Three telling factual problems with 4Corners’ “Stone Cold Justice”…writes Tzvi Fleischer

February 16, 2014 by Tzvi Fleischer
Read on for article

The Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council is currently researching and compiling a detailed critique of all the elements of the controversial ABC Four Corners documentary “Stone Cold Justice”, made with John Lyons of the Australian, and aired last Monday (Feb.10).

Tzvi Fleischer

Tzvi Fleischer

We hope this will be available shortly. In the meantime, here are three examples of obviously inadequate fact-checking or failure to provide proper context in the documentary and the parallel article in the Australian by John Lyons last Saturday (Feb.8). Sadly, they seem to be typical of a larger pattern in a documentary that appears to have been much more about sensationalist point scoring than about the careful weighing of evidence or fair and balanced journalism.

“Keeping Palestinian Children in Cages”

Both Four Corners and Lyons in the Australian alleged that children were kept in outdoor cages. On February 8 in the Australian, John Lyons wrote:

“Last month the Israeli government, under pressure from human rights groups, stopped a practice of keeping Palestinian children in outdoor cages at night. The office of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed the decision and said it came after Ms Livni became aware that it had been a longstanding practice and had included keeping Palestinian children in the cages during snowstorms.”

Similarly in the ABC Four Corners report Lyons said, “Last month, under pressure from human rights groups, Israel stopped a longstanding practice of keeping children overnight in outdoor cages. Children had been kept freezing in the cages during snowstorms.” In the context of the story, it was clearly implied that the children in question were Palestinian children.

Detailed research by CAMERA (Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America) about reports of supposed use of “cages”, “False charge of ‘Palestinian Kids in Cages’ Lives On in Australian Documentary”, reveals that this is a significant misrepresentation of the issue. The problematic practice being referred to, since ordered halted, involved Israeli prisoners being left in outdoor pens at a “transit point” for up to two hours during early morning transfers to court hearings. It affected all prisoners, meaning primarily Israeli citizens. While there are no specific demographic figures of who was involved, there is no clear evidence that either Palestinians or minors were involved, though it is is possible some were. In addition, the holding pens in question are in Ramle, near Tel Aviv. No snow fell there during Israel’s recent winter storms or any other time in recent memory. .

Similar claims to the ones made by Lyons about this practice led to corrections from at least two newspapers.

The British organistion CIF Watch published a report criticising the Independent for publishing an article about Israel supposedly keeping “Palestinian children in cages” for being factually inaccurate. The Independent has since issued the following clarification:

“After original publication of its report, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel released an amended version, acknowledging that the information from the Public Defender’s Office about child prisoners being kept in cages did not refer specifically to Palestinians. We have amended our report accordingly and wish to make the position clear.”

More recently Haaretz published two corrections concerning similar claims, including updating an article regarding the ABC Four Corners documentary itself, to note:

“This article was amended to reflect the fact that the now-halted practice of holding detainees in outdoor cages involved Israeli citizens and not necessarily Palestinians.”

This whole distortion appears to have started with a Jerusalem Post report on December 31 based on inaccurate information from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (as mentioned by the Independent in its correction), as CAMERA points out:

“The media charges began with a news article on Dec. 31 in the Jerusalem Post, ‘Livni halts practice of placing detained Palestinian children in outdoor cages.’ The story cited an NGO, The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI), to allege that there was a ‘longstanding’ Israeli policy of torturing Palestinian children by caging them outdoors. The following day, a London-based newspaper, The Independent, published a similar article entitled ‘Israel government tortures Palestinian children by keeping them in cages, human rights group says.’ Two subsequent Ha’aretz articles also mentioned the Israeli practice allegedly targeting Palestinian children.

PCATI, the original source of the false allegations, wrongly conflated the holding of Israeli detainees in outdoor prison cells (referred to as ‘cages’) with general accusations of ill-treatment targeting Palestinians. Referring to “caging” as an example of the alleged torture of Palestinian children, the NGO linked to an earlier Hebrew-language statement from the Office of the Public Defender, which in turn was based on interviews with Israeli detainees at a prison transit facility. (There was no mention here of any Palestinians.) Those detainees reported being held temporarily in outdoor cells during severe weather as they awaited transfer to their court hearings. The Public Defender’s Office gave the report to Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, who contacted the Minister of Public Security and the commissioner of the Israel Prison Service. The practice, which had been in place for several months, was immediately stopped. From the start, this was a domestic issue related to conduct by the prison system toward Israeli detainees of whatever background that was distorted into an allegation of torture and abuse targeting Palestinian children.”

