May 12, 2013 -- New York -- AJC called the Newseum's decision to honor two employees of Hamas a shocking assault on the memory of journalists who have died in conflict situations.
The non-profit museum in Washington, D.C., will commemorate Hussam Salama and Mahmoud al-Kumi, two cameramen who worked for Al-Aqsa TV in Hamas-ruled Gaza, at a Monday ceremony.
They, together with 82 genuine journalists, will be added to the museum’s permanent memorial.
“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 AJC Executive Director David Harris. “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?”
The U.S. government has designated both Hamas and its al-Aqsa television station terrorist organizations. Al-Aqsa regularly disseminates vile hatred of Israel and unadulterated anti-Semitism, glorifies terrorism, and promotes "martyrdom."
“If Newseum is true to its mission of ‘educating the public about the value of a free press in a free society,’ then it should acknowledge there is an awful lot of work to be done in Hamas-ruled Gaza before Al-Aqsa can be considered a legitimate media operation," Harris added. "Meanwhile, if Newseum opts to go forward with honoring Salama and al-Kumi, it will bring shame on itself for a shocking inability -- or unwillingness -- to distinguish between heroic journalists and brazen terrorists.”