In my posts on the IDF bombing of the Gaza office tower in which the Associated Press was holed up with Hamas military intelligence, I have been groping toward a condemnation of the AP as a Hamas collaborator. The AP has called for an independent investigation of the bombing. I have called for an independent investigation of the AP.
The AP’s collaboration with Palestinian terrorists is an old story. I introduce as evidence my own 2008 Weekly Standard column “He didn’t give at the office.” AP’s service in the terrorist cause is laughably obvious.
From inside the AP, we have former AP correspondent and editor Matti Friedman’s 2014 testimony in the Atlantic to the same effect. Friedman added to the record in related Tablet essays here and here. Friedman’s testimony is devastating.
National Review’s David Harsanyi hasn’t quite obviated the need for an independent investigation of AP’s collaboration with Hamas, but he makes a valuable contribution in his NR column “Associated Press, Hamas propagandists.” Among other things, Harsanyi quotes AP CEO Gary Pruitt asserting that they “had no indication Hamas was in the building or active in the building” and “[t]his is something we actively check to the best of our ability. We would never knowingly put our journalists at risk.” Harsanyi comments:
This is nonsense. Pruitt knowingly puts journalists at risk every day he sends them to places such as Gaza, where the ruling regime wages war behind civilians it uses as shields. But how did Pruitt “actively” check? Did he ask Hamas? Did he call the landlord? Did he ring everyone’s bell? And how could we trust that a media outlet that is unable to track down a single Hamas militant shooting Qassam rockets — from dense civilian areas right near its offices — would be able to figure out who was in their building, anyway?
Harsanyi omits to raise any question why AP journalists in Gaza are not actually “at risk” from Hamas. It is a terrorist organization with a genocidal objective. Hamas has no First Amendment in its charter. The question answers itself. The AP’s Gaza journalists report nothing that might displease Hamas. That’s why they aren’t at risk from Hamas.
In today’s “explainer” on possible “war crimes in Gaza,” the AP describes Hamas as “a grassroots movement.” The “explainer” explains:
As a grassroots movement, Hamas is deeply embedded in Palestinian society, with a political operation and charities separate from its secretive armed wing. While Israel and Western countries view Hamas as a terrorist organization, it is also Gaza’s de facto government, employing tens of thousands of people as civil servants and police. So just being connected to Hamas doesn’t mean someone is a combatant, and there are many in Gaza who oppose the group — and all are equally exposed with nowhere to run.
The “explainer” goes this far: “The firing of hundreds of imprecise rockets into Israel by Hamas and other Palestinian groups is fairly clear-cut [as a possible war crime].” Love that “fairly.”
But it’s all so complicated: “Who’s right? It’s hard to say, especially in the fog of battle.” The words “terrorist” and “terrorism” do not appear in the AP “explainer,” which devotes as much space to the destruction of the office tower as it does to Hamas’s rockets. With “explanation” like this, who needs obfuscation?
The questions that Harsanyi poses are legitimate and important. They should be answered in any fair-minded investigation. In truth, however, we have sufficient evidence to concur in the judgment rendered in the headline on Harsanyi’s column.