ADL Welcomes Newseum Decision to Exclude Hamas Members from Roll Call of Journalists Killed in 2012

New York, NY, May 13, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed the decision by Newseum in Washington, D.C. to re-evaluate the inclusion of two members of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas (PDF) in a list of journalists who died covering the news in 2012.

The museum’s list of 82 names of journalists killed in 2012 initially included Hussam Salama and Mahmoud Al-Kumi, two cameramen who were killed in the Gaza Strip while working for Al-Aqsa Television, the propaganda mouthpiece for Hamas. 

As of late last week, Newseum defended their inclusion on the list.  But after concerns were raised by ADL and other groups about the men’s ties to terrorism, the nonprofit museum shifted course, and in a statement issued earlier today indicated it had decided to re-evaluate their inclusion based on the question of whether the men “…were truly journalists or whether they were engaged in terrorist activities.” Their names were not added to the museum’s Journalist Memorial Wall on Monday.

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:

We are pleased that the Newseum ultimately did the right thing and reconsidered its decision to honor two members of the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. These men were terrorist operatives and, as such, had no place on a list with other reputable journalists who died while practicing their craft, and not in promoting an extreme and violent ideological message.

We are especially pleased that Newseum has made a commitment to further examine the question of how to define who is a journalist in a world where terrorists are becoming increasingly sophisticated at using new technologies, including television and the Internet, to incite hatred and advocate terror. The terrorist organization Hamas has long used their media outlets to spread anti-Semitism and incitement against the Jewish state and to extol the virtues of terror tactics.

The question as to whether Al-Aqsa TV is truly a “news outlet” that practices Western-style journalism, or whether it serves as an extension of the terrorist regime in Gaza -- and whether its staff should be seen as advancing journalism -- deserves further scrutiny. Other so-called news outlets around the world, including Hezbollah’s satellite network Al-Manar TV in Lebanon, raise similar questions. We are ready and willing to work through these issues with Newseum as it establishes an initiative to explore these important questions facing journalism and the institutions that support freedom of speech and freedom of the press.

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 that glorifies violence and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis focuses on children or is geared toward children.

A backgrounder on Al Aqsa TV is available on the League’s web site.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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