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May 10, 2013 12:42 pm

Think Tank Slams Newseum’s Plan to Honor Hamas Faux ‘Journalists’ (UPDATE)

avatar by Zach Pontz

A crowd of Hamas supporters.

A pro-Israel think tank in Washington is threatening to switch the venue of its annual policy summit after its original choice, the Newseum, decided to honor two slain ‘journalists’ who were members of the Hamas terror group.

Jonathan Schanzer, the vice president for research of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, told The Algemeiner that his organization would have reservations about affiliating itself with the Newseum were it to go ahead with honoring the journalists.

“We just learned about this last night, and we are eager to learn more. FDD’s president, Cliff May, has a call in to the CEO of the Newseum. As a think tank that has done significant research on terrorist media, we are obviously deeply concerned,” Schanzer said, while adding, “We would have a hard time understanding why anyone would choose to honor anyone working for a terrorist propaganda outfit.”

The Newseum, a journalism museum in Washington, is honoring journalists who were killed on the job this past year in a ceremony on May 13. Two of those being honored, Hussam Salama and Mahmoud al-Kumi, were killed in Gaza in November and worked for Al-Aqsa Television, a Hamas-funded outlet, which itself has been designated a terror organization by the U.S.

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“If the Newseum were commemorating members of designated terrorist organizations whose main targets were Americans or Christians or Kurds or Malian Sufi Muslims, our concern would not be lessened,” Cliff May said in an email to BuzzFeed on Thursday.

May told Buzzfeed he plans to hear out the Newseum.

“Let me be fair and give them an opportunity to answer my questions (I have more than a few),” he said. “As I said: Perhaps there’s been a misunderstanding or perhaps some re-thinking is taking place in light of additional information they have received.”

“But I will say this: I spent most of my adult life as a journalist – at the New York Times and other media organizations,” May said. “I know the difference between a reporter and a terrorist propagandist. I’m hopeful that the folks at the Newseum also are able to make such distinctions.”

A spokesperson for the Newseum told Buzzfeed that they would respond to the organization’s concerns on Friday.

UPDATE: The Newseum defended its decision to honor the terrorists, who they consider journalists, in a statement issued to the Free Beacon on Friday.

“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.”

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