Is the UK Independent Newspaper peddling fake news?
The UK newspaper the Independent, known to be one of the leading anti-Israel newspapers in Britain, recently publish an article by Bethan McKernan with the following headline:
“Israeli soldiers drag shoeless Palestinian eight-year-old from house to house in shocking video from Hebron
Israel Defence Force troops force boy looking for lost toy to help them find other children believed to have thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at nearby Israeli settlement”
Before I say anything about the video, I want you to watch it in full without stopping. This is the the full video on Youtube, which is about a minute and a half longer than then one on the Independent.
Did you watch it? Maybe the Independent is onto something. Pretty shocking, right? Or is it?
Let’s break down the video in relation to the headline and see if it is really as he says, of if it’s just cleverly constructed propaganda. I believe that when you finish reading this article, you may agree that the video is not what is being is promoting.
Let’s start with the headline itself. When there is a terror attack in Israel, the headline in newspapers like the Independent is always some variation of this:
“Palestinian killed by the IDF after allegedly stabbing two, reports IDF radi0”
Notice the difference? When it’s a terrorist attack in Israel, even if people are severely injured or killed, the headline always included that the attack is “alleged” and gives who reported it – the IDF – to show that the stated account of incident may be one sided. Also, the Palestinian is almost always portrayed as a victim, and not a terrorist.
Now let’s look again at the above video’s headline:
“Israel Defence Force troops force boy looking for lost toy to help them find other children believed to have thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at nearby Israeli settlement”
Do you see what they did there? It is stated as 100% fact that the boy was just out looking for a “lost toy” but it was only “believed” that children were outside throwing stones and incendiary devices. Also, notice that the way it is reported, it sounds like the child was in no way involved with the criminal activity. That would lead you to believe that there was consensus on the accounts leading up to the video. Otherwise, the headline would have looked something like this, right?
“Israel Defence Force troops force boy allegedly looking for toy to help them find other children believed to have thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at nearby Israeli settlement reports his mother”
“Eight year old boy allegedly throwing stones and Molotov cocktails taken by Israel Defence Force troops to find other children believed to be participating…”
But that’s not how it’s reported. Its reported that the looking for a lost toy was 100% true and he did nothing wrong and there may have been kids throwing incendiary devices, but that’s in dispute. So let’s look at the source of the report – Two local Palestinians and one Palestinian volunteer of B’Tselem. What is B’Tselem? A far left Israeli NGO with the goal of the destruction of Israel (as we know it) to be replaced by a bi-national state. If you want to know the lies that they tell for political points, read this excellent article by moderate Israeli politician Yair Lapid.
So I decided to visit the B’Tselem website, about as far from impartial as you can get, and low-and-behold, their headline was almost identical to the headline from the Independent.
“Soldiers drag 8-year-old from house to house in Hebron for over an hour, in search of stone-throwers in Hebron”
In the B-Tselem article it’s clear the entire account came from a Palestinian B’Tselem volunteer, May D’ana, and a B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri. So what we have is an “unbiased” news source, the Independent, publishing almost verbatim the accounts of a biased NGO with a political agenda.
The fact that a supposed “unbiased” and “independent” UK newspaper reports the words of a biased, anti-Israel NGO as fact without any independent corroboration is journalistic misconduct.
Surely Israel had nothing to say about the incident, did they? Well in fact, the IDF reported that the child was participating in the criminal activity. Bethan McKernan did actually report that, but all the way at the end of the article when all the damage had been done. An IDF spokesperson reported:
“Forces who were called to the scene caught a suspect. Due to the fact the suspect was a minor, he was taken to his parent’s home. It was noted in the initial review that the forces did not ask the minor to direct them to any other suspects.”
So this becomes a he said she said situation, where one source is taken as gospel and the other is basically completely disregarded as a lie. Does that sound like journalism or propaganda? The only way you would believe B’Tselem’s account without question and disregard the IDF’s account is if you are one of those that think the Palestinians do nothing wrong and the IDF is this evil organization that grabs children off the streets for no reason and drags them through…
Wait a second, did they say drag? What does drag mean exactly? A quick search of “drag” on Google returns the following definition:
“pull (someone or something) along forcefully, roughly, or with difficulty.”
