Newseum Will “Re-Evaluate” Inclusion of Hamas Members on List of Honorees
After a public outcry, The Newseum is reconsidering honoring two Hamas “journalists” killed during Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense last November.
The Newseum’s manager of media relations sent out the following statement Monday morning:
Serious questions have been raised as to whether two of the individuals included on our initial list of journalists who died covering the news this past year were truly journalists or whether they were engaged in terrorist activities.
We take the concerns raised about these two men seriously and have decided to re-evaluate their inclusion as journalists on our memorial wall pending further investigation.
Terrorism has altered the landscape in many areas, including the rules of war and engagement, law, investigative and interrogation techniques, and the detention of enemy combatants. Journalism is no exception.
To further our First Amendment mission to provide a forum where all may speak freely, the Newseum will establish a new initiative to explore differing views on the new questions facing journalism and journalists.
The names of the two Al-Aqsa TV ‘journalists’ have also been removed from the Newseum website.
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 to be honored were Hussam Salama and Mahmoud al-Kumi, who worked for Al-Aqsa Television, a Hamas-funded outlet, which itself has been designated a terror organization by the U.S.
Following the revelation, the pro-Israel think tank the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies threatened to move the venue for its annual policy summit from the Newseum, after it was revealed it would honor the Hamas members. Criticism from others in the Jewish community soon followed, including from the ADL, which referred to the Newseum’s decision as auguring a “dark day.”
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, told The Algemeiner that he welcomed the news.
“It’s a very welcome development. The Newseum is a cultural outpost and it’s there to teach millions of people, especially the younger generations, the freedom of the press, the freedom of expression. The idea that they would have lumped together Hamas members with journalists who literally died in the line of fire for those freedoms was a horrible error in judgment,” he said.
Cooper added: “I have confidence that if they take the time to reconstruct who these people are and what it is they represented and did, and why it is they died, they will confirm that their postponement should be permanent.”