When the Israeli Turkel Committee’s report came out exonerating the IDF in the Mavi Marmara incident, the AP included a breakdown of who served on the committee. Reuters mentioned the video footage that showed “activists” attacking Israeli soldiers in an article critical of the use of paintball guns (which is actually very objective).
Television footage showed the activists attacking marines with clubs, iron bars and at least one knife.
The Deutsche-Press Agenter takes the time to expand upon the commission, its reliance on video evidence, but not until after the obligatory anti-Israel five-paragraph lead. The AFP, of course, slants anti-Israel, quoting liberally from the Turks.
The Irish Times presented a very fair and objective piece. NPR used the AP story to present a fair picture that showed the breakdown of the Turkel Committee. The Independent embedded a video in its story (which also detailed the makeup of the Committee and its investigation), although of course the article is slanted as anti-Israel as they could make it. Even the Hindustan Times managed to publish an article that pointed out the international observers on the investigation, placed there to blunt attacks on the committee’s credibility.
Now compare this to the AP report of the Turkish investigation into the Mavi Marmara incident. There is no information whatsoever on the makeup of the committee. There is no mention of the makeup of the Turkish investigation, except to note that the foreign minister—who is quoted throughout the article—was on the committee. Interestingly, none of the Turkel Committee members spoke to the press. The AP story repeates the Turkish accusations uncritically, even when they are known to be untrue and contradicted by video evidence. Just look at this lead paragraph:
A Turkish committee investigating Israel’s deadly raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla has refuted Israeli claims that its soldiers acted in self-defense, saying at least two activists were killed before commandos boarded the ship and another died “execution-style” as he lay injured.
Note the language in bold. Israel’s contentions are “claims.” The word’s implied meaning is that they are not true. Of course, what Turkey “says” is taken at face value. There should be a refutation of the lie that Israel killed two “activists” before boarding the ship, but there is none.
On a side note, once again, there is a major PR fail by Israel.
In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he could not comment on the Turkish findings because he had not seen the report.
Palmor said Israel had submitted its own report to the U.N. and was waiting to hear “what lessons could be learned so this doesn’t happen again.”
Instead of the above, the Ministry should have been ready with its own talking points based on the Turkel Committe’s report. The tone of the AP article would be very different if it looked like, say, this (boldface is made up by me as an example of what could have been said):
In Jerusalem, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said he could not comment on the Turkish findings because he had not seen the report. But he reiterated that the Turkel Committee had exonerated the IDF commandoes, saying they had acted in self-defense after being attacked by activists onboard the ship.
As an example, when the Turkel report came out, Turkey’s Islamist president made sure that he put on a big enough fuss to get picked up in his own article by the AP. The Islamists are running circles around Israel in the PR war. Let me put it this way: If words were weapons, Israel would have been defeated in the mid-70s, when the Palestinians ramped up the PR war and Israel continued to not understand how valuable the sound-bite is on television.
When the AP does finally quote the Turkel report, it does so in the last three paragraphs of the article, after repeating uncritically the ridiculous claims of the Turkish report. This one is my favorite made-up accusation:
Another activist, Cevdet Kiliclar, was killed with laser-guided weapons while taking photographs, the report said.
Always the innocent bystander excuse. None of the “activists” above decks that night were innocent. The IDF released a slew of video evidence showing the activists preparing to attack, and then attacking them. But for the AP, there’s no such thing as asking for evidence. And remember, they actually declined to accept the videos from the IDF, saying they had no way of knowing if the videos had been tampered with (which is absolutely false; videographers have excellent methods of determining the validity of a video).
This is, once again, not just media bias. This is also Israel’s problem. Israel needs to ramp up its PR department at the Foreign Ministry, at the IDF, at every office and institution so it can begin to change the anti-Israel bent of so many media stories. Or it can just stand by and watch the delegitimization of Israel, aided and abetted by the anti-Israel media.