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Sunday, October 17, 2010

60 Minutes to report on Silwan

Here's a preview of CBS's 60 Minutes' report on Silwan to be aired on Sunday night.

Let's go to the videotape.

The show airs at 7:00 pm Eastern and Pacific time in the US. Other time zones, check your local listings.

The New York Times lede blog has a write-up of the show, which quotes three Israeli bloggers, two of whom I know quite well (okay, Richard Landes is based in the US again, so we can't call him Israeli right now).
Yet Lenny Ben-David, an Israeli blogger who was a lobbyist for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, suggested on his blog that whoever photographed and videotaped the incident were to blame for encouraging or even possibly staging the confrontation:
The film clip showing an Israeli car hitting two Arab children in Silwan on Friday was horrifying. No one can sit quietly and indifferently while children — any children — are hurt before your eyes. Thank God the children survived and were not seriously injured.

Then came the subtext: The children were part of a gang attacking the driver with rocks, and rocks can most definitely kill. The boys, emboldened by some militant organizer, covered their faces to avoid identification and arrest. There’s no doubt of their intention and premeditation…. I’ve now watched the clip scene-by-scene and in some parts frame-by-frame, and there’s a deeper, even sinister, subtext….

Reviewing the clip, it’s evident that there were as many photographers as there were rock-throwers. Who invited them and coordinated the time and place? Who recruited the boys? Did they plan to ambush dafka David Be’eri’s car? Was it an attempt to reenact the iconic death of Muhammad al-Dura, the boy allegedly killed by Israeli soldiers in 2000 in what we now know was a fake propaganda stage show?
People who follow the conflict in the Middle East on television or through video clips like this one posted on YouTube know that it is not unusual for several photographers and journalists as well as activists with video cameras to attend even small Palestinian protests. But Mr. Ben-David’s skepticism was echoed by an Israeli video blogger who posted the clip YouTube with the following commentary:
From what I can tell, there are more cameramen than kids throwing rocks, and if I didn’t know any better, I’d say the cameramen were encouraging the kids to do some action.

The man in the car did stop, but quickly took off, as the other kids didn’t seem to care about their wounded friends, and kept on throwing rocks at the car.

In the end, I think the kid was more traumatized by the people trying to help him (shoving him into a car) than by getting ran over. I think, that every bystander that didn’t try to stop the rock throwers, should be jailed.
Mr. Ben-David’s point of reference for the allegation that such video might be staged was the long debate over footage of the death of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy named Muhammad al-Dura during clashes in Gaza in 2000. The boy’s horrifying last moments were captured on tape and broadcast around the world, sparking a fierce debate about the authenticity of the footage and detailed Israeli investigations into the unresolved question of whether he had been killed by shots fired by Israelis or Palestinians.

A blogger named Richard Landes even developed an elaborate theory that the whole thing might have been fake. According to Mr. Landes, the video of Muhammad al-Dura’s death, which was shot by a Palestinian cameraman working for French television, was a symptom of a wider phenomenon. He told The International Herald Tribune in 2005, “Palestinian cameramen, especially when there are no Westerners around, engage in the systematic staging of action scenes,” to create the type of dramatic news footage he calls “Pallywood cinema.”
Yes, I believe that Be'eri was ambushed.

What's nearly as curious is what the Times doesn't tell you about Lenny and Richard. Lenny writes in an email that I received that he was never a lobbyist and that he left AIPAC in 1982 to open their Israel office. He has also served in Israel's diplomatic corps.

Richard is actually a Professor of History at Boston University (he was here last semester on Sabbatical) and probably did more than anyone other than Phillipe Karsenty (and maybe even as much) to expose the al-Dura hoax (and yes, it's pretty clear it was a hoax).

By the way, for those bloggers who are wondering, a link from the Lede blog is nice (I've gotten at least one that I recall), but it does a lot less for your hit count than a link from Glenn Reynolds or Allahpundit.


At 6:19 PM, Blogger Shy Guy said...

"No one can sit quietly and indifferently while children — any children — are hurt before your eyes."

Bullshi'ite I can't!

At 9:34 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

And I was wondering whether the piece would be stacked with the usual anti-Israel color commentators. Is this a pleasant surprise?

Stay tuned.


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