“Show me the man,” Joseph Stalin’s henchman Lavrentiy Beria allegedly boasted, “and I’ll show you the crime.” Regrettably, this seems to be the approach that some news outlets have taken toward Israel.
Indeed, on numerous occasions, The Washington Post has assembled an entire team to compile dubious reports on Israeli counter-terrorist operations. These “investigations” frequently omit crucial context, offering a thoroughly distorted view of the Jewish state’s efforts to defend itself.
A May 26, 2023, article, entitled “Israeli agents conducted raid against militants in civilian area, killing a child,” is the latest example of this trend. Despite its length — the Post’s report ran more than 1700-words — the newspaper left out important details about a March 16 raid in Jenin, where a 14-year-old named Omar Awadin was killed.
At first glance, the Post spared no expense in its “investigation” into the operation, in which Israeli forces went to Jenin to capture terrorists. The newspaper “synchronized 15 videos and reviewed dozens more from March 16, including CCTV footage from surrounding businesses, some of which took nearly a month to surface.” Additionally, “the Post also spoke to nine witnesses and obtained testimonies from four others to produce a 3D reconstruction of the raid.”
The Post told readers that it had identified “at least 16 civilians” in the area when operatives from Yamam, an elite Israeli Border Police unit, “charged down the street” and began opening fire at Nidal Khazem and Yousef Shreim, both of whom were described by the newspaper as merely “Palestinian militants.”
The Post added: “Israeli authorities referred to the militants as ‘armed suspects’ in an initial statement but provided no evidence to support their claim.”
The newspaper’s indignation continued. “One of the militants was shot multiple times by Israeli forces after he was incapacitated,” the Post asserted, adding that it is “an apparent extrajudicial execution that experts said could violate Israeli law.”
But “militant” is too benign a term. In fact, both Khazem and Shreim were members of two US-designated terrorist groups, Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) and Hamas. Both PIJ and Hamas plot and perpetrate attacks against Jews, and call for another genocide of Jewry. Both terrorist groups have a long and well-documented history of plotting and carrying out these attacks while hiding amongst civilians — not only one war crime, but a double war crime. They do so with the hope of incurring civilian casualties, providing them with a propaganda victory. Their enablers in the Western media, like The Washington Post, are all too willing to help, thus further incentivizing more casualties. In a very real sense, Hamas, PIJ, and other antisemitic terrorist groups couldn’t do it without them.
Yet, in a nearly 2,000-word “investigation” that featured splashy images and costly 3D “reconstructions,” the Post failed to inform readers that these “militants” were, in fact, terrorists who use human shields. That’s a notable omission. That it occurred in a lengthy dispatch compiled by not one, but three, Post employees is noteworthy, as well.
The Post also failed to provide other essential information. Jenin is part of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), which is ruled by the Palestinian Authority (PA). When the PA was created with the support of Western governments, it was tasked with, among other things, making peace with Israel and combating terrorism. Indeed, the PA continues to receive tremendous amounts of international aid precisely for that purpose.
But as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has detailed, the PA continues to support terrorism. And PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his Fatah movement, both historically unpopular, have lost control over huge portions of the areas that they are tasked with governing. This erosion of Abbas’ power has led to rival terrorist entities, like PIJ and Hamas, filling the vacuum and using PA-controlled areas to plot attacks against Israel. Some of these areas have become war zones in all but name.
Effectively, Israeli forces are doing what PA Security Forces are unable, or unwilling, to do. Yet, Post readers wouldn’t have a clue that PA security failures have led to a deteriorating situation in which terrorist groups can operate with seeming impunity. The Oslo Peace Process created the PA and remains the basis for both its legitimacy and funding. But the PA is losing control and failing to live up to its obligations, forcing Israel to act to prevent terrorist attacks against its own citizens. But Post readers wouldn’t have a clue this was the case.
Instead Post readers are subject to a barrage of double standards. Civilians are sometimes killed in counter-terrorist operations against terrorist groups that use human shields. Some Palestinians died in these attacks when they are unarmed, but with the knowledge that they are members of US-designated terrorist groups and are plotting attacks.
The Post’s bias is evident in other ways, as well. The newspaper is currently cash strapped, laying off reporters and staff and experiencing noteworthy drops in both readership and profit. Yet, despite these hurdles in both manpower and finances, the Post has devoted inordinate resources to launching costly “investigations” into Israeli counter-terror raids. That’s curious.
In less than two years, the newspaper has authored no fewer than four such reports — three of them in the last 16 months. Each featured multiple journalists and staffers, graphics, 3D imagery, and interviews with outside “experts”–many of whom, as CAMERA has documented, have long histories of anti-Israel bias and are dependent on cash flows from groups hostile to the Jewish state.
As CAMERA has highlighted, these “investigations” are riddled with one-sided omissions.
The Post’s decision to spend considerable time, money, and effort maligning the Jewish state runs in stark contrast to its reporting on Palestinian internal matters. The PA’s collapsing power has largely been glossed over; in 2022, the newspaper ran more than a dozen stories on Israel for every one report on Palestinian politics. And in 2021, 2022, and 2023, when Gaza-based terrorist groups launched rockets at Israel, many of which fell short and murdered Palestinians, many of them children, the Post didn’t launch an investigation into these “militants.”
When Palestinians are tortured or killed and Israel’s involvement can’t be conjured, there’s no investigation. Indeed, like many of the Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism, they’re simply not mentioned. The Post’s focus lies elsewhere. Its “journalism” has another purpose.
The investigations, like the perennial omissions, only tilt one way. CAMERA has recently highlighted how the Post frequently regurgitates claims made by Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups. As CAMERA noted years ago: “Hamas uses human shields and the Washington Post.” Hamas and PIJ would not be successful if the media told the truth about what was happening in Israel.
(Note: A slightly different version of this op-ed appeared in the Algemeiner on June 16, 2023)