According to CAMERA, Israel’s Justice Ministry confirmed that the practice in question affected primarily Israelis, not Palestinians. Spokeswoman Ganit Ben-Moshe reportedly wrote:

“This is about [facilities in] territory within the State of Israel and about detainees who were Israeli residents and citizens – not specifically minors and not specifically Palestinians, as was claimed in various publications…

In response to your further request by telephone, we wish again to clarify that the report deals with an inspection done within Israeli territory regarding detainees who were brought to court hearings from different detention facilities in the [geographic area] of the center. There is no data base to ascertain the identity and citizenship of each and every one of the detainees, but it is absolutely clear that the conditions described apply to all detainees brought to that place, Jews and Arabs, minors and adults.”

In addition, Israel’s Prison Service also repudiated the claims and according to CAMERA said:

“It is important to point out that the holding cells that were discussed serve as a transition point between prisons, or between prisons and the courts and therefore serve the entire prisoner population without any distinction as to their residency status (Israel/Palestinian Authority) or the type of offense (security/criminal), and mainly applied to criminal convicts. The length of time in which the prisoners were kept at the location was short, and no longer than two hours. All the complainants mentioned in the report in question were criminal prisoners/detainees who are Israeli residents. Similarly, we would like to point out that following the report, the use of the location was immediately discontinued and it was renovated and adapted.”

Therefore, the claims by the ABC Four Corners program and Lyons suggesting that the ‘cages’ were just for Palestinian children are wrong, and actually led to corrections in other media outlets well – including, in the case of the Independent, one made well before Four Corners went to air or the Australian stories were published. The ABC and Australian should be correcting their claims as well.

It is illegal to arrest minors under the age of 12

According to the Israeli army, minors under the age of 12 are not criminally responsible for their actions and therefore cannot be arrested or placed on trial – something the documentary never mentioned, while often implying the opposite. The Four Corners episode suggested that a nine-year-old boy Karim Dar Ayyoub was arrested by the IDF. The ABC transcript states:

“JOHN LYONS: Later, police come for Islam’s nine-year-old brother, Karim.

(Police arresting Karim and putting him in a van)

GABY LASKY: He was nine-years-old I think when he was first arrested, Karim, which is completely unacceptable, even to the army authorities.”

However, even according to a Palestinian source, “Electronic Intifada”, this is incorrect. They say that Karim was 11 and he was not arrested but merely detained for questioning for two hours:

A month later, Islam’s younger brother eleven year old Kareem was chased down  and hauled off by the Israeli police where he was illegally interrogated for two hours before getting released.”

(Incidentally, the link goes to a YouTube video which also says Kareem was 11.)

The Four Corners episode also prominently featured emotive footage of a five year-old boy Wa’adi Maswada who was detained by the IDF for allegedly throwing stones.

The story said:

“On the streets of Hebron five-year-old Wadi’a Mawadeh was picked up by soldiers. An Israeli settler had claimed that he had thrown a stone at him….

The boy is taken by six soldiers. He was released after two hours.

One settler, making one allegation, is able to activate this level of military intervention against a five-year-old.

When his father intervenes, he is blindfolded.”

What this fails to make clear is that according to the IDF, the child was never arrested and never touched by soldiers. He was not arrested, he was taken home. His father did not “intervene”, the soldiers were waiting at his home for him to return to discuss the problem with him and turn the issue over to Palestinian authorities. It is true the father was blindfolded and handcuffed after he refused to cooperate – and the IDF has admitted this was inappropriate and unjustified.

In a letter to B’Tselem published on Haaretz, Israel’s legal adviser Col. Ben Barak wrote:

“In situations where IDF soldiers see children performing dangerous actions, such as hurling stones at passing vehicles, it would be totally irresponsible on the part of these soldiers to ignore what is happening and to allow the children to persist in their actions without any interference and to continue with their hazardous behavior… removal of the hazard through the distancing of the children from the area and through their immediate transfer to their parents’ custody or, alternatively, to the care of the Palestinian authorities, so that they can continue the treatment process as they see fit, is legitimate, as would be similar measures undertaken to deal with a minor involved in such activities in Israel.”

