Israel’s Haaretz yesterday revisited the story of the “40 beheaded babies,” allegedly executed by Hamas invaders on Oct. 7. The story, “Hamas Committed Documented Atrocities. But a Few False Stories Feed the Deniers,” opened with the explanation: “The extensive evidence of crimes against humanity committed by Hamas terrorists on Oct. 7 should not be contaminated by unverified stories disseminated by Israeli search and rescue groups” and others. A review of the ugly fraud unfortunately is timely, as it points to the willingness of the Biden administration to be conned by the Netanyahu gang.
The “beheaded babies” story became the central image promulgated Oct. 11-12, in the hours before Israel ordered 1.1 million Palestinians out of north Gaza and began indiscriminate killing of thousands of babies and children. It trumped any protest over Israel’s war crimes, even making it into the mouth of President Biden, with his Oct. 11 offering: “I never really thought that I would see and have confirmed pictures of terrorists beheading children.”
Further, even though the White House shortly afterwards issued a retraction, that Biden had actually neither seen photos nor received confirmation that Hamas beheaded babies, the damage was done. And Biden himself was so taken with the bizarre cover story that, after the White House denial, he invoked it two more times. At an Oct. 15 press conference, he somewhat confusedly said Hamas was “cutting babies’ heads off to burn….” And on Oct. 18, it was: “Children slaughtered. Babies slaughtered … beheadings, bodies burned alive.”
It started on Oct 10. The IDF had reporters tour Kibbutz Kfar Aza, three days after the Oct. 7 massacre. Nicole Zedeck of i24 News broadcast that day that IDF soldiers said they saw “babies, their heads cut off. That’s what they said.” Later that day she tweeted that the soldiers said 40 babies and children had died. (Eleven days later, she would apologize for her story.) A second reporter, Margot Haddad of the French news channel LCI, posted the next day on X that Israeli soldiers told her that babies had been beheaded. None of the other reporters (from CNN, Le Monde, etc.) on that Oct. 10 tour heard or saw anything like that. Apparently the IDF floated the beheading story to two selected reporters.
Eugene Doyle reported in Scoop that Haaretz “has published details of over 930 named dead from the October 7 attack.” He adds that, so far, no one “aged 0 to three years old has been publicly identified. Not one. Let alone a beheaded one. Let alone 40.”
On Oct. 11, the infamous IDF spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus broadcast on X that he could say “with relative confidence” that babies were beheaded, based on reports from eyewitnesses—though he actually misidentified the kibbutz involved. (The next day, Conricus would brief AIPAC in Washington, according to Times of Israel, that they needed to “stick with Israel as it attacks Hamas even when ‘the going gets ugly’ and ‘the scenes out of Gaza will be hard to stomach.’") On Oct. 13, the IDF’s North American Media Desk explicitly assured CNN and others that Conricus’s beheading story was accurate.