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July 19, 2016

Washington Post Sinks Mavi Marmara Facts

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Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of Turkey


A Washington Post article (“6 years after raid, Turkey and Israel to normalize relations,” June 28, 2016) improperly identified the Mavi Marmara—a ship carrying armed individuals who in 2010 attempted to break the Israeli naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip—as an aid ship. Despite being presented by CAMERA with evidence disproving its characterization of the Mavi Marmara, The Post—without explanation—refused to correct.

In their dispatch, ostensibly about Israel and Turkey normalizing relations, Post reporters Erin Cunningham and Ruth Eglash claimed, “Israel and Turkey reached an agreement to repair ties after six years of strained relations over a deadly Israeli raid on a Turkish ship delivering aid to Gaza in 2010…. Ten Turkish activists were killed in the assault.”

However, as CAMERA has noted (“Radical, Pro-Hamas ‘Flotilla’ Seeks Media Win,” May 31, 2010), no aid was found aboard the Mavi Marmara, the lead ship in the flotilla which sailed for the Gaza Strip under the guise of bringing humanitarian assistance to Palestinian Arabs. The Israeli Foreign Affairs Ministry (MFA) reported that of the seven flotilla ships, only four were freighters. The Challenger 1 (small yacht), the Sfendonh (small passenger boat) and the Mavi Marmara (passenger ship) did not carry any humanitarian aid. The UN Palmer Report appeared to support Israel’s conclusion, noting that what little aid was on board the Mavi Marmara was likely only "intended for the voyage itself,” that is, for passengers’ use. Greta Berlin, one of the flotilla organizers, concurred, telling Al Jazeera at the time: "This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies..."

Additionally, The Post’s characterization of Mavi Marmara “activists” could mislead readers. As CAMERA has noted (“New York Times Presents Attack on Soldiers by Mavi Marmara Activists as Israel Claim,” Aug. 18, 2011), video footage of the incident clearly shows that Israeli troops boarding the ship were attacked—some while still climbing aboard—with metal bars and knives. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) later found a variety of weapons, including sharpened stakes and knives, aboard the ship (pictures of which can be found here).

That the Mavi Marmara was a fake aid ship is not surprising considering that terrorist groups were connected to it—another fact that The Post failed to report.

As CAMERA has noted, the two main organizers of the flotilla were the Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), an Islamic charity that has worked closely with terrorist organizations, and the Free Gaza Movement, which is strongly linked to the extremist International Solidarity Movement (ISM).

According to the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, the IHH works closely with Hamas, the terrorist group that rules the Gaza Strip. The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center has cited links between the group and al-Qaeda, the U.S. designated-terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks. The information center also charged IHH with involvement in a failed plot to bomb the Los Angeles International Airport.

As the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), a non-profit organization that translates Arab media, has documented, many of the flotilla participants were members of the Muslim Brotherhood, and some had declared their desire for martyrdom before trying to run the Israeli blockade.

In addition to omitting important information about the Mavi Marmara, The Post singled out Israel for its “naval blockade of Gaza.” The paper failed to mention that Egyptian authorities also maintain a blockade of the Gaza Strip. Both countries do so to curtail jihadist activity and prevent the smuggling of weapons to the terrorist groups that threaten them.

CAMERA twice contacted The Washington Post asking for a correction. Despite being presented with the evidence noted above—including video footage of “activists” attacking IDF soldiers—The Post failed to respond.

This is not the first time this year that The Post omitted essential information in its reporting relating to the Mavi Marmara: Twice in February 2016, the paper improperly identified the IHH as a “non-governmental Islamic charity group. (“Washington Post Fails to Properly I.D. Terrorist Charity,” Feb. 16, 2016).” When it comes to the “aid ship” that wasn’t, The Post apparently would rather the facts sink than sink in.

Posted by SD at July 19, 2016 09:35 AM

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