A terrorist can sport an NBA Jersey and Nike Sneakers – but they won’t make him a professional basketball player. Similarly, a terrorist can get in a car marked “TV” and print a press card – and that doesn’t make him a journalist.
The Newseum Journalists Memorial this week is honoring the 84 journalists who died covering the news in 2012. Shamefully, in the group are Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi, who worked for an organization called al-Aqsa Television, a designated terrorist organization according to the American government.
The men were killed by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza while riding in a car marked “TV.”
No less than the secretary for the Office for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, a division of the U.S. Treasury (at the time), Stuart Levey said “Treasury will not distinguish between a business financed and controlled by a terrorist group, such as Al-Aqsa Television, and the terrorist group itself.”
As a state department press release said “… donors contributed half a million dollars for the channel, which was to be headed by members of Hamas, and shortly thereafter, Hamas leaders negotiated broadcasting arrangements with a satellite television provider.”
Indeed, Al-Aqsa TV airs programs devoted to teaching and urging kids to become suicide bombers. The station is the media outlet of Hamas.
Like many other terrorist organizations, Hamas understands the importance of propaganda and has media outlets in the region it controls. There are fighters and financiers, speechwriters and journalists who appear on the station– yet, they are all terrorists devoted to killing Americans, Westerners, Israelis and other innocents.
Indeed, a Palestinian web site of the “Palestine Information Center” says Salama and Al-Kumi are martyred jihadi fighters. Pictures can be viewed online of Ismail Haniyeh, the head of Hamas, meeting with al-Kumi’s family. One wonders – if a wanted al-Qaeda terrorist were to be a writer as well, would he be honored if killed?
In an era when terrorist masterminds like Osama Bin-Laden understand the importance of public relations, could they not simply blog and then claim to be journalists? How about all those charismatic Muslim imams who preach and encourage terrorism – are they, too, not using the media to spread their message and hence have turned into journalists?
By this logic, all terrorists have to do to get honored in the US is tape the word “TV” to their car.
Perhaps fittingly, the keynote speaker at the event will be Richard Engel, chief foreign correspondent for NBC News, and a longtime Israel basher. In the past, Engel described Muhammad al-Dura as “a symbol of injustice.” Of course, al-Dura was the 12-year-old boy whom the Palestinian Arabs falsely claimed was shot by the IDF and used as a symbol to justify Palestinian Arab violence. In reality, he was killed by Palestinian Arab terrorists.
Just this month, in an NBC segment, Engel described Israel as a paranoid fortress, saying, “Israel is becoming a fortress. Fences along the borders with Egypt, Lebanon, and Syria. More fences around the Gaza Strip, and a massive wall along the West Bank. A country the size of New Jersey with more than 500 miles of barricades. Israel is shutting out the Arab world and shutting itself in.”
Oh really? With incidents like this, can anyone blame them if that description were true? Israel is forced to protect herself from dangerous Hamas terrorists, while Newseum Museum honors them when Israel succeeds in stopping them from the attempted killing of more women and children.
If these men were alive, they’d be arrested and jailed if they so much as stepped foot in America.
Ronn Torossian, CEO of 5WPR
The author is CEO of 5WPR, 1 of the 25 largest PR Agencies in the US.