Watch the video again. Did you see “dragging”? Did you see “forcefully, roughly, or with difficulty”? I certainly didn’t. I saw a soldier holding his hand. I saw a soldier leading him with a hand on the back, but I definitely did not see any dragging – let alone any “forcefully, roughly, or with difficulty”. The headline by the Independent could have more accurately been written “Israeli soldiers lead Palestinian eight-year-old..” but what’s the fun of that? Can’t really condemn Israel with an accurate headline. In the supposed one hour that the child was “dragged” from house to house according to B’Tselem, all they could provide is a two minute video of soldiers leading the boy by the hand on the street. No dragging, no force, no rough. He is not arrested, tortured, or killed as people accuse the IDF of doing all the time.
In the beginning of the video, they are talking to the boy. He is not in any kind of restraining device like handcuffs. They are not shouting at him, man handling him, or trying to coerce him in any way. They are just calmly asking him questions. At one point, they even call over a Palestinian man to speak with him. Again, not forcefully or violently. They are just talking. Far from the picture of the evil IDF you get in biased accounts, like the Independent.
The headline also states as fact that he was being “dragged” from house to house. But I do not see anywhere in the video that he went “house to house”. Should they have stated something as fact that can not be independently corroborated? And how did they gain entry to all of these houses that the boy was “dragged” to? Did they knocked down the doors of all these houses? At what point do you say something isn’t adding up and maybe the Independent should have reported verifiable facts, instead of taking the word of an organization with a known bias. Unless the Independent isn’t interested in the truth.
Now let’s look at the end of the video. A group of Palestinian women go up to the soldiers, grab the child’s arm and pull him towards them. That may be the only time in the entire video that the child is actually “dragged”. Did you notice something about that part of the video? The women are the ones shouting, they confront the soldiers. Did the soldiers respond with violence? Did the soldiers hit any of the women, shoot at the women, or even shout at them? No! They actually let the women pull the child away without incident. When one of the soldiers tires to go back to get the child, after all the child was allegedly part of a group throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails – according to the IDF, the soldier is pulled away by fellow soldiers and they let the women take the child away.
Where is the violence and the evil that the headline promised. In the end it’s a video of a child being lead by the hand and eventually pulled away by a group of women, without incident. Watch it again from start to end. Does the video actually support the narrative that Independent and B’Tselem are advancing?
The video is propaganda. Nothing happens to the child. He is not harmed, not one hair was touch on his head. He was not “dragged”. The women were not beaten. But B’Tselem got their political points and the Independent got their Israel condemning headline. The damage is done. The headline frames the video and makes you think it is something it is not. Even the image B’Tselem used on YouTube is nothing more than cleverly selected propaganda, making it look like something it isn’t – a soldiers pointing a weapon at the boys head.
There are far worse things happening to children in the Middle East. In Syria they are being slaughtered to the tune of approximately 100,000 dead children. In Yemen they are being slaughtered in their homes, on the streets, and even at funerals.
I do feel for the child, even if he was throwing a very dangerous Molotov cocktail, he looks scared. He looks like a kid caught doing something that he shouldn’t have been doing. People should be more upset at his parents for letting him go out and partake in criminal activity. I know that it is scary for a child to be near soldiers. I experienced that when I was in Israel and one stopped me, holding a machine gun, to tell me I am not allowed to ride on the handlebars of bicycle. So if you are appalled by the fact that the boy had to be near soldiers and all those heavy armaments, then you should be even more appalled by these images (but if you bought the headline of the Independent, I bet you aren’t).
At the end, the entire article by the Independent & video by B’Tselem turned out to be nothing more than Fake News. But the damage was already done and this fake news, like most previous to it, will be used for years to vilify Israel. I was please to see at the end that no harm came to the child. For all the things they accuse Israel of doing, which nations do daily without consequence, if this is all they have, then Israel should be fine.