Tuesday 21 May 2013

Cynicism - Too Little Too Late

The BBC has produced a comparatively even-handed piece on the latest chapter in the Al Durah saga
From the extreme anti-Israel website Mondoweiss, which quotes a typically ‘self-hating’ article in Haaretz that describes the latest Israeli report on the incident as “surreal”, to Honest Reporting’s article, which reproduces the report in full, the BBC emerges somewhere in the middle. Apart, perhaps, from the misleading first paragraph which says “An Israeli investigation has said a French news report in 2000 which blamed Israeli troops for shooting dead a Palestinian child was baseless which slightly misrepresents what the report actually said [of claims made and beamed around the world,] “there was no basis in the material which the station had in its possession at the time of the report”

Subtle difference, true, but the BBC’s version sounds almost scathing. One predictable, but unfortunate take on this at the time of writing is that releasing this report cannot do Israel any good, and most likely will do harm. 

One reason given is the long time lapse - sleeping dogs and all that - and another seems to be that such a meticulous document, which allegedly contains no new material, says more about the personal obsession of the chairman of the committee Yossi Kuperwasser than about any genuine quest for the truth, and that the report itself will prove to be too detailed and intricate for most people to bother engaging with. 

Haaretz suggests that there is an element of revenge against Charles Enderlin, in the vague hope of making him take responsibility for the many acts of terror carried out by assorted Islamist thugs over the years in the name of Mohammad Al Dura.

Even more disappointing, a report in the Telegraph by Robert Tait seems to have created a cynical aura around Israel’s case. In the tree version, below the Headline “Israel and the ‘blood libel’ of the intifada” is the  strap-line: Netanyahu government provokes outrage with report claiming that defining image of Palestinian uprising may have been a propaganda fake.” 

Online, this has changed. The headline “Symbolic intifada death of boy did not happen, says Israel” is followed by: A 12-year-old boy caught up in a notorious gunfight between Israel's forces and Palestinian militants during the 2000 intifada may not have died in the event and was not hit by Israeli fire, a government inquiry has claimed.”

It was the tree version that caught my eye because the focus on the outrage that the report is allegedly provoking seems odd. Do these people care so little for the substance of the report that the feathers it might ruffle take priority over forensic analysis of the incident?

Apparently so. I suspect Robert Tait is a Haaretz reader, and dare it be said, a bit of a churnalist.  
Who could disagree with, or be provoked by this:
 “There is a particular need for international media outlets to critically evaluate information provided by local stringers, especially in arenas in which repeated attempts to stage or fabricate media items have been documented.”
Or this:
“France 2 should have retracted or qualified the unequivocal claims of itsreporter that the boy was the target of Israeli fire and died in the sequence shown,apologized for misleadingly editing the footage, and clarified that it reliedunquestioningly on its Gaza stringer in formulating the report.

 Having followed the incident from the time Philippe Karsenty’s original court case was first reported, and through the various legal and political developments to the present day, I find the incident worthy of more than the cynical coverage it’s getting now, when the correct time for cynicism was when the film was originally beamed round the world to such devastating effect.     

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