From the New York Times’s Sabrina Tavernise and Ethan Bronner, a worthy followup to the thoroughly excerable and now unavailable “10 Reported Killed” story with which the NYT began their Gaza Flotilla coverage. That one was Isabel Kershner’s handiwork, and the very end of this gem notes she contributed here as well. Heartwarming teamwork at the Paper of Record:
The attempted takeover turned into an armed assault, with angry Israeli commandos opening fire. Within an hour, the commandos had taken control of the ship, and nine Turks, including one who also had American citizenship, were dead. Dozens of interviews in Israel and Turkey suggest that Israel’s decision to stop the flotilla at all costs collided with the intention of a small group of Islamic activists from Turkey, turning a raid on a ship of protesters in international waters into a bloodbath — and a major international event.
I particularly appreciate how the IHH-backed jihadists are described as a “small group of Islamic activists,” the the IHH being the Hamas supporting group of Turkey-acknowledged terrorists which literally sponsored the boat.
Merely calling them “activists” is something that any liberal apologist could have done. But that the lynch mob was an unfortunate and unrepresentative “small group” among the larger “ship of protesters” shows that the NYT is virtually parody-proof. The only thing left is to explain how the jihadists “misunderstood Islam” when they broke out into genocidal Islamic war songs celebrating Mohammed’s mass murder and enslavement of Jews.
Then, later in the article, there’s this:
But Israel, committed to enforcing a blockade, did not consider alternatives like searching the cargo before unloading it in Gaza — a decision that has prompted criticism that Israel was too quick to choose confrontation and fell into a trap set by the activists.
I’m honestly not sure what’s going on here. They’re obviously trying to misleadingly imply – without actually lying – that Israel opted to raid the ship instead of delivering inspected cargo to Gaza. That’s not the confusing part. The idea is to maintain plausible deniability by writing only things that are not strictly false, all the while still leaving the reader with an inaccurate impression. It’s similar to putting the word “angry” in front of “Israeli commandos opening fire.” The fact that the commandos were angry is true and the fact that they opened fire is true, but the implied cause-and-effect is false insofar as the Israelis were highly disciplined and didn’t open fire until the mob was set to successfully kidnap and kill soldiers. AP journalist Ibrahim Barzak has been availing himself of a related trick for years, where he inserts gratuitous credibility-eroding phrases like “Israeli officials said” or “according to Israeli officials” in front of demonstrably true statements (e.g. “Israeli officials said that the Palestinians were heavily armed…” when there’s video showing they were indeed heavily armed).
Here’s the thing though: I genuinely can’t tell why Tavernise and Bronner think they’re being clever, or how they think they’ve avoided outright lying.
Israel very much did offer to let the ships dock so that Israel could “search the cargo” and then transport it into Gaza. It was one of the first videos the IDF put out. The just published extended cut of that video has the flotilla passangers telling the young IDF soldier to go back to Auschwitz, which isn’t really relevant to unpacking this weird paragraph but is worth noting while you muse over the “Israel was too quick to choose confrontation” stab.
It can’t be that they’re saying that the IDF commandos should have boarded the ship, then taken it to Gaza themselves for inspection and unloading. That read kind of meshes with the snide bit about Israel being “committed to enforcing a blockade,” but it’s straightforwardly nonsensical since the Israeli commandos didn’t even have time to hit the deck before the “activists” on board starting trying to brain them with metal pipes.
They might be referencing one of the many utopian musings that were floated by one of the many people who were not in charge of the flotilla. So maybe someone proposed something like having the cargo inspected by the mindblowingly shameless Hamas shills who run the UN operations out of Gaza. It could have happened. The article doesn’t specify who proposed any of the fabled “alternatives” that the Israelis dismissed, so in theory anything could have happened. It really does matter, though, who would be doing the inspecting, because that would help explain why the Israelis “too quickly” dismissed the proposal.
Someone who suspected the NYT of bias might suggest that, given the importance of that particular detail, there was something suspicious about the vagueness of the reference.
Ah well. At least it’s not as obnoxious as the aww-shucks “local man and/or woman got interdicted while abetting genocidal lunatics” portraits that NPR and the San Francisco Chronicle are running. And it’s also nice to see that the NYT has finally found an Exodus-style ship that it can cover favorably, since the paper very famously excoriated the Jewish refugees of the original 1947 version.
But this new 2010 Exodus, which isn’t so much filled with Holocaust survivors as with anti-Jewish bigots dedicated to creating another Holocaust? That’s a campaign they can get behind.
* Big Journalism
* Days of Planning Led to Flotilla’s Hour of Chaos [NYT]
* So A Bunch Of Stoners, Some Hamas Thugs, And Two Well-Armed Antisemites Float Into A Blockade… [Mere Rhetoric]
* Deadly Israeli Raid Draws Condemnation [NYT]
* IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements. [Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center]
* Shooting the Messenger: A Look at the Facts on the Turkish Aid Group IHH [Kohlmann / CT Blog]
* Background Information on Turkish IHH, Sponsor of Mavi Marmara Ship of Freedom Flotilla [Axis of Logic]
* All aboard the peace thug flotilla: “The army of Muhammad will return!”; Update: Israel is ready for the next jihadi ships; U.N. condemns Israel, of course [Malkin]
* AP’s Ibrahim Barzak Publishes Least Subtle Anti-Israel Bias Yet [Mere Rhetoric]
* Israeli Navy Addresses a Ship in the Flotilla and Offers it to Dock in the Ashdod Port [idfnadesk / YouTube]
* Flotilla Ship to Israeli Navy: "We’re Helping Arabs Go Against the US, Don’t Forget 9/11 Guys" [idfnadesk / YouTube]
* UN Palestinian Stooge: “It’s Obvious” That Israeli Attack Violated 48-Hour Truce That No One Knew About Until Now [Mere Rhetoric]
* Flotilla detainee’s harrowing experience [SF Gate]
* Mavi Marmara and the Exodus [NY Sun]
* A tale of two ships in the Middle East [The Star]