After relegating to page A16 the stabbing slaughter of five members of a family of Israeli settlers on March 12 at the hands of Palestinians, the New York Times mustered front-page sympathy for Vittorio Arrigoni, a pro-Palestinian activist murdered in Gaza by a fringe Islamic group. Fares Akram and Isabel Kershner reported from Gaza for Saturday’s front page, “Killing of Pro-Palestinian Activist In Gaza Deals a Blow to Hamas.”
For Vittorio Arrigoni, an Italian pro-Palestinian activist who friends said fought peacefully for justice, the end was as violent as it was incongruous.
Police officers from Hamas, the Islamic militant group that rules Gaza, found his body in a house in Gaza City that was empty of furniture, except for the mattress on which the body was lying, according to witnesses. The doctor who performed the autopsy said Mr. Arrigoni’s killers had used a plastic cord to strangle him.
And after years of championing the Palestinian cause, the 36-year-old Mr. Arrigoni apparently died at the hands of a fringe group of Palestinians, inspired by Al Qaeda, that was seeking the release of a local Islamist leader.
Mr. Arrigoni had dedicated his life to people he saw as oppressed, beginning his work as an activist right out of college and in recent years writing a blog and a book from Gaza. He was well known in Gaza City for his willingness to take chances to help make his case for the Palestinians.
CAMERA has a less sympathetic view. Alex Safian wrote:
Vittorio Arrigoni was, in plain terms, a terror tourist. He wandered the world looking for radical causes that would give his life meaning, eventually hooked up with the like-minded and pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, and found his calling in supporting not just Palestinians, but specifically the extremist terrorists of Hamas. Inevitability he also adopted an extremely anti-Israel line, writing in his blog numerous times that Israel is “apartheid” and accusing it of “using weapons banned by international treaties” and passing “relentlessly racist laws.”
No surprise then that his murder in Gaza, at the hands of a terror group even more radical than Hamas, was the occasion for hagiography in the New York Times.
Supporting Hamas is fighting peacefully for justice? A few days ago, on April 7, Hamas fired a highly advanced and deadly anti-tank missile (a Russian supplied Kornet) at an Israeli school bus – a clearly marked yellow schoolbus – injuring the bus driver and gravely wounding the only passenger, 16-year-old Daniel Viflic.
Hamas’s young victim died of his wounds on Sunday, as the Times reported in passing in a larger article on arrests being made in the killings of the settler family. Not only has Viflic not received a sympathetic profile in the Times, a nytimes.com search shows that Sunday’s article was the first time his name had even been has mentioned by the Times, either in print or online.