Media Distortions, Errors and Lies: Villifying Israel — Bryan Fischer

By Bryan Fischer

What follows is an AP story about the latest seizure of a so-called humanitarian vessel trying to run the Israeli blockade of Gaza. As is typical with the out-of-the-mainstream media, it is rife with distortions, errors and flat-out lies. Commentary interspersed in bold.

It cannot be repeated too often that Israel is 100% in the right in this controversy. Israel is acting with self-restraint, humanitarian concern for Gazans, and an altogether morally correct determination to protect the security of its own people.

Israeli naval commandos seize Gaza-bound aid shipJun 5 07:49 AM US/Eastern
Associated Press Writer

JERUSALEM (AP) – Israeli forces seized a Gaza-bound aid vessel swiftly and without meeting resistance on Saturday, preventing it from breaking a naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory days after a similar effort turned bloody.

Hmm. Maybe the lack of “resistance” explains why nobody died. This is an implicit recognition on the AP’s behalf that it was resistance from agitators on the Turkish boat that precipitated the violence that led to the “deadly confrontation” referred to in the next paragraph.

Israel has faced mounting international pressure to lift the blockade since Monday’s deadly confrontation aboard a Turkish aid vessel headed for Gaza. But it stood by the embargo—which it says is needed to prevent the Islamic militant group from getting weapons—even as the Obama administration called the current restrictions “unsustainable.”

Note the journalistic sleight of hand here. With a note of disdain, the AP writes that Israel “says” it needs the blockade. But in point of fact, it does need the blockade. Since Israel forcibly removed Israeli settlers from Gaza in 2007, sites in  Gaza have been used to rain down almost 10,000 missiles on Israel, threatening innocent Israeli families. The AP omits any mention of the national security implications of Israel allowing  ships unimpeded access to ports in Gaza.

The 1,200-ton Rachel Corrie, which was carrying 11 pro-Palestinian activists, nine crew and hundreds of tons of aid, was intercepted in international waters, about 20 miles (30 kilometers) from Gaza’s shore and was being escorted to the nearby Israeli port of Ashdod, the military said.

Military spokeswoman Lt. Col. Avital Leibovich said Saturday’s takeover took just minutes, and the ship’s captain had gathered the passengers in one area of the vessel, presumably to avoid violence.

Ahh, so if the agitators “avoid violence,” it is not visited upon them. This is an unwitting acknowledgment on the AP’s part that the IDF troops do not initiate violent encounters, and only responded with deadly force earlier in the week when it was necessary for their own survival.

She said commandos clambered onto the boat by sea, instead of descending from helicopters as occurred on Monday when nine activists were killed.

The AP omits the salient fact that IDF soldiers were assaulted one by one as they rappelled down from the IDF helicopter. They refused to fire until it became necessary for the purposes of self-defense. The confrontation was engineered by the jihadists on board the ship. The responsibility for the shed blood lies with the terrorist sympathizers who provoked this incident, not with the IDF.

Communications to the Rachel Corrie had been cut earlier in the day, so satellite phones weren’t operating during the takeover and activists weren’t reachable. Israeli warships had tailed the boat since early morning, determined not to let it reach Gaza despite the international outrage over the earlier violence.

The AP keeps using the phrase “international outrage” as if Israel must surrender its right to self-protection if enough of its enemies insist on it.

Greta Berlin, a spokeswoman for the Free Gaza group that organized the trip, described the takeover as “another outrage to add to the nine murdered” and denied Israeli claims that troops had been invited aboard. Berlin spoke from the group’s office in Cyprus.

The Rachel Corrie, whose passenger list included Nobel peace laureate Mairead Corrigan, had hoped to breach a 3-year-old blockade that has plunged Gaza’s 1.5 million residents deeper into poverty. But activists on board the Irish boat had insisted they would not resist if Israeli soldiers tried to take over their vessel.

The AP omits the fact that Israel has seen to it that 250,000 tons of relief supplies has made it into Gaza. And Israel offered to ship the humanitarian supplies on board these ships after inspecting the cargo to make sure it did not contain weapons. Israel is not – I repeat not – stopping the flow of relief supplies into Gaza. It’s stopping the flow of weapons designed for use against innocent Israelis civilians.

The AP also fails to mention that any poverty in Gaza is entirely self-inflicted. When Israel left in 2007, they left behind – at considerable expense – 14 greenhouses for Gazans to use to develop agriculture and be able to feed themselves. The greenhouses were destroyed in a matter of hours by Gazans who stripped them of everything they could cart away for their personal use. Gazan authorities did nothing to stop them. Perhaps there is a good reason why Gaza needs 250,000 tons of relief supplies every year and Israel does not.

The Israeli navy established radio contact with the vessel four times, before boarding it, and urged it to sail to Ashdod instead of Gaza, the military said. Israel has offered to inspect the cargo and send items permitted under its blockade rules to Gaza overland.

