Defensive ‘Times’ describes attack as ‘propaganda coup’ for ‘Israel’s foes’

Israel/Palestine
on 77 Comments

The New York Times’ Isabel Kershner reports more than 10 dead and then offers the following grotesque commentary: "The criticism [of Israel over the attack] offered a propaganda coup to Israel’s foes, particularly the Hamas group that holds sway in Gaza."

A coup is a blow. Is it possible for the Times to report who has suffered a blow here? Is the Times capable of supplying disturbing information from Israel without seeking to couch it in criticism of others? P.S. Kershner is an Israeli.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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77 Responses

  1. Cliff
    May 31, 2010, 7:04 am

    This is the shoot-and-cry meme in full effect. It disassociates any blame to Israel for it’s own actions. ‘Saving Israel from itself’ – Israel becomes completely separated from ‘itself’, the actions just ‘happen’, and that’s when you ‘reflect’ upon them in the way that Kershner does. You talk about how they will be used by ‘Israels enemies’ rather than why the hell Israel is able to do these things and get away with them and the victims and blah blah.

    The Times is Pravda.

    • MRW
      May 31, 2010, 7:25 am

      Wait until they get the surprise of their life when the iPad app doesn’t fly as well as they thought.

      • slowereastside
        May 31, 2010, 8:25 am

        The NYT iPad app is a piece of shit and it will fail, but that’s not sufficient. The NYT has already been exposed as nothing more than Zioprop and ought to be included in any cultural boycott of Israel.

      • Oscar
        May 31, 2010, 8:27 am

        I’ve refused to read the NYT for years since I canceled my subscription. Now more than ever, it makes sense to boycott the Times.

  2. aparisian
    May 31, 2010, 7:11 am

    no comments but what don you expect from nyt?

  3. sherbrsi
    May 31, 2010, 7:14 am

    Here it is. The Hasbara damage control starts.

    Just as I expected, Kershner is more concerned with Israel’s damaged reputation than the Israeli-damaged dead bodies.

    • Shingo
      May 31, 2010, 7:31 am

      ”Here it is. The Hasbara damage control starts.”

      It won’t work. The damage control from Cast Lead was failing already.

  4. eGuard
    May 31, 2010, 7:39 am

    CNN ‘IDF board Gaza boats’. Jerusalem bureau chief Kevin Flower:
    - “A nightmare scenario for the Israeli government
    - “The worst possible outcome for them in terms of trying to handle this flotilla”
    - “This is really a blow to Israel prime minister Netanyahu
    - “This is diplomatically bad news for Israel
    And not once mentioning the deads.

  5. Les
    May 31, 2010, 7:55 am

    Just as Germans knew from their media during World War II that they were victims and not occupiers, the Times informs Americans that Israelis are victims and not occupiers.

    • James
      May 31, 2010, 10:54 am

      the jewish attachment to victim status explains much of the reason behind there consistently inhuman actions….

  6. Les
    May 31, 2010, 7:58 am

    Until American Zionists make their aliyah, they are obliged to act as Israel’s agents.

    • Colin Murray
      May 31, 2010, 8:10 am

      Let’s not use this tragedy to exaggerate. The blame should be narrowly focused at the Israeli criminals seized humanitarian ships and murdered some of their passengers in international water, and those who ordered them to do so.

      • Colin Murray
        May 31, 2010, 8:13 am

        …criminals WHO seized ..

      • Les
        May 31, 2010, 8:50 am

        Israel is a government. This is not an act of individuals. It is state terror. It is important not to minimize the role of Israel as well as not to ignore the US media in making apologies for Israel. We are Israel’s arms provider and guilty as hell whether or not readers of the Times or NPR listeners will be informed of such facts.

      • potsherd
        May 31, 2010, 9:35 am

        No, Colin. The blame has to be placed on the US government, President and Congress, who kept backing the siege of Gaza, who have always exculpated Israel, no matter how heinous its crimes.

        The blame has to be placed on AIPAC and the Zionist billionaires who buy the complaisance of Congress and control the slant of so many news outlets so t hat people never learn of Israeli crimes.

        The blame has to be placed on everyone who has ever excused Israel with the lie that “Israel has the right to defend itself.”

