Tell AIPAC: Only Gangs Kill Witnesses

Photo by Abed Zagout/Anadolu/ Getty: A funeral ceremony is held for Palestine TV correspondent Mohammed Abu Hatab, who was killed, along with his family members, in an airstrike on his home in Khan Yunis, Gaza on 3 November 2023

Journalists are being singled out. That’s a war crime.

Richard (RJ) Eskow is a former executive with experience in health care, benefits, and risk management, finance, and information technology. He is a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future and hosts The Breakdown, which is broadcast on We Act Radio in Washington DC. In this article (The Zero Hour Report 28 March 2024) he writes about the deliberate targeting of journalists by Israel to stop witness accounts of the holocaust being waged in Gaza.

Journalists are the world’s witnesses. The only people who kill witnesses are criminals.

Photo by Eric Huybrechts: Reuters press vehicle after attack by Israeli forces in Gaza

Somebody should tell AIPAC. At its recent conference, the pro-Israel lobbying group gave 1,600 lobbyists their marching orders. Those lobbyists descended on Capitol Hill the following week, making sure that the beneficiaries of the group’s lavish campaign spending understood what was expected of them. To make sure politicians got the point, the group pointed out that, “dollar for dollar,” it was “the largest contributor to candidates in the 2022 midterm elections.”

A lot of them got the point. Elected officials from both parties paid obeisance to the group at its conference, including the Democratic and Republican leadership of both houses of Congress and politicians like Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA).

Luke Goldstein of the American Prospect obtained a copy of the talking points AIPAC gave its lobbyists. The message? Israel is an innocent and well-meaning country that’s been slandered in the court of public opinion. AIPAC and Israel insist that the world has been told one lie after another. According to them, this is the real story:

“Israel does not target civilians.”

“Hamas weaponizes civilians as human shields.”

“Israel is not blocking the delivery of aid to Gaza.”

“… reports that people are starving in Gaza are false.”

If these statements were true, Israel would be the victim of global mendacity on a scale rarely seen in world history. And what’s the best way to fight lying? By welcoming and protecting the people who can tell the truth in words and images.

But Israel isn’t welcoming or protecting journalists. It’s killing them.

Journalists (CPJ) keeps a running tally of journalists killed by Israeli forces. As of March 28, 95 journalists and media workers were confirmed dead, 16 journalists were injured, 4 were reported missing, and 25 journalists had been arrested. As the CPJ also notes, journalists have also faced multiple assaults, threats, cyberattacks, censorship, and killings of family members.

Israel clearly doesn’t want witnesses. Why else would reporters be rounded up as they covered Israel’s March 18 assault on the Al-Shifa hospital complex? As CPJ observes, one of them

“recounted how he and several other journalists were assaulted by IDF soldiers, whom he said destroyed the journalists’ tent and damaged their equipment and press vehicles … the journalists were ordered to strip off their clothes in the cold weather, and were kept blindfolded and handcuffed in a room at Al-Shifa hospital.”

Even before October 7th, 20 journalists had been killed by the Israeli military, including an American citizen killed by an American bullet in what appeared to be a targeted attack.

Now, journalists are being targeted in their homes, often alongside their families. Others have been killed in bombing attacks on refugee camps. Still others have had their cars destroyed by missile strikes, despite being clearly identifiable as press. (See above picture.) Some have been shot by snipers despite wearing the distinctive blue vests of the media.

The death toll from six and a half months of war in Gaza far exceeds the average number of journalist deaths in a typical year. I created the attached chart from CPJ’s data:

Journalists are being singled out for being journalists. This is a longstanding Israeli practice. It is also a war crime. The Rome State of the International Criminal Court states that “journalists engaged in dangerous professional missions in areas of armed conflict shall be considered as civilians” and given protected status. Instead, the IDF is systematically killing reporters, the world’s professional witnesses.

Innocent people don’t kill witnesses. Who does? Gangsters. Consider the sordid history of gang violence against witnesses in the US alone, as told in a few selected headlines and clips:

Israel isn’t the only government to engage in the gangster-like assassination of journalists, of course. Many authoritarian governments do—including the United States.* Maybe that’s why the United States government doesn’t seem very outraged by these killings.

Israel has barred foreign journalists from entering Gaza.

That has left Palestinians to shoulder the responsibility, and the risk, alone. It also means that Israel has something like a free hand to kill them, since the deaths of Palestinians don’t seem to attract as much world sympathy.

Here’s a sampling from the list of victims:

  • “Mohamed Mouin Ayyash … was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his home in Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza, along with 20 members of his family”
  • “Ola Atallah … was killed with nine members of her family, including her brother and her uncles”
  • “Duaa Jabbour … was killed in an Israeli airstrike on her home along with her husband and children in Khan Yunis, southern Gaza”
  • “Ahmed Khaireddine … was killed in an Israeli airstrike on his family home in Beit Lahiya”
  • “Angam Ahmad Edwan … was killed in an Israeli airstrike on her home in Jabalia city, northern Gaza Strip”
  • “Nafez Abdel Jawad … was killed along with his son in an Israeli missile strike on the house they were staying in Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip”

There are many more, but you get the idea. If the Israeli government was really the victim of widespread lying, it wouldn’t be killing and arresting the brave journalists who are there to reveal the truth.

I’m not comparing the IDF to M-13 or the Gangster Disciples, of course. That would be unfair—to MS-13 and the Gangster Disciples. Those gangs haven’t accomplished anything like the killing wave now underway in Gaza, especially of children.

But then, they’ve never had the weaponry and patronage of the United States of America.

Under the leadership of George W. Bush, US forces killed thirteen journalists in Iraq in the years 2003-2005. They include two journalists who died when a US tank shelled the hotel where most foreign journalists were staying, a staffer who died when an American missile struck Al Jazeera’s Baghdad bureau, and a cameraman who was killed without warning by machine gun as he filmed a US tank.

Be the first to comment on "Tell AIPAC: Only Gangs Kill Witnesses"

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.