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‘NY Times’ helps Israel whitewash the killings of four boys playing soccer on Gaza beach

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Here’s yet another sad example of how the New York Times has dropped even the pretense of fair reporting about Israel. Jodi Rudoren acts as a stenographer for an Israeli government report that whitewashes the military of war crimes in last summer’s invasion of Gaza, in an article titled “Israeli Report Backs Tactics by Military in Gaza War.”

For now let us look at just one element of the whitewash: how Rudoren reports on the air strike that killed four little boys when they were playing soccer on a Gaza beach.

Regarding the four boys killed on the beach last July 16, for example, the report said that “testimony was collected from a large number” of soldiers and officers “involved in the planning and execution of the attack,” alongside a review of “an extensive number of documents” and “video footage.” The military also “made efforts to collect the testimonies” of Gazan witnesses, the report said, but “regretfully,” they declined to be interviewed.

The military said the airstrike targeted a compound where naval forces linked to Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates Gaza, had gathered to prepare for “military activity” and that a container of military supplies inside it had been hit by Israel the day before the deadly attack.

“Aerial surveillance identified a number of figures entering the compound at a running pace,” the report says. “It should be stressed that the figures were not identified at any point during the incident as children.” It later uses the word “tragically” to describe the outcome, and says “it would not have been possible for the operational entities involved to have identified these figures, via aerial surveillance, as children.”

Rudoren must have forgotten to call the Times‘s own photographer, Tyler Hicks, who was an eyewitness to the killings and put down his camera to write a powerful article about the attack the day it took place last July. Here are Hicks’s last two paragraphs, which contrast strongly with the Israeli whitewash.

There is no safe place in Gaza right now.

Bombs can land at any time, anywhere. A small metal shack with no electricity or running water on a jetty in the blazing seaside sun does not seem like the kind of place frequented by Hamas militants, the Israel Defense Forces’ intended targets. Children, maybe four feet tall, dressed in summer clothes, running from an explosion, don’t fit the description of Hamas fighters, either.

The New York Times also surely could have talked to the families of the victims. Aren’t they human? Don’t they deserve a chance to comment on the implausible government account? It wasn’t all that hard for my colleague, Dan Cohen, to meet the Bakr family. Today he posted several tweets with photos of the Bakrs. Like the one at the top of this post, of which Cohen says,

I recently spent time with the Bakr family. Here they pray at the graves of their sons who were killed by Israel.

Or like this one:

Here is the sister & grandfather of Ismail Bakr who was playing soccer on the beach when the Israeli navy killed him

Bakr family of Gaza, photo by Dan Cohen

Bakr family of Gaza, photo by Dan Cohen

Cohen also tweeted:

Gaza’s Bakr family will receive no justice from Israel for slaughtering their four boys. It’s hardly surprising but nonetheless sickening.

And even more shocking, for Americans, is that our leading newspaper lends itself to this propaganda.

We welcome more information from our many readers in Gaza about the little boys’ killings, and other features of the Israeli government whitewash.

 

James North
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55 Responses

  1. echinococcus
    echinococcus
    June 11, 2015, 11:28 pm

    That the Times still sells to anyone but rabid Zionists, and even has a reputation as a paper, says a lot about our population.

    • weiss
      weiss
      June 14, 2015, 1:14 am

      We can all thank Jodi Rudoren “The Wicked Witch of The East” for her predictable and pathetic whitewash of the TRUTH.

      Although I was recently mistaken in accusing her of having a son in the IDF , she is the epitome of a supposedly intelligent person who incessantly backs this apartheid system, even though it is ABSOLUTELY MORALLY WRONG.

    • mrjingles
      mrjingles
      June 17, 2015, 5:59 am

      Its easy to see the size of someone up close isn’t it? These people were allowed to play in a known Hamas compound in the midst of a war. Another war crime by Hamas.

  2. Donald
    Donald
    June 11, 2015, 11:41 pm

    I just checked–no reader comment section on this article. Maybe I’m just missing them, but I haven’t seen reader comments on I/P stories in a while now. I don’t know if they have cut back on reader comments in general, but it is a very convenient policy, since people interested enough to read the story online could have also seen people pointing out the biases.

    When I get the chance in a few days I’ll write Sullivan–I hope others do as well. It won’t make any fundamental difference in NYT behavior, but they should know that readers are onto their crap. Though that might be why no comment sections on I/P stories lately ( assuming I’m right about their recent absence).

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      June 12, 2015, 5:30 am

      ”The Guardian” has long had an unspoken – but very obvious – policy of rarely opening comments on I/P threads, and when they do, the moderators watch them like hawks. These threads end up looking like a Swiss cheese, with perfectly reasonable comments removed for no apparent reason.

