Over the weekend, the news media piled onto an irresistible story – irresistible because it allowed them to both talk about themselves and criticize Israel, two favorite pastimes. The Israeli military had destroyed a building in Gaza that was, among other things, home to a number of news outlets, including the Associated Press. According to the IDF, it was also an intelligence hub for Hamas, the terrorist group launching thousands of rockets intended to murder Israeli civilians. As is customary, Israel sought to avoid civilian casualties by giving advanced warning of the attack, urging people to evacuate the structure. No one was hurt. Nevertheless, the operation was immediately framed as Israeli overreach, if not an assault against journalism itself. Some Israel critics alleged that the Hamas connection was a lie, a pretext for harming journalists' ability to report on Gaza. Others conceded that even if Hamas had been operating within that building, leveling it went too far. We'll get to the latter complaint in a moment, but the nonsensical "Israel lied because it wanted to target journalists" conspiracy theory is looking just as unhinged as it sounds:
“Israel shared intelligence with the US showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza, officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday.” https://t.co/RoOb43GZuv— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) May 16, 2021
Israel shared intelligence with the US showing how Hamas operated inside the same building with the Associated Press and Al-Jazeera in Gaza, officials in Jerusalem said on Sunday. Officials in more than one government office confirmed that US President Joe Biden’s phone call to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday was, in part, about the bombing of the building, and that Israel showed Biden and American officials the intelligence behind the action. “We showed them the smoking gun proving Hamas worked out of that building,” a senior diplomatic source said. “I understand they found the explanation satisfactory.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed the source’s remark, when asked about The Jerusalem Post’s reporting in an interview with US TV show Face the Nation. “We share all the intelligence with our American friends,” he said. “The intelligence we had is about an intelligence office for [Hamas] housed in that building that plots and organizes terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians. It is a perfectly legit target.” Netanyahu also remarked that there were “no deaths whatsoever” from the strike on the building, because of measures Israel takes to avoid harming civilians, including giving an advance warning.
The AP has adopted an indignant posture toward the Israeli move, while pleading ignorance on Hamas allegedly operating under their roof. Really? They had no idea? There are good reasons to be dubious of this claim, including past admissions from journalists who used to work in Gaza:
What if I told you that a former @AP journalist (@MattiFriedman) had written IN 2014 that Hamas regularly operated in and around the AP office in Gaza? https://t.co/MXdTcCqvOc pic.twitter.com/dlx01utSLS— Seffi Kogen (@seffikogen) May 16, 2021
“The bureau chief later wrote that printing the truth after the threat to the reporter would have meant “jeopardizing his life.” Nonetheless, we used that same casualty toll throughout the conflict and never mentioned the manipulation.” — @MattiFriedman— David Shor (@DYShor) May 16, 2021
I believe the IDF. Even an Israel critic from the Obama administration is saying that it's likely true that Hamas was operating within the building, noting that the terror group often uses civilians as human shields:
Former Obama White House Spokesman on Hamas-AP connection ????— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) May 16, 2021
“I’m sure Hamas offices were in that building ... I talked to people who worked in the building” pic.twitter.com/kfQlOlSXb3
If there's going to be an investigation into what happened, as the AP is demanding, I think the news agency needs to answer some very uncomfortable questions about what they knew, and how often they cover for (as opposed to just covering) Hamas. If the argument is that they can't report the truth because they're worried they'll be harmed or killed by the terrorists, then what is the point of having reporters in Gaza? If they're only allowed to repeat what terrorists will allow them to, that's just participating in propaganda. That's arguably worse than having no presence. The next argument is that even if Hamas was using the building as some sort of command or intelligence center, Israel shouldn't have razed it, especially knowing that news outlets were based there. This mindset rewards the outrageous practice of endangering and exploiting human shields. The manipulation involves storing weapons, launching attacks and plotting murder in schools, mosques, and neighborhoods. If and when Israel retaliates, the terrorists bully journalists into framing the reprisals as human rights abuses, and dangerous fools in the West eagerly regurgitate the lies.
And if this was too much, even as it was fully within the confines of the rules of war, what should the Israelis have done, pray tell? This speaks to another problem: People who claim to vaguely support Israel's right to self-defense – almost always followed with a "but" – frequently seem to take issue with every form of Israelis actually exercising that right. For these people, Israel is forced into lose-lose propositions by terrorists, for whom Western "progressives" make endless excuses. Fortunately for the people of Israel, their government and military isn't pushed around by deceitful carping. For anyone remotely interested in the factual basis behind the history of this overall conflict, this is a helpful resource. As for the current deadly flare up, this piece about its origins puts the lie to much of the emotionalist garbage being amplified by useful idiots at the moment. Of course, a large portion of the "free Palestine" crowd are just flat-out Jew haters. "Anti-Zionism" and anti-Semitism overlap substantially:
Belgians chant “death to Jews” at “pro-Palestinian” protest today.— Emily Schrader - ????? ?????? (@emilykschrader) May 15, 2021
I'll leave you with this:
Hamas and PIJ have fired 2968 rockets at Israel in the past week. 439 of those rockets misfired and crashed into Gaza, causing around 20 Palestinian casualties.— Israel Defense Forces (@IDF) May 16, 2021
That's 15% of their launches.
Think of it this way: About 1 in 7 rockets that Hamas fires—it fires at its own people.