Flimsy Evidence Underlies Claims about Israel Killing Journalists

One of the anti-Israel calumnies that has gained traction in the past few weeks is that the IDF is taking the lives of a disproportionate number of journalists. The idea seems to come from a report issued last month by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), whose president claims that the Gaza war has been the “deadliest conflict for journalists” since the group started keeping records over 30 years ago. CPJ and those who cite its report also insinuate—or claim flat out—that Israel is systematically targeting these reporters, in what one Washington Post columnist called “an assault on memory, truth, and . . . Palestinian culture.”

The groundwork for these claims—which are entirely without merit—was laid in 2022 after the death of Al Jazeera’s Shireen Abu Akleh. Besides being absurd and unfounded, wrote Michael Oren at the time, “the charge that Israel deliberately killed Abu Akleh and other innocent correspondents reflects an image of Jews as demonic.”

Already in November, the media watchdog CAMERA pointed out that several of these supposed journalists worked directly for Hamas, and others indirectly. Another watchdog, Honest Reporting, observed the blurred lines between reporters and terrorists in Gaza by exposing the active participation of two photojournalists, who work for Reuters and other agencies, in the events of October 7, and their eager messages encouraging others to join in.

In a comprehensive study, David Collier dissects the specific evidence mustered by CPJ, and shows its flimsiness:

Half of the people that CPJ lists as journalists work for Hamas or Islamic Jihad channels. CPJ admits some do, but either from ignorance or laziness it appears unaware of the others. In any case it still lists them all as journalists. This is in direct breach of CPJ’s own guidelines which says working for terrorist groups should discount them. The situation is absurd.

Part of the problem appears to be that CPJ did one-dimensional, lazy, and amateurish research. It took the Hamas list and worked backwards. They probably googled the name and if they found a couple of links in support then they ran with it themselves. This is working the wrong way round.

Because CPJ did not research properly, the entire CPJ list was full of errors. [In fact], many of those included in the lists are not journalists at all.

Read more at David Collier

More about: Anti-Semitism, Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Media

Iran’s Calculations and America’s Mistake

There is little doubt that if Hizballah had participated more intensively in Saturday’s attack, Israeli air defenses would have been pushed past their limits, and far more damage would have been done. Daniel Byman and Kenneth Pollack, trying to look at things from Tehran’s perspective, see this as an important sign of caution—but caution that shouldn’t be exaggerated:

Iran is well aware of the extent and capability of Israel’s air defenses. The scale of the strike was almost certainly designed to enable at least some of the attacking munitions to penetrate those defenses and cause some degree of damage. Their inability to do so was doubtless a disappointment to Tehran, but the Iranians can probably still console themselves that the attack was frightening for the Israeli people and alarming to their government. Iran probably hopes that it was unpleasant enough to give Israeli leaders pause the next time they consider an operation like the embassy strike.

Hizballah is Iran’s ace in the hole. With more than 150,000 rockets and missiles, the Lebanese militant group could overwhelm Israeli air defenses. . . . All of this reinforces the strategic assessment that Iran is not looking to escalate with Israel and is, in fact, working very hard to avoid escalation. . . . Still, Iran has crossed a Rubicon, although it may not recognize it. Iran had never struck Israel directly from its own territory before Saturday.

Byman and Pollack see here an important lesson for America:

What Saturday’s fireworks hopefully also illustrated is the danger of U.S. disengagement from the Middle East. . . . The latest round of violence shows why it is important for the United States to take the lead on pushing back on Iran and its proxies and bolstering U.S. allies.

Read more at Foreign Policy

More about: Iran, Israeli Security, U.S. Foreign policy