New York Times Launches Investigation Into Author Of Piece Accusing Hamas Of Sexual Violence

The New York Times, widely accredited as the paper of record in the English-speaking world, is facing criticism over its coverage of sexual violence during the October 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel and has launched an internal investigation into Israeli reporter Anat Schwartz, author of the controversial piece that accused Hamas of deploying rape as a weapon during the October 7 attacks.

New York Times Launches Investigation Into Author Of Piece Accusing Hamas Of Sexual Violence

The New York Times has launched an internal investigation of freelance Israeli reporter Anat Schwartz over her social media posts calling for genocide in Palestine. Schwartz co-authored the controversial Times news feature “Screams Without Words’’ How Hamas Weaponized Sexual Violence on Oct. 7’, which accused Hamas soldiers of committing widespread sexual violence in the October 7 attack.

Schwartz had liked multiple posts on X (formerly Twitter) calling for Gaza to be “turned into a slaughterhouse,” and calling for Israel to “violate every norm on the path to victory.”

Many of the claims in the December 28 piece have been debunked, including denials by the family of the story’s central victim Gal Abdush – referred to as the ‘woman in the black dress.’ The Times’ decision to publish the piece has been criticized for parroting Israeli hasbara and government propaganda.

“We are aware that a freelance journalist in Israel who has worked with The Times has ‘liked’ several social media posts. Those ‘likes’ are unacceptable violations of our company policy. We are currently reviewing the matter,” New York Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha said in a statement.

Anat Schwartz, who is an Israeli filmmaker, has no apparent journalistic background, especially for such a sensitive story during wartime. The decision to hire an inexperienced freelancer defies the expectation of selecting experienced reporters from the newspaper's own staff.

Independent researchers have scrutinized Schwartz's online activities, revealing her past endorsement of inflammatory content. Liked posts, including those perpetuating the "40 beheaded baby" hoax and advocating for turning Gaza into a "slaughterhouse," have raised concerns about her objectivity and alignment with pro-Israel and Zionist propaganda mouthpieces. Revelations about her service in Israeli Military Intelligence add another layer of suspicion to the questions surrounding her journalistic integrity.

Another significant conflict of interest was the disclosure that one of Schwartz's co-authors, Adam Sella, is her nephew through marriage, exacerbating ethical concerns about objectivity and impartiality in the reporting process of a story that became the lynchpin of claims about Hamas resorting to widespread sexual violence. The Times has come under fire for commissioning Schwartz for this story, and observers have contrasted this decision with the paper’s decision to fire freelance Palestinian photographer Hosan Salam in 2022.

The New York Times imposes strict rules on its reporters to maintain objectivity, including avoiding demonstrations, refraining from wearing campaign buttons, and refraining from expressing opinions on social media. The decision to hire Schwartz, coupled with her online history, represents a clear violation of the Times' own guidelines.

The paper is under pressure from activists to publicly acknowledge and apologize for this lapse in adherence to its own ethical standards.