Ever heard of Al-Aqsa TV? You may think you haven’t, but if you’re a longtime HA reader I’ll bet you have. They’re responsible for the charming children’s characters Farfour, the Jew-hating mouse; Nahoul, the Jew-hating bee; and Assud, the Jew-eating rabbit. Apart from their stellar children’s programming, they’re known for Holocaust revisionism and various forms of pro-terrorist/anti-semitic propaganda. Per Philip Klein, the Treasury Department designated Al-Aqsa TV as an arm of Hamas three years ago and therefore subjected it to U.S. sanctions imposed on officially recognized terrorist groups. (“Treasury will not distinguish between a business financed and controlled by a terrorist group, such as Al-Aqsa Television, and the terrorist group itself.”) There are dozens upon dozens of clips from the channel archived at MEMRI TV for being especially fragrant examples of televised jihadist filth.
Last year, two Al-Aqsa employees were killed by the IDF during its operations in Gaza. Were they “merely” terrorist propagandists, or actual terrorists themselves using the cover of media to carry out an attack? Doesn’t matter to the Newseum: They’re going up on the wall of honor for journalists killed in the line of duty. Just like Daniel Pearl.
“Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi were cameramen in a car clearly marked ‘TV,’” Newseum spokesman Scott Williams told the Free Beacon via email. “The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers all consider these men journalists killed in the line duty.”
Middle East experts disagree with this assessment, however.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center, which combats anti-Semitism, said the Newseum has made a “shameful decision” to honor the terrorists.
“Duct Tape on car with the letters TV does not a journalist make,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, the center’s associate dean. “A shameful decision based on a falsehood that besmirches the true heroes of journalism who died while pursuing their mission of seeking and reporting the Truth.”
Via the Standard, the IDF wrote about these two last year after they were killed. The head of the network acknowledged at the time that all of his employees are “part of the resistance,” leading the IDF’s spokesman to wonder if that meant that “those carrying a camera during the day could be carrying rockets at night.” According to a Newseum spokesman who spoke to the Free Beacon, to be included on the memorial a journalist must have been “a contributor of news, commentary or photography to a news outlet; an editor or news executive; a producer, camera operator, sound engineer or other member of a broadcast crew; or a documentary filmmaker.” Evidently Hamas TV falls under one of those categories. Which raises a question:
— Jeffrey Goldberg (@JeffreyGoldberg) May 10, 2013
Exactly. If Hamas TV is a legit journalistic endeavor, why isn’t Inspire? If these two qualify as journalists, why isn’t Anwar al-Awlaki, who allegedly came up with the idea for Inspire, a “news executive”? Why isn’t Samir Khan, who quite probably wrote the bomb-making instructions used by the Tsarnaevs to kill people in Boston, an “editor”? One of the main critiques of the White House for targeting Awlaki is that they’ve never gone public with evidence that he was planning actual terror attacks rather than preaching jihadi propaganda. If propaganda is “journalism,” put him up on the memorial too. Let’s see the Newseum really own its standards by including a name the general public will recognize.
Update: Excellent point by Klein. If you wanted to encourage Hamas to carry out terrorism in the guise of “media coverage,” this is a dandy way to do it:
This is problematic, because in the past, Hamas has been caught storing and firing rockets directed at Israeli civilians from residential neighborhoods, schools and hospitals. The signal being sent by Newseum to Hamas (and terrorist groups everywhere) is that as long as they plaster “TV” on a vehicle, it should be considered off limits for attack. They can use this tactic to transport weapons and terrorists during wartime, putting nations such as Israel in the difficult position of either firing on vehicles marked “TV” or putting their own civilians at risk.