A look back at the Guardian’s obsessive rush to judgment after Mavi Marmara. 71 stories in just over 4 days

While Israel’s Turkel Commission Report and the UN Palmer Report differ on some key determinations, they do clearly overlap on three main conclusions pertaining to the May 31 incident on board the Mavi Marmara:

  • Contrary to a mind-numbing number of accusations that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is “illegal” both reports conclude that the Naval blockade is fully consistent with international law, and that IDF Naval forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters.
  • Contrary to reports that the IDF attacked peaceful activists, both reports concluded that when Israeli commandos boarded the main ship they faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers” and were therefore required to use force for their own protection.
  • The IHH sponsored flotilla, Mavi Marmara, “acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.”

In the light of these established facts, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the Guardian’s obsessive coverage of the incident – which included 71 separate pieces (reports and commentary which were placed on their special Gaza Flotilla page) over the course of the first four days following the incident – and their frantic rush to judgement.

Finally, while the Guardian’s Chris McGreal reported on the Palmer Report findings in a story yesterday, it quite tellingly wasn’t placed on the Gaza Flotilla Page.

I’m sure we’re all certain that the omission has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that the Palmer Report’s findings wildly contradict the tone, tenor and editorial bias of the Guardian’s tendentious and simply obsessive coverage of the incident. 

15 replies »

  1. Can no one challange the editor of the Guardian on this in a public platform?

    Or does not one wants to…

  2. I think I once counted 37 articles about this.

    We were lucky to see even one on the UN report!! Even though, of course, they played up the mild criticism of Israel rather than the illegality of the flotilla(s).

    It will be curious to see if the usual suspects continue to go on and on about “international law” etc. When it suits them, they like to try to talk about UN resolutions that are unfavorable to Israel courtesy of the automatic Islamic voting bloc, and “international law” – now that the UN has stated that Israel acted legally, they will no doubt start pointing out that it was only a panel, not the GA etc. etc. etc.

  3. It is somewhat odd that we needed to wait for the latest UN report to draw the conclusion that the naval blockade was legal. In the main the Palmer report is an analysis of the two countries’ investigations to the Mavi Marmara incident and has therefore decided that it likes the Turkel Comissions, interpretation of the San Remo manual better than the Turkish investigation. It does however go to illustrate the continued bias when examining Israel as the findings of the Turkel Comission were undermined from the outset and the narrative of the blockade being illegal was trotted out ad nauseum. This narrative was on shaky ground from the start as the Turkel Comission sought interpretation from among others, Professor Dr Wolff Heintschel von Heinegg. In understanding his credentials on this matter there exists this quote:

    Professor Heintschel von Heinegg was among a group of international lawyers and naval experts who produced the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, in 2002 he published the German Navy’s Commander’s Handbook on the Law of Naval Operations

    Despite finding broadly in favour of Israel, the Palmer report for me has a flaw that I believe is tied to the remit to try and reconcile both parties.

    The Palmer report seems quite clear that there was a reckless determination to attempt a breach of the blockade and raises the question to what degree this was about getting humantarian aid to Gaza. The reader is left with a clear idea that this was about provoking an incident with Israel and that there would be few if any circumstances in which the flotilla would pull back from the brink. In addition it cites evidence that passengers on the Mavi Marmara had prepared to repel any boarders.

    Having acknowledged that the report seems unable to draw a link between that determination and how fruitless the methods they proposed would have been to stop the ships from attempting that breach. In reality they were only left with a boarding option and given that the Marmara’s passengers had planned to organise to repel boarders, expecting the Israeli’s to pre announce their intention could well have led to live ammunition being used much sooner.

  4. I think the Israelis were, as usual, too restrained in their treatment of belligerent muslims. But that’s what you get when you are part of a democracy. It’s only the heathen muslim states who can go around killing anyone and everyone who they judge to be an enemy. In justification of this view, just witness what the muslims are doing to Christians in many muslim countries. The day the Guardeen launches a campaign in support of Christians, is the day I’ll start to believe anything they report.

  5. Please do all read pages 54-66 of the palmer report. The report criticises both sides but those make very unpleasant reading from an israeli perspective and is rather more important than concentrating on what the guardian does or does not write. However it does seem that you wish to simply gloss over the highly critical findings of the palmer report in so far as it relates to the deaths aboard the marmara.

  6. I’m starting to get this feeling that the Guardian really hates us with a passion.These nasty racists get their jollies by writing these moronic articles
    about us………….

  7. Well done Adam.

    I think that apart from Alan Dershowitz, the Guardian editorial management must hate you the most.

    A very damaging compilation for the UK foremost ‘progressive’ propaganda organ presenting itself as ‘News Media’.

  8. Without that part to placate Turkish hypocrites, the Palmer Report wholly upheld the right of sovereign states to take necessary steps in self-defense consistent with Article 51 of the UN Charter. Turkey has no legal grounds to bitch about anything now. In fact, those Turkish nationals acted unlawfully with malice aforethought.

    • Turkey is behaving like a small child having a tremendous attack of tantrums.

      To much religion addles the brains.

  9. Don’t expect The Guardian’s reporting to be affected by such things as facts.

    One only needs to consider the obsessive intensity reflected in these 71 Guardian reports over what in perspective was a fairly minor incident, clearly provoked by the stupid “flotillistas”.

    Now contrast that insane Guardian “coverage’ with their relative silence while literally thousands of Syrians are being murdered in their streets over last few months.

    That discrepancy tells you all you need to know about the Guardian’s incredibly obvious antiIsrael and antiSemitic bigotry