      • James
        May 31, 2010, 10:55 am

        those who are silent on this and all other horrific actions taken by the israel gov’t are complicit…

  7. munro
    May 31, 2010, 9:48 am

    good coverage here
    link to wwitv.com

  8. DICKERSON3870
    May 31, 2010, 11:27 am

    RE: “Is the Times capable of supplying disturbing information from Israel without seeking to couch it in criticism of others?” – Weiss
    MY COMMENT: The NYT and their ilk are partly responsible for Israel’s reprehensible behavior.

  9. Interested Bystander
    May 31, 2010, 12:17 pm

    The Isabelle Kershner article is about as thorough as I’ve found around the net so far. It links the avaliable video footage, and the front page headline notes: “At least 10 are killed as Israel Halts Flotilla with Gaza Aid.”

    The whole thing certainly is a public relations coup for the organizers of the flotilla. So I see no reason to get heart palpitations over remarking on the obvious. Many here accurately pointed out a week ago that the flotilla presented Israel with a “no win” trick box.

    So far it still seems pretty murky exactly how events developed. However, nothing on the available video is particularly shoking. Indeed, the IDF were apparently content to have this footage roll. Given the fact that Israel is enforcing the blockade, the way it was done doesn’t, at this time, suggest disproportionate force.

    The flottila has achieved its goal, which was not primarily to land aid in Gaza, but to focus world attention on the (lack of) justification for the blockade. Here is an Israeli Foreign Ministry legal expert giving it his best shot to offer a justification. The crux of what he puts forth is that Israel is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza, that Israel has a right to defend itself, and that a blockade and economic sanctions are internationally reconized rights of Israel to combat Hamas.

    I don’t know about the international law on this. However, from a UN standpoint, it does raise the question whether the blockade and economic sanctions of Gaza are different than sanctions against Cuba, Iraq, Iran, Lybia, and North Korea. . . to name just a few. There is no doubt that the Iraq sanctions, even with the oil for food program initiated in ’95, caused great hardship on ordinary Iraqi citizens. Many people opposed Iraq sanctions on humanitarian grounds also. However, it is not clear that the Gaza blockade is different in kind, or more outside the bounds of international law, than other blockades.

    In order to successfully rebut Israel’s right to blockade Gaza, it does seem that it is not sufficient to call Israel a rogue outlaw nation: it is necesary to develop an overall approach or theory towards sanctions worldwide.

    Developing a comprehensive theory of sanctions is a big topic. However, it strikes me that the degree of threat is relevant. For example, blockade of Cuba to keep out missiles in October ’62 seems clearly justified. Cuban sanctions no longer seem justified today. Israel’s enforcement of a blockade to keep out missiles, guns, and explosives seems justified; a blockade to keep out or restrict concrete, chocolate, dolls, or any food or medicine does not seem justified.

    I hope that this event brings about a productive world dialogue on sanctions in general, and that one of the results is to partially lift the blockade of Gaza to allow unlimited passage of everything non-military in nature.

    • potsherd
      May 31, 2010, 12:30 pm

      Generally, blockades have been regarded as acts of war. It’s clear that Israel is conducting war against Gaza. What makes this situation different is that Israel is also the occupying power over Gaza, which gives it particular rights and obligations.

      I find it noteworthy that this attack on a relief convoy gets so much reaction, when the hundreds of Gazans killed in everyday Israeli incursions, deadline crossings and bombings are received only by silence.

      • Chaos4700
        May 31, 2010, 12:37 pm

        Yeah, I find that galling but that’s why the convoy was really necessary in the first place — it wasn’t just about breaking the blockade on food and medicine, it was about breaking the blockade on containing and hiding away the bloodlust of the Zionist enterprise.

        Now people CANNOT ignore Israel, if they ever want international waters to be a safe communal place for free trade and travel.

    • Donald
      May 31, 2010, 12:32 pm

      “Given the fact that Israel is enforcing the blockade, the way it was done doesn’t, at this time, suggest disproportionate force.”

      Yes, given the fact that they are inflicting collective punishment on 1.5 million people in order to establish a contrast between the WB and Gaza, the fact that they might kill an extra dozen or so people seems entirely in keeping with that. It would seem disproportionate, I suppose, if they had sunk the entire flotilla and machine gunned the survivors.

