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Dear Israel: Better Propaganda, Please

Daniel Ayalon (Wikimedia Commons)

In the lead-up to Israel’s attack on the “Free Gaza” flotilla that left at least nine dead and dozens more wounded, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon claimed that the basic supplies being brought by the more than 600 pro-Palestinian activists–medicine, wheelchairs, construction material–were simply not needed, as “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza,” a phrase repeated ad nauseam by Israeli press officials. The mission was not a humanitarian one, Ayalon said, but rather “a provocation intended to delegitimize Israel.”

The statement ignored, as it must, the reality on the ground. According to a spokesman for the UN relief agency in occupied Palestine, “There is a severe humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip,” which is to be expected when 1.5 million people are held in a de facto prison, barred from traveling to and trading with the outside world, forbidden the privilege of a functioning economy and faced with severe bombing whenever a car backfires in southern Israel.

But it’s one thing for reality and evidence to contradict state propaganda. That’s the case more often than not. How about when propaganda explicitly contradicts itself?

IDF spokesman Col. Moshe Levi–not one of Israel’s better propagandists, though I’ll concede he has a tough job–proclaimed Tuesday that Israeli soldiers had “been working non-stop for the last 24 hours examining the cargo holds of the three large cargo ships, and I can say with great assurance that none of the equipment on board is needed in Gaza.

The equipment that we found is all equipment that we have regularly allowed into the strip over the past year,” Levi continued. “This proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that the whole premise of the voyage was for propaganda and provocation and not for humanitarian purposes.”

To debunk this claim, forget for a moment the reality-based assertions of the bleating UN and those butter knife-wielding former diplomats and Nobel laureates on the “Free Gaza” boats. Let’s turn to IDF spokesman Col. Moshe Levi in The Jerusalem Post:

“According to Levi, the soldiers also found construction equipment, including sacks of concrete and metal rods. He said that Israel did not allow those products to enter into the Gaza strip for fear that they would be used to construct fortifications for terrorists and for weapons manufacture.”

So all the equipment the IDF found was equipment they regularly allow to enter Gaza, except for all the equipment they found that they regularly forbid to enter Gaza. I’d say Levi should lose his job for such a poor effort at propagandizing, but I have a sickening feeling he’s got a better than 50/50 chance of being the next White House press secretary.

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Charles Davis

Charles Davis

A journalist based in Washington, DC.