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Flotilla: Even state officials say Netanyahu, IDF spread lies

According to government sources, the army doesn’t have any evidence that the flotilla activists are planning violent resistance, yet it publicly accuses them of conspiring to murder soldiers

Flotilla activists preparing weapons for their encounter with IDF soldiers (photo: Mya Guarnieri)

The top story in two of Israel’s leading daily papers yesterday was a bombshell: The IDF unveiled plans by flotilla passengers to kill soldiers trying to stop the ships from getting to Gaza.

Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s most widely read paper, ran a headline declaring “Flotilla activists set to kill,” which was attributed to military sources (but only in the fine print). The story declared, “Intelligence information revealed violent plans.” In the inside pages, the headline declared that this flotilla is considered to be “more violent than the previous one.”

Maariv’s top story covered the same topic: “IDF intelligence reveals: Lethal acid on flotilla boats.” The free paper Israel Hayom had a smaller headline in the front page. “Fear: Flotilla activists will try to kill soldiers.” Haaretz is the only paper that didn’t give the story such prominence in its print edition, but it was the top headline on the paper’s website throughout the previous evening. The Jerusalem Post’s headline read “IDF: Some flotilla activists planning to kill soldiers.

You can view all front pages of the Hebrew papers in this pic, taken from the media blog Velvet Underground. Yedioth and Maariv are the bottom two.

Front Pages of Israeli papares, June 28 2011 (photo: velvet underground blog)

Chemical Weapons? Against the Israel Navy Seals, Air Force and war ships? Even as a suicide mission, it sounded too fantastic. And how could this flotilla be “more violent,” when the notorious IHH, whose members were on the Mavi Marmara last year, cancelled its participation? Who exactly is going to execute the soldiers with the lethal acid, 64- year-old Alice Walker? It was the kind of propaganda no thinking person could believe, yet the entire Hebrew media – even Haaretz! – went for it.

Luckily, it didn’t take Max Blumenthal to debunk this one. The media’s tone today was entirely different. Government sources have told Maariv that the so-called “intelligence information” was a spin by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, reflecting “a Hasbara [propaganda] hysteria.”

“It’s unthinkable that in cabinet meetings we receive information according to which there are no threats of violent actions from the flotilla activists or [indication of] the presence of terror elements on the ships, and that at the same time, senior political sources, including the army, feed the media with information that is the exact opposite of what we were given.”

Information that the media was only to eager to swallow, one should add.

A day too late, Yedioth Ahronoth’s military correspondent was the voice of reason in his paper:

“There isn’t a shred of evidence that extreme elements will initiate resistance against IDF soldiers. There is no knowledge of the existence of firearms on the ships.”

The damage, however, was done. The reports of the murderous intentions of the flotilla activists traveled around the country and across the world. Not for the first time, a group of unarmed European and American activists traveling on old yachts was presented as a threat to the security of the region’s superpower. The only question is: for how long will the world continue to buy these kind of stories?

Maariv’s story today offers a comment from Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office, claiming the information that was passed to the media came from IDF spokesperson unit. In response to my question today, the IDF spokesperson’s office made it clear they stand behind the information that was released yesterday.

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    1. Leonard Graceffo

      Every race/religion screws its own kind; or more precisely its rich trying to impose its will, screw the lower classes. I wonder if Israel will undergo class warfare in the years to come ?

      Reply to Comment
    2. max

      Noam, don’t you feel uncomfortable claiming that a true statement was a claim, and proving that it was a true statement?
      Do you honestly claim that the average age of the tourists on the boats is that of Ms. Walker?
      Do you really doubt that people would volunteer to through acid at Israel’s mighty soldiers, even risking their lives?
      If you can’t answer Yes to all these questions, what’s your point?

      Reply to Comment
    3. sandra budak

      Bless max and bless you for writing this…the histrionics is so funny.This is a mission of humanitarians…. But i have to say shame on the prmoinent lawyer on twitter calling for the sinking of the flotilla which included Hedy Epstien a holocaust survivor…..

      Reply to Comment
    4. RACHEL

      Noam, the world is not buying these kinds of stories. The Israelis are because they believe they are perpetual victims. They cannot believe that people would do this because they cannot fathom that anyone would be able to view Palestinians as human beings. It must be because they want to kill Jews. The rest of the world views this narcissism with disdain and Jewish leaders in the U.S. can see it.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Max Blumenthal did, however, provide another great piece of information. He called the military spokesperson and asked if they showed anyone proof.

      Hearing that poor conscript’s discomfort with the notion of actually asking for evidence is quite something. It’s just under 6 minutes and shows the mindset in Israel’s army.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Emily

      As someone who personally had a very traumatic experience involving paper when I was about 7 years old, I can assure you that paper IS potentially an extremely dangerous weapon that could inflict paper-cut injuries onto any soldier within reach of said paper.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Ilene

      Well, if it’s true – goes both ways– you lie about the need for humanitarian assistance, when even the Red Cross acknowledges there is no need for humanitarian aid. flotillacruise.com – check it out. you might just change your mind.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Ilene

      just wondering – how is Israeli “propoganda” – anything that smacks of being pro-Israel — bad? And anything smacking of pro-Palestinian “propoganda” is good? And why are you so afraid to have Israeli soldiers come on board the board? I also notice that you say NOTHING about the fact that the Dutch media have left your ship because you refused to talk about the funding for the Flotilla. So I would strongly recommend you try to show some degree of objectivity, otherwise, well, it’s just propoganda. Hey, check it out for yourself, and you can find the original Dutch article here as well. But hey, nice try. http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article.php?id=3434

      Reply to Comment
    9. TheAZCowBoy

      This comment has been deleted

      Reply to Comment