It’s beginning to appear that virtually every statement, every tweet, every Facebook Wall posting from the Israeli government about the Flotilla is either steeped in fraud or simply wrong. Earlier today, I posted about what Dena Shunra has aptly called an IDF blood libel against the Flotilla activists, who are claimed to be preparing to “shed blood” of IDF soldiers who attempt to stop them. Allegedly, they’re also bringing “sulfur” aboard the boats in order to attack the IDF in some unspecified way.
The latest piece of hoaxterism is a video which Max Blumenthal, Benjamin Doherty and Ali Abunimah have proven to be a fake. It features an alleged gay man named “Marc Pax,” claiming that he was refused a place on the Flotilla because of his sexual preference. Robert Mackey of the Lede now confirms that the video was a fraud and that three Israeli government officials tweeted about the video at virtually the same time and almost immediately after it was uploaded to the web. The character in the video is in reality, Omer Gershon, an Israeli actor and marketer who has made at least one commercial with a director named Elad Magdasi. You take one look at Gershon’s Groucho-like eyebrows and eyeglasses and you know this guy is a fake. Mackey notes that Magdasi’s YouTube channel prominently flacks videos produced by…are you ready? Stand With Us. Now I wonder whether Magdasi himself has made videos for SWU before?
Would SWU fund such nonsense? Of course not. They’re far too classy a group to do that. In truth, there are any number of equally scuzzy pro-Israel advocacy groups with the means and the will to produce this video, among them LATMA or Clarion Fund. But the SWU connection is most intriguing.
UPDATE: Everything you’ll read about government denials of involvement below was also apparently a lie as no less than the prime minister’s office itself conceded, in effect, that the government was involved in production and dissemination of the video:
The premier’s office in response did not deny that that the government was involved in the video’s production, and admitted that government bodies had distributed the link.
“Various bodies dealing with international media campaigns continuously monitor and distribute internet content when they recognize content that can serve Israel’s campaigns,” the prime minister’s office said in a statement.
What this tells you is that the Israeli government doesn’t really give a crap whether they’re exposed or not. They didn’t even try to be subtle. It also indicates the utter cynicism of the government toward the international community and world media. The ends, for Bibi & Co., are so much more important than the means. Protecting Israel (as they see it) entitles them to lie and cheat, all in the name of the State.
When the Israeli government was found to have its hand in the fake cookie jar it reacted with its best Claude Rains-expression of SHOCK, I say shock, that anyone could be so low as to create such a video. It complained loudly: “We were duped.” Yeah, I bet you were. About as duped as the proverbial art forger discovered to have sold a fake Vermeer for millions.
It sternly reprimanded at least one its staff who tweeted about the video. Though my impression is that it reprimanded him for being discovered, rather than for the fake that he acted on behalf of Israel in promoting the video:
“Mr. Seemann is a 25-year-old who is interning in our office. His tweet was a mistake on his part. It was done without authorization and without approval. His mistake has been pointed out to him.”
I’ll bet it was done without authorization or approval. If you consider that the MFA’s Danny Ayalon has declared the Flotilla to be Israel’s Public Enemy #1 and that his sworn mission is to “delegitimize” it by any means necessary, the claim rings hollow.
Yigal Palmor, the MFA’s chief PR flack has dropped the claim that the video is truthful and now calls it a “mockumentary,” as if to say: “We were fooling you all along and did it on purpose.” What the purpose might be is anybody’s guess.
UPDATE I: It’s starting to feel like everyone is coming around the the peace activists’ way of seeing the Gaza siege. Even Allison Rowen Taylor supports the Gaza Flotilla! Well, OK she only gave 1 cent. But every little bit counts, Allison, and we appreciate your support. It just shows you that even the misguided can find the true path and that teshuva is a godly thing. Next thing you know the Flotilla’ll be receiving gifts from the Danny Boys, Dan Gordis and Dan Pipes. Then you’ll really be able to say the leopard’s changed his spots!
There remain a few Israelis though who still are sour pusses as far as the Flotilla is concerned. Those brave hearty souls of the Mossad for example. They’ve been hard at work sabotaging the ships that they can. It appears likely they broke the propeller shaft of one of the Greek boats. H/t Paul Woodward.
- Mossad saboteurs attack Gaza flotilla? (warincontext.org)
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.