      • John O
        John O
        June 12, 2015, 10:22 am

        The moderators are not the only ones watching like hawks. UK Media watch (formerly CiF Watch) http://ukmediawatch.org/ gets the hasbara crew in early to disrupt any comments threads that do get opened. Unfortunately, few commenters at the Guardian are as knowledgeable as the folks here at MW, so much of the propaganda goes unanswered until, as you say, the mods wake up and delete half the discussion.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        June 12, 2015, 10:57 am

        Interesting, didn’t know ‘CiF Watch’ had changed moniker!

        And you’re right about the hasbarists flooding any CiF discussions on I/P. One thing I’ve noticed though, is that they often miss some discussions- probably because the GIYUS microphone failed to alert them – and then the comments tend to be much more pro-Palestinian. So I would say that, absent the single issue hasbarists who flood certain threads, the Guardian readership is on the whole not pro-Israel, though the same cannot be said for most of their hacks.

        I remember the live blogs they had during the last Gaza massacre were relatively un-censored, and, aside from a few hardcore hasbarists, overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian. The CiF Watch brigade must have known about these blogs, so I wonder if their absence indicates that even they knew they could not defend something quite so indefensible?

      • mrjingles
        mrjingles
        June 17, 2015, 6:03 am

        There is a website called “NOTTHETALK”. Its basicaly the exact same format as the old Guardian discussion boards that for some reason were closed down. These are also moderated but it would appear not so closely. However, as its not officially ofiliated with the Guardian its running on its own and not too well known. Feel free to pop along.

    • weiss
      weiss
      June 14, 2015, 1:18 am

      They are running scared…

      The comments have been overwhelmingly in support of Palestinian Human Rights and are extremely critical of Israel’s Apartheid Policies.

      What better reason for the FASCISTS to limit the parameters of debate than to keep comments closed?

  3. Empiricon
    Empiricon
    June 11, 2015, 11:44 pm

    Thought exercise: Regarding the NY Times reporter killed in her office, for example, the report said that “testimony was collected from a large number” of soldiers and officers “involved in the planning and execution of the attack,” alongside a review of “an extensive number of documents” and “video footage.” The military also “made efforts to collect the testimonies” of Israeli witnesses, the report said, but “regretfully,” they declined to be interviewed.

    Oh well. Just a reporter. Who cares?

  4. just
    just
    June 12, 2015, 12:19 am

    Read Peter Beaumont’s article in The Guardian.

    “Israel exonerates itself over Gaza beach killings of four children last year

    Israeli investigation says missile attack that killed boys aged between nine and 11 was ‘tragic accident’ in findings contradictory to journalists’ reports from scene”

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/11/israel-clears-military-gaza-beach-children

    He was there. As I wrote earlier, this will not be forgotten by the journalists who witnessed it. Israel didn’t bother to interview him or the other witnesses that are journalists. Remember this?

    “2014 Israel–Gaza conflict[edit]
    On July 16, 2014, Mohyeldin witnessed and reported via a series of tweets, the death of 4 Palestinian children who were playing soccer and hide-and-seek on a Gaza beach during the 2014 conflict.[11] The first missile killed one child and the second killed the other 3. The killings were witnessed by many in the international press. Just moments earlier Mohyeldin was kicking a soccer ball with these boys in front of his hotel.[12][13]

    Although Mohyeldin was a live witness to the event,[14] NBC correspondent Richard Engel reported the story from Tel Aviv. NBC followed by pulling Mohyeldin from Gaza and terminating his reporting duties from Gaza indefinitely. Engel was sent to replace him in Gaza.[15] NBC has been subsequently criticized by independent media outlets for removing Mohyeldin. NBC has not explained its actions[16] and reasons for pulling Mohyeldin.

    Mohyeldin was returned to Gaza on July 18, 2014, after NBC received heavy criticism[17] for pulling him out of Gaza. NBC has offered no justification for either pulling him from Gaza, nor sending him back. On Sunday, Aug 3, 2014 Ayman announced via social media that after 4 weeks on the road he was “taking time to be with family..” Less than 48 hours later, Israel and Hamas agreed to a cease fire.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ayman_Mohyeldin

    Thanks, James North. Thanks also, and always, to Dan Cohen for his great journalism and heart.

    As for Rudoren and the NYT~ thanks for nothing, and pfffffffffft.

    Donald~ I am writing to Sullivan. You are correct.

  5. concernedhuman
    concernedhuman
    June 12, 2015, 3:45 am

    This is the reason israelis call idf most moral army of the world. israelis are setting standards which American army will follow. Democracy like west?

