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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Ernesto Londoño, "Israel’s Ludicrous Spoof of Western Journalists": Londoño's Ludicrous Opinion Piece

The New York Times's war against Israel continues.

In a "Taking Note" blog item entitled "Israel’s Ludicrous Spoof of Western Journalists," Ernesto Londoño, who left The Washington Post in 2014 to join the Times editorial board, today takes his best shot at Israel. Regrettably, poor Ernesto is pitifully far off the mark. Ernesto writes:

"The [Israeli Foreign Ministry] released an animated video depicting a clueless, blonde, American-accented television journalist reporting idiotically from the Gaza Strip as Hamas militants lurked in the background. The spoof echoes a longstanding claim by the Israeli government: that Western journalists reporting from Gaza are often biased against Israel and refrain from criticizing Hamas, the militant group that runs the occupied territory.

The majority of international journalists who report out of Gaza deliver nuanced, measured and indispensable coverage. They often do so at great personal risk. Covering asymmetrical conflicts as deadly as Israel’s campaigns against militants in Gaza, an occupied territory, is among the toughest work journalists do.

Juxtaposing the cartoon against the dispatches of Sherine Tadros, the stellar Sky News Middle East correspondent, or Quentin Sommerville of the B.B.C. makes Israel’s attempt at humor hard to swallow. Remembering the colleagues who have died reporting from Gaza makes it intolerable.

Israeli officials have a long history of unfairly maligning certain Western journalists. But recently, the government has become more aggressive as part of an effort to mend its reputation abroad."

However, as reported by Khaled Abu Toameh, an Israeli Arab whose knowledge of Gaza and the West Bank dwarfs that of Ernesto, in a Gatestone Institute article entitled "Turning a Blind Eye to Hamas Atrocities":

"The problem is that foreign journalists who manage to cross into the Gaza Strip face many restrictions imposed by the Hamas government. Local facilitators hired by foreign journalists are also under scrutiny by the Hamas government. That is why they are careful not to bring the dirty laundry out by telling the foreign media about things that could reflect negatively on Hamas.

Many of the reports about what is happening in the Gaza Strip are written by journalists who sit in offices in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv. Their reports are almost always based in what they are told by their local stringers and facilitators. Besides being exposed to intimidation, a large number of these locals are actually affiliated with Hamas and serve as the movement’s unofficial spokesmen.

Some foreign journalists justify their behavior by arguing that they are too scared to report anything that might anger Hamas. They express fear that they would not be able to return to the Gaza Strip if they published such stories."

More to the point, as reported in a July 2014 Algemeiner article entitled "Media Watchdog Asks Why WSJ Reporters Deleted Twitter Photos Implicating Hamas in War Crimes":

"Two reporters in Gaza for The Wall Street Journal have deleted photographs that implicate Hamas in war crimes, namely using the Al Shifa hospital as a military headquarters, and media watchdog CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, on Tuesday asked them why the posts were removed? So far, CAMERA has received no answers from the reporters or from their editors, but the group said the deleted posts might be further evidence of Hamas intimidating journalists."

And in another July 2014 Algemeiner article entitled "Italian Journalist Defies Hamas: ‘Out of Gaza Far From Hamas Retaliation: Misfired Rocket Killed Children in Shati’," we learn:

"Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati said he was able to speak freely about witnessing a Hamas misfire that killed nine children at the Shati camp, confirming the Israel Defense Forces version of events, but only after leaving Gaza, “far from Hamas retaliation.”

On Twitter, Barbati, Jerusalem Correspondent for Radio Popolare Milano, and a former reporter for Sky Italia, in Beijing, said, “Out of #Gaza far from #Hamas retaliation: misfired rocket killed children yday [yesterday] in Shati. Witness: militants rushed and cleared debris.”

He said, '@IDFSpokesperson said truth in communique released yesterday about Shati camp massacre. It was not #Israel behind it.'"

What about Ernesto's claim, "Remembering the colleagues who have died reporting from Gaza makes it intolerable"? If you follow Ernesto's link, we learn that his "colleagues" were "an Italian videographer and a local Palestinian helping him with arrangements and translation, [who] were killed along with four members of Gaza’s unexploded-ordnance squad as they attempted to defuse what officials described as an Israeli bomb." Why was I expecting a much longer list of persons who died under different circumstances, i.e. during the actual fighting in the summer of 2014?

Concerning false reporting with respect to Israel by The Washington Post, where Ernesto previously worked, and The New York Times, where he is currently employed, Ernesto might want to have a gander at the following:

And we haven't even touched upon the subject of anti-Semitism at The New York Times. If you have the time, Ernesto, you might want to begin by reading "Nicholas Kristof Retweets "OBAMA Told the 2 Most Pig Like Lobbies, AIPAC & NRA, to Drop Dead in Same Month": Is Kristof an Anti-Semite?" and "Thomas Friedman, "Newt, Mitt, Bibi and Vladimir": Israel Doesn't Need Your Love."

Western reporting with regard to Israel has been far worse than "ludicrous," but thanks for your two cents, Ernesto.

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