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To Tom Friedman and the NY Times: Stop trusting Hamas’s propaganda

When a hospital explodes in Gaza, ask: Who is happy, who is relieved, and who is upset? (Spoiler alert: It's Hamas and its partners that benefit)
The changing New York Times headlines. (Composite via X (formerly Twitter), used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
The changing New York Times headlines. (Composite via X (formerly Twitter), used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

Dear Tom:

After taking several hours to investigate, Israel now claims that the tragic explosion in the Gaza hospital resulted from a misfired Islamic Jihad rocket. While we have yet to say so, I suspect that we will learn that the tragedy was compounded by ordinance located deliberately by Hamas and Islamic Jihad near the hospital.

Tom, I have been reading you for decades. Let me write to you in your blunt style regarding the NY Times reporting on this event. The Times and many other media just blew the reporting — big time!

I am not a journalist, but I know enough to know that the initial headline should have been something like this:

“Terrorist Organization Hamas sources say hundreds are dead in explosion in Gaza hospital blaming Israeli air strike; IDF yet to respond”

That is a fair headline. I wish my government and army could have responded immediately — but we needed to look into it. Why? Because war is hell and mistakes, horrible ones, occur. Remember the horrible misfired shell under Shimon Peres in 1996 during Operation Grapes of Wrath. I know you remember it, Tom. And so do we Israelis. And so, we teach all our soldiers to avoid these mistakes – at great peril to themselves. And when we seek to kill Hezbollah and Hamas terrorists – notwithstanding all their human shield tactics – we are careful to avoid civilian casualties. We do NOT target hospitals, Tom! If we did, we could have dismantled the Hamas infrastructure — which we have long known is located under hospitals — without risking our ground forces to do it! We do NOT play by Hamas rules!

And yes – you need to qualify what Hamas is when you use them as a source. They showed the world what they are on Saturday — baby and elderly murderers, maimers, rapists, hostage-takers. Can you trust their propaganda as a source!?

The Times and many other media committed one of the most biased and worst reporting exercises regarding the explosion at the hospital in Gaza City. You ran the following series of headlines (walking them back but only after it was too late):

First: Israeli Strike Kills Hundreds in Hospital, Palestinians Say”

Later: At Least 500 Dead in Strike on Gaza Hospital, Palestinians Say”

Later: Hundreds Dead in Blast at Gaza Hospital, Palestinians Say”

First a strike, but now a blast. First, numbers totally non confirmed. Edward Murrow is rolling over in his grave.

What is the real story here, Tom? That Palestinian Jihadist terrorists murder and oppress their own people even worse than they do Jews. TELL THAT STORY!

Perhaps you might blame the Twitter/X, social media revolution that forces your paper to put out quick headlines before checking facts. But you well know — headlines matter! Lives are at stake.

Headlines cause people to act. In Amman, in the West Bank. By immediately running a headline based on Hamas sources, without waiting even a few hours for the IDF assessment of what might have caused this explosion, Biden’s summit with Arab leaders was canceled, this war may go on much longer, people for sure will get hurt and G-d forbid die.

Tom, here I paraphrase you: when a hospital explodes in Gaza “just ask yourself” (and ask your Times colleagues) “this question – who is happy, who is relieved, and who is upset?”

First and foremost, the families of those tragically killed are devastated. Let us all take a moment to think of them. And you know too well, if Israel gets blamed (and certainly if people think Israel did this intentionally) then Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran who want to rain death and destruction on the Middle East and wipe Jews off the planet — they are happy and relieved. They don’t care about the tragic losses. They think the victims are martyrs for some greater nihilistic cause. And who is upset? America, President Biden, Israel, who has yet to even begin risking our own lives to dismantle Hamas terror and now will face pushback, moderates around the world, decent people everywhere.

In the piece you wrote on October 16 referring to me and my friends — “the parents of every Israeli soldier and every Israeli held hostage” — who you correctly said would be relieved if Israel foregoes a full-blown invasion of Gaza, you are so right. I want this nightmare to end. I want my friends’ son back home, not held by Hamas. I want my sons back on their honeymoons, not in reserve duty. But I am also not afraid to have them fight for the truth, for what is right, to protect the innocent, and to beat back the forces of darkness that threaten our entire civilization.

Please get your paper in line the with the truth, Tom. You know this so say it repeatedly and loudly!

Every death since Saturday, October 7, is the fault of Hamas. They started this. They wanted this. They benefit from this.

Get your NY Times colleagues together in an editorial to approve that message.

Not a single person who has been killed or injured since Saturday would have been, were it not for Hamas.

That is the story. And get your NY Times colleagues to treat every statement coming out of Hamas-controlled authorities with the realization that it comes from baby-killers and grandma-hostage takers. Lives are at stake.

I have read a lot of your writing, Tom, over the years. Thank you for reading this.

Jack Levy

About the Author
Jack is one of the founding partners at MoreVC, a leading venture capital firm in Israel which pioneered climate-tech investing in Israel. Prior to co-founding MoreVC, Jack was vice president and general counsel of Register.com, and a corporate attorney with the New York law firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher. Jack holds a JD from Columbia Law School and a BA in Government from Harvard College.
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