Palestinian Journalists Jump to Defend Hitler-Loving Colleagues
After the Thomson Reuters Foundation last week moved to strip West Bank-based journalist Shatha Hammad of her Kurt Schork Award in International Journalism, the Palestinian press corps immediately rushed to her defense. Rather than denouncing the very real antisemitism that permeated Hammad’s Facebook profile, as exposed by HonestReporting, the Arabic-language media accused “Zionists” of “silencing the Palestinian narrative” (see, for instance, here, here, and here).
In an exclusive interview with the Quds News Network — a news site linked to the Hamas terror organization — Hammad decried what she described as an “open war on Palestinian journalists,” as she called to “confront” the “Zionist institutions” that uncovered her sickening praise for Adolf Hitler’s mass murder of Jews.
Meanwhile, on October 23, over 300 Palestinian and Arab reporters issued a statement in support of Hammad and “our other colleagues who were pursued and persecuted by Zionist institutions.” Charging HonestReporting with carrying out “targeted civil assassinations,” the missive also slammed our investigative articles about journalists Fady Hanona, Soliman Hijjy, and Hosam Salem, who were sacked by The New York Times over their approval of Nazism and Palestinian terrorism.
“They [HonestReporting] incite against journalists, including for their use of everyday words that form an essential part of the Palestinian and Arab lexicon such as ‘martyr’ and ‘resistance,’ often directly targeting Palestinian national identity and history,” the press release read, seemingly implying that expressing support for the killing of Jews is an “essential” part of the Palestinian lexicon.
On Saturday, the Palestinian Media Forum, in a letter to Thomson Reuters CEO Steve Hasker, had already urged the media conglomerate to reinstate the $5,000 prize to Shatha Hammad, saying that Reuters’ withdrawal “undermines confidence in the integrity of the award.”
In their appeal, the 304 Palestinian journalists explicitly rejected “oppressive scrutiny” of their comments — and a cursory look into some of the signatories reveals why.
Nawa News Agency reporter Shireen Khalifa, for example, lavished praise on Adolf Hitler in multiple social media posts. “You increased the love of Hitler in my heart, I love him and feel that history did him a great injustice,” she wrote to one of her Facebook friends, adding: “I am a lover of Hitler.”
Notably, Khalifa in June was awarded the Media Freedom Award by Press House –Palestine, a Gaza-based organization that claims to receive donations from UNESCO, the European Union, as well as the Canadian, French, Swiss, and Norwegian governments. Khalifa received the prize at the hands of Torunn Viste, Norway’s representative to the Palestinian Authority.
Other signatories included Mariam Barghouti, who HonestReporting previously exposed for asserting that “Israel has been beating Hitler at his own game since 1948,” and firebrand antisemite Mohammed El-Kurd. The letter was also signed by Hind Khoudary, a freelance journalist who stands accused of getting Hamas to arrest a Palestinian peace activist for holding a Zoom call with Israelis. Rami Aman was subsequently imprisoned and subjected to torture.
Palestinian journalists are, of course, entitled to their personal views, however ignorant and hateful they may be. Western media outlets, however, must adequately vet their local hires if they want to uphold their professional commitment to objectivity.
As Jake Wallis Simons, one of the judges for the Reuters Foundation Kurt Schork Memorial Award, put it: “All of this shows how journalists with controversial views can make their way into major media organisations, raising questions about commitment to vetting — and the objectivity of reporting on Israel and the Middle East.”
Despite ongoing intimidation from the Iranian regime and Palestinian terror groups, we will continue to hold the media to account by ensuring accurate and impartial reportage as it relates to the Jewish state.