However, Barak conceded that in this case the IDF acted inappropriately by blindfolding the boy’s father. Haaretz reported that Barak,

“notes that the soldiers erred in detaining the father, whom they handcuffed and whose eyes they covered ‘before the two were released to the custody of the Palestinian police and in the absence of any suspicion justifying the above measures.’… Ben Barak emphasizes in his letter that Maj. Gen. Alon wanted ‘to make it crystal clear to his soldiers that the above actions were unworthy, especially since the child was very young and especially since the father had already been found.'”

While it is clear that the IDF did not handle the incident well in certain respects, especially in its treatment of the father, otherwise, their behaviour seems not terribly dissmiliar to what police would do in Australia if they witnessed a small child throwing stones at cars – stop him or her, take him or her home, and speak to the child and his or her parents about the problem, possibly at a police station or other government agency.

But even more telling was the fact that Four Corners accepted it as a fact that the only source of the rock-throwing allegation was a settler, using this to make an emotive point about how “One settler, making one allegation, is able to activate this level of military intervention against a 5 year-old.” However, the IDF insists Mawadeh was “caught in the act” of stone-throwing by the soldiers, releasing a statement saying:

“On Tuesday afternoon a minor was caught in the act of hurling rocks toward a public street in Hebron and, by doing so, endangering passers-by in the area. IDF soldiers intervened on the spot and accompanied the minor to his parents.”

Even B’Tselem, the human rights organisation that filmed and publicised the incident appears to have conceded that it was the case that the boy “threw a stone” and, as far as AIJAC can tell, has never alleged that the intervention against Mawadeh was occasioned only by a complaint from a settler.

In other words, Four Corners decided to take the word of the 5-year-old and his family that there was no rock-throwing and the whole incident was occasioned by a settler, and either made no effort to ascertain the Israeli account of what happened or ignored it if they were aware of it. This allowed them to make a point about the “power” of settlers over Palestinian children which otherwise would make no sense.

Sadly, this is typical of most of this documentary. In all three incidents, ascertaining all the facts and getting both sides appeared much less important than scoring emotive points by presenting the most dramatic and sensationalist version of events possible. AIJAC will have much more on this unfortunate aspect of the program in coming days.

Tzvi Fleischer is Editor-in-Chief of the The Review, the monthly current affairs magazine of the Australia/Israel and Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC).


19 Responses to “Three telling factual problems with 4Corners’ “Stone Cold Justice”…writes Tzvi Fleischer”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Our newly acquired friend, Sean Rundell, I’d even call him haver, a dedicated guardian of ethical values, an efusive and ALMOST persuasive mind changer, a conscience security valve and could go on endlessly but end we must reach with the almost unbearable attention the same pro bono lecturer in behaviour science fiction can focus on how Israeli occupation forces ( mind you they are occupying their OWN ancestral land !!!)are treating other people’s children.
    Terrible, some are not allowed to sleep at night regaining that precious energy they would use during the day as……..instructed by WHOM !!!!
    Because the little angels at five, let’s say, could not distinguish between friend and foe unless a much better informed post five-yr-old, say member of the same family/tribe/mob “learns” them, it is mandadory that we seek the source of the innocent transgressions.
    So, how about Sean, mate, friend, haver, you focus for a while on the very genessis of the problem, the genetically responsible people who put all kind of stuff in the precociuos cherubs hands and even more of the same stuff into their cute little heads.
    Come back to us, Sean and digress a bit on how your palestians pals the symbols of innocence and humanity are breading problems, hate, conflict and, in between, children well asserved and adjusted to all of the above.
    Give us a wake-up call again from our conscience slumber at any time. We not fussy…..

  2. Liat Nagar says:

    Dear Sean Arundell,

    It seems you are speaking with two tongues, although most certainly you appear sincere with what you do have to say. I did not draw my comments on your original posting out of thin air. When you say, “Are you an Australian or an Israeli citizen? Think deeply then make an ethically sound, well-reasoned choice as to whose Values and Ethical norms you truly aspire to Tzvi Fleischer.”, from my reading of those words you imply that Australian values and ethics are different, indeed superior, to those in Israel – hence my original comments.

    You have no argument from me about the racist and cruel treatment of Australian aboriginal people, indeed I singled that out in my original response. I do have some knowledge of the history of Australia, and of Israel. I also have some knowledge of philosophy and the sometimes convoluted and forever circular discussion of morals and ethics – it’s a huge discourse.

