Meet the LA Times Reporter Who Doesn't Want You To Know Hamas Beheads Babies

Adam Elmahrek has declared Israel an 'apartheid state'

Hamas attack aftermath (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun), Adam Elmahrek (LA Times)
October 12, 2023

Los Angeles Times investigative reporter Adam Elmahrek has never covered Israel for the paper. He covers California's pot industry. But that isn't stopping him from insisting it is "disinformation" to point out that Hamas beheaded babies in its terrorist assault against the Jewish state.

After a viral report from Israeli outlet i24News indicated as much, Elmahrek argued on X, formerly Twitter, that the claim is "unverified" and "sensational." The "only source" behind the claim, Elmahrek said, "appears to be the Israeli military, which is widely known to spread lies and disinformation."

This sort of freelancing and misinformation-spreading appears to be A-OK by his employer. The Times did not return a request for comment.

Roughly an hour before Elmahrek's post, the French journalist Margot Haddad confirmed that Hamas had beheaded "infants and children under two years old" on a kibbutz, citing "atrocious images that reached me and that I was able to corroborate," as well as "courageous journalists from the foreign press who … agreed to see with their own eyes the bodies." Subsequent reports from CBS News and CNN also confirmed the horror, with CNN's Nic Robertson describing "men, women, children, hands bound, shot, executed, heads cut."

But Elmahrek, a self-described "Palestinian citizen of Israel" who has called Israel an "apartheid state," has not shared that information. Instead, the reporter on Wednesday argued that reporters "will have blood on our hands" should they report on beheaded babies and other "heinous allegations," which Elmahrek said have still not been verified. Hours later, President Joe Biden said during a meeting with Jewish leaders that he "never thought" he would "see... have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children." When the White House cited Israeli media reports to back the claim, Elmahrek touted the citation as "confirmation that Biden has retracted his claim that he saw the photos."

Elmahrek's refusal to acknowledge reports confirming the beheadings reflects the soft-on-Hamas coverage seen in some left-wing media outlets following the terrorist group's Saturday assault on Israel. MSNBC, for example, is opting to call Hamas terrorists "militants" or "fighters," even after Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt blasted the network for doing so.

Elmahrek, who has worked for the Times since 2016 and is best known for covering corruption in the pot industry, has a long history of anti-Israel activism. He signed an "open letter on U.S. media coverage of Palestine" in June 2021 that accused Israel of operating a "system of apartheid" and a "regime of ethnic supremacy." The letter also denounced journalists for asking Palestinians "whether they support violence or Hamas rockets."

"We are calling on journalists to tell the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor, to recognize that obfuscating Israel's oppression of Palestinians fails this industry's own objectivity standards," the letter says.

One month earlier, in May, Elmahrek labeled Gaza an "open-air prison." In January 2022, meanwhile, he argued that journalists should not call Israel a democracy "when it rules over millions of Palestinians without granting them any rights."

Elmahrek did not return a request for comment. The Times seems to endorse Elmahrek's disbelief of Hamas atrocities. The outlet on Monday removed from a column mention of Hamas terrorists raping Israeli women, saying that "such reports have not been substantiated." Elmahrek used the correction to argue that there's "so much misinformation flying around in mainstream media right now."

"Just take the Hamas 'rape' claim. There's no evidence to support it whatsoever," Elmahrek said. "My own paper had to issue a correction over it."

Survivors of Hamas's music festival massacre, however, have said they saw terrorist attackers rape women, including "next to their friends' bodies, dead bodies." Elmahrek on Wednesday did acknowledge one of the eyewitnesses, though not in a positive light.

"It should be noted that the witness also called for genocidal vengeance: 'If Gaza was on the map, Gaza don't continue to be on the map,'" Elmahrek tweeted.