The New York Times is now describing the violence directed at Israeli soldiers boarding Turkish flotilla ship Mavi Marmara in May 2010 as nothing more than an Israeli claim, despite the fact that the attacks are well-documented on video, and although earlier Times news reports did not hesitate to frankly describe the attacks.
In an article published on the New York Times website on Aug. 17 — as of this writing, the hard copy of the newspaper has yet to go on sale — reporter Isabel Kershner recounted the incident as if it is unknown what happened immediately after Israeli troops boarded the ship. “By Israel’s account, the Israeli soldiers met with violent resistance as they landed on the deck,” she wrote. In doing so, the New York Times is telling readers that maybe the soldiers were met with violence, or maybe they were not.
Of course, it is not only in “Israel’s account” that the soldiers were savagely attacked. Video footage, including infrared footage shot from above, makes clear that the Israelis were descended upon and pummeled with metal bars or worse as soon as they boarded the ship.
The attack on the Israeli soldiers began, as retired British Marine Officer Peter Cook acknowledged on British television, while the first Israeli soldier still had both of his hands on the rope being used to lower him onto the ship.
This is also the account of Turkish journalist, Sefik DinÃ§, a passenger on the Mavi Marmara and witness to the violence. He acknowledged that the soldiers were “met with resistance” when they boarded. Another Turkish passenger describing the attack on the Israeli soldiers, Mohmut Koskun, said that passengers “ran at them without pause or hesitation.” Notably, Koskun’s account was published in the New York Times.
Indeed, in that same article, published days after the incident, reporters Sabrina Tavernise and Ethan Bronner provided their own account of the incident, noting that “when three Israeli commandos slid down ropes out of helicopters to take over the ship, a crowd set upon them.”
Most strikingly, Isabel Kershner herself acknowledged earlier this year that “Video images released at the time showed Israeli commandos being set upon as they rappelled from helicopters onto the ship’s deck.” So why is she now describing the documented attack as an mere claim by Israel?
This revisionism by the newspaper raises further questions about its commitment to fairness and accuracy when it comes to Israel, which appears recently to have declined dramatically .