Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.
There are no new lies. Only old lies that the media hopes that everyone forgot about.
In the spring of ’02, Muslim terrorists had very special plans for Passover. In Israel, a Hamas suicide bomber blew up at a Passover seder in the Park Hotel killing 30 people and wounding 140 others. Many of the dead were in their seventies and eighties. Some were Holocaust survivors. The oldest was a 90-year-old woman. Four days later, another Hamas suicide bomber hit a restaurant killing 15 people and wounding another 40. In both attacks, entire families died together. Two were completely wiped out.
These were two of four terrorist attacks that hit Israeli cafes and restaurants in that month alone.
Israel fought back by launching Operation Defensive Shield. One of its targets was Jenin, an encampment that the terrorists behind some of the deadliest attacks had been using as their base. Israel warned the civilian population to evacuate and then its soldiers began the dangerous business of clearing a territory that had been heavily mined and filled with deadly traps by Islamic terrorists.
The fighting was hard and bloody. Israel lost 23 soldiers and there were 52 dead on the other side. Only 14 of them were civilians. The rest were terrorists. Of course that’s not the story that the media told.
Instead the media claimed that there had been a “massacre”, an “atrocity” and “genocide” in Jenin. It claimed that Israel had killed 500 Palestinians and buried bodies in mass graves with bulldozers. The lie eventually fell apart. By the summer, even the UN had concluded that there was no massacre.
But by then it really didn’t matter.
What most people remembered were the lurid media allegations of Israeli atrocities, not the reports carefully disproving them. The blood libels depicting Israelis as murdering children, the disabled and the elderly did their work. The media moved on, the lies did their damage and the fake news cycle went on.
The “Jenin massacre” consisted of 38 armed men and 14 civilians. The death toll in the latest Hamas violence in Gaza was 60 dead, 50 of them were Hamas members and 3 others were in Islamic Jihad.
The numbers are so similar because the same thing keeps happening again and again.
This March, tens of thousands of Hamas supporters swarmed the Gaza border (sound familiar?). The thugs threw rocks and firebombs while the terrorists using them as cover shot at Israeli forces.
10 out of 15 of the dead were members of terrorist groups.
But that didn’t stop all the usual suspects from condemning Israel and lying about the death toll.
The same thing has been happening for decades. Islamic terrorists attack Israel. Israel fights back. The terrorists and their allies put out a wildly inflated death toll. The media uncritically repeats their propaganda and accuses Israel of a massacre. The claims are bolstered by fake photos and videos.
The lie falls apart in a matter of days. After a few months, even human rights groups admit the truth. The civilians turn out to be terrorists and terrorist groups bury them in showy funerals.
But it doesn’t matter because then the same thing happens all over again. And again.
And if anything the media has gotten much worse. After Jenin, some questioning pieces made it into the media analyzing why the myth of a massacre had been allowed to take hold. Don’t count on a repeat. The media didn’t just lie about a few things. It lied about everything. And it knew that it was lying.
Any correspondent and editor working the regional beat knew that the Gaza attacks had been going on long before the embassy dedication. The decision to associate the embassy opening and the violence was a deliberate narrative based on a lie. The media ran with it because it could damage Trump, Jared and Ivanka. And because it allowed reporters to sell editors on a story about more fighting in Gaza that without the embassy angle would have been much less likely to upstage the media’s Mueller obsession.
Many media accounts avoided mentioning Hamas. Even those that did attempted to depict the protests as independent of the Islamic terrorist group even though it was Hamas that had organized them.
Hamas didn’t fool the media. The Muslim Brotherhood group is capable of being manipulative, but it was also eager to take the credit for the violence. Hamas co-founder Mahmoud al-Zahar rushed to boast on Al Jazeera that, “This is not peaceful resistance.”
“When we talk about ‘peaceful resistance,’ we are deceiving the public,” the terror boss explained.
Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar, who had organized the attacks, told Al Jazeera, “When we decided to embark on these marches, we decided to turn that which is most dear to us – the bodies of our women and children – into a dam.”
Al-Zahar and Sinwar’s rush to appear on Al Jazeera wasn’t accidental. The terror media network is an arm of Qatar. The Qatari regime is a major sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The two terror kingpins were quick to appear on a propaganda channel owned by their boss to show off and make a case for further financial and political support from Qatar for their terrorist organization.
But while the American media usually allows Al Jazeera to tell it how to cover the Middle East, repeating Qatari propaganda about Iran, Yemen, Israel, Libya and the UAE uncritically, it showed little interest in reporting on the statements by Hamas leaders about their tactics and agenda broadcast on Al Jazeera.
When a Hamas official announced on television that 50 of the 62 were members of his terrorist group, the revelation went largely unreported in the media even as it went viral on social media. Some media operatives tried to spin the unwelcome admission by insisting that it didn’t matter whether they were Hamas if they were unarmed. But if they were unarmed, how did Israel manage to achieve an 85% kill percentage of terror group members among 50,000 rioters? Either 85% of the crowd was made up of terrorists or Israeli forces aimed and shot carefully, with restraint, only at terrorists posing a threat.
“But with the images of rifle-toting Israeli snipers facing off against seemingly unarmed protesters beamed around the world, the remarks by Hamas may do little to convince Israel’s detractors,” an AP report spun the admission. What the AP was really saying is that the false image created by its own propaganda machine is more compelling than admissions about the violence by Hamas leaders.
This isn’t a case of Hamas fooling the media. The media is using Hamas to fool the public. And when Hamas leaders tell inconvenient truths, the media seeks to protect its narrative from their admissions.
When this latest lie falls apart, the media will move on to the next one. And the one after that.
The one truth among all the lies is that the media will never stop lying about Israel.