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Israeli strikes killed 7 humanitarian workers with World Central Kitchen. Right-wing media responded by attacking founder José Andrés.

Conservative media figures have accused the WCK founder of “blood libel” and called him “self-aggrandizing,” a "swamp favorite,” and a “political radical”

Following the deadly April 1 attacks by Israel on a World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid convoy in Gaza, right-wing media have attacked WCK founder José Andrés for his response. Some figures have accused him of “blood libel” and even suggested that his “attention-seeking” behavior led to the strikes, which killed seven of the group’s aid workers.

  • Following the attacks on the aid convoy, which multiple outlets say seem to be “precision strikes,” Andrés said Israel was engaging in “war against humanity itself”

    • Seven workers in a WCK humanitarian aid convoy were killed by strikes launched by the Israel Defense Forces while “traveling in a deconflicted zone” in Gaza. [World Central Kitchen, 4/2/24]
    • Though Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed the attacks were an “unintended strike,” an independent analysis from CNN determined the devastation was consistent with “multiple precision strikes.” [CNN, 4/3/24; The Associated Press, 4/3/24]
    • Investigative news site Bellingcat also analyzed the attack and reported that it has the “hallmarks” of a “precision strike.” [Bellingcat, 4/2/24] 
    • Following the attack, Andrés stated in an interview with CBS that what happened was “unforgivable.” Andrés referred to the ongoing crisis in Gaza as “six months of targeting anything that moves,” arguing the conflict now “seems it’s a war against humanity itself.” In an interview with Reuters, Andrés clarified about the attacks, “Obviously, this was … targeted,” adding: “We could argue that the first one, let's say, was a mistake. The second? The third?” [CBS, 4/7/24; The Guardian, 4/7/24]
  • Andres’ reaction echoed international condemnation of the attacks

    • The strikes were condemned by officials from multiple nations, including the United Kingdom, Australia, Egypt, and Poland, as well as by the pope. Leaders from humanitarian organizations, including the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization, American Near East Refugee Aid, and Doctors Without Borders, also condemned the attacks, with ANERA pausing its own humanitarian operations due to what it called “a clear violation of the International Court of Justice’s provisions.” [Al Jazeera, 4/2/24, 4/3/24; ANERA, 4/2/24; Reuters, 4/4/24]
    • President Joe Biden said he was “outraged and heartbroken by the deaths of seven humanitarian workers” in a statement issued the day after the attacks, stating that “Israel has also not done enough to protect civilians.” Biden, who has faced criticism from both voters and allies within the Democratic Party for his continued support for Israel’s war, has since labeled Israel’s conduct as a “mistake.” Though the administration has not shifted policy, a CNN report noted that the White House statement following the strikes “included some of the most fiery and blunt language from the president since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October.” [The White House, 4/2/24; The Washington Post, 4/5/24; NBC News, 4/9/24; CNN, 4/3/24]
    • The IDF “dismissed two officers and reprimanded three others” following an internal investigation, which claimed the strikes were “a grave mistake stemming from a serious failure due to a mistaken identification, errors in decision-making, and an attack contrary to the Standard Operating Procedures."  [CBS News, 4/5/24; Vox, 4/3/24]
  • Right-wing media have accused Andres of “blood libel” and called him an anti-Israel “radical”

    • Daily Wire host Ben Shapiro accused Andrés of “blood libel.” Shapiro posted, “World Central Kitchen does good work, but this is a blood libel unsupportable by logic or evidence.” [Twitter/X, 4/3/24]
    • Shapiro also called Andrés “the singular force behind pushing the Biden administration into effectively undermining Israel's military effort to extirpate a terrorist group that is currently holding over a hundred hostages, including five Americans.” He suggested accusing Israel of “a war against humanity itself” was “an incredibly vicious proposition.” [The Daily Wire, The Ben Shapiro Show, 4/8/24]
    • The Federalist’s David Harsanyi also accused Andrés of “blood libel,” calling his plea in The New York Times to address starvation in Gaza a “self-aggrandizing essay.” Harsanyi wrote, “Many Democrats have taken to cynically spreading this blood libel to help Joe Biden mollify the (un-mollifiable) pro-Hamas faction within the Democrat Party.” [The Federalist, 4/4/24]
    • In reference to Andrés’ CBS interview, Commentary Magazine’s John Podhoretz said that he can “go fuck himself with this disgusting blood libel.” [Twitter/X, 4/3/24]
    • Newsmax host Greg Kelly called Andrés a “swamp favorite” and claimed his “attitude and his attention-seeking” may have helped lead to the deaths of the WCK workers. Kelly also said, “It looks like this organization is in way over its head and, well, maybe it’s time for it to go away.” [Newsmax, Greg Kelly Reports, 4/8/24
    • Kelly further attacked Andrés on the April 9 edition of Greg Kelly Reports, claiming that he’s “not that nice — yelling and screaming at people all over the place.” Kelly also said that while the WCK is an “interesting concept,” it “needs to be disbanded immediately.” [Newsmax, Greg Kelly Reports, 4/10/24]
    • In a Breitbart piece titled “Celebrity chef José Andrés, looking for answers, returns to anti-Israel cliches,” Joel Pollak said Andrés may have been pressured by “radical anti-Israel activists.” Pollak also argued that there was “no basis for any of his accusations.” [Breitbart, 4/3/24]
    • In a piece for The Washington Free Beacon, American Enterprise Institute’s Matthew Continetti attacked Andrés for calling for a ceasefire, asking, “Who does Andrés think he is … ? … He's a gourmand who serves traif [non-kosher food].” [The Washington Free Beacon, 4/4/24]
    • Newsmax host Chris Plante chastised Andrés for “serving gourmet meals to the terrorists.” Plante continued: “Well, why aren't you inside Russia feeding the Russian troops that are attacking Ukraine? You know, they're the bad guys in this and they're in there saying, ‘Oh, we're so great. We're feeding Hamas because they need food.’” [Newsmax, Chris Plante: The Right Squad, 4/3/24]