Same-Sided Coin

Jewish Light Editorial

Congratulations to Hamas, which this week achieved a result almost unheard of in recent media history — getting the Wall Street Journal and New York Times to cover a story about Gaza in almost identical ways.

Within a day of hollowly denouncing the beheading by ISIS of journalist James Foley, Hamas summarily executed 18 Gazans for allegedly cooperating with Israel. And the evidence was plastered on the cover of both publications.

The Reuters photo of an in-process public execution of a Gazan by Hamas appeared on Page One of both the weekend Wall Street Journal and Saturday’s edition of the New York Times. It bears a chilling resemblance to the photos of the cold-blooded murder of Foley.  

In both instances, the executioners hid their identities with full-face black masks with matching shirts and trousers. 

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Regarding the Gaza executions, Hamas claimed that the suspected collaborators were sentenced to die by a so-called revolutionary court. Yet if there was such a court, it did not involve a trial, defense attorneys or normative judicial process.

In other words, Hamas’ actions were by all intents and purposes the same as those of ISIS.

The Hamas executions were denounced by rights groups of all types. According to the Times story, the director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, a Gaza group that has for years monitored and condemned extra-judicial killings, wrote letters to Palestinian leaders “demanding that they immediately and decisively intervene to stop such extra-judicial executions.”

Yet Hamas and its uber-financier Qatar condemned the ISIS execution in an attempt to create separation between their tactics and those of the group sweeping across Iraq and Syria in a wave of Islamist brutality.

Their condemnation, however, represented the height of hypocrisy. There is no significant difference between the two groups in their mission, goals or tactics. ISIS has stolen money and arms as they’ve destroyed towns and villages and exterminated residents. Hamas has stolen money intended for roads, schools and hospitals for terror tunnels, and has fired almost 4,000 rockets indiscriminately into civilian areas in 2014 alone.

Both are intent on establishing an Islamist caliphate in the Middle East. Both are intent on the destruction of the State of Israel and the death of as many Jews as possible.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sometimes justly accused of over-the-top rhetoric, that isn’t an issue here. He was in this case utterly validated when he noted “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas. They are both branches from the same poisonous tree of hatred.”  

Hamas’ tactics against Gazans belie their claims of being a resistance movement that would fire only at military targets, if it had the proper weaponry to do so.

So do their actions toward journalists, which are compellingly chilling as well; the Foreign Press Association noted as much as it condemned the threats and strong-arming imposed on those covering the conflict.

The Times of Israel quotes an Israeli official as saying, “We have no doubt that Hamas, through coercion and violence, limits the freedom of foreign journalists in Gaza,” adding, “Walking around Gaza with a camera and asking people what they think is not like walking around New York or London.  People are not free to say their true opinions…Hamas has indisputably used violence against reporters who have covered stories it doesn’t like. And it has emphatically limited reporters’ access to aspects of Hamas operations that would reflect to its detriment.”

If Hamas is capable of copying the ISIS modus operandi of ISIS with men in black  masks summarily murdering suspected “collaborators,” is it much of a stretch to imagine that they could use the same methods against journalists? Hardly.

It is perfectly acceptable for Israelis, Jews and the world to have significant sympathy toward those Palestinians who are dying, losing families or abandoning their property during Operation Protective Edge. It is not even remotely acceptable to justify the terrorism and murderous bullying of Hamas any more than it is to support ISIS. Both are cruel and evil, with no valid religious or moral content evident in their words or actions. And both are bent on destroying both Israel and any semblance of democracy in the Middle East.