by: Bassam Tawil~Gatestone Institute
Thursday, 4 June 2020 | When Palestinian journalist Eyad Hamad criticized Israel, his employers at the Associated Press (AP) summoned him for a hearing, which ended only with a warning.
When Hamad criticized the Palestinian Authority [PA], he received a letter from the AP informing him that “your employment has been terminated.”
The dismissal of 63-year-old Hamad from the AP—an act that enraged Palestinian journalists as well as human rights and media groups in the West Bank [Judea and Samaria] and the Gaza Strip—did not surprise those familiar with the way the foreign media has been covering the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.
Many foreign journalists seem to see the conflict along the lines of “good guys (Palestinians) versus bad guys (Israel).” They wake up every morning and search for any story that reflects badly on Israel. The foreign correspondents then hire Palestinians to assist them in spreading lies about Israel. Many of these Palestinians are not real journalists, but political activists who serve as propagandists for the PLO [Palestine Liberation Organization], Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist groups.
What is particularly disturbing about the dismissal of Hamad is that the AP knew one of its Palestinian workers was engaged in anti-Israel activities, but failed to stop him. Hamad even ignored repeated warnings from his employers against pursuing political activities.
Despite Hamad’s determination to pursue political activities, he was nevertheless permitted to continue working for AP for 20 years. Palestinians are proud of Hamad because he used the AP for many years as a platform to spread lies about Israel.
If Hamad had “repeatedly” violated AP policies by engaging in anti-Israel political activities, why was he allowed to continue covering Palestinian affairs even though his anti-Israel sentiments were known to his employers and everyone else?
What does Hamad’s continued employment by the AP (for two decades) tell us about the stories, photos and videos he produced all those years?
Will the AP now launch an investigation into Hamad’s work to see if he has been misleading readers or staging events all these years? Will the AP management launch an investigation to see why Hamad was allowed to continue working for the agency although his employers were aware of his political activities?
What is even more worrying is that Hamad was eventually fired not because of his anti-Israel activities, but for criticizing the PA.
The AP is now confirming that it fired Hamad after receiving a complaint from the PA police.
The complaint was filed after Hamad and other Palestinian journalists demonstrated against PA security forces to protest the arrest and beating of Anas Hawwari, a Palestinian journalist from the northern West Bank who was arrested for allegedly insulting a Palestinian policeman.
The PA does not want to see journalists who criticize its actions working for the international media. The PA does not want to see Palestinian journalists airing the dirty laundry in public.
By firing Hamad immediately after receiving a complaint from the Palestinian police, the AP is sending a message to all journalists that criticizing the PA is far more serious than engaging in anti-Israel activities. This is a message that says: “If a journalist speaks out against Israel, he receives a warning; but if he criticizes the Palestinian Authority, the journalist gets fired.”
The incident also shows that international news organizations evidently have no problem hiring anti-Israel activists as reporters and cameramen.
The AP evidently knew that Hamad was engaged in political activities. It nevertheless chose to turn a blind eye because Hamad was directing his hate only against Israel. As far as the AP is concerned, the moment Hamad spoke out against the brutality and repressive measures of the PA security forces, he crossed a red line. That is when he was informed of the decision to terminate his employment.
The problem is that there are many Palestinian journalists like Hamad working for the international media in the Middle East. These journalists see themselves as soldiers serving the Palestinian cause, and their duty as bashing Israel on a daily basis. That is at least one of the reasons why the Western mainstream media remains biased against Israel.
It now remains to be seen whether other media organizations will wake up and take a closer look at the political activities of their Palestinian employees. Will those organizations allow these activists to continue to mislead them by promoting fake anti-Israel propaganda?
Posted on June 4, 2020
Source: (Gatestone Institute originally published this article on June 3, 2020. The article has been edited for length, and time-related language has been modified to reflect our republication today. See original article at this link.)
Photo Credit: Al Jazeera English/wikimedia.org
Photo License: wikimedia.org
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