Honest Journalism, Under Anti-Semitic Barrage, Is Being Killed at Historic Pace

New York Times story on Hamas eradication campaign is neither fair nor balanced, experts say

(Scott Olson/Getty Images)
November 29, 2023

Mainstream journalists and other Democratic activists have cast the alarming rise in anti-Semitism as a regrettable but unavoidable part of modern decolonial resistance by any means necessary, with media reports explaining that what may sound like the genocidal rantings of terrorists sympathizers are actually just aspirational calls for peaceful coexistence.

But a review of a recent New York Times article suggests the dishonesty of the mainstream journalism published in the wake of the Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel is without precedent. Journalistic efforts to portray the Jewish state's campaign to eradicate those terrorists as historically monstrous, experts say, are historically incompetent.

The Times front page on Sunday featured an article headlined, "Big Bombs in Urban Areas Raise Civilian Toll in Gaza." Written by London-based visual editor Lauren Leatherby, the story uses slick charts and big numbers to depict Israel's war on Hamas, the terrorist organization that murdered more than 1,200 Israelis in one day, as the most barbaric military campaign of the 21st century.

"That story is despicable," one of the most acclaimed experts on military history and journalistic accuracy told the Washington Free Beacon. "Turns out the Israel Defense Force has killed very few Hamas fighters, but killed historically high numbers of women and children, according to Hamas. And the New York Times publishes this and expects everyone just to buy it." (Crucial context: Hamas is one of the most horrific purveyors of anti-Semitic brutality in modern history.)

Proficient in terrorism and Microsoft Excel

Indeed, the story is based almost entirely on unconfirmed statistics provided by the Gaza Health Ministry, which is controlled by Hamas. Nevertheless, the Times persisted in reporting the figures as fact, citing anonymous "international officials and experts" who vouched for the "generally reliable" Hamas data czars.

Actual experts with names say that is nonsense. "Hamas lied about the [Al Ahli Al Arabi] hospital rocketing; lied in its denials about having tunnels under hospitals, and its leadership lied about denying mass raping and murdering on October 7, so lying about the number of deaths comes naturally, given its value as propaganda," Victor Davis Hanson, the esteemed military history scholar and National Humanities Medal winner, told the Free Beacon.

Maj. Gen. (res.) Yaakov Amidror, a senior fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategy and Security, similarly questioned the competence of the unnamed experts cited by the Times. "The only organization putting out numbers of the death toll in Gaza is Hamas. The terrorists have an inherent interest in lying about the number of people killed. So why would you believe their numbers?" he said. "That's just crazy. The number is completely useless."

'Militants in civilian clothes' 

Apart from the fact that Hamas is a terrorist organization that murders and tortures civilians, the Hamas-approved civilian death toll is useless because it includes all the terrorists who died while hiding among civilians in hospitals and tunnel networks, as well as all the Gaza civilians killed in a terrorist rocket whoopsie blamed on Israel.

This basic truth about Hamas—that the terrorists deliberately endanger civilians by embedding themselves in civilian areas—is dismissed as mere allegation from the Israeli military, even though the Times has previously reported on the "armed Hamas militants in civilian clothes" who "roved the halls" of Gaza's largest hospital complex.

BEASTMODE: Gaza Hospital Patient Says Hamas Should 'Go To Hell and Hide There' Instead of 'Hiding Among the People'

"There are only two explanations for the numbers," said Maurice Hirsch, the director of the Palestinian Accountability and Reform Initiative at the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. "One is that Israel is purposely killing women and children. If that’s not the claim, what can you learn from the numbers? That Hamas is very good at using women and children as human shields. That’s all."

Worse than Putin (but not really)

So the numbers underpinning the entire article aren't accurate, but neither was the provocative subhead printed on the Times front page, which claimed that "Israel Has Killed More Women and Children Than Have Been Killed in Ukraine" during the war with Russia. The online version's subhead was eventually changed to remove any mention of civilian deaths in Ukraine. Maybe because the Times's own reporting indicates that figure is much higher than the alleged number of civilian deaths in Gaza.

Hamas, via the Times, claims roughly 10,000 women and children have died in the war since Hamas started it on Oct. 7. The Times reported last year that Ukrainian officials estimated more than 20,000 civilians were killed during the weeks-long siege of Mariupol. The Free Beacon spoke to dozens of international officials and experts familiar with the way figures are compiled by health officials in Ukraine who assured us the overall numbers are generally reliable and are never, ever inflated for anti-Russian propaganda purposes.

David Adesnik, director of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said the Times's intentions were abundantly clear in comparing Israel's war on Hamas to Russia's war on Ukraine. "They want to tell us Israel is more brutal than Vladimir Putin," he told the Free Beacon. "Can they back it up? No, they can't."

