CAMERA Op-Ed: Is It Always Sunny for Hamas in Philadelphia?

The terror entity that rules Gaza and is committed to the destruction of the world’s sole Jewish state is willing to sacrifice the well-being of the Palestinian people to do so. Does the media care?

“If I was a Palestinian kid, growing up in East Jerusalem’s Silwan [neighborhood],” Abraham Gutman tweeted, “I’d probably hate Jewish people.” Gutman, an opinion and editorial writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, later deleted the tweet after he was exposed by CAMERA’s Adam Levick. It is, however, far from the only instance of Gutman’s outrageous rhetoric on the Jewish state.

Indeed, the Inquirer writer was unrepentant, later clarifying that “98 percent of the time that I delete a tweet [it] is because I don’t want to deal with you—not because I regret what I said.” In his since-deleted tweet, Gutman justified anti-Semitism, writing “neighbors expelled from their homes—by Jews. … Houses demolished—by Jews. … Jewish symbols towering over the neighborhood to mark dominance” and then asking “what conclusion would you make?”

The proper conclusion, in Gutman’s own words, was to “hate Jewish people.” Not, it must be noted, “Israelis,” but Jewish people.

Regrettably, it is not the only instance of the Inquirer writer making inflammatory statements.

In a Jan. 1, 2022 tweet, Gutman said: “Both Israeli and Palestinian media report of IDF airstrikes in Gaza. The attacks are in response to 2 rockets from Gaza that exploded off the coast of Jaffa—which Hamas says they [sic] were fired due to weather-related malfunction. Gaza didn’t get 24 hours without strikes.” Gutman subsequently lamented that “a bunch of people are upset about this tweet, calling me a Hamas apologist for … quoting Israeli media.”

One doesn’t need to be a “Hamas apologist” to realize that taking a U.S.-designated terrorist group at its word is problematic at best. Indeed, had Gutman done some digging, he would have quickly found that Hamas has a long history of claiming that “weather-related malfunctions” cause rockets to be “accidentally” launched. Instead, he chose to believe the claims of a terrorist group that calls for a Jewish genocide.

The Inquirer writer even tried to skirt the issue of Hamas’s responsibility, tweeting: “I don’t know if the rocket was fired on purpose or not. I do know that the Palestinians in Gaza are the ones who suffer every time there is an escalation. Gaza is in a terrible situation (humanitarian, political, economic).” He added defensively: “Asking what is Israel gaining by responding today is a valid question—especially since the idea that the strikes are establishing deterrence doesn’t add up, especially if you think the rocket was on purpose.”

And here again, Gutman seems willing to afford Hamas, and not Israel, the benefit of the doubt.

Gaza is indeed in a terrible situation. And Gutman is right to be concerned by Palestinian suffering. But the blame lies not with Israel but with the Palestinian terrorist group that brutally ruled the enclave. “Gaza’s miseries,” The New York Times columnist Bret Stephens correctly observed in 2018, “have Hamas authors.”

Indeed, Israel unilaterally withdrew from the coastal enclave in 2005, providing Palestinians with a chance to create their own peaceful state. Instead, Hamas, whose founding charter approvingly quotes Hitler, was subsequently elected and, after a brief civil war with rival clique Fatah, seized control of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Since seizing power, Hamas—like Fatah, which dominates the Palestinian Authority that rules the West Bank—has refused to hold elections. Indeed, almost immediately after taking control, Hamas began indiscriminately launching rockets at Israel, often from behind the cover of human shields, a double war crime. The terrorist group’s commitment to destroying the Jewish state—a goal expressed repeatedly by its leaders and in its official media—has led to several Hamas-initiated wars.

And it is further expressed when Hamas pilfers the considerable international aid that it receives.

Indeed, Hamas has a long history of misusing international assistance. As a USA Today report on Oct. 14, 2013, noted, materials sent to Gaza to build its infrastructure have instead been used to construct terror tunnels from which to launch attacks. These materials were meant to build schools, roads, clinics, hospitals and housing units, but as photographic evidence showed, Hamas was using them with murderous intent. By some estimates, each tunnel takes $3 million to $10 million to build. Yet when the Israeli Defense Forces have found and destroyed these tunnels, Hamas has sworn that it would build “thousands” more. As recently as the summer of 2021, Hamas leaders rejected stringent monitoring mechanisms for aid.

Hamas has also been caught digging up water pipes and making them into rockets. In fact, in a 2019 speech, Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar openly acknowledged doing just that.

Put simply: Hamas is committed to the destruction of the world’s sole Jewish state and is expressly willing to sacrifice the well-being of the Palestinian people to achieve that objective. And it counts on naive Western commentators who deprive Palestinians of independent agency, to overlook both its crimes and its intent. At The Philadelphia Inquirer, that seems like a safe bet.

(Note: A slightly different version of this article appeared as an Op-Ed in JNS on Jan. 14, 2022)

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