    We were discussing the same page content; it’s just that you and I chose different areas to focus on. You chose to focus on the purported situation reported in regard to the children and I chose to focus on the fact that a documentary had been put together using this kind of inflammatory material, without proper balance and context, to propagate the ongoing campaign against Israel. It’s true that because that was my focus it would not be possible for anyone reading to see that I am totally against use and abuse of children for anything at all. I did not see the point of commenting on that, and other issues you discuss, from the vehicle of a sub-standard, sensationalist programme that misused facts by distortion – that creates a mire of confusion that is difficult to navigate without falling into arguments that don’t ever connect as a result of that. Hence the need for thorough, fair research, presented as fully as possible.
    You quote Swami Vivekananda: “It is good to be born a child, but bad to remain a child.” I would argue with that in the light of a cold day: sometimes it is not even good to be born a child, for the quick pain and neglect that can follow. (Perhaps read William Blake’s ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ in this regard.) I feel for the Palestinian children, some under five or six years old, who are allowed to roam free, or perhaps even incited to do so, unattended, without the protection of the adults in their family; roam free into ‘trouble’ areas where they can engage in throwing stones at others and practise this until older, until one day they are big enough to injure someone badly. I feel for the Palestinian children whose minds are poisoned by parents and the education system in the art of hating others, viz. Jews and Israelis. I feel for all children who are used too early to foster the political and religious biases of their parents, instead of being allowed to come to their own more mature views later on.
    I find the likes of Ms Weiss dangerously fundamentalist, stone cold and intransigent; in their own way just as dangerous as extremists of other religions and/or ethnicity. I have no truck with them. When any one person becomes inhumane in the name of G-d, and feels righteous entitlement due to G-d, then that person is lost to the world and to their fellow creatures. Again, what I chose to concentrate on was the motivation behind the Four Corners documentary and the injustice of its presentation, and they used Ms Weiss effectively within that framework. I make no excuses for ignoring the more obvious, blatantly distressing content,in favour of the agenda behind it. For individuals, some politicians, and organisations all over the world are using and misusing whatever they can get their hands on to contribute to the demise of the State of Israel and this must be fought.

  3. Dear Liat Nagar,

    Hi, just to be sure we are on the same page together please remember the subject matter of this page: “Three telling factual problems with 4Corners’ “Stone Cold Justice”. OK, that is the context of to my comments. I was searching for the abc site to send the report to a friend, and this website page was top of the list, and I got distracted and suddenly motivated to speak out.

    Also rest easy that this Four Corners report in no way has affected me as a piece of propaganda. My general views were already well informed, highly educated in the history about such matters. The ABC has not influenced one iota. I already knew of far worse cases of human rights abuses and injustices there. On both =sides, and between the Palestinian groups themselves. Nasty business all round. No clean hands there, except for the children’s!

    Adults all make their choices, but the children do not have such a privileged. I speak for those who have no voice, knowing nothing will come of it anyway.

    I did not “give you” ‘Australian society’ as some kind of ideal group of people. No where did I say anything close to that. There is no need to exaggerate or put words into my mouth. That is unfair when it is not true.

    Next, no where did I suggest that Australia is a place “where sophistry and disinformation do not exist” either. Because you are right that “nothing could be further from the truth.” and I agree. How much time do you have to listen my complaints regarding such things in OZ?

    Next Liat Nagar you say to me: “You speak of ethics – something I hold dear to my heart and incorporate within my intellect, not to mention my soul – and yet you do not go on to discuss the difference in behaving ‘ethically’ within a safe, secure society such as Australia, as averse to behaving ‘ethically’ within a society continually under threat….”

    You’re right. No I did not go on to discuss the difference. My comments were solely in reference to the subject matter and content in question, of the Four Corners documentary. In particular I spoke only to those specifics I was moved to speak on. You are creating a ‘strawman’ here by suggesting I “should” have gone on and on and on and addressed other aspects to the existence of Israel, it’s security, and then lay out a lengthy explanation of plausible ‘variations’ of when ethics can be shaped to circumstances? Sorry, not going to do that.

    If you wish to speak to that, and rationalize away the behavior of the Israeli Government, of armed soldiers dealing with 5 year olds ‘accused’ of throwing stones at cars, and the military judicial system and laws in the occupied territories and justify that ‘ethically’ then go ahead. If that is possible.

    It has nothing to do with me nor my comments here. No one can criticize me nor guilt me into speaking to those issues if I do not choose to. If that is ‘your’ issue Liat Nagar, then speak up, for that is your your job not mine. I said what I had to say, and I have my personal reasons.

