Stewart Mills (NSW) writes to the ABC’s Foreign Correspondent re screening of biased documentary “Dead in the Med” 13Sep10 September 13, 2010

Dear Media Watch,

The following ‘Tip Off’ is is relation to ABC Foreign Correspondent’s uncritical use of a BBC Panorama documentary prepared by Jane Corbin.  Corbin’s piece has serious errors which have been examined in Tony Lawson’ video.

Tony Lawson’s 15 minute documentary identifies, firstly, key unanswered questions by Corbin i.e

(a) Why did Israel commence a so-called peaceful attempt to board a ship at 4am?  The Mavi Marmara (and the other 5 vessels that were boarded) were still many hours away from Gaza.  There was no immediate threat to Israel.  The Free Gaza movemnet had already attempted 9 missions to Gaza (and succeeded in 5 getting to Gaza). Why was the Israeli attempt to control the ship not done in the daytime?  Why was there not a process of negotiation- instead of threats?;

(b) Where is the evidence of the alleged hand gun used by Gaza Flotilla participants?;

(c) If Israel has nothing to hide then why does it not release all the audio, photographic and video equipment of the passengers and reporters?

(d) If Israel has nothing to hide then why does it not permit its commandos and leadership be interviewed by an international body?

Secondly, the misrepresentations by Corbin i.e

(a) mischaracterisation of the right of a humanitarian civil society mission to choose to defend themselves on international waters.  The siege of Gaza by Israel breaches international law as it fails the proportionality test – banning imports on most items including chocolate, note books and strawberry jam as reported by cannot be said to be a reasonable response to legitimate security concerns;

(b) the mischaracterisation of Hamas’s position of Israel.  Hamas does recognise Israel and has agreed to the concept of a long truce; it just does not recognise that Israel’s creation was just; just as Israel does not recognise the right of Palestinians to their original land title.  Since 1948 Israel has renounced the title of any Palestinian who left their land or house regardless if it was by forcible eviction (ie ethnic cleansing), flight due to fear or flight due to Arab propaganda. Israel prevented such refugees from returning to (save for the 100,000 who stayed; and who now number 1.5 million people in Israel). That is why the UNRWA was created to cater for those Palestinian Arabs who were denied a right of return.

(c) the mischaracterisation of the rockets;

(d) no analysis of the infamous “Go Back to Auschwitz” comment;

(e) mischaracterisation of the 3 Israeli soldiers who were treated for wounds and returned etc.

I ask that Media Watch take this issue of ABC Foreign Correspondent’s uncritical use of this BBC Panoramas seriously; and that a subsequent rebuttal of Corbin’s piece be aired.  This could be based on Tony Lawson’s work or a response by Paul McGeough who was on Challenger I and is giving a talk at the Dangerous Ideas Festival on Israel’s control of the narrative post the Gaza Flotilla killings.

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