    Disgusting !!

  6. joecatron
    joecatron
    June 12, 2015, 4:18 am

    Adding to the shame, Rudoren knows that stretch of beach well, having stayed multiple times in the luxury hotels directly above it. She’ll be quite aware of the misstatements of fact that make the IDF’s findings a laughingstock among the more principled sort of Times reporters:

    https://twitter.com/ABarnardNYT/status/609269466967506944

    • joecatron
      joecatron
      June 12, 2015, 5:59 am

      Israel is quickly losing mainstream journalists who have spent five minutes n Gaza and aren’t complete hacks:

      https://twitter.com/MarquardtA/status/609297641315307520

      • a blah chick
        a blah chick
        June 12, 2015, 7:58 am

        Trouble is some of the hacks have influence.

    • echinococcus
      echinococcus
      June 12, 2015, 6:38 am

      I remember Mr. Weiss’ optimism when Bronner left.

    • James North
      James North
      June 12, 2015, 9:09 am

      Joe Catron: Rudoren regurgitates this Israel military statement:

      The military said the airstrike targeted a compound where naval forces linked to Hamas, the Islamist group that dominates Gaza, had gathered to prepare for “military activity”

      My questions to you, as you obviously know the area:
      1) Is there any possible “compound” next to these hotels?
      2) Does Hamas have “naval forces?”

      Thanks.

  7. RoHa
    RoHa
    June 12, 2015, 4:42 am

    “The more principled sort of Times reporters”

    I want you to think very carefully about that phrase.

  8. Michael Lesher
    Michael Lesher
    June 12, 2015, 6:51 am

    Standard practice at the Times. In 2006, I believe, a deadly Israeli attack on civilians at a Gaza beach was (unusually) caught on camera, so the Times couldn’t just ignore it. In later reports, however, even though human rights professionals who had investigated the incident insisted otherwise, the Times eventually printed only, and without comment, Israel’s denial that it had fired a shell that day.

    The reporters certainly know better. It’s just the public that isn’t supposed to.

    The worst thing about reports like this is that they have the effect of reducing the entire Protective Edge massacre to a “controversy” about the death of 4 boys — when everyone knows the Israelis killed over 500 children during the assault, mostly in deliberate and unprovoked attacks on civilian neighborhoods.

    I shouldn’t comment without adding more praise for Dan Cohen, Ayman Mohyeldin and other fine reporters who have reported accurately from Gaza. (And Tyler Hicks, the cameraman who filed a moving report after the beach attack.)

  9. NickJOCW
    NickJOCW
    June 12, 2015, 7:14 am

    Part of the problem is the use of the umbrella word ‘journalism’. Once it Implied the publication of truths, verified as closely as possible and reported with a high degree of objectivity. The stuff Jodi Rudoren files needs the adjectival qualification of ‘gonzo’.

    Gonzo journalism involves an approach to accuracy through the reporting of personal experiences and emotions, as compared to traditional journalism, which favors a detached style and relies on facts or quotations that can be verified by third parties. Gonzo journalism disregards the strictly edited product favored by newspaper media and strives for a more personal approach; the personality of a piece is as important as the event the piece is on. Use of sarcasm, humor, exaggeration, and profanity is common.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gonzo_journalism

    • Donald
      Donald
      June 12, 2015, 8:22 am

      Gonzo journalism isn’t necessarily inaccurate and journalism which has the superficial stylistic features of objective journalism is often just propaganda. So I think we’d need a different pithy description to describe some of Rudoren’s output. If we have to keep it clean it’s a little tougher.

      • just
        just
        June 12, 2015, 10:06 am

        Rudoren’s a loyal soldier in the IOF.

        She must ascribe to the Shaked “little snakes” and ‘destroy all Palestinians’ ideology.

        “Rudoren covers up Shaked’s genocidal statements in ‘NYT’” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/rudoren-genocidal-statements#comment-146180

        “Netanyahu appoints Ayelet Shaked—who called for genocide of Palestinians—as Justice Minister in new government” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/netanyahu-palestinians-government#comment-146133

      • Hostage
        Hostage
        June 12, 2015, 4:55 pm

        If we have to keep it clean it’s a little tougher.

        I agree. After 20+ years of daily training in the use of profanity under the tutelage of some truly world class experts in the US armed forces, I sometimes feel like we are being asked to fight with one hand tied behind our backs.

