Hamas, Al-Jazeera, & One of the Worst James Bond Movies

The Israel Journal at NYU
5 min readDec 12, 2023

By Anton Riehle

Very 90s Pierce Brosnan and Michelle Yeoh (Photo: Tomorrow Never Dies)

We are now over two months into the intense, bloody Israel-Hamas war that has seen the deaths of thousands of civilians on both sides and an unprecedented IDF ground assault into the Gaza Strip with the stated intent of completely removing Hamas. Throughout, there have been various disputes over information and misinformation, with X, formerly known as Twitter, becoming the most up-to-date source of news. Doubt has been cast over the validity of social media news throughout the COVID crisis, the 2016 and 2020 U.S. presidential elections, and countless other world events. This time, however, the mainstream news outlets have been on the receiving end of a sizable amount of scrutiny.

A few weeks ago, I was having trouble sleeping and in my hopelessness, decided to watch a movie. I saw that Amazon Prime had all of the James Bond films available this month and decided that as an avid 007 fan, I should watch one of the few I hadn’t seen yet from my absolute least favorite Bond era, namely the Brosnan era (don’t you dare argue this with me.) 1997’s Tomorrow Never Dies begins when the British HMS Devonshire is found in Chinese territorial waters (Houthis, anyone?). Long story short, the Devonshire was torpedoed, along with a Chinese fighter jet by a stealth boat owned by a wealthy media mogul looking to create global conflict with the intention of raising viewership on his channels. The draw of his newspaper, aptly named “Tomorrow,” is that it reports on major global events before other outlets are even aware of them.

One of Hamas’ leaders, Ismail Haniyeh (Photo: Rudaw)

Fast forward 26 years to a world where the news cycle is faster than the human brain’s processing speed. Videos are released by the second and given captions, retweeted, and reposted, with minimal attention paid to the truth. Recently, The New York Times published an article blaming the Israeli Air Force for bombing a Gazan hospital and killing over 500. Hours later, a correction was issued, explaining that it is possible that a misfired rocket from Palestinian Islamic Jihad had hit the hospital. This assertion was backed up by the CIA, French and Canadian intelligence services, and the British military. The following day, photographs surfaced, showing that it is possible that far fewer than 500 were killed and that the rocket had most likely only struck the parking lot outside the hospital. Regardless, the pro-Israel commentators blamed Islamic Jihad while the pro-Palestine ones blamed Israel. The hospital blast playbook was then reused for an explosion at a major north-south highway on the Gazan coast. The flow of misinformation has also served to question evidence presented regarding the claims of rape committed by Hamas members on October 7.

The news report first cited to cast scrutiny upon Palestinian claims of an Israeli airstrike hitting the hospital was an Al-Jazeera Arabic report that seemed to show a rocket following a boomerang-like path in the Gaza Strip. Al-Jazeera, it should be noted, is a news outlet owned by the government of Qatar. Qatar, not coincidentally, is where Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, along with other top cadres of the Islamist organization live. It is also home to Hamas’s political bureau. The small gulf state continues to be a chief intermediary between Hamas, Israel, and the United States. In the Israel-Hamas war of May 2021, Qatar was instrumental in negotiating the ceasefire. They also orchestrated the seven-day ceasefire that saw the release of 105 Israeli, Thai and Filipino hostages from Hamas captivity and 240 Palestinians from Israeli prisons. As such, the international news channel must answer to the agenda of its government. Al-Jazeera runs various U.S.- and U.K.- based talk shows and newscasts in English, along with a youth-oriented social media show, AJ+ that is published on TikTok (owned by the Chinese government). Recently, Al-Jazeera English published a video titled “What is Hamas,” in which the narrator describes Hamas’s goals to be entirely political, and not at all motivated by antisemitism, only briefly mentioning that they follow an “Islamic framework.”

United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Emir of Qatar Sheikh Tamim ibn Hamad Al-Thani (Photo: Jacquelyn Martin / POOL / AFP)

Al-Jazeera has been instrumental in promoting anti-Israel views throughout the war, consistently blaming Israel for the hospital blast, casting doubt upon the atrocities committed during Simchat Torah massacre, and promoting Hamas talking points. Paradoxically, being based in Qatar, Al-Jazeera has quick access to Hamas spokespersons, with anti-Israel professor and Al-Jazeera host Marc Lamont Hill conducting an interview with a senior Hamas official in the early days of the war.

In Tomorrow Never Dies, the villain, Eliot Carver, is a comically evil media mogul who seeks to manipulate global events to expand his own empire. At the climax, when he faces off against Bond and Chinese secret agent/Bond’s love interest, Wai Lin, played by Michelle Yeoh, Carver proclaims that “The difference between insanity and genius is measured only in success”. Ultimately, Carver’s stealth boat is blown up by a heroic 007 right when China and the United Kingdom are at the brink of nuclear war, thus bringing relative peace between the east and west (Ah, 1997, how we miss you now). Today, Qatari-controlled media brings a sanitized version of murderous Islamofascism to young people across Europe, Britain, and North America, cloaked in the language of ‘decolonization’ and ostensibly progressive social justice jargon. As such, if the difference between genius and insanity is measured in success, then Hamas and its aligned jihadist factions must be geniuses.

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The Israel Journal at NYU

The Israel Journal at NYU is an explanatory journal dedicated to clearing up the conversation around Israel.