The Palestinian Islamic terror group Hamas presented an award on Wednesday to Al-Jazeera, the Qatar-based network known for its anti-Israel news coverage, claiming the network possessed “high professionalism” for defending Palestinian positions during the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas that saw over 4,000 rockets indiscriminately fired by the Gaza terror group at Israeli population centers.
The award, a certificate of appreciation presented by Hamas deputy chairman Khalil al-Hayya in a paid visit to Gaza’s current Al-Jazeera bureau, honored the network’s “affiliation” with and support of the Palestinians and their cause, according to Hamas’ website.
“The Qatari channel Al-Jazeera worked with high professionalism during its coverage of the ‘Sword of Jerusalem’ [11-day] battle and demonstrated its affiliation with the cause of the oppressed Palestinian people,” al-Hayya said in a statement released on the Hamas website.
“We are proud of Al-Jazeera’s active crews, who proved to be the knights of word and sacrifice while covering the events,” al-Hayya added. “What distinguishes the Palestinian journalist is that he has a national message. We were seeing a high level of nationalism and a national tone during Al-Jazeera coverage.”
The media are supposed to act as a watchdog. Not as willing advocates for genocidal war criminals. pic.twitter.com/o646nuralH
— HonestReporting (@HonestReporting) June 10, 2021
Hamas is a radical U.S.-designated Islamic terror organization, whose charter calls openly for the murder of Jews, and which launched over 4,000 terror rockets at Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip over a period of 11 days last month.
The award comes as hundreds of journalists from mainstream and left-wing media outlets signed an open letter this week urging journalists to cover Israel’s “oppression” of Palestinians.
“The evidence of Israel’s systematic oppression of Palestinians is overwhelming and must no longer be sanitized,” the letter reads.
“We are calling on journalists to tell the full, contextualized truth without fear or favor, to recognize that obfuscating Israel’s oppression of Palestinians fails this industry’s own objectivity standards,” it continues.
American Jewish Committee (AJC) managing director Avi Mayer told Fox News on Friday the Hamas comments should serve as a wake-up call.
Holy crap: Al Jazeera has accepted an award from Hamas for its coverage of the recent hostilities between the terrorist group and Israel. Here the Qatari network’s Gaza bureau chief, Wael al-Dahdouh, is shown receiving the award from Khalil al-Hayya, deputy head of Hamas in Gaza. pic.twitter.com/0IE4RJNco0
— Avi Mayer (@AviMayer) June 10, 2021
“That a major media outlet has accepted an award for its news coverage from a designated terrorist group should raise alarm bells among all who are concerned about freedom of the press,” Mayer said.
“This revelation raises serious questions about the relationship between Al Jazeera and Hamas and how it might affect media coverage of one of the most contentious conflicts in the world. Viewers deserve to know,” he added.
Others also expressed outrage.
“When a terror organization like Hamas praises your ‘professionalism’ and ‘nationalistic coverage and commitment’ of the recent fighting, you’re probably not in the business of journalism,” wrote International Spokesperson of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Jonathan Conricus.
When a terror organization like Hamas praises your “professionalism” and “nationalistic coverage and commitment” of the recent fighting, you’re probably not in the business of journalism. @AlJazeera https://t.co/iFf4QF7Xa1
— Jonathan Conricus (@LTCJonathan) June 8, 2021
“To recap: Al-Jazeera is a television station owned by Qatar. Qatar is a state sponsor of Hamas. Al-Jazeera gets an award from Hamas for its reporting on Israel’s recent conflict with…Hamas,” wrote Jonathan Schanzer, vice president of research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
“Oh, and one more thing: We now know that Al-Jazeera was a ‘tenant’ in a Gaza building that housed a major Hamas military technology project. But they had no idea what was happening. Got it?” he added.
Claiming the award was “unsurprising,” journalist Joe Truzman wrote, “Al-Jazeera has been the main media outlet for Hamas and its military wing, al-Qassam Brigades to disseminate information for many years.”
“Al Jazeera accepted an award from Hamas for its coverage of the recent hostilities between the terrorist group and Israel. Yup, so remember that next time someone sends you an AJ+ video,” writer and pro-Israel activist Kasim Hafeez wrote.
“Hamas at least is open and honest about its genocidal agenda,” tweeted the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
“@AlJazeera_World thinks it can fool the world into treating it as a reliable news source. It is reliable—to whitewash crimes of #HamasTerrorists against Israel and the people of Gaza,” the Jewish human rights group added.
Hamas at least is open and honest about its genocidal agenda. @AlJazeera_World thinks it can fool the world into treating it as a reliable news source. It is reliable—to whitewash crimes of #HamasTerrorists against Israel and the people of Gaza. https://t.co/RlzRHfP9YT
— SimonWiesenthalCntr (@simonwiesenthal) June 10, 2021
“Can we stop pretending now? Can we stop pretending that anyone cares about fact? That those who call us genociders are just misinformed?” journalist Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll asked.
“Hamas has awarded Al Jazeera for it’s coverage, journalists are writing letters about the importance of siding with the Palestinians. Enough,” she added.
During their recent conflict with Hamas, Israeli forces bombed the Al-Jalaa Gaza building, which houses media offices that Jerusalem reportedly provided evidence proving it also served as a terrorist headquarters, housing Hamas’ military intelligence and research and development unit as well as offices of the terrorist-designated Islamic Jihad.
Last month, Al-Jazeera’s senior Gaza correspondent Wael Al-Dahdouh was greeted with applause and cheers by crowds in the coastal enclave celebrating Hamas’ “victory” following a ceasefire with Israel after the terror group launched over 4,000 rockets at civilian population centers throughout the Jewish state.
The video shows Al-Dahdouh being embraced by crowds of cheering Palestinians, some shaking hands and others taking selfies with the Al-Jazeera “celebrity.”
Al-Jazeera has a history of anti-American and antisemitic programming, has been accused of promoting jihadist sentiment, and has been banned in numerous countries.
CIA documents linked to the raid on Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Pakistan revealed the al-Qaeda terror chief praised Al-Jazeera as a potential ally.
In 2019, congressman Jack Bergman wrote, “Al Jazeera’s record of radical anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Israel broadcasts warrants scrutiny from regulators to determine whether this network is in violation of US law.”
Follow Joshua Klein on Twitter @JoshuaKlein.