Former Al Jazeera producer turned Snopes fact-checker Nur Ibrahim warned on Thursday that discussions of Hamas beheading Israeli babies should be taken with a grain of salt and that “people should be wary of claims that echo Islamophobic rhetoric.”
Ibrahim gave no rating to the claim that Hamas had beheaded babies, but under the subheading, taken from an IDF spokesman’s quote to CNN, “Infants Died. Does It Matter if They Were Beheaded or Not?,” Ibrahim answers yes. She writes, “When Biden made the claim, he called in the same statement for additional military support for Israel, aiding an army that has already carried out retaliatory attacks against civilians in Gaza—a region that faces a humanitarian crisis after relentless bombardment from Israel.”
At this point the reader is probably wondering why Ibrahim would appear to assume Biden or anybody else believes beheading babies would be a casus beli, but burning them would not. However, Ibrahim was just getting started, “People should be wary of claims that echo Islamophobic rhetoric, or statements that compare the violence in Kfar Aza to ‘ISIS-style’ killings — i.e., beheadings that have taken place in a different context and were committed by a different group. Such rumors that emphasize specific, unverified acts of brutality against infants and that attempt to connect them to patterns of violence carried out by unconnected Islamist groups have the potential to become dangerous propaganda.”
How in the world is being outraged at beheadings “Islamophobic”? And what “context” is Ibrahim referring to? Terrorist beheadings are terrorist beheadings; it really is that simple. Still, under another subheading, “From Where Did the ‘Beheaded Babies’ Rumor Originate,” Ibrahim goes after the Israeli media outlet i24News:
In the early hours of the rumor’s life, many news outlets cited reporting by the Israeli news channel i24News, which published a YouTube livestream titled, “Beheaded Babies and Women Found in Kfar Aza,” featuring correspondent Nicole Zedeck. In the video, Zedeck walked through an area with body bags, and, at one point stated, “One of the commanders here said at least 40 babies were killed — some of them, their heads cut off. Let us note here: In 2019 i24News was described by Israeli news outlet Haaretz as pushing narratives in favor of Netanyahu.”
Haaretz is a well-known left-wing outlet. As for Ibrahim, she then spends several paragraphs casting doubt on the alleged beheadings before concluding:
While we can confirm killings of innocent civilians in Kfar Aza and other parts of Israel at the hands of Hamas fighters, as of this writing we simply cannot confirm or deny that such beheadings occurred, given the IDF’s unwillingness to address our specific questions and the lack of substantiation from independent news organizations. At present, details are still emerging from communities affected in Israel, the death tolls are still being counted, and the manner of many deaths have not yet been confirmed. We will update this story once more information comes to light.
We also reached out to Israeli human-rights organization B’Tselem to ask whether its investigating the alleged beheadings. We’ll post updates when, or if, we receive them.
B’Tselem is another left-wing organization, but regardless, the hair splitting that seeks to discredit Israel and silence its supporters by crying Islamophobia by differentiating between different types of baby murder is appalling and no one should accept it.