NY Times Headline Invokes John Lennon Anti-War Lyrics to Describe Hamas

John Lennon never said he would eat the bodily organs of his enemies. 

But Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar did. During a March 31 speech at the Gaza Strip’s border with Israel, Sinwar said Palestinians “can’t give up one inch of the land of Palestine,” which he reiterated includes all of Israel in Hamas’s view. He told Israelis that Palestinians would find work by “shooting you at point-blank range.” Rather than starve, he added, they will “eat your liver.”

A week later, Sinwar proclaimed that “We will take down the border and we will tear out their hearts from their bodies.”

So when, in today’s newspaper, the New York Times invoked Lennon’s most famous anti-war lyrics to describe Hamas’s position — “Battle Weary, Hamas Gives Peaceful Protests a Chance,” a headline in the newspaper’s April 16 print edition declared — it was a discordant juxtaposition with the terror organization’s actual policies and continued glorification of violence. Only a day earlier, Israel uncovered yet another of Hamas’s cross-border attack tunnels.

The Times article itself was somewhat more equivocal than its print headline. Reporter David Halbfinger told readers that “mixed messages have abounded” during the Great Return March, the name given to planned Palestinian demonstrations and riots along Israel’s border. He quoted a Palestinian leader describing the march as a “deadly weapon,” acknowledged that the supposedly peaceful protesters have thrown firebombs and other explosives, and cited skepticism of the idea that Hamas “may actually be rethinking its strategy.”

But later in the piece Halbfinger seemed to forget about those firebombs, and about the distinction between Palestinian families gathered in tents further from the border and rioters who sought to harm the fence and the Israelis guarding it, when he stated that Israel responded to “protests” with gunfire that killed Palestinians, “almost all of them unarmed.”

And while the piece shared the views of those who doubt Hamas is really changing its strategy, it never bothered to remind readers what that strategy is: Hamas, as its leaders continually make clear, is sworn to Israel’s destruction. And the group’s demand for a “right of return,” on which the protests are premised, is broadly understood as a call to eliminate Israel through demographic means. (A few days earlier, a New York Times article had mischaracterized the protests as being not about “return,” but rather about the blockade on the Hamas-ruled territory. After CAMERA’s correspondence with editors, that piece was updated.)

New York Times headline writers seemed to be unaware of Hamas’s firebombs, its attack tunnels, and its defining goal of destroying the Jewish state. Or perhaps they were just confused by the group’s calls to tear down the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. It’s not that Hamas leaders “imagine there’s no countries,” as John Lennon put it. It’s that they imagine there’s no Israel, and that it is replaced by an Islamic state for Palestinians alone.

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