There are many journalists, past and present, known for their anti-Israel animus. There was NBC’s Peter Jennings, who could always be counted on to suavely vilify the Jewish state. Few knew that his girlfriend for many years was the PLO propagandist Hanan Ashrawi. There is the long list of BBC journalists who report on Israel and the Palestinians, regarding the former with contumely and the latter with deep sympathy. These include John Simpson, Jeremy Bowen, Lyse Doucet, Orla Guerin, and Yolande Knell. There is Thomas Friedman of the New York Times, who deeply resents the fact that the Israelis so rarely follow his advice, despite his clearly being the World’s Greatest Authority.
But now there is the case of Hassan Eslaiah, a photojournalist who is not only a Palestinian, but, It has now been revealed, is a supporter and admirer of Hamas Nazis who accompanied the murderers when they charged into Israel on October 7, and rampaged through the kibbutzim. He recorded with evident pleasure the atrocities the terror group’s operatives were committing. He watched as they butchered babies, burned children alive, tortured and raped young girls, slaughtered parents in front of their children, and children in front of their parents; he saw how Hamas members mutilated helpless Jews, gouging out their eyes, slicing off their breasts, cutting off their genitalia, both before and after death. He saw it all, and approved. And this was the man that two of the most important news sources in the world relied on as a photojournalist, to supply images they could use. Of course, he did not send them any photos of the worst atrocities he witnessed. Piles of bodies were the most he would allow himself, and Israeli tanks set on fire, but not beheaded babies or eyes gouged out, or naked girls who had been tortured and then raped to death.
More on Hassan Eslaiah can be found here: “Crossing the lines of integrity with a Hamas-praising photojournalist – analysis,” by Maayan Jaffe-Hoffman, Jerusalem Post, November 11, 2023:
CNN hired a photojournalist who just three days before posted videos and photos of himself inside Israel during the Hamas massacre, including with an Israeli tank and a room of bloody, dead bodies.
Gaza photojournalist Hassan Eslaiah crossed into Israel on October 7 to document the Hamas massacre of more than 1,200 Israelis. His photos from the scene appeared on several international news outlets, including The Associated Press, the Jerusalem-based watchdog HonestReporting has said.
The watchdog’s story sparked a series of questions and international outcry, ultimately leading to his being let go from the two institutions. [CNN and AP]
However, CNN said in a statement last week that their working relationship with the freelancer began after the October 7 terrorist attacks on Israel, on October 10. It also noted that despite its decision to stop working with Eslaiah, it did not have “any reason to doubt the journalistic accuracy of the work he has done for us,” as reported by Ynet and confirmed by The Jerusalem Post.
But “journalistic accuracy” from a photojournalist should mean not just whether a particular photo shows what the photographer claims it shows, but whether the entire event is being properly covered by the photos and videos that he chooses to share. Eslaiah was willing to send both AP, as of October 7, and CNN, as of October 10, photos of dead Israelis, including soldiers killed in Gaza, but not any photos that showed torture, mutilations, beheadings of Israelis on October 7. He was willing to supply AP with a photo of a burning tank, but not a baby found baked in an oven.
And from the afternoon of October 7 and for several weeks after he returned to Gaza, he of course was eager to supply photos of dead Palestinian children, the more blood-spattered and gruesome their appearance, the better. Limbs lost were even better. He took shots of tiny corpses, swaddled in white, cradled by mothers uncontrollably weeping. He also took pictures of schools, mosques, and apartment blocks after they had crumbled under Israeli attacks, but offered nothing to indicate that under those buildings there lay a vast network of terror tunnels. Photos, too, of disconsolate Palestinian young males, looking at the ruins of their neighborhoods have been part of his stock in trade. Hassan Eslaiah wanted to arouse sympathy for the Palestinians, and knew exactly how, using his camera as a weapon, to do it.
The Post confirmed that Eslaiah was not fired for his work on the 7th but for a separate but related concern.
It was unclear if CNN knew about Eslaiah’s posts on Telegram before offering him work….
If CNN and the AP had performed due diligence, they would have discovered Eslaiah’s enthusiasm for the “glorious morning” of October 7, when Hamas dealt the Zionists a great blow. One hopes that they simply failed to investigate Eslaiah before hiring him. The alternative — that these news agencies knew about his sympathy for Hamas, and even about his having accompanied the group’s operatives on their rampage through the kibbutzim, and didn’t care — is too painful to contemplate.
Eslaiah took a picture of himself smiling as he hugged Yahya Sinwar, as Sinwar kisses his cheek in a sign of humorful affection.
However, by scrolling through Eslaiah’s personal Telegram channel, the Post has found that Eslaiah posted much more than a tank on the 7th, including items that indicate that not only did he likely know about the planned massacre before it began at around 6:30 a.m., but that he supported the deaths of the innocent Israelis he watched being murdered.
Eslaiah’s first post on October 7 was at 5:59 a.m.: “We wake up to the great gifts of God,” he posted, according to a translation by ChatGPT. “The spirit has returned, and our blessings have increased.”
Within half an hour, he is posting about the rockets being launched at Israel and the sounds of the Iron Dome intercepting them over Khan Yunis. Then, between 6:55 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., he posts multiple variations: “To follow the latest news moment by moment, follow me on my media platforms.”…
At 9:25 a.m., the most gruesome of posts is revealed: a video with his watermark: “Filmed by Hassan Eslaiah” in the center, depicting a room full of dead, bloody bodies.
This particular video does not appear to have been published anywhere else. In the background, you hear a calm voice that sounds like his from other videos, and is spoken in his Arabic dialect, stating the following: “[Animal] carcasses, carcasses. God is great. This is the path to Jerusalem.”…
This was Hassan Eslalah, describing the Israeli corpses as “animal carcasses.” Then he allahu-akbars — “God Is Great” — and mentions the “path to Jerusalem” that apparently Hamas has now opened up. Al-Quds can now be taken back from the perfidious Jews, thanks to Hamas’ great deeds on this day.
Now that CNN and AP, both major news outlets, have revealed themselves to have failed at performing due diligence on Hassan Eslaiah, it is time for them, and for other news outlets, to thoroughly examine the social media presence both of those they are planning to hire, and those already working for them, in order to find out about their possible support for terrorists. Does this mean that employers, such as CNN and AP, should at regular intervals make a sweep of the social media posts both of their reporters and photojournalists, to determine how likely they are to be biased in their reporting?
Yes, I’m afraid it does.