“Sunlight,” the jurist and Zionist Louis Brandeis famously observed, “is said to be the best of disinfectants.” Yet, one of the world’s leading newspapers, The Washington Post, is failing to shine a light on institutions that are propagating antisemitism, a virus that has resulted in the murder of millions in living memory.
The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is one such institution. The ICRC has failed Israelis and failed to live up to its mandate. Time and again, the organization has laid its biases bare in the latest iteration of the Israel-Iran war.
The ICRC’s self-described mission is to “ensure humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and other situations of violence.” Judged by its own standards, the ICRC has failed spectacularly. The ICRC was MIA after the Oct. 7, 2023, massacre, the largest slaughter of Jewish civilians since the Holocaust, and it has continued to fail both Israelis and Jews ever since.
As Commentary’s Seth Mandel noted in November 2023, the ICRC has “failed to advocate meaningfully for the hostages held by Hamas in Gaza,” appearing “uninterested in gaining access to them or their release.” Hostages have been murdered, raped, and tortured while being held by Hamas and Palestinians in Gaza.
Several hostages who have been released as part of agreements with Israel have spoken of the horrors that they faced. Many were starved and beaten. One elderly woman, 84-year-old Elma Avraham, has been in critical condition since her release. She was reportedly starved. Others have spoken of being literally branded and assaulted. The ICRC has failed to help them.
Indeed, instead of applying pressure on Hamas, the ICRC has blamed Israel. ICRC officials met with Roni and Simon Steinbrecher, whose daughter, Doron, was kidnapped from her apartment in Kfar Aza. The ICRC refused to take medication to Doron.
After refusing to take the medication to her, ICRC officials told her parents to “think about the Palestinian side.” Dor Steinbrecher, Doron’s brother, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that a Red Cross employee even told them to “care more about Arab people on the other side.” Of course, polls show that a majority of Palestinians — almost three in four — support the Hamas massacre that precipitated the war.
Worse still, evidence suggests that the ICRC may be worse than incompetent; they might be complicit in Hamas’ actions.
As Mandel noted, the Red Cross transported supplies and patients to Shifa Hospital in November 2023. And in July 2023, the ICRC even boasted of improvements being made to the hospital in conjunction with a “partnership with the Ministry of Health in Gaza.” Yet, that Ministry is controlled by Hamas. And evidence of Shifa Hospital’s use by Hamas has long been in the public domain. Indeed, as Mandel pointed out, while the ICRC was transporting supplies to Shifa, the hospital was being used not only as a staging ground for Hamas operations, but some Israeli hostages themselves were hidden at Shifa. At least one, an Israeli soldier, seems to have been murdered there.
Yet, the Red Cross — which actively cooperated with the Nazis during World War II — has failed to come clean about what it knew and when. And leading newspapers like The Washington Post have failed to hold them to account.
In an otherwise thoughtful and lengthy Jan. 15th account of the hostages’ plight, the Post’s Shira Rubin simply states that “the Red Cross has not been allowed to visit them.” A Jan. 18th report by Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Hendrix and reporters Miriam Berger and Hazem Balousha noted that medicine hasn’t reached hostages in Gaza, but omitted the ICRC’s documented failings. And when it comes to Shifa Hospital, the three Post reporters didn’t ask what the ICRC knew and when they knew it.
Indeed, as the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting and Analysis (CAMERA) has highlighted, the Post has previously covered for Hamas, obfuscating the terrorist group’s documented use of hospitals. The ICRC is aid dependent, receiving largesse from the United States and elsewhere.
Other supposedly impartial institutions, including the International Court of Justice and the United Nations, have also violated the spirits of their mandates, often propagating antisemitism while Jews are being targeted and murdered en masse. Indeed, UN agencies like UNRWA have been caught supporting Hamas’ terrorist campaign. And here too the Post, with a long and documented history of hiding UNRWA’s antisemitism, has fallen short. In fact, instead of highlighting how Hamas has misused international aid, including from UNRWA, the Post has run front-page “news” articles blaming Israel for Gazans not getting aid. Hamas is literally shooting Gazans attempting to get aid, but the newspaper would rather blame the Jewish state.
But old-fashioned journalism doesn’t seem to interest the Post these days. And readers seem to be taking notice. According to The New York Times, in 2023 alone The Washington Post lost $100 million. The newspaper has been bleeding subscribers. Digital subscriptions are down more than 15 percent since 2021, and their overall digital audience has declined by 28 percent over that same period. The Post has attempted to stanch the bleeding via more than 240 buyouts and layoffs.
Those looking for news are increasingly turning elsewhere. And given the Post’s proclivity for slanted reporting and omitting key facts, one can hardly blame them.
(Note: A slightly different version of this article appeared as an Algemeiner Op-Ed on Jan. 22, 2024)