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Journalists on board Gaza-bound flotilla will be active participants in illegal act


This is cross posted by Simon Plosker, the Managing Editor of Honest Reporting. The essay originally appeared in Ynet

Israeli soldiers being beaten with metal rods by "activists" on Mavi Marmara in 2010

“We are in a battle, and more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media.” So said Al-Qaeda’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahiri in November 2005. But what happens when the media attempts to define the physical battlefield by becoming active participants in the story?

We should all be extremely concerned by the announcement that among those sailing on the imminent flotilla to Gaza are journalists representing mainstream media, including the New York Times and camera crews from CNN and CBS.

This is a clear example of the symbiotic relationship between the media and anti-Israel agitators such as those behind the flotilla. After all, it wasn’t the violent actions of the passengers on board the Mavi Marmara that caused Israel so much damage – it was the diplomatic and public relations fallout from an incident that occupied the international press for days after the event.

The “martyrdom” of nine Turkish passengers constituted a PR success for the IHH organization and its cohorts. Clearly then the only reason the mainstream media would jump on board the next flotilla would be the prospect of capturing a repeat performance. Likewise, the flotilla’s organizers are counting on the media to publish a story whose narrative has already been written – namely that of some plucky “peace activists” attempting to break a brutish and illegal naval blockade of the poor Palestinians in their open-air prison.

Imagine that the Israeli Navy boards the flotilla’s ships one by one, forcing the vessels to dock without incident for inspection in an Israeli port. This would be the ultimate failure on the part of the organizers to create a major incident as well as for the media on board who hope to be on the scene reporting on the biggest news story of the day.

‘Useful idiots’  

Having established that both the flotilla participants and the accompanying media need each other, can we honestly count on the New York Times, CNN and CBS as well as other “embedded” journalists to report on the situation with objectivity even if the story doesn’t turn out to be as dramatic as they would hope?

Or will the mere presence of the media act as an invitation for confrontation and potential violence as so-called “activists” play for the cameras? And what of the journalists themselves? While over the years, some reporters have been inadvertently killed or injured by the IDF, we cannot expect soldiers entering a potential warzone, as the Mavi Marmara became, to run the added gauntlet of avoiding media personnel who have purposely positioned themselves in the crossfire. It not only risks the lives of the journalists but also those of Israel’s soldiers.

The Israeli government closed off access to the Gaza Strip for journalists during Operation Cast Lead, ostensibly for their own protection and to spare IDF troops from yet another factor outside of their control on the battlefield. There was a valid argument that this worked against Israel’s interests. The media, camped on a hilltop overlooking Gaza, was antagonized and vengeful while the images from Gaza itself were dominated by al-Jazeera and other less than objective sources.

This time, Israel would do well to remind those journalists on board the flotilla that they will be active participants in an illegal attempt to break what is a legal naval blockade under international law.

We can only hope that the mainstream media will not be influenced by the ideologues and “useful idiots” that make up the disparate groups on board, whose dominant zeitgeist is a hatred of Israel rather than a love of universal human rights. We will have to rely on the professionalism of the journalists to capture the reality of what occurs free from the prejudice that colors so much of the reporting on Israel.

Based on previous experience, however, we shouldn’t have high expectations. This ship has sailed. Will Israel be left clinging on to flotation devices, drowning in a sea of negative publicity or will this be a fishing expedition in calm waters?

The flotilla is sailing. It’s time to baton down the hatches once again.

13 replies »

  1. The UN have said Israel is providing humanitarian aid to Gazza there is no need for flotillas. This is just provocation and demonisation of Israel

    • Do you mean provocation of Israel by Gazza, that well-known retired footballer from the north of England? Duvidl thought Gazza himself preferred giving charitable chicken and beer dinner-aid to suicidal murderers at village stand-offs with police.

  2. Clearly then the only reason the mainstream media would jump on board the next flotilla would be the prospect of capturing a repeat performance.
    Sadly this is all too true.

    Or will the mere presence of the media act as an invitation for confrontation and potential violence as so-called “activists” play for the cameras?
    In the case of certain “activists”, the answer has to be yes.

    • It is perhaps unfortunate that transmissions from the 2010 flotilla were jammed and that the IDF attempted to confiscate all the video and photographic evidence of what actually occurred.
      Of course, the mainstream media could be invited to be embedded with the Israeli forces this time to provide an impartial account of the unfolding story.

