How an Israeli attack in Gaza led to the firing of an AP reporter

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The remains of Jawad Mahdi’s al-Jalaa building in Gaza City.  (photo: Yasser Abu Wazna / Insider)
Baseless claims that US journalists helped launder about the Associated Press and Hamas prompted a right-wing smear campaign

By Matthew Petti  | Responsible Statecraft | May 21, 2021

Recent college graduate Emily Wilder was fired from the Associated Press on Thursday after right-wing activists dug up her previous involvement in Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, two pro-Palestinian campus organizations.

It started with an Israeli bomb smashing into the Associated Press offices in Gaza. It ended with an AP journalist fired for her pro-Palestinian activism while she was a college student.

The Israeli military has justified its May 15 attack on al-Jalaa Tower — which hosted numerous foreign press bureaus in Gaza — by claiming that the Palestinian militant group Hamas had offices in the building. The Associated Press has denied that claim, and Israel has not publicly provided evidence to support its side of the story.

But right-wing U.S. media and a disgruntled former AP employee have attempted to drum up justification for the airstrike by painting the American news agency as a partisan, pro-Hamas source. Their claims have been given airtime by mainstream journalists, putting the AP — rather than the foreign military that bombed it — on the defensive.

The campaign against AP finally met with serious pushback this week. Recent college graduate Emily Wilder was fired from the Associated Press on Thursday after right-wing activists dug up her previous involvement in Students for Justice in Palestine and Jewish Voice for Peace, two pro-Palestinian campus organizations.

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