Leading US Jewish Orgs Launch Effort To Correct Mainstream Media Falsehoods About Israel

December 8, 2023

Leading U.S. Jewish groups launched the 10/7 Project this week to address inaccurate and misleading narratives that have plagued news coverage of the war between Israel and Hamas.

The effort will focus on "uplifting the stories of the innocent victims of Oct. 7," the date of a Hamas massacre in Israel, while "combating misinformation spouted by Hamas terrorists and their anti-Israel allies," according to a Tuesday announcement by the groups. The project is led by the American Jewish Committee, the Jewish Federations of North America, the Anti-Defamation League, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations.

Strategist Brad Todd, an adviser to the 10/7 Project, told the Washington Free Beacon that the effort will highlight the best information on the war and call out reporting that is "either uninformed or intentionally trying to paint false equivalencies" between Israel and Hamas. As part of the launch, the 10/7 Project debuted a daily newsletter aimed at policymakers and the general public.

"There is a desire by too many journalists to pull punches when it comes to Hamas," Todd said, citing both-sides reporting on Israel's release of Palestinian security prisoners in exchange for Hamas's return of Israeli women and children hostages as young as three during last month's truce agreement.

The Free Beacon has tracked systemic media bias in coverage of Oct. 7 and the resulting war in the Gaza Strip. Many news outlets have sought to "contextualize" Hamas's barbaric attack, nitpicked evidence of the terrorist group's atrocities that was later confirmed, and uncritically repeated Hamas's claims about Israel killing civilians and denials of its own use of human shields. The Washington Post even took down a cartoon that criticized Hamas's hypocrisy after staffers complained.

Most notoriously, in mid-October, headlines blared allegations by the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry that Israel had bombed Al Ahli Baptist Hospital, killing hundreds. After the disinformation sparked unrest across the world and derailed U.S. diplomacy in the region, the New York Times and others walked back their reporting and acknowledged that a Hamas affiliate had accidentally hit the hospital parking lot with a rocket.

Todd attributed the media's failures to a desire by many outlets to "cater to an audience on the left" without fully understanding the complexity of the Arab-Israeli conflict. He noted that the problem extends to domestic coverage, as when pro-Hamas protesters are characterized as simply having "taken a contentious side of an issue."

Not only do journalists generally seem unaware of Hamas and the Palestinians' history of violent rejection of peace with Israel, the media have collectively failed to learn from their mistakes during the war. For example, outlets have shrugged off the embarrassment of the Al Ahli Baptist Hospital saga and continued to rely on, and even defend, the Gaza health ministry's death toll statistics.

Reuters, Dec. 6: "How Many Palestinians Have Died in Gaza? Death Toll Explained":

The last update from Gaza's health ministry came on Monday from spokesperson Ashraf Al-Qidra, raising the death toll to 17,177.

PBS, Dec. 2: "Israeli Offensive Moves South in Gaza, Driving up Death Toll a Day After Truce With Hamas Ends":

The [Gaza health] ministry does not differentiate between civilians and combatants, but it said 70 percent of the dead were women and children. It also said more than 40,000 people had been wounded since the war began.

Axios, Nov. 27: "Gaza Civilian Deaths Outpacing Those of Other Conflict Zones":

At least 14,800 Palestinians—mostly women and children—in Gaza have been killed, per the Ministry of Health in Hamas-run Gaza.

Todd said the 10/7 Project will also seek to draw attention to under-covered aspects of the Gaza war, like Hamas's bombardment of the Jewish state with thousands of rockets since Oct. 7 or the imperative of Israeli victory. Hamas's demands, he noted, "are for the elimination of the state of Israel and everyone who lives in it."