The Washington Post, ‘Electrical Engineers,’ and Antisemites

The Washington Post can’t stop itself. The newspaper insists on relying on the same anti-Israel sources. A June 12, 2022 report, “Infighting in Israel imperils West Bank legal protections,” is the latest example.

The dispatch by reporter Shira Rubin and Jerusalem bureau chief Steve Hendrix is ostensibly about debates over laws in Judea and Samaria (West Bank), but, if implicitly, it paints Israel as an “apartheid” state. And it relies on a curious cast of characters to do so.

One, Issa Amro, is described as merely an “electrical engineer and political activist.” The Post’s story begins by following Amro, quoting him extensively. The Post fails to provide readers with details about his background, preferring instead to portray him as merely an everyday Palestinian who “along with Hebron’s other 200,000 Palestinian residents, is subject to military law imposed by the occupying Israeli forces.”

Amro, however, is far more than an “electrical engineer” who the Post just, by chance, happened upon. In fact, he’s a prominent anti-Israel activist. Indeed, there’s an enormous body of evidence documenting Amro’s antisemitic statements and beliefs.

As the late Petra Marquardt-Bigman pointed out, Amro “is on friendly terms” with “individuals known for their antisemitism and their open support for Hamas,” including Miko Peled, who compares Israelis to Nazis, and members of the Tamimi clan, who have assaulted IDF soldiers and trafficked in antisemitic blood libels. The Tamimis have claimed that Israel harvests the organs of Palestinians. And, as Marquardt-Bigman noted, both Amro and his group, Youth Against Settlements, have used social media to incite anti-Jewish violence.

In a since-deleted social media post on July 2014, he said, “Stop drinking our blood in Qatar, Israel occupation is killing our lives.” Amro has also accused Israel of a “genocide operation in Gaza.”

Accusing the Jewish state of genocide is not only inaccurate, it also meets the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism that has been adopted by numerous governments. Ditto for Amro’s allegation that Israel “drinks blood,” which is merely an updated version of the blood libel. No wonder that Amro associates with, and promotes, the Tamimis; they seem to have a lot in common.

Amro’s troubling history is well documented. Marquardt-Bigman highlighted it in an Oct. 22, 2017 article for Legal Insurrection, which featured screen shots of his social media. Similarly, CAMERA has written about it on numerous occasions—including in items that were subsequently sent to Post staff after the newspaper’s Ishaan Tharoor described Amro as a “Palestinian Gandhi.”

The Post either knows and doesn’t care, or it’s incapable of the most basic vetting of sources for its story. Neither option is flattering.

Amro’s troubling history might be omitted, but the Post doesn’t miss a chance to categorize certain Israeli officials. Netanyahu and his Likud Party are described as “right-wing.” And Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is noted to have once been a “leader of a settlements group.” By contrast, Mansour Abbas, is simply described as the leader of the “United Arab Party” who “temporarily suspended his party’s participation in the coalition to protest Israeli police actions against protesters at al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City.”

However, as other news outlets have long documented—including with video footage—many of these “protesters” were armed and assaulting Israelis. But this too is omitted.

Indeed, the newspaper failed to even include relevant history—history that goes directly to the heart of the story which it claims to be covering.

Although the Post frequently refers to Israel as “occupying” Hebron, it fails to note that the Jewish presence in Hebron predates the Arab and Islamic conquests of the 7th and 8th centuries. Similarly, the newspaper fails to tell readers that Palestinian Arab leaders have, on several occasions, rejected offers for statehood—offers which would make even the pretense of an “occupation,” and all of its accompanying complications, moot. The Palestinian people don’t have a state because their leaders have declined one if it meant living in peace next to a Jewish state. This is a fact, although it’s one that the Post likes to ignore.

Instead, the newspaper refers to the same old sources, despite—or perhaps because of—their anti-Israel biases. At the Washington Post, indulging in blood libels and antisemitism makes you a trusted source. Readers should take note.