      “Israel’s enforcement of a blockade to keep out missiles, guns, and explosives seems justified; a blockade to keep out or restrict concrete, chocolate, dolls, or any food or medicine does not seem justified.”

      I’m not going to go through your post line by line. You seem oblivious to your double standards. Given that Israel has been practicing apartheid and has killed thousands of civilians, one could make a stronger case for blockading them then for blockading their victims, even if one doesn’t like Hamas (and I don’t).

      You’re trying to be thoughtful here and there are some thoughts worth considering, but unfortunately it’s all mixed in with a kind of moral cluelessness.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 12:40 pm

        Donald: You would let in missiles, guns, and explosives?

      • Donald
        May 31, 2010, 12:41 pm

        Where? Israel or Gaza?

      • Chaos4700
        May 31, 2010, 12:41 pm

        That’s a straw man. There were no missiles, guns or explosives on those ships.

      • Donald
        May 31, 2010, 12:44 pm

        You are reinforcing my point though–you see things with a Washington/Israel-centric bias. It seems perfectly natural to you that the civilized oppressors can keep weapons out of the hands of the Arab human rights violators and when I point out that Israel violates rights on a much larger scale, you come back with an almost Witty-like response, focusing again just on Hamas.

        If it were up to me, I’d keep heavy weapons out of both Israel and Palestine. I think that ought to be a serious proposal and if we’re going to rethink the idea of sanctions and when they are justified, we should also widen our notions of who doesn’t deserve weapons.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 12:45 pm

        Gaza.

      • Donald
        May 31, 2010, 12:46 pm

        And on sanctions, one of the problems with them is that again they are a weapon of the strong against the weak. We need to work on a system of international law which isn’t dominated by the self interest of the powerful–after that we can then discuss how to make sanctions “humane”, if that is possible.

      • Donald
        May 31, 2010, 12:52 pm

        How bizarre–so you deliberately missed my point or did you not get it? Do you think Israel should continue to receive weapons from the US while the Palestinians do not, knowing how the Israelis use their weapons? Shouldn’t a weapons blockade be imposed on both?

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 12:55 pm

        Donald: Fair enough, maybe one day we’ll be able to do away with weapons and military everywhere. Given that this is not going to happen, let’s not duck the hard question. If you had the power, would you allow missiles and guns and explosives into Gaza today?

        Chaos: You are right, no weapons on this flotilla–it should be allowed in. Unless you want to permit missiles and guns and explosives, however, you would still have to search first. No? Do you agree that Israel should be able to search the ships for weapons?

      • Chaos4700
        May 31, 2010, 12:58 pm

        You mean like the searches that were conducted before these ships left port? Those searches, you mean?

      • Chaos4700
        May 31, 2010, 1:00 pm

        Do the Lebanese now have the right to search any ship bound for Israel to make sure it doesn’t contain more cluster bombs, Bystander? Does Egypt have that right, too then? Jordan?

        Your sword cuts both ways.

      • Donald
        May 31, 2010, 1:01 pm

        “Donald: Fair enough, maybe one day we’ll be able to do away with weapons and military everywhere. Given that this is not going to happen, let’s not duck the hard question. If you had the power, would you allow missiles and guns and explosives into Gaza today?”

        I wouldn’t let weapons into Gaza and I would also cut off all military aid to Israel. Your “fair enough maybe one day ….” was a cynical ploy. There is nothing that says we have to supply Israel with weapons and I think there’s something distinctly dishonest and insincere in the way you expressed it.

      • Donald
        May 31, 2010, 1:08 pm

        I think, Chaos, his sword only cuts one way. I think we’ve got another Witty here. Israel’s security is sacrosanct and “serious” people like him understand this. Nobody else need fear Israeli weapons,because nobody else’s security is as important as theirs. He was dismissive of the violence against the flotilla, you’ll notice.

        I would support keeping weapons out of Gaza,but when I read people like him with his condescending attitude towards a ban on weapons for Israel it all sounds very familiar.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 1:26 pm

        O.K. , Donald: no weapons into Gaza and cut off military aid to Israel.

        As to “no weapons into Gaza” how would you enforce it? Range of options seems to be 1) take them at their word “no guns on this shipment;” 2) allow the port of origin in Egypt, Turkey, or Lybia (?) to vouch for it, as Chaos suggests, or 3) check the ships in a blockade before they enter. Some combination of assurances and inspections at ports of origin might work, although it would be logistically tough and would require unlikely amounts of worldwide cooperation.

