Susanna Kokkonen
Susanna Kokkonen
Speaker on anti-Semitism; the Holocaust; Persecution of Christians

Hamas Treated Fairly by the Media

To understand the fair coverage Hamas gets in the media, let me go back in time.

It was August 2014. I was living in Jerusalem. As Hamas rockets were launched against Israel, the nocturnal sky was lit by something looking very much like a fire. Rockets were met in mid-air by a new and amazing defense system, the Iron Dome. There was actually a sense of something miraculous. As rocket fire continued day after day, Israel chose to send troops into Gaza for a limited ground operation. Clearly, rockets were being launched from schools, hospitals, and kindergartens. This -against Hamas’ media rules- was actually confirmed by just a couple of international journalists one of whom happened to work for a Finnish media outlet. Thus, the story is well-known in this part of the world.

The anti-Israel sentiment during the 2014 conflict became so intense that no comparison of Israel’s “crimes” was too outrageous to make. Gaza was compared with the concentration camps – a patently false statement that any historian would refute. There was talk of Israel “just murdering Palestinians”. Now, this was August 2014. Let us recall that at that same time, Yezidis and Christians in Iraq were being made to leave their homes, and then murdered or sold to slavery. This horrific act should have been the main news item. One could argue that Hamas overshadowed this. Hamas, let us recall, is a terrorist organization. It runs Gaza Strip as it wishes with utter brutality. If anyone is keeping the people of Gaza hostages, it is Hamas. It begs belief that our Western media would defend Hamas.

What has been going on just now has transported me back to 2014. At the time, I traveled to Europe, as the conflict was raging. I felt sick when watching tv.

This time, again, accusations are being made against Israel. Again, reporters stand at the Gaza border ignoring the fact that the flare up started as a Hamas initiative. When a journalist correctly says that “people in Gaza are suffering”, why is there not a thought given to why? Who is making these people suffer? Why is Ismail Hanyeh’s (Hamas leader) daughter, during the conflict, getting medical treatment in Israel? Why is another Hamas leader Khaled Mashal living in the Gulf States in untold luxury? Since these things are well-recorded, they need no explanation. Media professionals cannot be unaware. What needs to be explained is why would the media defend a terrorist organization?

Is there a quality called moral clarity? To me moral clarity exists and is an important quality allowing to see behind the “easy” into the “reality”. There is a strong perception of this conflict; a framing if you like. But what is the reality?

Visually speaking, let us consider two images.

First, there is an army at the front, civilians are behind the soldiers, being protected by the fighters. On the other side, there are civilians, as human shields, leaders, and fighters hiding behind them. This is the reality. Hamas’ use of human shields is well-documented and needs no explanation. This tactic has been used in other wars against Western armies. Militaries that allow media presence and are supervised by democratic institutions, are extremely vulnerable when confronted by this tactic. A dirty tactic like this is possible wherever human life is not valued.

Contempt for human life is extremely evident here. But, just as evidently, it is not being reported. How does one understand this omission? Can one understand it? Is it intentional, as some researchers suggest?

My final question: is there even a possibility to not to see what is going on?

About the Author
Dr. Susanna Kokkonen, originally from Finland, lived in Israel for twenty years. She has a Doctorate in Holocaust Studies. She has pioneered Jewish-Christian relations including at Yad Vashem, as the Director of the Christian Friends of Yad Vashem. She travels around the world speaking in churches, synagogues and civic gatherings. Her book 'Journey to the Holocaust' is available in Finnish, Swedish and English translations.
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