      • Richard Tebboth,

        It is unfortunate that the worldwide media was allowed to participate in the pre-planned anti-Israel circus of the original Terrorism Flotilla in the first place, and I hope that mistake will not be repeated.

        “Of course, the mainstream media could be invited to be embedded with the Israeli forces this time to provide an impartial account of the unfolding story.”

        Thanks, Richard. Now I know who to call when I need a laugh.

  3. Just as a stray mongrel dog carries fleas, this “peace” flotilla is supported by and will carry Islamists, including members of the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) affiliated Palestinian Forum in Britain.

    In spite of the UK government’s recent noise about combatting extremism in Britain the Muslim Brotherhood is active in mosques, universities and madrassas there.

    A coalition of U.K. Ikhwan and far-left political groups held a conference somewhat tortuously entitled “Confronting anti-Muslim hatred in Britain and Europe.” Among the speaksers were Tony Benn, Daud Abdullah, Salma Yaqoob,
    Mehdi Hassan (New Statesman), Lindsey German, Seumas Milne (The
    Guardian), Peter Oborne (Daily Telegraph)

    The conference was organized by the Organised by the Enough Coalition consisting of the British Muslim Initiative, Friends of Al-Aqsa, Federation of Student Islamic Societies, Stop the War Coalition, Islamic Forum of Europe, One Society many Cultures, Muslim Safety Forum. All of these groups are know to be part of or close to the UK Ikhwan.

    Virtually all of the known conferences on Islamophobia have been held by the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

  4. Or will the mere presence of the media act as an invitation for confrontation and potential violence as so-called “activists” play for the cameras? And what of the journalists themselves? While over the years, some reporters have been inadvertently killed or injured by the IDF, we cannot expect soldiers entering a potential warzone, as the Mavi Marmara became, to run the added gauntlet of avoiding media personnel who have purposely positioned themselves in the crossfire. It not only risks the lives of the journalists but also those of Israel’s soldiers.

    There aren’t any foreign journalists in Syria. They could get in if they wanted to. Perhaps they are frightened.

    There aren’t any foreign journalists in Darfur. They could get in if they wanted to. Perhaps they are frightened.

    There weren’t any foreign journalists in Sri Lanka. They could have got in if they wanted to. Perhaps they were frightened.

    There aren’t many foreign journalists in Libya. They could get in easily if they wanted to. Perhaps they are frightened.

  5. A lot of it has also to do with the relationship between the mainstream media and what sells…

    • Agreed. They smell blood, and blood sells. I don’t know if they don’t have a right being there and reporting.

      Plus this could be in Israel’s interest. They might actually report instances of violence from “activists”. These are American media, not the Guardian mind you.

      • “They smell blood, and blood sells.”

        And so it will stay as long as the price for aiding and abetting terrorists is lower than the price gained in selling their media hinga*.

        “I don’t know if they don’t have a right being there and reporting.”

        Giving aid and comfort to terrorists is not a right, no matter what international “law” may say about the matter.

        “They might actually report instances of violence from ‘activists’. These are American media, not the Guardian mind you.”

        Most of the American MSM is no less left-leaning than the British, even if not so blatant in style as the Graun.

        *Aramaic for “gargantuan feast,” from the Talmud.

        • “Most of the American MSM is no less left-leaning than the British, even if not so blatant in style as the Graun.”

          Come on now, you know that’s not true.

          • So you think I say things I know are untrue on purpose, do you? Read the independent American conservative blogosphere once in a while, such as Michelle Malkin and Weasel Zippers, and you’ll see how far the bias of the American MSM (with Fox the only exception) reaches.

            In the entire developed world (including Israel), the mainstream media is mostly or entirely in the hands of those who are least fit to run it.

  6. “the IDF attempted to confiscate all the video and photographic evidence of what actually occurred.”

    What actually occurred is immaterial to those persuaded of the abilities of the Israelis to distort reality. Should we have footage of peace loving activists beating prone men with iron bars, or throwing captives over the side, then these are manufactured by Israel’s masters of electronic subterfuge. Should there be clips of an Israeli with a weapon, then his intent on murder is self-apparent. Those who want to believe in lies cannot be guided to truth.