        As to cutting off military aid to Israel, that would be tricky. First, Israel manufactures a good portion of its own military hardware, and second there are lots of countries willing to sell military hardware to the highest bidder. That is not cynical or dishonest, that’s just fact.

        Finally, if you had a magic wand to disarm both to keep arms from the Palestinians and to disarm the Israelis, I suppose you would have to wave it over Hezbollah, and Syria, and Iran, and the Saudis, and Jordan, and Egypt as well. If you find that magic wand, let me know and you’ll have my vote to be emperor of the world. [Now I'm being cynical]

      • Colin Murray
        May 31, 2010, 1:28 pm

        Uh, no. Unless the Israeli political establishment is willing to acknowledge that Gaza is still under military occupation and take the necessary measures to ensure that its treatment of Gazans fully complies with the Geneva Conventions, to which Israel is a signatory. Until then, its just plain ‘might makes right’ piracy.

      • Colin Murray
        May 31, 2010, 1:29 pm

        The previous comment was a reply to Interested Bystander May 31, 2010 at 12:55 pm

        Do you agree that Israel should be able to search the ships for weapons?

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 1:38 pm

        Colin: I believe that’s right. But is it different than sanctions against Iraq, or Cuba?

      • potsherd
        May 31, 2010, 1:54 pm

        Or does Iran have the right to board and seize the Israeli nuclear submarines off their coast?

        What we have is might defining right.

      • potsherd
        May 31, 2010, 2:01 pm

        Israelis with weapons are a much greater threat to the world than Gazans.

      • Donald
        May 31, 2010, 2:01 pm

        We can’t stop Israel from manufacturing its own weapons, but we can stop sending them weapons. That would be a really serious signal from the US that they can’t continue to kill civilians with our tacit blessing.

        As for Gaza, Israel has no right to do the inspections–they would have to occur in the ports of origin. If that’s not good enough,tough. As you say, we can’t keep Israel from acquiring weapons or building its own.

        And as for the rest of the Middle East,well, yeah, they have enough weapons of their own. But you started this off trying to single out the Palestinians in Gaza, so it does sound a little cynical for you to complain how hard it would be to extend the policy. Weapons in general kill people, you know, not just weapons wielded by Hamas. If anything, Hamas weaponry kills fewer people than most.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 2:44 pm

        Donald: I hear you. Wiki reports that <a href=" link to en.wikipedia.org bombings" from ’93 to ’08 killed 789; acording to this B’Tselem compilation IDF killed 4860 Palestinians between 2000 and 2008.

      • sherbrsi
        May 31, 2010, 2:47 pm

        Good point potsherd.

        At least Hamas contains its violence to Israel, which has declared and imposed a state of war in the form of blockade for years.

        Yet when Israel intrudes a flotilla carrying aid with the stated and full intention of hijacking it and stopping its mission at all costs, in international waters no less, it is only practicing “self-defense.”

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 2:48 pm

        Fixed the link (I hope).

        Wiki reports that suicide bombings from ‘93 to ‘08 killed 789; acording to this B’Tselem compilation IDF killed 4860 Palestinians between 2000 and 2008.

      • Chaos4700
        May 31, 2010, 2:56 pm

        He didn’t answer my question.

        Does Lebanon have the right to board each and every ship bound for Israel, in order to confiscate the same sort of cluster bombs that were dropped on them four years ago, just in case they “might” be on board?

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 3:11 pm

        Chaos:

        Sorry, I assumed you were being rhetorical. Is there much shipping between Lebanon and Israel these days? Lebanon is a soverign country and of course they can search ships bound for Israel if they are so inclined. They can also search ships entering Lebanon. I’m not sure I’m getting the point here?

      • demize
        May 31, 2010, 9:56 pm

        Yes substantively, The US. Navy does not interdict foreign merchant vessels en route to Cuba.

