Netanyahu testifies about violence on Turkish ship

Dear Editor,

A story AP needs to carry is that this morning Netanyahu testifies for the Israeli commission about the fiasco and violence on one of the Gaza-bound Turkish ships. Will you ignore it anyway? Will you report his statements fairly? Will neutralize anything he says by innuendo and counterclaims? We’re very curious as AP puts out so much anti-Israel propaganda but then sometimes has impeccable pieces on the Middle East. Let’s check item for item.

1. Do you report? YES! “Netanyahu testifies about violence on Turkish ship” [NO! Before midnight in Jerusalem AP purged the report from its site!!! Shame on AP.]

2. Is the headline unbiased? NO! It’s not the worst bias in the world, but why not capture the essence of his testimony in the headline? Why not “Netanyahu testifies: Confident Israel will be cleared”? Instead, you use a negative word (violence) that you associate with Israel.

3. Is the first paragraph without bias? ALMOST! “Turkish ship that tried to break the Gaza blockade” you write, but if that was its purpose it would have agreed to transfer the goods to Ashdod port. No, these organizers were seeking a confrontation at sea, not as you write.

4. Are the closing clauses without anti-Israel bias? YES!

5. Is the opening section fair? YES!

6. Is counter-opinion overrunning/annulling his statements? NO!

7. Is AP putting in context and is it worded fairly? NO! The third and the fourth paragraph read as if put in by someone else. They are not factual at all. They have ten biases!!
– “The commandos met with violent resistance on board the Mavi Marmara and opened fire” suggesting that this was as in a knee jerk reflex, while this was the slowest decision-making in the world. So bad that the army at first hid the video evidence from shame.
– “The bloodshed drew an international outcry” Again you leave out the blanket support that the G-8 gave Israel after the whole incident. AP needs to keep spreading around the myth that Israel is a hated and isolated entity. You have NOT acknowledged this generous international support even ONCE! As we write to you now for the 18th time! Here is our first email on this to AP: [G-8 Leaders support Israel]
“forced Israel to ease its blockade” Double bias. The blockade was by Israel AND Egypt. You leave out that it was for the PROTECTION of these countries.
– “the pro-Palestinian activists” – rather were terrorists, eager to die as martyrs.
– “Both the activists and the soldiers have accused each other of provoking the violence.” This is double bias: moral equivalence and a lie put together. There is widespread proof that does not necessitate any further doubt of what had happened. And it equalizes the aggressors with the defendants.
– If IHH is a “Turkish charity” Hamas is one too! Rather, IHH is (as Netanyahu testified here) a recognized terrorist organization with a charity cover.
– “Turkey’s government has noticeably cooled ties with longtime ally Israel after the deadly raid.” The cooling of ties was way before, out of the blue at the Davos World Economic Forum, January 2009 and counting: Turkey sounds upbeat about joining EU.
– The commandos did nor execute a raid but an interception.

8. Is the AP context not eclipsing the words of the speaker? YES! The context comes a bit too early and lengthy and with lots of bias – three long paragraphs after just one statement by Netanyahu, giving old news (chasing readers away) and lies (more of the same of what we’ve read all the time) before most of the meat is delivered.

9. Is anything missing? YES!

– Missing is that the commandos opened fire unbelievably late. They should have used lethal force as soon as their lives were in danger. Maybe then the terrorists on board wouldn’t have crazed themselves so much and fewer would have had to be shot.
Not only is this important aspect missing, AP writes the opposite: “The commandos met with violent resistance on board the Mavi Marmara and opened fire” suggesting that this was as in a knee jerk reflex. In fact it took dozens of minutes.
– Missing is that the violent passengers were not just extremist (as you do report) but also a small minority manipulating & using the vast majority of true peace activists on board.
– You mention the blockade but not what caused it: the need to protect against terrorism.
– See our next, our last but not least criterion for fairness (10.).

10. Are the prime minister’s words conveyed faithfully? NO! What is reported is more or less OK, except for the excess of qualifying verbs: he suggested, said, told, said.
What’s much worse is that important parts of what he testified were missing, and those are things that AP omits all the time!! From Israeli Left-Wing newspaper Haaretz:
– No country or army examines itself more thoroughly than Israel and the IDF
– Israel’s blockade on Gaza is imperative to its security
– Hamas threat to Israel’s existence can’t be ignored
– All political efforts we made couldn’t stop the ship
– It was obvious that the flotilla organizers were interested with clashing with the IDF
– While we did prevent a humanitarian crisis [in Gaza], we did not succeed in preventing the image of a humanitarian crisis – an image that was entirely false
– He hoped the panel would emphasize in its report Hamas’s violations of international law: “inciting to genocide; systematically and intentionally firing on civilians; using [their own] civilians as human shields; and preventing visits by the Red Cross to kidnapped IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit.”
On the latest quote: the need for such an emphasis lies in the refusal of “news outlets” like AP to bring the facts. And here again AP blacked out the news.

Conclusion: AP gets points for bringing the story, for not portraying Netanyahu as a hawk or liar, for creating a headline that was only moderately biased, and for beginning and ending the report unbiased.
On the other hand, most seriously, the context AP puts in, comes too early, and with lots of biases. No words are put into Netanyahu’s mouth, but most of what he said is omitted and those are points we often miss in AP reporting: prominently: the violence against Israel and its need – no: obligation – to protect itself and its remarkable level of self-restraint and striving for peace.
All in all, not the worst AP report on Israel, but still a good opportunity killed by leaving out the most important parts of the testimony and flooding it early with false context. Not Good.

Shalom,

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