    You go on to say “…I am not suggesting one should not, or cannot, behave ethically if one’s life, or country, is under threat, however I am saying that the discussion of ethics goes to different places in different circumstances, posing different and difficult questions and answers. Let us not assume that the people of Australia are any different in real terms than peoples elsewhere.”

    Yes, let us not do that. I did not assume so. I spoke to the Values of, and not the individual people. We are all human. There is a line of where appropriate behaviors moves across into inappropriate behavior and cruelty. I care not if it is in Australia or elsewhere. The line is still a line and it is real. The same standards and yardsticks apply.

    Did you know in 1918 in Australia that magistrates were giving 8 year old children 6 months hard labour on work gangs building railroads in the outback for being accused of stealing a goat? 2 months to a 6 year old?

    Do you consider that acceptable under your ‘ethical’ values? How about if the elite of that day were intent on having all the aboriginal people removed from an area so they could run their cattle, and so they created a system of making fasle accusations against them for killing cattle and goats etc, in order to have them removed from the ancestral lands for monetary gain alone?

    Does that sound right to you? The aboriginals fought back when they could and even killed some white people. Was that ‘wrong’ for them to do so? To protect their land and their families from outright theft? Right here in Australia mate!

    In the newspapers it was deemed a ‘security’ issue for the white elites who had all the Law on their side. Sound familiar?

    You mentioned ‘security’. There is no security in life when the military can storm into peoples homes at 2am and drag children out of their bed, photograph them as if they are criminals and then note the bed in which they normally sleep.

    The children here walk to school. But if they had to survive under the threat of being shot at by the clinically insane whilst walking past their homes, then that is no kind of security any human could endure for long.

    For justice to be done it must apply to all equally and the very same standards must apply or that is not justice. That is oppression, tyranny and injustice. Since time immemorial human beings have rose up against such injustices. That is rational human behaviour. It’s in all our DNA.

    There would be no security for the farmers in my area if I could turn up at anytime with a piece of paper from Canberra stating I had a legal right to pitch my tent on their property and bring all my friends. It wouldn’t take long for that farmers children to start throwing stones at my tent. I wouldn’t blame them either. That is no way to live in peace and security with one’s neighbours.

    But of course then we have Ms Weiss in that abc report who invokes the highest and ultimate authority declaring their are no neighbours and no one else has any human rights. Therein lays the core of the problem here. The beginning and the end of it in one simple invalid myth that denies reality.

    “It is good to be born a child, but bad to remain a child.” Swami Vivekananda

    • Lynne Newington says:

      I’m wondering if I’m on the right site here….words so famiiar elsewhere in todays climate.

  4. Well,what can we say. If the ABC is incapable of accurate reporting on the activities of the Australian Navy,what chance is there of accurate,factual reporting of events and circumstances in Israel?

    • Lynne Newington says:

      Great interview on BBC’s Hardtalk this AM between the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erakt and Stephen Sackur on talks over a Middle East settlement resuming in Paris, well worth listening too.

  5. Lynne Newington says:

    I’m glad you’re addressing it.

  6. I agree the reporting was biased somewhat. It should have shown what those kids are taught in school.

    I also agree that Israel is under threat. From his neighbours, from Iran but not from a five year old kid.

    Except that this kid will grow up remembering the terror the Israeli soldiers inflicted on him. And that was clear in the video. The soldiers should have talked to his father but leave the kid alone. No stone thrown by a five year old can kill or even wound seriously.

    Israel’s existence is also under threat because the increase of the number of settlements (now dotted in many parts of the West Bank). Settlers are not compromising people. Unfortunately many Israelis and Diaspora Jews are behind them 100%.

    The settler woman who proclaimed that God had given the Land to the Jews should have been asked whether she also believes that the Earth is flat as a pancake and if she travels far enough she will fall off.

    Does she take antibiotics and has medical interventions or like my uncle rather dies than interfering with God’s will.

    Does she invoke a blind face only when is convenient? At least my uncle was a total believer and he would have never robbed another’s person’s land.

    • Gil Solomon says:

      Gabrielle Gouch,

      You say: “At least my uncle was a total believer and he would have never robbed another’s person’s land.”