    • sherbrsi
      May 31, 2010, 1:49 pm

      In order to successfully rebut Israel’s right to blockade Gaza,

      Israel does not have a “right” to blockade Gaza. No state does, not in any conditions. Where are you getting this from? You claim ignorance of international but go on to confidently assert Israel’s right to deprive basic items and collectively punish an entire population. So where are your sources on this?

      it does seem that it is not sufficient to call Israel a rogue outlaw nation: it is necesary to develop an overall approach or theory towards sanctions worldwide.

      That’s a wonderfully Witty-esque apologist statement supporting the state which just murdered peace activists in INTERNATIONAL waters.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 2:14 pm

        Sherbsi:

        You are correct about the phrasing you point to. The point about the comment as a whole is that this incident may spark a discussion on the legitimacy and use of economic sanctions in general. I am not pre-judging the answer to that question.

        You say a blockade is never justified? Would you include Cuba in ’62? If you are to be taken at your word, I suppose the answer is “yes;” what about just keeping out missiles, guns, and explosives, or blocking nuclear materials from Iran and N. Korea? Do you see a difference between a state imposed blockade and an effective BDS campaign. BDS campaigns are normally less effective; but are they different in kind? I’m not prejudging that one either.

        On whether the 10 killed was “murder” or something else, I assume there were sufficient cameras, video phones, and people on board these ships that this should come out in the wash over the next few months. I’m not pre-judging that one either.

      • Chaos4700
        May 31, 2010, 2:57 pm

        “I’m not prejudging” my ass.

        The human rights of the Gazans to actually have enough food to eat supersede any Israeli “right” (which doesn’t exist) to deprive the Gazans completely of any method of self defense from Israeli military aggression.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 3:18 pm

        Chaos: You are not reading very carefully here.

      • sherbrsi
        May 31, 2010, 3:44 pm

        Do you see a difference between a state imposed blockade and an effective BDS campaign.

        Most certainly, and you have to not look very deeply to understand that.

        An effective BDS campaign is predicated on the exercising of the democratic right of people to boycott, and promote divestment and sanctions from a regime that habitually violates international law and human rights, and in many heinous and atrocious ways. Even at the apex of its effectiveness, it is not impeding on any ones sovereignty or fundamental rights. It is actually asserting the rights of those who advocate it, to have the freedom to resist participation in such a regime, to protest the involvement of its state’s corporations and governments in support of that regime, and to condemn the violations carried out by the regime and impose the legal consequences of those actions.

        The blockade of Gaza is a military imposed and military supervised effort (not state imposed as you incorrectly state). By Israel’s own historical definition of a blockade, even leaving its context in int’l law which clearly states it to be illegal, it is an act of pure aggression and war. Not to mention that the blockade of Gaza is not carried out by any basis in law or morality, with its policies subject to the whims of the Israeli military and the siege itself imposed in a manner that actively destroys Gazan sovereignty and intrudes and directs on every aspect of Gaza’s population and its lives.

        There is no equality between the two, except that both share sanctions in some form, but I do believe that you are confusing the execution of both BDS and the blockade to be the same when it is the very fundamental factor that makes one effort a democratic right, while the other an act of war. At its most effective, BDS shares the elements of pushing for regime change as does the blockade in one aspect, but even so, the difference of their respective instruments with which they are carried out and asserted are what makes one a legitimate and democratic endeavor, while rendering the other an illegal and aggressive act of war.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 4:05 pm

        Sherbsi:

        You are certainly correct to observe that BDS is consumer driven and is not accompanied by the use of force. As such, it cannot be illegal under any law. A blockade enforced by a state’s military is very different in that sense, and could run afoul of international law. You have indicated (above) that you believe all blockades are illegal under all circumstances. If by that you mean illegal under international law, I’d be surprised if that were the answer you would recive from international law scholars.

        On the other hand, if you mean to say that blockades are immoral, I agree with you when it comes to non-military goods, but disagree about military supplies.

        Leaving aside the military goods issue for the moment, if we are focusing on the morality of depriving a population of food and medicine, the difference between blockade and BDS becomes murkier. Take an island nation like Iceland; they depend 100% on imports for cement and much of their foodstuffs. Their primary trading partners are the U.S. and Germany. Now assume that (for some reason) consumers and businesses in Germany and the U.S. banded together to boycott Iceland, causing severe shortages in cement and foodstuffs. From a moral standpoint I’m not sure how this differs from a military blockade.

