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April 20, 2016

HuffPo Gives Platform to Another Anti-Israel Screed

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The Huffington Post frequently features anti-Israel pieces. Now it is accusing Israel of abusing social media rights with an article headlined "Israel-Palestine: Social Media As a Tool Of Oppression.” The article opens:

Late last year, Israeli police arrested and detained 15-year-old Tamara Abu Laban after storming her house. Tamara’s crime? Updating her Facebook status with the words “forgive me” in Arabic. In most places in the world, a cryptic, if not slightly dramatic post written by a teenage girl seeking “likes” from her friends would hardly be cause for reaction. But if you are a Palestinian growing up in Occupied East Jerusalem like Tamara, even a vague and “angsty” personal Facebook status may become grounds for arrest.

Israeli authorities interpreted the post as expressing intent to carry out a violent act of resistance.

No context is provided for why Israeli security would interpret the social media post that way. In fact, deadly attacks have been carried out by terrorists who post about them in advance.

When the article tackles the issue of online incitement to violence, it quickly dismisses the idea that social media activity is connected to Palestinian terror:

Israel alleges that the sharing of online videos played a critical role in the rise of violence in the final months of 2015. However, journalists and human rights organizations have spoken out against policies of censorship that violate freedom of speech.

If HuffPo readers are concerned with freedom of speech on social media, the site should publish articles about the fact that the Palestinian Authority has jailed journalists and others for insulting PA President Mahmoud Abbas.

The article also promotes the meme that Israel is unfairly blocking Palestinian entrance to al-Aqsa mosque:

In 2015 online activists saw their hashtags, photos and videos being shared worldwide and often getting picked up by mainstream foreign media. For example, one of the hashtags trending on Palestinian social media in the months before the October uprising was #it_will_not_be_divided, which aimed to bring attention to Israeli policies preventing Palestinian men and women from entering al-Aqsa Mosque during August and September.

Such measures are matters of security. CAMERA described how organized groups of Palestinian men and women were harassing tourists and visitors to the Temple Mount. As Haaretz reported, “The activity is inflammatory and endangers tourists, visitors and worshippers at the site, leading to violence that could harm human life. The goal of [these groups] is to undermine Israeli authority on Temple Mount, alter reality and existing arrangements and restrict freedom of worship, and it is tied to the activity of hostile Islamist organizations and even directed by them.”

Unfortunately, incitement by Palestinian political, religious and cultural leaders –particularly regarding the Temple Mount– has indeed been a factor in the ongoing wave of terror attacks on Jews and others being carried out in Israel.

Multiple times, the Huffington Post article provides links to reports by the International Middle East Media Center --a source that CAMERA has exposed as not credible-- which refer to Israel’s detentions of suspicious persons as “kidnappings.” HuffPo allows this blatantly unbalanced outlet to be cited as a legitimate source. The article also references the anti-Israel NGO Addameer, which the article describes as “a Palestinian human rights NGO that works to support political prisoners.” In fact, as NGO Monitor reveals, Addameer has frequently contributed to the wholesale demonization and delegitimization of Israel on the world stage.

The article is penned by Nadim Nashif, a frequent contributor of anti-Israel articles to Huffington Post and a regular writer for The Electronic Intifada, a “news site” whose anti-Israel rhetoric and propagation of falsehoods has been extensively documented by CAMERA.

Nashif’s Huffington Post bio describes him as an educator of Arab youth and the founder/director of Baladna which, according to the Huffington Post, “aims to give Arab Palestinian youth in Israel the skills and resources to effect positive changes in their communities and society.”

As CAMERA has reported Baladna encourages its Arab youth to segregate themselves from the Israeli population, in campaigns that, for example, urge Arab teens to spurn volunteering for the IDF because it is “a branch of the occupation army, which has always acted against the Arab-Israeli population and the Palestinian people in general.”

The article’s blatant lack of balance and rejection of the irrefutable evidence that terrorism is incited and encouraged by Palestinian leaders and lay people through social media is nothing new, as CAMERA has covered numerous times (for example, here and here).

Why doesn't HuffPo insist that their journalists report facts, not fictions?

--Rachel Frommer, CAMERA Intern

Posted by SC at April 20, 2016 08:38 PM

Comments

"violent act of resistance" is very much the kind of language used by those attempting to legitimise terrorism so disturbing to see in what is a quite mainstream outlet. It would be interesting to know why the Israeli authorities really went to Abu Laban's house, to force Huff-Po into correcting.

Posted by: Rob Harris at April 21, 2016 06:20 AM

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