Hamas’s Al Aqsa TV, a Treasury Department Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity, has been the focus of media scrutiny after a decision by the Newseum to honor two Al Aqsa TV members as part of its ongoing memorial to journalists who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2012.
On Sunday, the Anti-Defamation League described the inclusion of Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi in the Newseum Journalists Memorial as “a dark day for an American institution devoted to free speech and the First Amendment.”
Today, the Newseum issued a statement on its website indicating that it has “decided to re-evaluate their inclusion as journalists on our memorial wall pending further investigation.” ADL welcomed the museum's decision.
Al Aqsa TV was established by Palestinian Legislative Council member and current Hamas Interior Minister Fathi Ahmad Hammad. It began broadcasting in the Gaza Strip in January 2006.
Modeled after Al Manar, which is owned and operated by the Lebanese-based terrorist organization Hezbollah, much of Al-Aqsa TV programming regularly glorifies violence and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis focuses on children or is geared towards children.
For example, at the beginning of Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, Al Aqsa TV interviewed the children of Hamas members who were killed in Israeli airstrikes. One of the boys interviewed said that he wants to follow in his father’s path, “I want to follow the path of Jihad like daddy and I want to be martyred like daddy.”
Over the years, Al Aqsa TV has featured music video aimed at radicalizing children. For example, a few years ago a music video aired by the network depicted a 4-year-old girl singing to her “mother,” identified as “mother Reem,” (an apparent reference to Hamas’s first female suicide bomber Reem Riyashi). Later in the video, the woman detonates herself and kills four Israeli soldiers. After her mother carries out the attack, the little girl holds an explosive and sings to the camera, “I am following Mommy in her steps.”
In April 2007, the show “Tomorrow’s Pioneers” featured a Mickey Mouse-like character called “Farfour” promoting a message of radical Islam, anti-Semitism and hatred for the West. The “Farfour” character and child actors on the program taunt Western leaders and urge children to take up AK-47 assault rifles to defeat Israel and the United States.
The Newseum’s Journalists Memorial previously included Ahmed Haidar, a cameraman for Al Manar who was killed in 1993. Al Manar was designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity in 2006.
This year’s memorial also plans to honor Maya Naser, a correspondent for Iran’s Press TV, Iran's government-run English language satellite news network. Press TV has emerged as the Iranian government's primary propaganda tool to promote a wide range of pernicious anti-Semitic conspiracy theories in English to a worldwide audience.