      • sherbrsi
        May 31, 2010, 4:42 pm

        You have indicated (above) that you believe all blockades are illegal under all circumstances. If by that you mean illegal under international law, I’d be surprised if that were the answer you would recive from international law scholars.

        I think you are confusing state sanctions with blockade. The former is imposed by the governments as policy, applicable to corporations and state institutions dealing with the regime in question, while the latter as a military imposed and supervised closure of an area exercised through occupation and takeover of the given area (as is the Israeli case).

        The former has the potential to be brutal or unjustified, but it is not illegal or inherently immoral. The latter most certainly is inherently illegal, and considering that its instrument of application is the military, it is inherently immoral as its imposition forgoes subjection to international law or obligations to the welfare of the population under siege.

        From a moral standpoint I’m not sure how this differs from a military blockade.

        You raise an interesting point, but I don’t believe it is inherently immoral. It is American’s and Germany’s right to trade with whomever they want, and to impose on them the undemocratic limitation that they trade unconditionally is no different than militarily restricting trade conditionally. But, I would hope that any democratic application of sanctions, such as are those principally based on human rights and int’l law as BDS is, would forgo targeting its efforts towards anything which impedes on Iceland’s essential survival.

        But then again, your example highlights what sets the BDS and the military blockade (which, in the Israeli case forbids the entry of construction materials, even after Israel destroyed over 50% of Gaza’s infrastructure, and prohibits common food items) worlds apart.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 4:56 pm

        O.k. Thanks for the discussion, Sherbsi. I will dwell on it some more, but I’m heading out for a run. Best.

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 4:57 pm

        . . . and sorry about the omitted “r”

    • kapok
      May 31, 2010, 3:36 pm

      What’s that? Do I hear a Witty uttering its soothing call?

      • Interested Bystander
        May 31, 2010, 4:07 pm

        Kapok: I say this tongue in cheek, but kind of mean it: “Shut the fuck up or engage in the conversation in an intelligent way!” :)

  10. potsherd
    May 31, 2010, 12:22 pm

    Even CNN is now having to adjust its spin as support of this piracy becomes untenable. link to cnn.com

  11. Miss Dee Mena
    May 31, 2010, 12:26 pm

    The Killing 19 unarmed people – even if some of them did fight back with crude instruments – by highly trained commandos with lethal weapons is indeed excessive force. If the Israelis hadn’t boarded the boat illegally in international waters to begin with none of the killing would have occurred in the first place. If the security of Israel’s citizens is threatened by the delivery of humanitarian aid to the besieged civilian population of Gaza then the country is seriously fucked up.

  12. Miss Dee Mena
    May 31, 2010, 12:26 pm

    killing of

  13. Colin Murray
    May 31, 2010, 1:36 pm

    interesting datum from the Promised Land blog, which is linked from Coteret

    8:55 PM: 7th eye (Israeli media watchdog organization): Yedioth Ahronoth daily knew but wouldn’t publish vast IDF top brass opposition to the raid on the flotilla [Hebrew].

    • Colin Murray
      May 31, 2010, 1:38 pm

      oops forget the link to the article for our Hebrew readers
      vast IDF top brass opposition

      • potsherd
        May 31, 2010, 2:03 pm

        A translation would be nice.

      • Shmuel
        May 31, 2010, 2:08 pm

        A translation would be nice.

        I’ll see what I can do. Just got home from the demo in the centre of Rome – about 1,000 people, protest and march from Piazza Venezia to Montecitorio (Parliament). Time to eat and rest.

      • Avi
        May 31, 2010, 3:05 pm

        Mind if I jump in here?

        The first paragraph of the article in Hebrew starts as follows:

        The newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, and other mass media outlets, avoided publication of the fact that top brass in the security establishment were against the military action to halt the flotilla destined to the Gaza Strip. So revealed the Yediot Ahronot journalist, Plotzker, during a discussion that took place this morning at the Israeli attorneys’ council conference.

        Plotzker said these words in response to a speech that was carried by the government’s legal adviser, Yehuda Vinshtain who voiced criticism over the management of the media. Vinshtain denied publications of police investigation reports and documentation of police arrests and announced that he will act to amend the law to prevent media recklessness.

        More to come….