The navy officers addressed the boat as “Linda”—the Cambodian-flagged vessel’s name before it was renamed for an American college student who was crushed to death by a bulldozer in 2003 while protesting Israeli house demolitions in Gaza.

Although Rachel Corrie’s death is regrettable, it was entirely her fault. She received plenty of warning and had ample opportunity to put herself in a safe place. But she deliberately took her stand in front of a bulldozer, where the operator could not see her. The operator had no intent to run her over. He simply couldn’t see her over the raised blade of the dozer. She is not a martyr, but a compliant, lap-dog media will not tell its consumers the truth.

The outcry over the aid ships has been a public relations nightmare for Israel, while giving Hamas a welcome boost and vastly improving prospects of at least easing the closure of the territory.

Israel has allowed ships through five times, but has blocked them from entering Gaza waters since a three-week military offensive against Gaza’s Hamas rulers in January 2009.

Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said Saturday that Israel would continue to enforce the blockade as long as Gaza’s Hamas rulers don’t meet conditions for international acceptance, including a renunciation of violation and recognition of Israel.

Unwittingly, the AP allows the truth to slip through. Hamas will not renounce violence against innocent Israeli children, and will not recognize Israel’s right even to exist.

However, critics note that weapons continue to enter the territory through underground tunnels with Egypt and decry the increased hardship the embargo has caused ordinary Gazans.

The embargo has caused not increased hardship for Gazans. This is  bald-faced lie. All genuine relief supplies are getting to Gaza.

Egypt has helped enforce the blockade on land, but President Hosni Mubarak ordered the passenger terminal with Gaza to open daily, instead of sporadically, following Monday’s raid.

The Obama administration had adopted a gradual approach of persuading Israel to ease restrictions but said Friday it was working “urgently” with Israel, the Palestinian Authority and other international partners to develop new procedures for delivering more goods to Gaza while blocking the entry of weapons.

“The current arrangements are unsustainable and must be changed,” National Security Council spokesman Mike Hammer said.

And so the Obama administration continues its disregard and disrespect for Israel, openly putting pressure on Israel to commit national suicide by lifting this self-defense measure. The president’s shameful treatment of our only reliable ally in the Middle East is disgraceful.

This latest attempt to breach the blockade differed significantly from the flotilla the Israeli troops intercepted on Monday, killing eight Turks and a Turkish-American after being set upon by a group of activists. That raid has sharply raised tensions between Israel and its once-close ally Turkey.

In Turkey, an official autopsy report said a preliminary examination revealed that the nine men were shot a total of 30 times, and five of them were killed by gunshots to the head and their backs. One of the activists was shot to death from close range, it said.

The autopsy report will be sent to the prosecutor’s office in Istanbul in the next two months as evidence to be used against Israel in a possible court case, the state-run Anatolia news agency said.

Nearly 700 activists had joined that earlier operation, most of them aboard the lead boat from Turkey that was the scene of the violence. That boat, the Mavi Marmara, was sponsored by an Islamic aid group from Turkey, the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief. Israel outlawed the group, known by its Turkish acronym IHH, in 2008 because of alleged ties to Hamas. The group is not on the U.S. State Department list of terror organizations, however.

What the AP is not telling you is that the organization behind this flotilla, the IHH, is part of an umbrella organization called the Union of Good which is backed by Saudi Arabia and has been declared by our own government as a terrorist organization. Members of the Muslim Brotherhood were on the flotilla, as well as individuals from places like Yemen and Pakistan who have known connections to al Qaeda. As Prime Minister Netanyahu said, this was not a love boat but a hate boat.

By contrast, the Rachel Corrie—loaded with wheelchairs, medical supplies and cement—was carrying just 11 passengers from Ireland and Malaysia, whose effort was mainly sponsored by the Free Gaza movement, a Cyprus-based group that has renounced violence.

Palmor said the cargo would be inspected in Ashdod and permitted goods could be transferred to Gaza. The import of cement has been sharply restricted, but Palmor said some could be sent to the territory in coordination with the United Nations.

Ah, so the wheelchairs will in fact make it to Gaza. AP reserves this little tidbit for the next to last paragraph in the article.

Hamas has said it would refuse to accept any aid from the Israeli-intercepted flotilla as long as the blockade remained in place.

Alrighty then. What this means is that if relief supplies don’t make it into Gaza, it will be the fault of Hamas and not Israel. Even the AP couldn’t keep this little factoid out of this grotesquely unbalanced piece of trash journalism.

Associated Press Writers Menelaos Hadjicostis in Nicosia, Cyprus, and Selcan Hacaoglu in Ankara, Turkey, contributed to this report.

The Moral Liberal contributing editor, Bryan Fischer, is Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association, and is the host of the daily ‘Focal Point’ radio talk program on AFR Talk, a division of the American Family Association. ‘Focal Point’ airs live from 1-3 pm Central Time, and is also simulcast on the AFA Channel, which can be seen on the Sky Angel network

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