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‘The Washington Post’ pushes an anti-Israel narrative on NGO terror funding case

Why does the paper only tell one side of the story?

Headquarters of “The Washington Post.” Credit: DCStockPhotography/Shutterstock.
Headquarters of “The Washington Post.” Credit: DCStockPhotography/Shutterstock.
Michael Berenhaus
Michael Berenhaus

In a June 16 article entitled “Gaza aid worker found guilty on terror charges,” The Washington Post criticized an Israeli court’s conviction of a Palestinian tried for supporting terrorism. According to the article, “Mohammed el-Halabi, who was Gaza director of the international Christian charity World Vision, was arrested in 2016 and accused of diverting tens of millions of dollars to the Islamist militant group Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip.” The article further stated that Halabi’s “employer, [unnamed] independent auditors and the Australian government found no evidence of wrongdoing.” The Israeli court, the article said, “appeared to rely heavily on a confession by Halabi that has not been made public. His attorney has said the confession was given under duress to an informant.” There was no mention in the article of the prosecution’s side of the case—only the Palestinian side.

It’s odd that The Washington Post routinely maligns Israel—the one democratic nation in the Middle East that actually follows the rule of law—while rarely, if ever, exposing the barbarism that passes for justice in Palestinian-controlled areas. Palestinian operatives torture political dissidents, perpetrate often deadly domestic violence against women with “no legal or social deterrent,” cause many gays to flee to Israel in fear for their lives and murder people suspected of “collaborating” with the Jewish state. Meanwhile, The Washington Post targets Israel, the only Middle Eastern country that upholds freedom of speech, minority rights, women’s rights and gay rights, and also maintains one of the world’s most advanced judicial systems.

Had The Washington Post reported the other side of the Halabi story, its readership would have learned what The Jerusalem Post reported: “The [Israeli] judges said that [Halabi] was highly sophisticated and that his confession was ‘coherent, specific and included unique details … which he could not have concocted on the spot.’”

According to The Jerusalem Post, the judges “said that there was significant external documentary proof of [Halabi’s] actions” and “though the court said that it knew World Vision believes Halabi to be innocent, it said that it was more likely that the organization did not want to overdo oversight of its finances, lest it harm its working relations with Gazan groups.”

The Jerusalem Post added that “according to the court ruling, Halabi was recruited by Abu Cuchba of Hamas in 2004. Though Halabi and his brother, Diya, were initially Hamas fighters, he was eventually assigned to infiltrate World Vision to be an undercover Hamas operative assisting the group, the court said.”

Moreover, “The judges said that throughout his World Vision employment, Halabi met with Hamas military operatives to keep up with their needs. In the verdict, the court said that Halabi intentionally diverted large volumes of iron, plastic and digging tools to Hamas to assist with digging terror tunnels. Further, the court said that in 2012, Halabi twice visited terror tunnels with his brother and another operative, in one case providing the operative with $20,000 to repair tunnels destroyed by flooding.”

Undercutting Halabi’s defense, “prosecutors involved in the case told The Jerusalem Post that they had presented the court with unambiguous bank statements showing the path of the alleged terror funds.”

The Jerusalem Post also noted that the watchdog group NGO Monitor commented that the case “highlights fundamental vulnerabilities of a multi-billion-dollar gap between World Vision’s income and its expenses.”

It is clear that reporting the other side of the Halabi story reveals a damning case based on extensive evidence—information that The Washington Post’s readership was denied. By telling only one side of the story, The Washington Post manipulated the reader into accepting a particular narrative—an anti-Israel narrative—that does not survive scrutiny. Why does The Washington Post push this anti-Israel agenda?

Dr. Michael Berenhaus is a freelance media watchdog activist. He has documented anti-Israel bias in numerous publications, such as “The Economist,” “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post.”

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