OpinionAntisemitism

The Washington Post’s blood libel

The paper has no proof of “genocide” but Hamas’s word.

“The Washington Post” homepage. Credit: Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock
“The Washington Post” homepage. Credit: Sharaf Maksumov/Shutterstock
Sean Durns
Sean Durns
Sean Durns is a senior research analyst for CAMERA, the 65,000-member, Boston-based Committee Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

Israel is actively working to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza, while Hamas is actively working to cause them. Meanwhile, The Washington Post, ostensibly one of the nation’s most esteemed newspapers, is working to help Hamas in its battle for public opinion.

A Nov. 7 dispatch by the Post’s World Views columnist Ishaan Tharoor, offers a masterclass in omissions and obfuscation. In “Israel’s war in Gaza and the specter of ‘genocide,’” Tharoor seeks to examine claims that Israeli is committing a “genocide” in Gaza. But his attempt is notable for its failure.

Indeed, Tharoor’s “analysis” is only noteworthy for what it doesn’t say.

Tharoor offers a perfunctory condemnation of the Oct. 7 Hamas massacre, but he doesn’t even bother to tell readers how many were murdered by Hamas. Instead, he quickly pivots to lamenting the “more than 10,000 Palestinians in Gaza” who have been allegedly killed by Israel’s “overwhelming campaign” that has inflicted “widespread devastation.”  However, he admits that his casualty numbers were supplied by “health officials in the Hamas-run territory.”

Yet as CAMERA and others have long noted, Hamas runs Gaza’s Health Ministry, very much to its own benefit. It is revealing that Tharoor does not note the number of Israeli victims but is content to uncritically repeat Hamas’s claims, even though such figures have been deliberately inflated in previous conflicts. Tharoor’s peculiar phrasing—“health officials in the Hamas-run territory”—shows the lengths he’s willing to go to hide the fact that he’s disseminating unconfirmed Hamas propaganda.

The Post knows full well that Hamas controls Gaza’s Health Ministry. They’ve previously published material, including from CAMERA, that proved as much. As CAMERA pointed out to the Post in May 2023, “Trusting a Hamas-run ‘ministry’ to provide reliable casualty counts is like trusting a fox to guard a henhouse.”  It appears, however, that the Post wants the fox in the henhouse.

In an Oct. 20 press conference, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters, “I would not take anything that Hamas says at face value. I’m not sure anyone in this room would take at face value or report something that ISIS had said [and] the same applies to Hamas.” President Joe Biden has stated that he has “no confidence” in figures supplied by the terror group.

In an Oct. 24 tweet, Luke Baker, formerly the Jerusalem bureau chief for Reuters, warned that “Hamas has a clear propaganda incentive to inflate civilian casualties as much as possible.” Baker added that “the numbers that emerge from Gaza every day” are simply “not verifiable.” Indeed, they are “almost entirely uncheckable” and “the only source news organizations have for them is Hamas.” The terror group, he noted, has “now been in charge of Gaza for 16 years” and “has squeezed the life out of honesty and probity. … Any health official stepping out of line and not giving the death tolls that Hamas wants reported to journalists risks serious consequences.”

Tharoor, however, insists on trusting Hamas and pretending that they’re not the source of the figures he breathlessly regurgitates.

Worse still, the Post columnist fails to note that Israel is going to great lengths to prevent civilian casualties. Far from carrying out a genocide, the IDF has carried out an unprecedented campaign to thwart Hamas’s attempt to use Gazans as human shields.

By the time Tharoor’s dispatch appeared, the IDF had made more than 20,000 phone calls, distributed 1.5 million leaflets, sent more than 4.4. million texts and left more than six million voice messages encouraging Gazans to escape Hamas’s grip. More than 800,000 have done just that. Footage of the IDF helping to evacuate thousands of them was widely available before Tharoor’s article was published.

Hamas wasn’t letting them go willingly, however. On Oct. 13, a spokesman for the terrorist group warned, “We tell the people of northern Gaza and from Gaza City, stay put in your homes and your places.” Hamas set up roadblocks and threatened those seeking to flee. Reports of this behavior, including a detailed analysis by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, were publicly available before Tharoor’s column appeared. Ironically, within 24 hours of the publication of Tharoor’s column, Hamas terrorists were filmed shooting Gazans attempting to flee Al Nasser Hospital in Gaza City.

Hamas wants to sacrifice Palestinians in order to harm Israel in the court of public opinion. This is part of a conscious strategy. The terror group has consistently hidden behind its civilian population while plotting and launching attacks. As one 2019 NATO report noted, Hamas’s use of human shields is “common.” Hamas has even used ambulances to transport terrorists. This practice has been caught on film and captured terrorists have confessed to it. As one terrorist said during a filmed interrogation provided by i24 NEWS, Hamas uses ambulances to transport weapons and commanders to “avoid suspicion.” The “Jews,” one noted, “don’t attack ambulances.”

Tharoor omits all these critical facts, choosing instead to depict Israel as wantonly slaughtering civilians. Accusing the Jewish state of genocide—a crime infamously perpetrated against the Jewish people—is a blood libel. It is also a staple of antisemitic propaganda, from white supremacists to the Iranian regime. It appears that The Washington Post can now be added to their ranks.

This libel has been used by Palestinian leaders for decades. Over those decades, the Palestinian population has only grown. As CAMERA noted, in a March 4, 1961 press conference, Amin al-Husseini, the founding father of Palestinian nationalism and a Nazi collaborator, said, “What the Jews have done in Israel” is “similar to what the Nazis did to them in Germany.” By the 1960s, Husseini was mostly irrelevant, but his lies have been mainstreamed by The Washington Post and others.

The opinions and facts presented in this article are those of the author, and neither JNS nor its partners assume any responsibility for them.
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