Vice News spins Israeli army propaganda as ‘leaked report’

US Politics
on 8 Comments

Vice News is now carrying water for the Israeli army.

The the self-proclaimed “news organization for a connected generation” published a report yesterday from what is claimed to be a “leaked” Israeli military document into the investigation of Elor Azarya, the soldier-medic who summarily executed Palestinian man Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sharif in the occupied West Bank city of Hebron last month.

The report lists the main claims of the document:

* The soldier said before the shooting that the subdued Palestinian “needs to die.”

* After the shooting, he told a commander: “He’s a terrorist, he needs to die.”

* The soldier “changed his version [of events] in the different investigations,” according to one investigator, telling a commander: “I shot because I felt there was a threat to life.”

* The incident “severely hurts the IDF and Israel’s image.”

None of this is new or exclusive information – it’s actually a regurgitation of the official Israeli government line disseminated shortly after the video of the execution went viral, and part of an effort to portray the killer as a bad apple, rather than a soldier following orders.

Three days after the killing, the finding of the army’s investigation that the soldier said “the terrorist needs to die” was reported across media outlets.

From Ha’aretz’s report:

Details from the investigation revealed that he told his fellow soldiers that “the terrorist needs to die” after the Palestinian stabbed one of the soldiers – a friend of the accused gunman.

Article Jerusalem Post and i24, among others, say the same thing.

The only new claim from the report is that Azarya’s was “driven by a ‘twisted ideology.’”

But the soldier’s father, Charlie Azarya, described his son as a model soldier who had “acted as he had been taught,” “wanted to save Israel” and was “honored as outstanding in 2015.”

It appears that the “twisted ideology” that drove Azarya to execute Al-Sharif was Zionism.

Beyond acting as a military stenographer, Vice News’ report sanitizes the Israeli public’s outpouring of support for Azarya, writing that the execution “polarized Israeli society and triggered a national debate.” The report fails to mention that an overwhelming majority of Israelis support Azarya, and makes no mention of the public displays of support for the soldier, culminating in several thousand strong “Death to Arabs!” rally in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square last week.

It also fails to mention the statements of support for summary executions from several top figures across the political-military echelon and state-funded religious authorities.

Though the Israeli government and military have a well-oiled machine for disseminating hasbara (Hebrew word that in practical terms means propaganda) which typically informs the discourse presented in the mainstream, enlisting a major North American media outlet is a significant victory for Israel, and a clear sign of Vice News’ willingness to sacrifice journalistic ethics for access.

Perhaps the next time Israel bombs Gaza, Vice News will publish an “exclusive leak” of the infamous terror fortress cartoons of Shujaiya.

About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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8 Responses

  1. just
    April 29, 2016, 11:29 am

    Thanks for this exposure, Dan.

    I guess that they’ve earned their moniker now. I’ll stay far, far away until and unless they admit their complicity in spreading IOF lies and hasbara.

  2. a blah chick
    April 29, 2016, 3:45 pm

    Our “Rotten Apple” (aka the Murdering Medic) did not fall far from the tree. 972 mag has an article up in which the author shares the views of the parents. They are both staunch Kahanists who believe the only good Arab is a dead one. They have posted these vile sentiments at Facebook. But don’t worry, no one from the police has been to talk to them about their incitement. The police have their hands full putting Palestinian teens in jail or shooting them dead in the street.

  3. JWalters
    April 29, 2016, 4:39 pm

    “I met with senior advisors on the apparently new policy from Israel concerning Jews settling all over the West Bank. Again we’ll rap Israel for this settlement policy, which is designed by Begin to aggravate us and to keep the Palestinians from becoming moderate and cooperative.”
    – White House Diary of Jimmy Carter, entry for Feb 12, 1980, 36 years ago.

  4. saqib
    April 29, 2016, 5:20 pm

    This article in VICE doesn’t sugar-coat anything and doesn’t carry water for the Israeli government. That’s an unfair criticism.

    It accurately depicts that Elor Azarya committed a cold-blooded execution for idealogical reasons.

    • a blah chick
      April 30, 2016, 10:33 am

      The article is being criticized for repeating IDF talking points. For example, calling the two dead men “terrorists.” It is not terrorism to attack an ARMED force that is in your town inflicting death and destruction for a foreign power. Also only one knife was recovered, so unless these guts were holding onto the blade simultaneously one of them was unarmed (not that I think either of them was.)

      “It accurately depicts that Elor Azarya committed a cold-blooded execution for idealogical reasons.” An ideology (Kahanism) that is held by a sizable chunk of the Jewish Israeli public if polling is to be believed.

      This report was given, not leaked, to Vice in order to spread the idea that most Jews in Israel to not support what Azaria did, which is not true. Even the PM himself called the family to lend his support. Apparently he doesn’t think the Murdering Medic’s behavior it that “poisonous.”

      • MHughes976
        April 30, 2016, 12:54 pm

        Like saqib I think that the treatment of Vice News is a bit unfair. Their report did not, for all I could see, endorse the Army position. They had a duty to report to readers what the content and style of the official propaganda actually was. They do not conceal the outpouring of support for the brutal deed. They draw attention to the way in which military crimes have been elaborately investigated with absolutely minimal results, so they aren’t inducing readers to swallow the official military view.

  5. Arby
    February 8, 2017, 12:56 pm

    We all know, absolutely, that Palestinians live in absolute terror of the perverted, racist IDF. There is no reciprocity here. On the Israeli side, we see constant celebrations – of barbarity that is called by it’s opposite label and said to be by God’s design and power – by Israeli citizens whose minds have been ruined after years of Israeli ‘leadership’ to the point where most of that temporary nation supports it’s fascist political leadership.

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