Thursday, December 22, 2011

Financial Times refuses to correct Hamas claim

The Financial Times wrote earlier this week:

The Islamist Hamas movement celebrated its 24th anniversary last week, with a mass rally in Gaza City that carried a clear and defiant message. “Armed resistance is the way, and it is Hamas’s strategic choice to liberate Palestine,” declared Ismail Haniyeh, the movement’s leader in Gaza.

The same day, as if to remind the world of its violent heritage, the military wing published a list of its bloody achievements since 1987. Among other boasts, it claimed to have killed 1,365 Israeli soldiers, fired 11,093 rockets and mortars at Israel, and carried out 87 suicide bombings.
Honest Reporting called them out on the claim that Hamas had killed 1,365 Israeli soldiers - when in fact most of the dead are civilian,and obviously targeted as civilians - but the Financial Times refused to issue the correction:

thank your for your email, which I followed up with Tobias Buck , our Jerusalem bureau chief, and we don’t feel a correction is warranted. The column clearly attributes its claims to Hamas in Gaza. The statement was carried on the official Qassam Brigades website and referred to “1385 Zionist soldiers”. We and all other outlets tend to translate “Zionist” into “Israeli”, since that is what they mean. Hamas was clearly not talking about civilians.

Honest Reporting correctly notes that since they didn't quote "Zionist" accurately it is disingenuous for them to quote "soldiers" without explanation.

But there is another small point that needs to be emphasized.

The English-language Qassam website did say that Hamas killed 1365 "Zionist soldiers." But at least one Hamas press release in Arabic simply said "Zionists."

From the Hamas-run Palestine Times:

The Information Office of the Qassam Brigades, military wing of Hamas, published today the official statistics on the number of martyrs and wounded, and the jihad operations carried out since the start of the Hamas movement, which started on this day December 14 twenty-four years ago. The Qassam Brigades said in a statement obtained by "Palestine Today." It states: "1848 martyrs, while killing 1365 Zionists and wounding 6411 others." The battalions confirmed they have been carried out 1117 the jihad operations, including 87 martyrdom operations, adding that "it bombed Zionist targets and settlements with 11,093 rockets and mortars." The Al-Qassam Brigades promised, in memory of the people, to start to move forward in the way of Jihad and resistance until the liberation of Palestine.

The Arabic al-Qassam website does say "soldiers" though, so I don't know if Palestine Today received a different copy or if they edited it to mean what everyone knows it means - except readers of the Financial Times.

(h/t Honest Reporting)