The Times did not return a request for comment.

'Really big' bombs

Leatherby's article also implied the Israeli military had deliberately refrained from using smaller bombs "designed to limit damage in dense urban areas." Again, that claim is undermined by the Times's own reporting. In a story published earlier this month, the Times noted that Israel has "over the years built up stocks of larger bombs" designed for "hardened Hezbollah military positions" in Lebanon, as opposed to Hamas terror cells operating in civilian areas.

Hirsch agreed that this was obvious. "Our tanks and airstrikes use the bombs we have; we didn’t produce bombs specially for Gaza," he said, casting aspersions on the spurious demands—from journalists and other left-wing radicals—that Israel stop defending itself or at the very least conduct its operation to eradicate Hamas without actually trying to eradicate the terrorist group. "Everyone in Israel understands and agrees that we must destroy Hamas," he added. "If there is a way to destroy Hamas without fighting Hamas, I don’t know it."

Unrivaled expertise

In addition to the dubious statistics from the Gaza Health Ministry, the Times article was also based on "interviews with casualty and weapons experts." The first such expert quoted in the article is Marc Garlasco, a former Human Rights Watch analyst who got busted for being a "Nazi memorabilia" enthusiast and was subsequently hired by the United Nations. His current employer—PAX, the "largest peace organization in the Netherlands"— is suing the Dutch government for providing weapons to Israel and supporting the Jewish state's "collective punishment of the Gazan civilian population." According to Garlasco's expert analysis, Israel's bombs are "really big."

Brian Castner is also quoted. He's a "weapons investigator" for Amnesty International, one of many so-called human rights groups (including the United Nations) that Adesnik said had "blinded themselves to Hamas extremism and anti-Semitism." They're also suing the Netherlands for supporting Israel, which "shouldn't exist as a Jewish state," according to the executive director of Amnesty International USA. The group's Harvard chapter was among the signatories to a controversial statement denouncing Israel as "entirely responsible" for the the slaughter of innocent civilians by Hamas.

Neta Crawford, an Oxford professor and co-director of Brown University’s Costs of War Project who has "extensively researched modern wars," told the Times that it was "really difficult to comprehend" the "scale of immiseration" in the Palestinian area controlled by the terrorist group responsible for the largest targeted massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. Crawford recently took a break from her extensive war research to publish a book about why the U.S. military—which accounts for less than 1 percent of total U.S. carbon emissions, or about 0.14 percent of carbon emissions worldwide—isn't doing enough to combat climate change.

Several other experts are cited in the Times article, including Rick Brennan of the World Health Organization, the China-backed paragon of global crisis management whose leaders refuse to acknowledge the existence of Taiwan. Barbara Leaf, assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, also made an appearance. Prior to her confirmation last year, Leaf was accused of lying to Congress about the Biden administration's efforts to unlock billions in funding for the Iranian government, Hamas's chief sponsor. Experts who spoke to the Free Beacon argued that giving money to terrorists was bad, rather than good.

The big picture

When anti-Semitism and support for Hamas terrorism thrive among left-wing activists, who comprise the vast majority of Western journalists, the result is predictably egregious. Several recent examples involving the Times illustrate the historic pace at which modern journalists have embarrassed themselves while attempting to cover Israel.

The Times continues to employ Soliman Hijjy, a freelance videographer based in Gaza who has expressed adoration for Adolf Hitler. History experts consulted by the Free Beacon agreed that Hitler was not, as Hijjy averred, a "great" man. Earlier this week, the paper celebrated the release of Israa Jaabees—a "disfigured woman whose case has become well known"—from Israeli prison in exchange for Jewish children taken captive by Hamas. She was arrested in 2015 after "her car exploded at a checkpoint" and injured an Israeli police office in what she later claimed was an "accidental fire," per the Times.

Not surprisingly, the Times was one of several mainstream media outlets that immediately blamed Israel for striking a Baptist hospital in Gaza on Oct. 17. (Fact check: A terrorist rocket aimed at Israel misfired and landed in the hospital parking lot.)

You won't believe what happened next. The Times (sort of) admitted fault for rushing to publish a story that "relied too heavily on claims by Hamas," which falsely accused Israel of adding more than 500 names to the official civilian death toll, and "did not make clear that those claims could not immediately verified." Times editors "should have taken more care," the paper acknowledged.

The answer to your next question is: Yes! These are the same unverified claims by Hamas the Times relied on to make the case that Israel is killing civilians at a historically unfathomable rate.

"What the f—?" said the expert.

(Samuel Corum/Getty Images)