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May 8, 2023 11:46 am

Meet Muhammad Shehada, Social Media’s Favorite Terror Apologist

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avatar by Akiva Van Koningsveld


People hold Hamas flags as Palestinians gather after performing the last Friday of Ramadan, May 7, 2021. Photo: REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Muhammad Shehada, a Gaza Strip-based Palestinian author and Twitter activist who rose to fame writing articles for the Forward, claims to advocate for “peace and coexistence.” Accordingly, Shehada has wished Jews a happy Passover and Rosh Hashanah, in addition to condemning Kanye West/Ye’s antisemitism. His Facebook profile even features a quote from Mahatma Gandhi — perhaps the world’s most celebrated pacifist.

Over the years, the Gazan’s professed commitment to nonviolence has been rewarded with bylines on Al Jazeera, Vice News, The Nation, and 972+ Magazine, as well as with mentions in some mainstream news outlets, including The Washington PostNewsweek, and the Financial Times.

Yet behind Muhammad Shehada’s superficial lip service to coexistence and a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, lies a thinly veiled anti-Israel agenda that, through lies and deceit, seeks to normalize Hamas terrorism against innocent civilians.

In this piece, we will highlight some of Shehada’s most outrageous comments and claims.

On March 30, 2023, we published an article that, in passing, called out Shehada’s long history of support for anti-Jewish terror. Although he was quick to shoot the messenger, telling his 17,000 followers that HonestReporting “weaponiz[es] antisemitism charges,” many Twitter users responded by pointing out that Shehada once posted a jovial selfie with Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’ terror chief in Gaza.

In a speech given just days before Shehada’s tweet, Haniyeh told media that “[armed] resistance will continue in the West Bank, Gaza, and the land of Palestine [sic] until we defeat the Zionist occupier … from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea.” Dispelling all doubt surrounding Hamas’ stated intention to wipe the only Jewish state off the map, he added: “Palestine is Gaza, the West Bank, Haifa, Jaffa, Akko, Lod, Ramla, and Safed.”

Indeed, a closer look at Shehada’s published work and Twitter timeline reveals that his messaging, while evidently geared towards Western audiences, is merely a more polished take on Hamas’ genocidal antisemitism.

For instance, in a February 11, 2021, Newsweek piece, Muhammad Shehada argued that Palestinian leaders who advocate for “armed resistance,” because they say that negotiations have not worked, are “not wrong” — stopping just short of openly condoning violence. At the same time, in an op-ed published by Haaretz, he called upon US President Joe Biden to “engage constructively” with the Palestinian Authority, “even if includes [sic] representatives deemed as terror-supporters, from Hamas or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.”

He has also justified the launching of incendiary balloons towards southern Israel by calling them “distress signals,” while criticizing the Jewish state for defending its citizens against the real threat that they pose.

Shehada’s articles have furthermore whitewashed Palestinian Authority payments to convicted terrorists by calling them a “canard,” accused the IDF of “senseless butchery” of unarmed protestors during the Great March of Return, and defended US Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) after she wore a T-shirt that erased Israel from the map.

Meanwhile on Twitter, Shehada has tacitly suggested that the April 7, 2023, West Bank terror attack, in which Lucy Dee and her daughters Maia and Rina were driven off the road and murdered at point-blank range, was somehow justified because Israel’s police commissioner “just called on settlers to take to arms.”

However, as the Jerusalem Post detailed in response, civilians do not lose their protected status under international law when they defend themselves against unprovoked attacks.

Amid the April 2023 barrage of terror rockets fired at the Jewish state’s civilian communities from Gaza and Lebanon, which wounded at least two people, Shehada took to Twitter to claim that the more than 40 rockets only “broke a couple of windows & made a pothole on the road,” while referring to them as “improvised projectiles” and putting “rockets” in scare quotes. The tweet was swiftly deleted after HonestReporting called out his falsification of the truth.

In what seemed to be a response to HonestReporting’s work of exposing Palestinian journalists who glorified terrorist attacks that killed at least 35 innocent Jews, Muslims, and Christians, and called Jews “sons of the dogs” who should be “kill[ed] and burn[ed] like Hitler did,” Muhammad Shehada posited that “using an inappropriate hyperbole during tense times is no ground for blacklisting.”

While it is perfectly legitimate for journalists to cite Palestinians’ point of view — even if they promote pro-Hamas talking points — the media’s failure to scrutinize Muhammad Shehada’s pro-peace credentials does a disservice to Israeli victims of terrorism, as well as Palestinians who truly seek peaceful coexistence.

The author is a contributor to HonestReporting, a Jerusalem-based media watchdog with a focus on antisemitism and anti-Israel bias — where a version of this article first appeared.

The opinions presented by Algemeiner bloggers are solely theirs and do not represent those of The Algemeiner, its publishers or editors. If you would like to share your views with a blog post on The Algemeiner, please be in touch through our Contact page.

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