Media ‘War Crimes’January 14, 2009 22:00 by ManagingTeam
Accusations that Israel employs sinister and “illegal” weapons are not new. Now, the politicized non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch has condemned Israel for allegedly using white phosphorus weapons unlawfully in the conflict with Hamas. NGOs such as HRW enjoy the “halo effect”, whereby, because of their humanitarian focus, they are insulated from scrutiny and are regarded as above reproach by the media. In this case, media including The Guardian, Times of London, Christian Science Monitor and CNN have repeated HRW’s claims.
However, this charge has been disputed by the International Red Cross, which stated that it had no evidence to suggest that white phosphorus is being used improperly or illegally by Israel. As the AP reports:
“In some of the strikes in Gaza it’s pretty clear that phosphorus was used,” [Peter] Herby told The Associated Press. “But it’s not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it’s being used in any other way.” …
Herby said that using phosphorus to illuminate a target or create smoke is legitimate under international law, and that there was no evidence the Jewish state was intentionally using phosphorus in a questionable way, such as burning down buildings or consciously putting civilians at risk.
White phosphorus has, however, been used as a weapon against civilians during this conflict… by Hamas. On Tuesday a mortar shell fired from Gaza into Israel contained white phosphorus. As the regional council’s security chief said: “the potential danger of using such a rocket is enormous. It is far more dangerous than other Qassam rockets and mortal shells. This is an escalation in the type of explosives the Palestinians use on civilians.”
We challenge Human Rights Watch to condemn this attack in the same way it has (falsely) condemned Israel. Send your comments to HRW – email@example.com.
See NGO Monitor for more on HRW and its role in spreading the white phosphorus charge in the media.
Will the international media condemn or even report on this development? We won’t hold our breath.
Write to the following media outlets:
The Guardian – firstname.lastname@example.org
The Times – email@example.com
Christian Science Monitor – http://www.csmonitor.com/cgi-bin/encryptmail.pl?ID=CFF0C5E4
BBC THROWS JOURNALISTIC INTEGRITY OUT OF THE WINDOW
Yet again, journalistic professionalism is thrown out of the window in the BBC’s desperate attempts to attack and sully Israel. A story claiming that IDF soldiers have fired on Gaza civilians attempting to leave their homes – in some cases carrying white flags - is based on totally unverifiable and unsubstantiated claims.
The article states that “BBC journalists in Gaza and Israel have compiled detailed accounts of the claims.” Who are these BBC journalists in Gaza? On the basis that foreign press have not been allowed access to Gaza, one can only assume that these supposedly neutral observers are, in fact, Palestinians. This seems to be confirmed by a footnote in the story: “Research and reporting by Hamada Abu Qammar in Gaza and Heather Sharp, Fouad Abu Ghosh and Raya el-Din in Jerusalem.”
So the BBC is relying on a Palestinian ‘journalist’ and Palestinian ‘eyewitnesses’ in Gaza along with others who are nowhere near the conflict zone. This form of agenda-driven reporting sees the BBC sinking to new moral lows.
You can send your comments to the BBC Complaints website – http://www.bbc.co.uk/complaints (for detailed instructions on how to navigate the BBC Complaints website, click here). Demand a proper explanation and be prepared to take this further if the BBC’s initial answer is inadequate.
HR IN THE MEDIA
Pajamas TV have brought Joe Wurzelbacher (A.K.A. Joe the Plumber), the unlikely star of the recent US election campaign, over to Israel to report on the Gaza conflict. Pajamas Media is is a network of about 100 bloggers that covers news and issues of the day and often covers stories not covered by the mainstream media.
Joe castigated the international media for its coverage: “The story here is people are being killed and the media are slanting it and trying to make it Hamas is, as far as, you know, Israel is being bad.”
Meanwhile, HR’s Social Media Editor, Alex Margolin, has an op-ed published in The Jerusalem Post looking at how you can defend Israel on the Internet. As Margolin states:
g>”Organized groups such as HonestReporting have created platforms to spread the content. But the rest is up to the general public. If the past is any indication, supporters are sure to rise to the challenge.”
Please rise to the challenge, download our Internet Activism Guide, and help defend Israel online.
VIDEO AND OTHER RESOURCES
Click on the images below to view IDF combat footage documenting an anti-aircraft gun and heavy weapons cache in a local mosque in the Zeitun neighborhood of Gaza, and a video presenting humanitarian actions by the IDF.
Also see this downloadable Powerpoint presentation: IDF: Limiting Harm to Civilians