Todd Sampson Body Hack: community reactions

June 26, 2019 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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TV personality Todd Sampson took his cameras into Gaza for an episode of Network 10’s Body Hack program.

Todd Sampson in Gaza

The Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) has expressed concern about the program’s depiction of the situation in the Gaza Strip.

Despite Sampson’s declaration that his piece was not intended to be political and that it would be a balanced portrayal of the situation in Gaza, the item that was aired last night was anything but balanced.

President of the ZFA, Jeremy Leibler said: “Sampson attempted to portray a complex conflict by capturing only one perspective and in doing so produced a program that lacked intellectual honesty and basic journalistic standards.  Sampson acknowledged that Hamas is sending busloads of children into the middle of a warzone yet failed to draw any conclusions from that fact or to acknowledge the challenges faced by the IDF when its opponents intentionally use children as human shields”.

He added: “Viewers were left wondering, where are the Israelis in this picture? If Sampson was interested in balance, why didn’t he speak to Israelis on the other side of the border who have spent years in bunkers due to the indiscriminate rockets attacks emanating from Gaza?”

An honest and balanced view would have filmed both sides of the border and documented the lives of the Israeli civilians in towns and villages in Israel whose lives are bedevilled by rocket attacks, threats from terror tunnels and Palestinian eco-terrorists who set fire to their farms, nature reserves, animals and bird life. On all of this Hack was silent.

The Executive Council of Australian Jewry’s co-CEO Peter Wertheim, said: “Todd Sampson’s take on Gaza was not as egregiously one-sided as some of the coverage we have previously seen from certain journalists.  Nevertheless, it contained some glaring flaws.   As he admitted on camera, it is hard not to be one-sided when the other side is shooting towards you.

Sampson might have a different perspective if he spent some time on the other side of the border in the company of Israelis as they face barrages of rockets, mortars and incendiary devices fired by Hamas and Islamic Jihad into Israeli population centres where men, women and children, the sick and the disabled, have only 15 seconds’ warning to get into a shelter.

Contrary to Sampson’s assertions, the border protests are anything but peaceful. Hamas has openly declared that its aim is to use these incidents to breach the border and send thousands of terrorists into towns and farms in Israel to “tear the hearts” out of Israeli civilians. Any country faced with such a threat would respond at least as forcefully as Israel has.

Israel withdrew entirely from the Gaza Strip in 2005 and dismantled all the settlements there. Sampson asserted that Hamas won the legislative elections in 2006, but omitted to mention that it illegally seized executive power from the Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in 2007.  It was only then that Israel imposed the blockade. In 2011, a UN-commissioned inquiry headed by Sir Geoffrey Palmer of New Zealand found that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is a lawful measure of self-defence against Hamas’s weapons smuggling and rocket attacks. Sampson seems unaware of this history.

His coverage of the humanitarian conditions in Gaza was silent about the millions of dollars in international aid money that was intended to assist the people of Gaza which Hamas has diverted to build attack tunnels from Gaza into Israel, which are designed to abduct and kill Israelis.

I would urge Todd Sampson to go back and share the equally intense experiences and emotions of Israelis from the other side, as they battle against the Islamist bigots who have openly pledged to exterminate them.”

Dr Colin Rubenstein, executive director of The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council, added: “Sampson’s show was a highly disappointing example of what happens when one of the world’s most complex and fraught conflicts is presented through the lens of sensationalist entertainment characterised by gross political ignorance. The program appeared to have been all but written and produced by Sampson’s Hamas-affiliated Palestinian fixers in Gaza – who presumably not only selected what he saw and reported on (and omitted) but provided him with the ‘facts’ he cited, many of which were just plain wrong, half truths or distortions.

While focussing on the undoubted difficulty of the situation faced by Gazans and falsely insisting he was not taking sides, Sampson repeatedly failed to provide the audience with any reasonable context. He glossed over the terror and violence perpetrated indiscriminately and repeatedly against Israelis by Hamas using its own civilians as human shields, a double war crime; ignored the reality that Hamas (and not just Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which was mentioned) is still committed to Israel’s destruction, bitterly opposes a two-state outcome and will not negotiate; and seriously mischaracterised the border riots as largely peaceful protests where Palestinians, many of them children, merely throw rocks and are unjustifiably shot for just taunting Israelis, thus completely downplaying the extreme violence usually present and always intended –  including incendiary kites, snipers and explosive devices.

The fact that Sampson did not speak to a single Israeli, and failed to even mention once that Egypt also has a border with Gaza which it is also keeping closed illustrates how completely this program was lacking in basic fairness, professionalism, and elementary journalistic standards.”

Two weeks ago, J-Wire asked Network 10 if Todd Sampson or his producers had expressed a desire to film in Sderot. We are still awaiting a response.

Comments

One Response to “Todd Sampson Body Hack: community reactions”
  1. Murray Caplan says:

    What I was particularly disturbed by in this report was with the scene in the Gaza Hospital showing the tragic site of new born babies clinging onto life,and likely to die if medication was not received within 1-2 days.This was accompanied by what I considered to be a throw away line that Israel had offered truckloads of medicines and pharmaceuticals which were clearly rejected by Hamas . Why was no point made about these babies then being left to die purely for political reasons.

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