The Newseum, a non-profit museum of news and journalism in Washington, DC, said it will “re-evaluate” its controversial decision to commemorate Hussam Salama and Mahmoud al-Kumi, two cameramen who worked for the Hamas-run Al-Aqsa TV in Gaza, after considerable outrage from leading Jewish organizations.
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“Serious questions have been raised as to whether two of the individuals included on our initial list of journalists who died covering the news this past year were truly journalists or whether they were engaged in terrorist activities,” according to a statement on the Newseum website.
The cameramen were to be commemorated as part of a memorial service on Monday for reporters who died or were killed in the pursuit of news over the past year.
Salama and al-Kumi were both killed in an Israeli airstrike during Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012. Both were reported to be Hamas operatives by the Palestinian news site Palestinian Information Center at the time of their deaths.
Al-Aqsa TV, which is financed and run by the Hamas terrorist group, according to the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is banned in many Western countries, including the U.S.
Leading Jewish organizations slammed the Newseum’s original decision to honor the Hamas cameramen.
“The Newseum board of directors should be ashamed of themselves for saluting two individuals who were integral to the propaganda machine of the Hamas terrorist organization,” said American Jewish Committee Executive Director David Harris in a statement. “We are astonished that the Newseum did not reconsider its stance after initial concerns were raised. What are they thinking, seeking to conflate authentic journalists and operatives for a murderous group banned by the U.S. and European Union?”
“It is a dark day when members of a terrorist organization advancing their agenda through murderous violence are honored as part of a tribute to journalists killed in the line of duty,” Anti-Defamation League National Director Abraham Foxman in a statement.
Eric Rozenman, Washington director of the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, wrote in a Washington Examiner op-ed that Newseum’s choice of honorees would “cast doubt over the Newseum’s role as a custodian of journalistic practice and memory.”
“It appears that no due diligence was done before selecting the terrorism- and dictator-linked individuals,” Rozenman wrote. “Al-Kumi and Salama’s Hamas employers, backed by Iran, seek to impose an Islamic theocracy on the Palestinian Arabs, destroy Israel and annihilate the Jewish people.”