      • potsherd
        May 31, 2010, 3:15 pm

        Thanks

      • Avi
        May 31, 2010, 3:16 pm

        Continued:

        “The freedom of press in a free and democratic society is a paramount value”, said Vinshtain. “I” respect that and recognize its significance. I’ll go farther and say to you: “I would not wish to be a legal adviser to a government in a state in which the freedom of the press is not respected and holds top priority. It is hard to describe a democratic state without a free and responsible press, in the words of the president Barak.

        And yet, for Didi there is a difference between the freedom of the press and for media negligence, neither is like the other. The first deserves respect – “No and No”, interjected Vinshtain.

        “The words of the government’s legal adviser outraged me when he injected the distinction between a responsible press and journalistic negligence”, said Plotzker when he was given the right to speak. “I am very afraid of regimes that tell me that there is freedom of press and a democracy, but the press must not be negligent. What is a negligent press? Excuse me, who is going to determine what is a negligent press?”

      • Avi
        May 31, 2010, 3:23 pm

        There is no shortage of newspapers in the state of Israel. We had early information that there were such elements within the security establishment, very strong elements and very powerful ones who were against the use of the army to stop the flotilla from entering Israeli territory.

        That was not published in the newspapers. Had that been published, would a newspaper/press that does so be negligent, or would there have been a serious discussion of the matter and perhaps the mistakes that were made could have been prevented? I won’t answer that. I will say again – the distinction between a responsible press and a negligent one is in my view a very problematic distinction in a democratic system. ”

        End of article.

      • Avi
        May 31, 2010, 3:25 pm

        My pleasure, Potsherd.

      • Shmuel
        May 31, 2010, 3:27 pm

        Sever Plocker (Yediot Ahronot) at an Israel Bar Association Conference (reported by ai>Ha’ayin Hashvi’it):

        … “The attorney general’s words made me very angry, inasmuch as he made a distinction between responsible journalism and journalistic irresponsibility,” said Plocker when given the floor. “I am very afraid of regimes in which they tell me that there is democracy and freedom of the press, but the press must not be irresponsible. And what exactly is an irresponsible press? Excuse me, who decides what is irresponsible?

        In a number of papers in Israel, we had prior information that there are elements within the defence establishment, very strong and very significant elements, who were against using the army to prevent the flotilla from entering Israel (sic). It was not published in the papers. Had it been published, would the journalism that published it have acted irresponsibly, or would there have been serious public debate, and perhaps some of the errors committed might have been avoided? I don’t want to answer this question. I repeat – the distinction between responsible and irresponsible journalism is a very problematic distinction in my opinion, in a democratic regime.”

      • Shmuel
        May 31, 2010, 3:29 pm

        Oh. Just saw Avi’s work. Thanks.

    • lysias
      May 31, 2010, 2:11 pm

      So this was another outrage imposed on Israeli institutions by Netanyahu, like the hit on Khalid in the 1990′s?

      And one wonders whether the same is not true of the Dubai murder.

  14. Les
    May 31, 2010, 1:44 pm

    The latest from Haaretz:

    Netanyahu: I regret Gaza flotilla deaths, but Israeli troops had right to self-defense

    • potsherd
      May 31, 2010, 2:05 pm

      Zionist logic: When Somali pirates attempt to take over a tanker and the crew fights them off, they are heroes. When IDF pirates attempt to take over an aid ship and the passengers try to fight them off, they are terrorists.

      • Chaos4700
        May 31, 2010, 2:10 pm

        Isn’t the logic obvious? In the former, the pirates are black. In the latter, the pirates are white.

  15. Les
    May 31, 2010, 3:20 pm

    My letter to the Times Public Editor:

    That Israel is the occupier and the Palestinians are the occupied is a fact. Yet, the American public believes Israel to be a victim, thanks to our media from which the public gets its information. Is it not the responsibility of journalists to disabuse the public of its confusion about facts on the ground?

    It is a fact that the Freedom Flotilla on its way to Gaza was attacked by Israel in international waters during which aid workers were killed. Israel claims the flotilla attacked Israeli commandos. Netanyahu, “I regret Gaza flotilla deaths, but Israeli troops had a right to self-defense.” The American public needs to know who is the attacker and who has been attacked. Maybe the Times can spare some crack reporters, not subject to Israel’s censorship laws, to clarify what has happened.

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