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Newseum- Include the Palestinian Journalists

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To Jonathan Thompson, Manager of Media Relations at the Newseum,

The Newseum recently removed two Palestinian journalists, Mahmoud al-Kumi and Hussam Salama, from its annual event honoring reporters killed in the line of duty. Although the journalists were killed by Israeli F-16s during Israel's assault on Gaza last November, the Anti-Defamation League and the AJC have successfully bullied the Newseum into refusing to honor the fallen reporters at their event. While the Newseum’s mission is to “educate the public about the value of a free press in a free society,” it has chosen to censor itself in the face of pressure from the agents of the whitewashing and hasbara (Hebrew for propaganda) that propagate the occupation of Palestine and the violation of Palestinians’ basic human rights.

We demand that you include the Palestinian journalists in your memorial event, as they meet the requirements initially set forth by the Newseum. The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers all consider these men journalists killed in the line duty. A report from Human Rights Watch clearly describes the circumstance of their murders:

"On November 20, the [Israeli army] targeted a car on a Gaza City street with two cameramen from al-Aqsa TV, Mahmoud al-Kumi, and Hussam Salama, killing them both. The deputy head of al-Aqsa TV, which is the official television station of the Hamas government in Gaza, told Human Rights Watch that al-Kumi and Salama were cameramen covering the conflict and were returning from filming in al-Shifa Hospital in a car marked “TV.” The two men’s families, interviewed separately, said the men were neither participating in the fighting nor members of any armed group. Human Rights Watch found no evidence, including during visits to the men’s homes, to contradict that claim."

Human Rights Watch also said that the official justifications Israel provided for targeting the journalists amounted to “evidence of war crimes,” because the men are not “Hamas fighters or otherwise directly participating in the hostilities,” and therefore cannot be legally attacked.

It is imperative that the Newseum does not allow the coercive pressure of the Zionist lobbies to undermine its integrity as an institution that heralds the necessity of journalistic integrity and free speech. We ask that you recognize the names of the two Palestinian journalists who were murdered in the line of duty on your memorial list and honor their diligence in fulfilling their mission as journalists.

Sincerely,
The Undersigned

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