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Clueless or Complicit? AP Learns From Israeli Ambassador About Hamas’ Activities In Its Building

Arutz Sheva reported Tuesday that “Israel’s Ambassador to the United States and the United Nations Gilad Erdan visited the Associated Press headquarters in New York where he met with President and CEO Gary Pruitt and Vice President of International News Ian Phillips. During his visit, Ambassador Erdan reaffirmed that Israel upholds the importance of press freedom and ensures the safety of journalists wherever they are reporting.” This was necessary because of AP’s hysterical claims after the IDF destroyed its Gaza headquarters in an airstrike, not because Israel wanted to muzzle AP, but because Hamas had an operations base in the same building. AP claimed not to know that. Yeah, sure.

If they didn’t know then, they know now: “Ambassador Erdan reiterated that the multistory building housing the AP in Gaza, which was destroyed last month in an airstrike, also housed the facilities of Hamas’ military intelligence, its R&D department and a tech unit.”

Erdan explained: “The unit was developing an electronic jamming system to be used against the Iron Dome defense system.” He added, with his degree of sarcasm unrecorded, that “AP is one of the most important news agencies in the world and Israel doesn’t think that AP employees were aware it was being cynically used in this way by Hamas for a secret unit.” He also told AP’s top dogs that “Israel did everything it could to make sure that no employees or civilians were hurt during this important operation.”

Really now. AP wasn’t aware? They’re supposed to be reporters. And they didn’t even know that jihad terrorist activity was going on in their own building?

AP is either abjectly incompetent or complicit with Hamas’ genocidal jihad against Israel. Gilad Erdan would have been closer to the truth if he had told Pruitt and Phillips that he knew AP was not a news source, but a propaganda arm for the hard-Left and the global jihad, and would treat it accordingly. Instead, he kept up the pretense that he was dealing with a news organization.

He wasn’t. The initial AP report about the bombing of the building read like a Hamas press release: “An Israeli airstrike destroyed a high-rise building in Gaza City that housed offices of The Associated Press and other media outlets on Saturday, hours after another air raid on a densely populated refugee camp in the city killed at least 10 Palestinians from an extended family, mostly children.” The dastardly Israeli war machine was at it again, eh?

Pruitt moved the media narrative ahead with a statement fulminating against Israel and omitting any mention of the fact (which of course he claims not to have known) that Hamas shared a building with AP’s reporters, which was altogether fitting – why shouldn’t Hamas have had its press agency in close proximity? Pruitt stated: “We are shocked and horrified that the Israeli military would target and destroy the building housing AP’s bureau and other news organizations in Gaza. They have long known the location of our bureau and knew journalists were there. We received a warning that the building would be hit.”

Self-contradictorily, just a few lines after admitting that the IDF, in accord with its usual practice, had warned the occupants that the building would be hit and given them time to evacuate, Pruitt labored to give the impression that his intrepid “journalists” made it out of the building in the nick of time, just ahead of the Israeli merchants of death: “This is an incredibly disturbing development. We narrowly avoided a terrible loss of life. A dozen AP journalists and freelancers were inside the building and thankfully we were able to evacuate them in time.”

They were able to heed the IDF’s warning and grace period, which it is unlikely that most other military forces around the world would have given.

Pruitt lamented melodramatically: “The world will know less about what is happening in Gaza because of what happened today.” That is, the world would have slightly less access to Palestinian jihad propaganda because of what happened that day.

Amidst this hysterical and incendiary propaganda, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) was completely forthcoming about the incident, supplying the crucial information that Pruitt’s “news agency” omitted from its report. The IDF noted that “after providing advance warning to civilians & time to evacuate, IDF fighter jets struck a multi-story building containing Hamas military intelligence assets. The building contained civilian media offices, which Hamas hides behind and deliberately uses as human shields.”

Hamas’ use of human shields has been abundantly documented, even by the relentlessly anti-Israel United Nations. But you would never get that impression from AP’s Saturday morning report.

The AP story and press release about the bombing of the building housing its Gaza offices were not unusual. They were typical of the bias of establishment media coverage of Israel going back years. The relentless demonization of Israel in the international media has borne bitter fruit today in the anti-Israel demonstrations across the Western world, the menacing of pro-Israeli students on college and university campuses, and much more.

While the AP and its media colleagues play the victim and use this bombing to excoriate and lie about Israel once again, they’re laying the groundwork for more attacks against civilians in Israel and supporters of Israel worldwide. If they never found new office space in Gaza, the world would be calmer, more peaceful, and perhaps could even enjoy a respite from the relentless assault of the propaganda that inundates the world on a daily basis.

Robert Spencer is the director of Jihad Watch and a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center. He is author of 21 books including many bestsellers, such as The Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades)The Truth About Muhammad and The History of Jihad. His latest book is Did Muhammad Exist?: An Inquiry into Islam’s Obscure Origins―Revised and Expanded Edition. Follow him on Twitter here. Like him on Facebook here.

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