Many people in the pro-Israel community continue to be frustrated by the refusal of many media outlets and some political organizations to designate Hamas a terrorist organization. While the phrase “one person’s terrorist is another person’s freedom fighter” is often bandied about, organizations have no difficulty clearly labeling some organizations as terrorist groups.
Consider CNN which highlighted five jihadist groups in February 2015 as terrorist organizations: Al-Shabaab; Al Qaeda; Boko Haram; ISIS; and the Taliban. The groups are consistently labeled as jihadist terror organizations that seek to destroy reigning governments.
CNN has clearly labeled Al-Shabaab as a terrorist group:
Al-Shabaab was specifically designated as a terrorist organization by CNN, which did not couch the language as a suggestion that it could be considered a terrorist group by some third party.
As of early 2015, CNN considered Al Qaeda’s central command structure under threat while it spread around the world. It was clear in all circumstances that they were terrorists:
- On April 22, 2015, CNN wrote about “Familiar terrorist groups, familiar threats, familiar boasts and grievances — all in new messages tied, either directly or indirectly, to al Qaeda.”
- On April 14, 2015 CNN discussed how “Al Qaeda’s bench of leaders dwindles” where it clearly spelled out the terrorist nature of the group: “The creation of the terror group‘s South Asia branch…”
- On January 14, 2015 CNN’s article “What is Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula”, the media group highlighted that Al Qaeda was the “main perpetrators of terror attacks,”
CNN often localized Boko Haram to Nigeria and neighboring countries (compared to the growing global threat of Al Qaeda), but consistently referred to the group as terrorists.
ISIS/ ISIL/ Islamic State has been extremely active in 2015 and gathering many news reports on CNN and all media outlets, particularly as the United States has been engaging them in Iraq and Syria:
The Taliban has not been as prominent in the news lately. However, when it was, CNN was clear that the group’s actions and the group itself was involved in terrorism.
These five organizations are identified by CNN as terrorist groups. They are Islamic jihadists. They terrorize and attack. They seek to overthrow existing governments through murder and mayhem.
Now compare them to CNN’s description of Hamas.
On February 28, 2015 CNN had an article entitled “Egyptian court designates Hamas as a terror organization, state media says”. Note that CNN clearly did not make the designation, but repeated an assertion from Egypt. The article read: “Hamas, the Islamist group which dominates the Gaza strip, has been at odds with the Egyptian government…” made it seem that there was simply a political disagreement between Hamas and Egypt, between two ruling parties. CNN referred to Hamas only as “Islamist” and not “jihadist”, “militant” or “terrorist”.
CNN continued: “Hamas quickly denounced the decision at a news conference…. “It is a shocking and dangerous decision that targets the Palestinian people,” Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, said at a news conference”. The article highlighted that Hamas was designated a terrorist organization by one country (as opposed to actually being a terrorist group) and CNN made the effort of showing that the group challenged such opinion. The quote chosen by CNN further tried to show that such designation was itself an attack on “the Palestinian people” making the group the victim.
How is that for a turn?
On January 6, 2015 CNN wrote another piece that seemed all about politics. “Senior Hamas official Izzat Risheq denied reports Monday that the group’s political leader Khaled Meshaal has been expelled from Qatar” making the group appear as purely s political party. There was no mention that the group is in favor of jihad, destruction of Israel or is terrorist group.
On November 27, 2014 a CNN article entitled “Israel says it broke up Hamas terror plot” specifically gave attribution of the plot to Israel, and not as a clear fact. The article stated that “Authorities arrested at least 30 members of Palestinian militant group Hamas” which at least referred to the group as “militant” which is much more than it typically writes to describe Hamas.
These were the recent articles while Hamas licked its wounds from its 2014 war against Israel. How did CNN describe Hamas during the 2014 campaign itself?
CNN’s Assertion of No Hamas War Against Israel
In its August 22, 2014 article “Hamas leader admits militants abducted slain Israeli teens,” CNN quickly distanced the group leadership from the abduction and murder of three Israeli boys. The three leading paragraph’s took pains to absolve the group’s leadership:
“Three Israeli teens kidnapped in the West Bank in June and later found dead were abducted by Hamas militants who did not inform the group leadership about
the kidnapping, a Hamas official said Friday.
“At that time, the Hamas leadership had no knowledge about this group or the operation it had just carried,” Saleh Aruri, a Hamas Political Bureau member, said in a statement from Doha, Qatar. “It turned out later, however,
that they were members of Hamas.”
Aruri said the operation to abduct the teens was not approved by the Hamas leadership or its military wing, the Qassam Brigades.”
The article (in its entirety) quoted no Israelis. CNN repeatedly referred to Hamas as a political entity (does CNN ever quote Boko Haram’s main political spokesman?), as the article sought to distance Hamas from the murders.
These actions were done repeatedly by CNN, most egregiously on August 4, 2014 when it aired an interview “CNN exclusive: Inside the mind of Hamas’ political leader”
Meshaal “Political Leader” on CNN
The introduction to the interview with Khaled Meshaal made it appear that CNN was going to have a serious exchange: “CNN’s Nic Robertson had tough questions for Hamas’s political leader.” Well, maybe not- CNN was again directing the public that Hamas is simply a political organization. Did the article ever mention:
- that the Hamas Charter calls for the complete destruction of Israel?
- the Hamas Charter calls for jihad and murder of Jews by every man, woman and Palestinian child?
- the Hamas Charter which declares that there is no possibility of peace with Israel through any negotiation, and that all of Israel must be destroyed through military means?
- the Hamas Charter’s repeated use of anti-Semitic slurs, stereotypes and conspiracy theories?
- the repeated calls by Hamas and Palestinian leadership to attack Israel?
During the interview, did Robertson get answers to questions:
- if Hamas is fighting for the Palestinians, why was Meshaal sitting comfortably in Qatar?
- if Hamas was intentionally firing rockets from civilian neighborhoods in Gaza?
- if Hamas targeted Israeli civilians with such attacks?
- if Hamas built tunnels to abduct and kill Israelis?
- if Hamas would abolish its charter?
- if Hamas would recognize Israel?
- what lands Hamas considers as “occupied” since Israel left Gaza in 2005
It is noteworthy that Robertson asked Meshaal how he was helping his “resistance” to Israel (Robertson used Hamas’ terminology instead of terrorism). Meshaal responded that Palestinians understood that military resistance was needed to get rid of Israeli occupation, the same way that the Americans got rid of the British and the French got rid of the Nazis. Robertson let the statement stand and did not follow up about the absurdity of the comparisons. The French repelled the Nazi invading force that took over France. The US sought separation from a colony to an independent country. But here, the Palestinians were attacking an independent country, once again seeking its complete destruction and murder of its people.
Neither in the interview nor accompanying article did CNN’s Robertson ever call out Hamas as a jihadist terrorist group. It did however, allow Meshaal to air his propaganda and assume a victim status both at the hands of Israel and the global community:
“”We the Palestinian people have, since 1948, have listened to the international community and U.N. and international regulations, in the hope they end the aggression against us. But the international community failed in ending the Israeli occupation and failed in helping our people to have self-determination and have its own state.”
Imagine CNN airing such an interview and article about any other terrorist group.
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