The recent spate of Hamas op-eds in mainstream newspapers, including the Washington Post, New York Times and LA Times, rightly elicited many protests against giving free propaganda to terrorists. Your correspondence with the LA Times paid off as the paper published two responses to Mousa Abu Marzouk's recent piece.
Comedy writer Jeff Astrof offered his own unique take:
The piece, "Hamas' stand," written by Hamas politico Mousa Abu Marzook, contains all the elements of a good comedy. First, the premise: A terrorist organization violently opposed to Western culture uses the media of one of its sworn enemies - in May, a top Hamas official called for death to all Americans - to try to explain itself to the same Americans it wishes to kill! Move over Oscar and Felix, we have Mousa and Uncle Sam.
Offering a more serious tone, Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper from the Simon Wiesenthal Center were also given op-ed space:
Let's be clear: This issue is not about giving ink to Hamas' views. Their statements and actions deserve real-time coverage, just the way the statements and actions of Hitler and Stalin received coverage by the most prestigious newspapers in the world's most important democracy. But such people do not deserve the status of a sagely byline, because that destroys the distinction between honorable men and women bound by basic principles of humanity and the despots and terrorists eager to destroy those values.
If the criteria is simply because "it is an important story," then would the editors have welcomed articles by Auschwitz's Dr. Josef Mengele justifying his gruesome medical experiments, or by the Virginia Tech killer explaining why he committed mass murder? Of course, newspapers have the right and responsibility to inform their readers about dictators and purveyors of terror. But they don't have the right to bestow editorial credibility on those bent on genocide.
Despite these very relevant arguments, the Washington Post has, once again given a soapbox to terror. In a religious issues section, Sheik Muhammed Hussein Fadlallah gets the opportunity to spin jihad as "no different than any human and civilized concept of self-defense."
Fadlallah is one of Hezbollah's senior "spiritual leaders" and in the 80s , was the organization's most prominent spokesman. The Washington Post/Newsweek describes him as "the leading Shi'ite Muslim Intellectual in Lebanon."
The Counterterrorism Blog points out that Fadlallah is on the US Treasury Department's Specifically Designated Nationals list. According to Newsweek, in 1983, US officials accused Fadlallah of issuing a religious ruling condoning a suicide attack on US barracks that killed 241 Marines, soldiers and sailors.
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