Jonathan Cook: the Blog from Nazareth -

Will anyone stand up to the Israel lobby?

Is there any US institution with a backbone when it comes to criticising Israel, even when the criticism is only implicit?

Today the Newseum, a museum to the news industry based in Washington DC, caved in to pressure from the Israel lobby and removed two Palestinian cameramen from its yearly roll call of journalists killed in the line of duty.

The journalists, working for Al-Aqsa TV, were killed in Israel’s attack on Gaza last November. This is how the Committee to Protect Journalists described their deaths at the time:

[Mahmoud] Al-Kumi, a cameraman for the Hamas-run station, and fellow Al-Aqsa cameraman Hussam Salama were killed when an Israeli missile hit their car in the Al-Shifaa neighborhood of central Gaza, the station and other news organizations reported. Al-Kumi and Salama had completed an assignment at Al-Shifaa Hospital as part of their coverage of Israeli airstrikes in the neighborhood, Mohammed Thouraya, head of Al-Aqsa TV, told The Associated Press. The journalists’ car was marked ‘TV’ with neon-colored letters, the station said. Al-Kumi and Salama suffered severe burns and died at Al-Shifaa Hospital, news reports said.

Having accused the pair of being Hamas members, the ADL’s Abe Foxman complained to the Newseum that it was “a dark day for an American institution devoted to free speech and the First Amendment.” It hardly merits mention that Foxman has not the first clue about free speech or free societies. After all, he is an agent for a foreign power, Israel.

But the Newseum has no such excuses. It defended its decision in these terms: “We take the concerns raised about these two men seriously and have decided to re-evaluate their inclusion as journalists on our memorial wall pending further investigation.”

Let’s make no bones about it. The Newseum decision has set a precedent, sanctioning the murder of journalists based on the political affiliations of their news organisations. Or maybe it just means that the Newseum agrees with Israel’s supporters that whomever Israel chooses to kill is a terrorist by definition.

Either way, the decision stinks.

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