In recent months, the Huffington Post entered the world of video news with its debut of “HuffPost Live.” One might suspect that it was little more than a video version of the leftist website founded seven years ago by Arianna Huffington. Yet a blog known as HuffWatch has been documenting the content at both websites and has discovered a grim, though unsurprising reality: both Huffington Post and HuffPost Live are repositories of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel vitriol. Leading the charge at HuffPost Live is host/producer Ahmed Shihab-Eldin.
Shihab-Eldin’s bio asserts he has Palestinian heritage and is a former producer and co-host for Al-Jazeera, a well-known disseminator of anti-Israel propaganda. Al-Jazeera demonstrated its commitment to journalistic integrity most poignantly in July 2008, when it held a birthday celebration for Samir Kuntar, a released Lebanese terrorist who killed a 28-year-old Israeli father in front of his 4-year-old daughter and then crushed the daughter’s skull with his rifle butt.
A cursory look at Shihab-Eldin’s latest blog entry reveals exactly where he stands. Titled “Terrorizing Gaza: Will Egypt Intervene?” it is a compendium of anti-Israel bias, one that completely omits the reason for the current hostilities: since 2009, Hamas has bombarded Israel with more than 11,000 rockets and mortars.
Instead, Shihab-Eldin makes the argument that Israel’s “disproportionate response” to such regular bombardment is the equivalent of terrorism. “In the media and political realm, the word ‘terror’ is often cited by Israel and the US to justify Israel’s disproportionate and brutal use of force on Gaza,” he writes. “This happened in 2009, and is happening again today. Israel frames everything through the context of defense against terrorism.”
He goes on. “But many view Israel’s occupation, psychological warfare, aerial and naval bombardment of Gaza as terror.” Who exactly? “Iran’s Foreign Ministry described Israel’s strikes on Gaza as ‘organized terrorism.’ Qatar’s Foreign Ministry called Israel’s attacks a ‘filthy crime that ‘must not pass without a punishment.’”
He also refers to Gaza as the “Occupied Gaza Strip,” a blatant lie. In 2005, Israel turned over the Gaza Strip to the Palestinians, uprooting thousands of Jewish settlers in the process. Left to their own devices, the Palestinians initiated a civil war between Hamas and Fatah in 2007, with Hamas gaining control of Gaza. Yet not only does Shihab-Eldin refuse to accept that reality, the Huffington Post allows him to reiterate his lie, despite his hosting of a broadcast with Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Danny Danon in September, who informed him of historical reality.
Another part of the piece is dedicated to a video report by Emily L. Hauser, an American-Israeli writer. Ms. Hauser makes the faux-intellectual argument, popular among the international community, that Hamas’s purposeful attempts to slaughter Israeli civilians and Israel’s attempt to defend itself are morally equivalent. However, ”[t]he big difference is the enormity of the power imbalance,” she contends. “When you have one side locked in to one of the most densely populated strips of land on planet Earth, and you are bringing to bear tanks and battleships and jet fighters in a constant rain of ordnance versus people who can fire, from within that tiny space, rockets out…that comparison is simply entirely out of whack.”
Another “reporter” Shihab-Eldin cites is Mohammed Omer, who dispatches updates from inside the Gaza Strip and conveys the “humanitarian crisis” Israel is inflicting on the area. In reality, Omer is a pro-Islamist propagandist who blogs at Electronic Intifada, a website that refers to Israel’s 1948 creation as Al Nakba (Arabic for “The Catastrophe”).
HuffWatch’s lead blogger, writing under the pseudonym Huff Watcher, has catalogued the evolution of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic bias at HuffPost since at least 2010. A previous report presented three years of documentation revealing that “HuffPost consistently ‘frames’ news stories in such a way that incites anti-Israel perceptions and hatred. Further, in violation of its own policies, it approves and tolerates user comments submitted in response to these stories that contain incendiary, hate-filled libels against Israelis and Jews, as well as links to anti-Semitic hate websites.”
Huff Watcher further illuminates the hypocrisy of the site’s “zero tolerance” policy regarding hate speech, documenting virulently anti-Semitic user comments that were approved by a human moderator. An example: “They [Jews] all need to be rounded up and gassed,” offers “markoze,” in December of 2008.
Perhaps one can rationalize that user comments are not indicative of a website’s bias. Yet here is Shihab-Eldin’s Twitter page, which consistently demonstrates overt prejudice against Israel: “By ignoring the fundamental fact that #Israel Occupies #Gaza, we are starting from a flagrantly false premise,” he tweets in one example. “Americans are being consistent by supporting attack on Gaza – grounded in same premise as US aggression,” he tweets in another. “List of Israeli Violations Against the #Gaza Strip ((January 1st to November 17th, 2012),” reads a third.
Algemeiner editor David Efune recounts his own appearance on HuffPost Live, describing his role in a discussion about Iran as the “token opposing voice to join as an ambush prop.” When other guests argued that a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities was a non-starter and that Prime Minister Netanyahu was a warmongering barbarian, Efune countered with the reality that 7 million Israeli lives might be at risk if Iran goes nuclear. Shihab-Eldin once again revealed his bias. “I have to retort to (sic) what David said, which is misrepresenting and misleading people on the real threat in the region…he says there is a threat from Iran to Israel even though Iran currently doesn’t have weapons and Israel does….let’s try and put ourselves in (Iran’s) shoes, they see themselves in a region where the US has invaded Afghanistan, has invaded Iraq, two of their neighbors, Israel has a nuclear weapon, so if there is a threat to anyone, they are the ones who feel threatened,” he contended.
Efune cuts right through the nonsense. “How the Huffington Post gets away with placing someone who vocally campaigns for this morally corrupt position in a role of senior responsibility, is simply beyond me,” he writes.
In an email obtained yesterday by FrontPage, Huff Watcher offers a possible answer to that question. “With the election of President Obama, since early 2009 HuffPost’s ‘journalists’ began being welcomed all over Capitol Hill, and enjoy direct, preferred access to the White House. It now boasts a blogging stable including many top figures of the Democrat Party, and governments around the world,” he writes. “Less well-known is that as of early 2011, nearly 10,000 unique visitors a day arrived from the three largest incubators of Islamist terror: Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Egypt, presumably in part because, as even Abe Foxman (a HuffPost blogger) noted, the comments that HuffPost publishes in response to his articles are ‘dripping’ with anti-Semitism.”
He then cuts to the heart of the matter. “If Hamas were going to try to buy this kind of PR from the world’s #1 most-read online ‘newspaper,’ it would cost a fortune. Instead, HuffPost is doing it for free — and with U.S. tax dollars.”
That last fact is attributable to the reality that Cadillac is a founding sponsor of HuffPost Live. Since Cadillac is part of General Motors, which is still alive courtesy of a taxpayer-funded bailout, We the People are underwriting the anti-Israel bias that has found a home at the Huffington Post. When will Cadillac and the Huffington Post be held accountable for the malicious misinformation and anti-Israel bias they countenance?