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Update – 4 June 2010

Dear All,

As I read through the local newspapers this morning, I began to think about lies and how they are perpetuated. Last year on these very pages, a guest writer contributed the following quote from The Kite Runner: “When you tell a lie, you steal someone’s right to the truth”.

Today’s Age features a front page story by Paul McGeough, the Fairfax journalist who was on one of the other ships, talking of his experience now that he is in Turkey after being deported from Israel. After reading his piece, entitled, ‘Suddenly sound bombs and tear-gas exploded on the deck’, I have a better understanding of the meaning of that quotation. Further, it echoed resonantly with what visiting Israeli Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh was saying during his visit to Israel last month that the thing that would most set Palestinians free was the truth.

He opens with: “The Israeli attack was timed for dawn prayers – when a large number of the men aboard the Mavi Marmara were praying on the aft of the deck of the Turkish passenger ferry.” There is no indication as to where his information about Israel’s timing came from. Has he spoken to the Israeli army to confirm that it timed the mission to coincide with the prayers or did he pluck that from the so called peace activists on the Mavi Marmara?

It would be much easier to tell his story and get away with it had we not already witnessed all the video footage of activists waiting for the Israelis with clubs, chains and metal slingshots in their hands. Even The Age’s accompanying photo does not show a group of men kneeling down to pray, but men ready to attack.

The lies of the activist witnesses did not fool Age cartoonist Spooner who was right on the money with his cartoon two days ago that depicted the truth about McGeough’s activist fellow travellers – that many of them were thugs spoiling for a fight.

Perhaps McGeough wrote the piece while still held by the Israelis – he clearly wrote it blissfully unaware that a more fair and accurate picture was available to those readers who wanted the truth by means of the videos released by the IDF. Instead of the visual truth McGeough resorted to “interviews with activists while they and the Fairfax news crew… were held in an Israeli prison”. Thankfully, by that time the activist had stopped lying about who fired first as they did before the film was released. Bad luck for them.

As for McGeough, he proceeds to paint the activists on the Mavi Marmara as innocent do-gooders who even wanted to protect the Israeli soldiers from one or two people who may have become violent.

His pièce de résistance was this little gem: “Matthias Gardel, a leader of the Swedish Palestinian support group, confirmed that the soldiers had been beaten, but insisted that those involved were unarmed and that in keeping with the ship’s non-violent charter, the soldiers’ weapons were thrown overboard”. Thank you Matthias for clearing that up but these adherents to the non-violent charter of the ship also threw an unconscious Israeli soldier over the bows of the ship. Another slip up by McGeough and his confreres to go with the other little matter that he fails to enlighten us about and that was why so many weapons were found on board?

Never mind Mr. McGeough, give your mates a little more time so they can concoct another little strand in their spider’s web of lies. And on that subject, please click here to read about the last time McGeough’s vivid imagination caught up with him when it came to the supposed CCTV footage of assassins entering Mahmoud al-Mabhouh’s hotel room in Dubai in January. Given that the man had form already, the biggest mystery is why he was on this mission for Fairfax in the first place. Couldn’t they find an unbiased reporter who could tell both sides of the story without upsetting the Kite Runner principle?

The Age also featured two more stories on the issue the first of which was ‘Battle to save photographs’. The other one, entitled ‘Australian pair still in Israel’, took ten whole paragraphs to talk about the Australians caught up in the drama, before it got to reporting on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement. The Age is good at burying stories like the one where an Israeli Prime Minister exposes the world’s hypocrisy. For PM Netanyahu’s full statement, click here.

Fortunately, the Australian not only published an entire article dedicated to Netanyahu’s statements, but opened up the world to a few home truths that the Age failed to mention in their report. Please read ‘Israel rejects world criticism’ by Abraham Rabinovich. Most importantly, he refers to Netanyahu’s statement on the kind of weaponry could make its way to Gaza if they had free passage, referring directly to the interception of a vessel that was bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon last year carrying 200 tonnes of Iranian armaments. Netanyahu declared, “preventing rockets from reaching Gaza, with which Israel is in a state of war, was not only the government’s obligation to its people but also its right under international law”.

Please also read ‘Military media team was too slow with truth’ by Abraham Rabinovich which shows us how even with truth on their side, the Israelis messed up when it came to handling the release of information and explaining the legality of the mission. Finally, the world commentary section also featured a fantastic Op-Ed by Brendan O’Neill entitled ‘Hypocrisy makes life worse in Mid-East‘ who confesses to not support Israel but then goes on to put forward Israel’s case better than most commentators on the subject.

The best tool that advocates of Israel have in this situation is video evidence – something that we have not had when speaking about Israel in other conflicts. Paul McGeough and others of his ilk can spread as many lies as they want, but when you can see it with your own eyes it is a different story.

For those that have missed some of the fantastic videos that have been circulating please see our dedicated webpage on the issue:

In the meantime, the Zionist Council of Victoria will continue to uphold your right to the truth. I hope to see as many of you in the community as possible on Tuesday night.

Best wishes,


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