  10. eusebio
    eusebio
    June 12, 2015, 8:51 am

    No all people are human beings humans are people of values and humanist respect Good Bless the children of Gaza

    • Hostage
      Hostage
      June 12, 2015, 5:04 pm

      “The military also “made efforts to collect the testimonies” of Gazan witnesses, the report said, but “regretfully,” they declined to be interviewed.”

      Gee, I wonder why?

      Oh come on now, no Palestinian has ever died from simply answering a few questions over the telephone during a call from the IDF!, No wait a minute, you’re right, there actually have been multiple murders “extra-judicial” killings where cellphone GPS or a land line was used to confirm the victim’s location.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        June 13, 2015, 2:04 am

        @Hostage

        You were Air Force. Is it even possible for a high altitude drone to distinguish boys from men on the ground?

      • just
        just
        June 13, 2015, 9:09 am

        Depends on the drone behind the drone.

      • Kris
        Kris
        June 13, 2015, 10:41 am

        You’re not suggesting that Israel would kill people without being able to tell who they are, and whether or not they are children?

      • just
        just
        June 13, 2015, 11:00 am

        Of course he is, Kris. It’s a “pinpoint operation”, always.

        Crow, and his fellow drones~ all 95% of them, ascribe to what Shaked says and to what their recently reelected PM incites.

      • zaid
        zaid
        June 13, 2015, 11:56 am

        @Jackdaw

        Then do not use it if it doesnot distinguish between children and militant.
        and by the way you dont have to be a child to be a civilian in gaza.

  11. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 12, 2015, 9:04 am

    “The military also “made efforts to collect the testimonies” of Gazan witnesses, the report said, but “regretfully,” they declined to be interviewed.”

    Gee, I wonder why?

    “Aerial surveillance identified a number of figures entering the compound at a running pace,” the report says. “It should be stressed that the figures were not identified at any point during the incident as children.”

    Well there’s a comfort, their vaunted billion dollar aerial surveillance system couldn’t detect the fact they were children even when the adult sized Mohyeldin was standing right next to them. Bull****.

    Also Peter “slow” Lerner does a terrible impression of Bagdad Bob.

    • just
      just
      June 12, 2015, 9:47 am

      +1, abc!

      …””It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Kerry said in remarks that were caught on his microphone for the interview. “We got to get over there. Thank you, John. I think, John, we ought to go tonight. I think it’s crazy to be sitting around.”

      Wallace played the tape during his interview with Kerry and asked whether he was upset with the Israelis for going too far.

      “It’s tough to have this kind of operation. I reacted obviously in a way that, you know, anybody does with respect to young children and civilians,” Kerry said.

      “But,” he added, “war is tough, and I said that publicly and I’ll say it again. We defend Israel’s right to do what it is doing in order to get at those tunnels. Israel has accepted a unilateral cease-fire. It’s accepted the Egyptian plan which we also support.””…

      http://www.cbsnews.com/news/john-kerry-confronted-over-sarcasm-on-israeli-invasion-of-gaza/

      They went “too far”. So did the US in supporting the massacre. This ‘investigation’ was a sham, and sweeping these murders, and all of the other death and destruction, away is yet another crime. How many crimes has Israel accumulated under its belt now anyway?

      • lysias
        lysias
        June 12, 2015, 10:44 am

        ””It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation. It’s a hell of a pinpoint operation,” Kerry said in remarks that were caught on his microphone for the interview.

        And Kerry had plenty of experience himself commanding a gunboat in wartime.

    • Maximus Decimus Meridius
      Maximus Decimus Meridius
      June 12, 2015, 9:48 am

      Baghdad Bob was at least funny, and you always got the impression that he knew perfectly well that what he was saying was BS, but he didn’t have much choice.

      Lerner doubtless believes his own propganda though. And how fitting that he’s a Saffer. As soon as white supremacy ended there, he ran off to the last country where it still exists.

      • michelle
        michelle
        June 13, 2015, 5:57 pm

        .
        one wonders when the Jewish people became white
        everyone knows the actual Jewish people were not white
        except in the movies

        wouldn’t it be interesting to learn/realize(?) that after so many
        thousands of years that many Palestine Arab Muslim Christian
        …. people have as great or a greater bond via bloodline to the original
        Jewish tribes then the currently accepted modern Jewish people
        .
        G-d Bless
        .

  12. James North
    James North
    June 12, 2015, 11:10 am

    Hasbara Central seems to be avoiding this thread.

    • just
      just
      June 12, 2015, 11:16 am

      SOP, James.

      (They avoid Kate’s place, too.)

