Foreign and Israeli journalists stand on a hill overlooking the Gaza Strip in the city of Sderot, southern Israel, October 19, 2023. (Illustrative) Photo by Nati Shohat/Flash90 (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Journalists, southern Israel

They assert that Israel is engaging in the oppression of Palestinians and perpetrating war crimes, all while disregarding Hamas terrorism and its exploitation of human shields.

By Batya Jerenberg

Nearly 900 former and current journalists have signed a petition demanding that news articles describe Israel’s current war against Hamas as “genocide,” while ignoring the terror organization’s illegal use of civilian shields and Israel’s legal right to protect its citizens.

The petition, which began circulating Thursday, began by accusing the IDF of “slaughtering” journalists in the Gaza Strip, saying that 35 had been killed in the Israel counterattack, some “while visibly working as press,” although Israel had warned media outlets that it could not protect reporters in the war zone.

This warning was taken as proof that Israel was committing “wide-scale suppression of speech,” as was an unfounded charge that the Jewish state had “a decades-long pattern of lethally targeting journalists.”

The letter then bashed “Western newsrooms” for “dismissing” Arab perspectives on the war as “unreliable,” and “invok[ing] inflammatory language that reinforces Islamophobic and racist tropes.” American publications were particularly criticized as holding “double standards” and writing “fallacies” such as “misinformation” provided by Israel.

The petition called on news outlets to cover the conflict “fairly,” and “tell the truth without fear or favor,” which the letter argued would mean reporting on Israel’s alleged “repeated atrocities against Palestinians.”

“Precise terms” such as “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid” and “genocide” should be used, it said, to describe Israel’s attack on the terrorist organization following its October 7 surprise assault in which its forces massacred 1,200 people, the vast majority of them civilians, in Gaza envelope communities.

This is because “contorting our words to hide evidence of war crimes or Israel’s oppression of Palestinians is journalistic malpractice and an abdication of moral clarity.”

No mention was made of the Hamas charter that clearly states that its goal is to wipe Israel off the map, nor of the fact that under international law Israel has the obligation, not only the right, to defend its country against attack. The IDF’s multiple proofs that Gazan terrorists hide among the civilian population and embed their military sites, such as rocket launchers and terror tunnels, in and under hospitals, schools and mosques, which makes them legitimate targets, was ignored as well.

Israeli officials from the prime minister on down have repeatedly said that “moral clarity” demands that Hamas’ atrocities be acknowledged, as well as Israel’s right not to live next to a well-armed, ISIS-like ideological force dedicated to the Jewish state’s destruction.

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