This story has more legs than a centipede. Robert Mackey, on his NYT blog, further unfurls a hoax Benjamin Doherty @EI first exposed on Thursday and that Max Blumenthal and Doherty discovered was linked to Netanyahu’s office on Friday (a connection Ali Abunimah @ EI confirmed later that same day). But before we continue, check out the video, and read Mackey’s take:
The man in the video, who introduced himself to viewers as Marc and claimed that the organizers of the latest flotilla of ships bound for Gaza had rejected his offer to mobilize a network of gay activists in support of their cause, was identified as Omer Gershon, a Tel Aviv actor involved in marketing, by the Electronic Intifada, a pro-Palestinian Web site.
While it remains unclear who produced the video, and Mr. Gershon has not responded to a request for comment, bloggers were quick to point out that people in three different Israeli government offices promoted it on Twitter soon after it was posted online.
As the blogger Max Blumenthal reported on Friday, one of the first people to draw attention to the video was Guy Seemann, who is an intern in the office of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. The same day, the Israeli government’s press office advised its Twitter followers to watch the video and follow Mr. Seemann’s feed.
And that’s only the beginning! After the GOI (PM’s office and Ministry of Foreign Affairs) had promoted the video via their twitter accounts they started wiping traces of their tweets and then feigned they were hoaxed themselves “We were duped” (I don’t think so!). Go read the PM’s spokesperson squirm away from Seeman’s tweets.
Here’s Omer Gershon, the same actor, appearing in a commercial produced by Elad Magdasi. The same Elad Magdasi with a You Tube page promoting Stand with Us videos who themselves have just produced a new video panning the flotilla “lawfully enforces a naval blockade on the Gaza Strip…..to protect Israeli civilians from attacks by the terrorist organization Hamas.”
The plot thickens even further since I started this post yesterday. Mackey has updated his original article to include a segment of an earlier interview of Omer Gershon by journalist Dina Kraft during a phase of his career when the multi-faceted actor was helping to run a nightclub in Tel Aviv called Zippy Trippo.
In that article, Ms. Kraft pointed to Zippy Trippo as an example of “Tel Aviv’s ability to reinvent itself.” The underground club, she explained, had been just one year earlier, “a listening post for the Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, dubbed by its workers as the Facility.”
A PR fiasco in the making…