    • Kay24
      Kay24
      June 12, 2015, 12:47 pm

      They know the side they protect and who they lie for kill unnecessarily. Many witnesses said there was no threat to the IDF at that time, and that anyone could see these little kids were innocently playing soccer. Notice has ba rats never address the illegal settlement eithers.
      They cannot justify breaking international rules, and killing innocent kids witnessed by so many others.

  13. a blah chick
    a blah chick
    June 12, 2015, 12:16 pm

    We should also mention the guys who were killed while watching the World Cup at that beach cafe. I believe it was near where the boys were killed. They did not even bother “investigating” that one

    • John O
      John O
      June 12, 2015, 12:52 pm

      And the former footballer turned TV commentator whose flat just happened to take a missile strike. Maybe one day a reformed FIFA will do something about Israel.

  14. Kay24
    Kay24
    June 12, 2015, 12:27 pm

    “Rudoren must have forgotten to call the Times‘s own photographer, Tyler Hicks, who was an eyewitness to the killings and put down his camera to write a powerful article about the attack the day it took place last July. ”

    Rudoren did not forget. If these were four little Israeli/Jewish kids, she would have not only called Tyler Hicks, but every single journalist she can to increase the outrage. Rudoren is a dirty rat, who keeps showing just how biased she is, and just how unprofessional she can be, when it comes to protecting Israel’s brutal crimes.

    This investigation is an eye wash. As if these disgusting Israeli forces will incriminate themselves in such a horrible massacre of innocent kids.

    The journalists who saw this massacre must speak out louder and prove her totally biased.

    • Schecky
      Schecky
      June 18, 2015, 4:09 am

      One third of HAMAS rockets missed their mark and landed on Palestinian civilians. Why doesn’t anyone mention that?

      • Kris
        Kris
        June 18, 2015, 10:33 am

        Your source, Schecky? Please provide a link. Thanks.

        But I agree, it will be a great day when Palestinians have the best weapons that money can buy, so that they can hit their targets consistently.

  15. Bornajoo
    Bornajoo
    June 12, 2015, 1:43 pm

    “The journalists who saw this massacre must speak out louder and prove her totally biased.”

    Fully agree Kay. It’s a perfect opportunity to do so.

    This is what must and should happen but so far nothing!

    • just
      just
      June 12, 2015, 1:50 pm

      Oh, I don’t know about that. Beaumont’s steamed:

      http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jun/11/israel-clears-military-gaza-beach-children

      More will come. I can nearly guarantee it.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        June 12, 2015, 1:59 pm

        Beaumont is pissed off because this nonsense directly contradicts his first hand evidence. He reported that he and other journalists were frantically waving their arms and shouting ”They’re only kids!” at the gunship. He also said that there was about half a minute between the first and second shots, and that the gunship carefully switched its aim to target the boys. In his mind, and that of the several other journos who were there, there was absolutely no doubt that the boys were deliberately murdered.

        I must say in general though, that Beaumont is quite cowardly when ‘reporting’ on I/P issues. He relies heavily on official Israeli sources, whom he mostly quotes uncritically. He’s angry here because his personal testimony was contradicted, but a courageous reporter he is not. And notice, as usual with the Guardian, that comments are closed on this article.

      • Bornajoo
        Bornajoo
        June 12, 2015, 2:01 pm

        Your observations about the Guardian are spot on MDM!

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius
        June 12, 2015, 2:15 pm

        Thanks. I see little difference between the Guardian and the NYT these days. They are obsessed with ‘anti semitism’ and the ‘soul of Israel’. They’ve even got Hadley Freedman – whose normal stock in trade is Kim Kardashian and name dropping about Jamie Dornan – on the case. It’s interesting because, as I said above, take away the single issue hasbarists who only post on I/P threads they’ve been alerted to, most of the Guardian readership does not appear to be pro-Israel at all.

      • John O
        John O
        June 12, 2015, 4:45 pm

        True there are no comments on Beaumont’s article, but it has been shared over 11,000 times.

  16. zaid
    zaid
    June 13, 2015, 12:00 pm

    This report criminalize israel more than it defends it.

    Because it tells us that israel uses technologies that does not distinguish between civilians and militants and this itself i a crime.

  17. michelle
    michelle
    June 13, 2015, 6:13 pm

    .
    how far from the beach was the Israeli ship
    close enough to hit the targets/children
    too far to see that their targets were children
    why not directly target the adults/parents
    .
    who is more accountable
    the bigger stronger siblings who abuse the smaller weaker sibling
    or the mother who allows it promotes it joins in and then hides it
    from those that would stop it
    .
    G-d Bless
    .

  18. Vera Gottlieb
    Vera Gottlieb
    June 24, 2015, 10:06 am

    Why isn’t the NYT boycotted until it is out of business???

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