The Fog of War & Foggy Thinking: the Jerusalem Post on GazaPosted: June 5, 2010
I usually try to keep things local here at Media Darlings, but I want to make a special exception for the war of words triggered by the Israeli Defence Force’s raid on a humanitarian convoy this week.
This is not a political blog, so let me just say this in advance as a reporter: There was a well-publicised humanitarian aid convoy whose members included European legislators, former US diplomats, an international group of journalists and at one point a Holocaust survivor. The Shayetet went in with guns, nine people died, thirty were injured and now the IDF won’t return the journalists’ footage of what happened. Any authority which withholds evidence of a fatal incident is going to look incredibly suspect, IDF or otherwise.
Much of the Israeli hasbara, or PR offensive, has been absurd (the group I described above were supposedly arms smugglers and/or mercenaries) and often contradictory (said arms smugglers/mercenaries were attacking with kitchen knives rather than guns). But only one reporter I’ve seen so far has managed to report an absurdity as fact and then contradict it in the same article. Congratulations, Ron Friedman of the Jerusalem Post:
In a statement to reporters at the port on Tuesday, Col. Moshe Levi, commander of the IDF’s Gaza Strip Coordination and Liaison Administration, said that none of the equipment found on board the three cargo ships was in shortage in Gaza.
“We have been working non-stop for the last 24 hours, examining the cargo holds of the three large cargo ships, and I can say with great assurance that none of the equipment on board is needed in Gaza. The equipment that we found is all equipment that we have regularly allowed into the Strip over the past year,” Levi said.
“This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the whole premise of the voyage was for propaganda and provocation and not for humanitarian purposes.”
Four short paragraphs later:
The soldiers also found construction equipment, including sacks of concrete and metal rods. Levi said that Israel did not allow those products to enter the Gaza Strip for fear that they would be used to build fortifications for terrorists and to make weapons.
Guys, listen: there are two sides to every story, sure, but you’re only supposed to have one each.