British TV channel glorified killer of Eli Kay as a ‘martyr’

Al-Hiwar may have broken the law by describing terrorists as 'shahids'


A British television channel has been accused of breaching broadcasting rules and may have broken the law by glorifying the terrorist who murdered Eli Kay in Jerusalem last week.

Arabic-language station Al-Hiwar described Hamas gunman Fadi Abu Shukhedem as a “shahid” — or martyr — in its report on his attack in the Old City.

He left 26-year-old tour guide Kay with fatal injuries and wounded four other people before he was shot dead.

On the day of the attack, Sunday 21 November, a caption on the London-based channel reported: “A Palestinian’s martyrdom, an ‘Israeli’ dead and others wounded from a shooting attack in occupied Jerusalem.”

Speaking on the channel, an Al-Hiwar presenter described Shukhedem, a member of the political wing of Hamas, as a “martyr”.

He said that after “yesterday’s shooting operation near Chain Gate in the Old City” in which an “Israeli settler” had been killed by a “martyr” there was a concern Jerusalem could “erupt”, translations provided to the JC by media monitoring group CAMERA reveal.

This is the only the latest in a series of incidents in which the channel has called terrorists “shahids”. Al-Hiwar has also justified the murder of Israeli civilians as “legitimate resistance”.

UK broadcasting watchdog Ofcom’s code prohibits “material promoting or encouraging engagement in terrorism”.

The 2006 Terrorism Act prohibits the “glorification” of murderous attacks such as that carried out by Shukhedem.

In March, Al-Hiwar broadcasted an interview with the lawyer of Ahlam Tamimi, a Jordanian woman convicted by an Israeli court for her role assisting in the suicide bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem in 2001, in which 15 civilians were killed. The dead included a pregnant woman and seven children.

Ms Tamimi’s lawyer said: “We know that a Palestinian who is found inside Palestine may defend his rights by all means.”

Al-Hiwar’s presenter agreed, claiming Ms Tamimi’s criminal actions were “legitimate resistance according to international law”.

In March 2019, Al-Hiwar reported on Omar Abu Laila, who stabbed to death an IDF soldier before seizing his gun and killing Achiad Ettinger, a rabbi and father of 12, calling the killer a “martyr”.

In November that year, the station described Bahaa Abu al-Atta, an Islamic Jihad commander, as a “martyr” after he was killed in an Israeli airstrike.

In February 2018, Al-Hiwar founding editor Azzam Tamimi and several talk show guests discussed Ahmad Jarrar, who killed an Israeli civilian, Raziel Shevach, in a drive-by attack.

Mr Tamimi referred to “the phenomenon of Ahmad Jarrar, may Allah have mercy on him”, describing the killer as “a young martyr, son of a martyr”.

He continued: “The issue here is that the Zionists, and those who support them, would like to market this to the world as terrorism…

“He who dies as he resists to the Zionist project, this is the highest degree of martyrdom in people’s eyes, it is the true honorary badge.”

Caroline Turner, director of UK Lawyers for Israel, told the JC that, in her opinion, calling a terrorist a ‘martyr’ in a broadcast “is likely to be considered to be glorifying terrorism”, contravening the 2006 Terrorism Act.

Al-Hiwar was founded in 2006. Founding editor Mr Tamimi said in 2008 on Iran’s Press TV that once Hamas demanded the “end” of Israel, he “immediately became a supporter of Hamas.”

He added: “I think Hamas is the future for my people.”

In 2010, he told an audience at SOAS: “You shouldn’t be afraid of being labelled extreme, radical or terrorist. If fighting for your home land is terrorism, I take pride in being a terrorist.

“The Koran tells me if I die for my homeland I’m a martyr and I long to be a martyr.”

A spokesperson for the Campaign Against Antisemitism told the JC they would be referring Al-Hiwar to the police.

The JC approached Al-Hiwar for comment.

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