IDF to NYT: We Targeted Terrorists, Not Journalists

New York Times' ‘reliable, primary source’ for claim: Hamas

November 29, 2012

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has detailed the terrorist activities and affiliations of Palestinians the New York Times claimed were simply "cameramen" in a report that accused Israel of targeting journalists in the Gaza Strip.

The IDF titled its rejoinder "How Hamas and Islamic Jihad Use Journalism as a Cover for Terrorism." The title is a jab at the Times, which had headlined its story "Using War as Cover to Target Journalists."

The Times claimed that several Palestinians who were killed in precision missile strikes last week during Operation Pillar of Defense were in fact journalists and that the IDF was behaving similarly to the Syrian regime by using wartime to target members of the media.

When challenged by a Buzzfeed reporter, Carr defended his accusations by saying that other organizations had made the same claim.

"The Committee to Protect Journalists, which I treat as a reliable, primary source in these matters, identified them as journalists," Carr stated. Yet the CPJ's report cited Al-Aqsa TV, a media arm of Hamas, in claiming the terrorists were journalists, meaning that Carr's "primary source" was Hamas itself.

Carr also told Buzzfeed that despite having not verified the accuracy of the claims he was standing by his story.

The terror activities of the three Palestinians Carr identifies as journalists—Mohamed Abu Aisha, Hussam Salama, and Mahmoud al-Kumi—are detailed in the IDF's rebuttal.

Aisha, a member of Islamic Jihad, is shown in a picture wearing an Islamic Jihad uniform. Salama and al-Kumi worked for Al-Aqsa TV, a Hamas propaganda outfit classified as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. The IDF reported they were also Hamas operatives, paid by Hamas, and identified by Hamas websites as jihadists who are "part of the resistance."

The IDF also admonished the New York Times for incentivizing the practice by terrorists of masquerading as journalists in order to avoid being targeted.

"[I]f the clear line between terrorists and journalists is blurred and there is no standard for the definition of 'journalist' … it is likely that Palestinian terrorists will continue using journalism as a cover for terrorism," the IDF wrote.

The Times has yet to retract Carr’s story.