(Note: A slightly different version of this Op-Ed appeared in the Algemeiner on June 25, 2018)
Beginning in late March 2018, Hamas undertook a nearly two-month-long operation dubbed the “Great Return March,” in which the Gaza-based terror group sent its operatives — many of them armed — to breach Israel’s sovereign border. In an attempt to create civilian casualties, terrorists were interspersed among unarmed civilians and tires were burned and mirrors used to obscure the vision of IDF snipers seeking to target Hamas terrorists.
Nonetheless, the Israeli targeting was largely successful. Of the 124 Gazans killed during the event, “more than 80%” were “terrorist operatives or affiliated with terrorist organizations,” according to a June 12, 2018 analysis by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center. Hamas itself not only admitted that many of those killed were its operatives, but also conceded that they were “deceiving the public” by claiming that the March was one of “peaceful” resistance.
Media coverage of the Hamas-led operation, however, was uniformly awful — as CAMERA has documented. And The Washington Post was among the worst.
The Post regurgitated casualty claims by Gaza’s “Health Ministry,” but failed to inform readers that the ministry is a Hamas entity that shares the group’s goals of delegitimizing and destroying Israel. The “ministry” is not, as The Post would have readers believe, a credible source.
Worse still, the paper failed to fully detail Hamas’ role and objectives at the border, often neglecting to note that leaders of the terror group planned the operation while calling on their supporters to murder Israelis. Weeks after Hamas leaders admitted on video that many of those killed at the border were its members, The Washington Post has continued to file reports referring to the dead terrorists as “protesters” (see, for example, “Palestinians trapped in Gaza face mounting health crisis,” June 20, 2018).
As CAMERA detailed in a June 8, 2018 oped, Gazans have been sending hundreds of kites and balloons filled with flammable material over the border, causing hundreds of fires and destroying Israeli property and livelihoods. Despite the novelty of these attacks, The Post didn’t report the mass arson until weeks after it began. The Post’s June 18, 2018 dispatch claimed that the “damage is not huge,” only to later quote an official from the Jewish National Fund who said that the damage to woodland and wildlife is “extensive.”
Similarly, a May 29 Post report seemed to question Israeli anger at Hamas for launching rockets at the country’s schoolchildren. The paper bizarrely reported, “One of the mortars in the first round of fire early Tuesday struck the yard of a kindergarten, drawing angry responses from Israeli leaders, although no children were in the preschool at the time” (emphasis added).
This description could be read as implying that the “angry response” from Israeli leaders was an overreaction. At the very least, it’s an odd way to describe a terror group’s failed attempt to murder Israeli schoolchildren.
And when The Post isn’t busy downplaying anti-Jewish violence, it’s outright ignoring it.
On June 5, Israel’s Shin Bet domestic intelligence agency announced that it had broken up a Palestinian terror cell that had planned to murder top government officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Post failed to report the story, just as it failed to report a foiled February 2018 plot by Palestinian Islamic Jihad to assassinate Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman.
On June 18, The Jerusalem Post reported, “Twenty Hamas members from the West Bank city of Nablus who planned lethal attacks across the country — including a suicide bombing in Jerusalem — have been arrested.” The Washington Post didn’t print a word about the arrests.
On June 23, 2018, the Jewish Telegraph Agency (JTA) reported that May 2018 witnessed “the highest number of terrorist attacks in 2 /12 years against Israelis following an increase of nearly 40 percent in April.” In May 2018, 365 attacks were recorded—the overwhelming majority of which went unreported by The Post.
Thwarted terror plots, including suicide bombings and the planned assassination of a country’s leaders, are certainly newsworthy, but apparently not if the country is Israel and the newspaper is The Washington Post.