Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Herb Keinon Crack Reporter

When I was a kid and before there was an internet I used to read the weekly edition of the Jerusalem Post at my grandmother's apartment in Racine, Wisconsin. So I've always had a sort of nostalgic fondness for the paper, even though the op-ed pages are filled with mostly right wing crazy talk. Caroline Glick, I'm looking at you. You can read about the Post's firing of progressive writer Larry Derfner here. But what I want to highlight is the Post's complete hackery, exemplified by the report out this evening, which borders on parody.

A little background first. The UN appointed a committee to investigate the circumstances surrounding Israel's raid on the ship Mavi Marmara, which was part of a flotilla launched from Turkey that sought to break Israel's naval blockade of Gaza. The UN report has been ready for some time, but it's been withheld to allow Israel and Turkey to try to work out their differences. This week Israel requested another 60 day six month delay and Turkey refused to go along. So the report will be made public Friday. Needless to say, Israel is quite concerned about the report's findings. Turkey too, but seemingly less so. Okay, got it?

This evening (Chicago time) Jerusalem Post's Herb Keinon writes that ahead of the publication of the report, Israel's Foreign Ministry is, well, I'll let Keinon tell you:
The Foreign Ministry is drawing up talking points and writing press releases in the run-up to Friday’s expected release of the Palmer Commission report on the Mavi Marmara incident.
Wonder what those talking points could be? Not to worry. Keinon tells us, only he doesn't really tell us. By that I mean, he identifies the report's conclusions. And gosh darn, if they don't turn out to be the Foreign Ministry's talking points. Keinon "reports" as follows, and stop me when you get to the conclusions criticizing Israel:
According to Israeli officials, the 102-page report comes to the following conclusions:
• Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza was legal, as was the interception of vessels trying to break the blockade.
• The IHH activists behind the flotilla were looking for a violent provocation.

• Turkey had a role with the IHH in the flotilla setting sail.

• The IDF soldiers defended themselves after coming up against premeditated violence by those on the ship.

• The IDF soldiers used excessive force.
Got that? Israel's blockade was legal. The interception was legal. The flotilla's participants were looking for a violent confrontation.Turkey had a role in the flotilla. The IDF soldiers defended themselves against premeditated violence. And oh yeah, the soldiers used excessive force. Gee, I can hardly wait for the Foreign Ministry's talking points!

Look, I hope the report completely exonerates Israel and the IDF. I saw some of the clips of the incident and couldn't believe the Israeli soldiers weren't reaching for their sidearms when they were dropping from the helicopters into the arms of the IHH activists, swinging metal rods. I know I would have been shooting before I reached the end of the rope. And when you try to run a naval blockade, it's kind of hard to complain when the military does what it does to enforce the blockade.

But come'on. How 'bout some journalism here? Keinon reports that the Foreign Ministry is preparing talking points. Two paragraphs later he regurgitates what are obviously the talking points, but reports them as fact.

Don't worry Jerusalem Post, we'll always have Racine. 

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