA Times, not only to rebut Marzouk, but also to ask why the newspaper has given the oxygen of free publicity to a murderous terrorist organization – letters@latimes.com – Remember to include your full name, mailing address, daytime phone number and e-mail address in order to increase your chance of being published.

JOHNSTON RELEASED: HAMAS MILKS A PR COUP

HonestReporting welcomes the release of BBC journalist Alan Johnston. However, many people were disturbed at the apparent “sanitizing” of Hamas, who were credited with freeing Johnston. Hamas was quick to milk the press coverage in an attempt to portray itself as a credible party of governance, in stark contrast to its terrorist reality. Writing in the Jerusalem Post, Anshell Pfeffer offers a revealing analysis of the hidden truths about the news from Gaza:

“But, aside from the safety issue, there has also been a tendency to downplay Palestinian divisions, even when they were directly threatening reporters and other foreigners in Gaza, and to continue showing events through the prism of the conflict with Israel. For the past 20 years, ever since the beginning of the first intifada, the international media organizations have built their operations in Gaza around the fighting between Israelis and Palestinians, and they just weren’t prepared to change their mindset to tune in to a different situation….

The BBC might have had the rare courtesy not to blame Israel directly for the kidnapping, but the rush to credit Hamas for Johnston’s release, even though he was originally taken prisoner by a group with close ties with Hamas and that Hamas had done nothing to free him for the first three months of his incarceration, is worrisome. Just as worrisome is the recasting of Hamas as the law-and-order force in Gaza, not least by Johnston himself in his appearances this week, when only three weeks ago its members were busy throwing their Fatah opponents out of 15th-floor windows.”

The publicity surrounding Alan Johnston’s release and the recent spate of propagandistic op-eds marks Hamas’s attempts to “rebrand” itself as a responsible, moderate, governing party capable of implementing law and order. Despite some in the media falling over themselves to accommodate this false premise, Hamas remains a terrorist organization and should continue to be treated as such.

 

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