A new study examining the Arabic social media postings of Al Jazeera correspondents demonstrates how some of the on-air personalities at the network praised Hamas’ actions in its terrorist campaign against Israel over the past month and even seemed to call for the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel.
The Middle East Media Research Institute examined numerous social media postings by network employees including those expressing praise for the launching of rockets at Israeli communities and the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers as well as support for Hamas’ goal of annihilating Israel.
“During this confrontation, the channel became a prominent propaganda mouthpiece of Hamas,” MEMRI observed. “It undertook to convey the movement's messages, and its coverage of the conflict was slanted and one-sided to the point that any speakers on the channel's live programs who were even slightly critical of Hamas were met with censure and reproach.”
For this, MEMRI reported, supporters of Hamas launched a campaign called "One Million Thanks to Al-Jazeera" to say thanks for the channel "leaning in favor of the resistance."
The network is owned by Qatar, a key supporter of Hamas, which provides the terrorist group with funds, moral support and safe haven for its political leader Khaled Mashal.
Ahmed Mansour, host of Al Jazeera's program "Without Borders," on July 9 praised Hamas firing rockets at Israeli communities and appeared to support the ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel. He wrote on Facebook, "Israel is stupefied and confounded by the rockets of the Palestinian resistance that struck deep in Israel and reached Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Haifa. ... If the resistance is provided with arms and allowed to deal with the cowardly, petrified and stunned Israel, then Israelis will either live in shelters or flee the country."
Reporter Ahmad Mansour shared a video on Twitter of Hamas’ late spiritual leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin predicting that Israel would disappear by 2027.
The same day, anchor Salma Al-Jamal quoted a Muslim cleric who once said that after the Arab regimes fall, Israel would too.
"Soon, Allah willing,” she wrote.
Anchor Jalal Chahda on July 15 painted the actions of Palestinian terrorist groups - known widely among Palestinians as the “resistance” - as “honorable.”
"The Israeli Iron Dome system is a paper tiger, weaker than a spider's web, a failure, and helpless against the rockets of the honorable resistance that defends the honor of the ummah [Islamic nation],” Chahda wrote.
Another Al Jazeera personality Ali Al-Zafiri, host of the show “In Depth,” added a hashtag to a July 12 tweet praising Hamas’ military wing.
"Al-Ja'bari bombs you from the grave," he wrote, adding the hashtag #Praise_Qassam.
Al Jazeera correspondent 'Amer Al-Kubaisi on July 9 used Twitter to praise the rockets, writing, "Hamas will not relinquish one single long range rocket. It developed them by itself and fired them at Haifa and Jerusalem. This is what terrifies Israeli intelligence. Being armed means being alive."
Al Jazeera Pakistan correspondent Ahmad Muwaffaq Zaidan on July 30 called on Allah to protect Hamas’ military wing, the 'Izz Al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades.
Besides praising the rockets, Al-Jazeera reporters and anchors expressed support for Hamas efforts to kill and kidnap Israeli soldiers.
Anchor Ahmed Mansour praised Hamas militants who tried to infiltrate Israel on July 17 via a tunnel, an effort that was subsequently repelled by the Israel Defense Forces dropping a bomb on them from above after they were discovered.
He wrote on Facebook that the feat "should be taught at the greatest military academies as one of the most outstanding resistance operations against large armies. It is an operation that surpasses every Hollywood film, in a reality that is stranger than fiction."
"The Al-Qassam Brigades and Palestinian resistance are recording the glory and heroism of the ummah,” he added.
Jalal Chahda, the anchor, expressed support in general for terrorist actions.
"In the past, I believed that armed resistance in occupied Palestine was one of the methods of liberation, and today I believe that armed resistance is the only method,” he tweeted.
One anchor was giddy at the news – later proven to be false – that Hamas had abducted an Israeli soldier in mid-July.
Anchor Salma Al-Jamal wrote on Facebook, "Allah Akbar, a new Gilad Shalit has been captured," referring to the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped in 2006 and held in Hamas captivity for five years.
"Allah Akbar and praise Allah for the capture of a Zionist soldier,” echoed another Al Jazeera anchor Khadija Benguenna.
One on-air personality encouraged viewers to follow one of Hamas’ Twitter accounts.
'Ali Al-Zafiri on July 18 wrote, "[This] is the new account of the Al-Qassam Brigades, the wing of your ummah – since Twitter closed their original account. They need you to support, follow, and share it. This is the least [we can do]."
Read the entire study posted on MEMRI’s website which includes images of the Arabic tweets and Facebook posts.