Stop Calling Hamas Terrorists ‘Militants’ or ‘Commanders of Military Operations’
November 19, 2012

November 19, 2012
Contact: Morton A. Klein
Phone: 212-481-1500


The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) has criticized media outlets using the term ‘militants’ to describe members of the genocidal Hamas and other terrorist organizations in Gaza that are firing rockets into Israel. It has also called for the media to desist from referring to Hamas leaders who direct attacks upon Israel as ‘military commanders.’


The ZOA notes that this misleading language, which whitewashes terrorists, continues to be used in much reportage by various media outlets. For example, today, the Washington Post stated that “Hamas militants continued to lob rockets into Israel,” while the New York Times reported that “Palestinian militants had fired 25 rockets into southern Israel, one of them striking a house.” In fact, Hamas is the U.S.- and E.U.-recognized terrorist organization that calls in its Charter for the destruction of Israel (Article 15) and the murder of Jews (Article 7) and which has murdered hundreds of Israelis in acts of suicide bombings.


ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “People who deliberately murder and maim civilians are terrorists – not militants. Militants are strong activists, not murderers.


“Using inappropriate terms like ‘militants’ sanitizes the terrorists and taints those who fight them. It also tends to even legitimize those who murder men, women and even children. In the case of Hamas, we are speaking of an organization that, even much of the world, including the U.S. and European governments, list as a terrorist group. To call Hamas and other such groups ‘terrorists’ is objective and factual and labels them properly.


“News agencies using the term ‘militants’ sometimes say they are being objective and claim that ‘terrorists’ is too emotive. Actually ‘terrorists’ precisely describes the people in question. The fact that we might have a visceral reaction to the fact of terrorism does not disqualify the use of the right term to describe it.


“The ZOA urges the media to stop referring to murderers and terrorists as ‘militants’ and other such whitewashing terms which avoid telling us the truth of who and what these people really are.”

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