      By this statement you indicate a person who has absolutely no knowledge of history. There never was a country called “Palestine”. If there was, who were its rulers, what currency did they use, was it a Sharia state or democracy or a monarchy? The facts are that the Romans, when they conquered Israel (including Judea and Samaria) called the entire area Philistina so as to rub salt into the wounds of the defeated Jews by calling it after the Jews’ mortal enemies the Philistines. Many decades later the name Philistina was anglicized to Palestine which ended up as being a geographical land mass finally administered by the British from 1914 to the 1947 Partition Plan.

      Sorrry but you appear to be another brainwashed Jew who has fallen for the Arab propaganda.

  7. Liat Nagar says:

    I agree with you, Gil Solomon. When are we going to give ourselves permission to be hard-nosed when necessary in the pursuit of truthful context in order to expose Israel’s circumstances, Israel’s ‘truth’?! When are we going to publicly face the hard issues and force others to confront them? I, too, am sick of the ongoing sensationalist reports that have only one thing in mind: the painting of Israel as the evil ogre and the Palestinians as poor victims awaiting their deliverance. Australia is also a democracy and yet we now have a federal government who makes no apologies for taking all kinds of decisions and actions without transparency to the public, without even discussion or explanation, and yet most don’t say boo. Let the Australian journalists and do-gooders focus on their own backyard: on the ongoing plight of the Aboriginal people, on the inherent racism that shows its ugly face time and again,on the present government’s decision-making and what it represents, on the complacent attitude existing that somehow this country is different and better. Let’s have some documentaries on that.
    And, Sean Arundell, please do not give us ‘Australian society’ as some kind of ideal group of people where sophistry and disinformation do not exist; nothing could be further from the truth. You speak of ethics – something I hold dear to my heart and incorporate within my intellect, not to mention my soul – and yet you do not go on to discuss the difference in behaving ‘ethically’ within a safe, secure society such as Australia, as averse to behaving ‘ethically’ within a society continually under threat. I am not suggesting one should not, or cannot, behave ethically if one’s life, or country, is under threat, however I am saying that the discussion of ethics goes to different places in different circumstances, posing different and difficult questions and answers. Let us not assume that the people of Australia are any different in real terms than peoples elsewhere.

  8. alex pais says:

    Amazingly, the Four Courners ommited to mention, yet alone demonstrate, the burned marks on the palms of the Palestinian victims, the 5-year old kid included. Surely, warrants another special report. How about calling it “The Hot Pipes of Israel” or “The Scorched Hand Of Palestine? Beats the Aussie Navy’s “crimes” anytime, and so much easier to prove.

  9. Gil Solomon says:

    The facts are that the Four Corners program, like many others in the past, are aired with periodic monotony in Australia. One can therefore only come to the conclusion that the usual complaint letters everyone is urged to write to the producers end up in the garbage, unread.

    Recently the Chinese Government threatened various US media representatives with revocation of their press credentials for even daring to write mildly critical reports concerning the Chinese military posture in the South China Seas. These representatives waited with baited breath as to what would happen and uttered not a peep.

    On the other hand, that insane democracy called Israel, time after time allows hostile reporters to enter unsupervised to make a “documentary” film. The powers that be in Israel seem oblivious to the propaganda effect of reporters and their camera crews entering the country and do not see fit to impose minders to chaperone them throughout their visit. Israel has proven again that it has no concept of Hasbara (pr).

    In future, unless Australian correspondents and camera crews agree to submit to rigorous supervision during their stay, then it is my opinion that they should be barred from entry, their press credentials revoked on the spot and they should be sent packing back to Australia with their equipment confiscated and destroyed. This is the only way to get the message through loud and clear that these disgraceful so called “documentaries” will no longer be tolerated.

    If readers disagree with me then so be it. I for one am sick of hearing about the kind of action I propose not being the “Jewish way.”

    Also, it is all well and good for the Israeli Embassy in Australia to “blast” the Four Corners program as was reported in the AJN (14/2), but when will they ever recommend something along the lines above to the authorities within Israel responsible for granting press credentials? Showing outrage and lamenting after the event will, as usual, prove nothing.

    Finally, quoting what B’Tselem utters is farcical, even if it does comes down on Israel’s side from time to time. On the whole this organisation rarely has Israeli interests in mind and is just another organisation trying to undermine Israel’s standing at every opportunity. No doubt I will receive howls of protest for this comment also.

  10. Therefore, the inaccuracy you point out is that this practice of placing human beings in outside cages in the snow did not refer only to Palestinians prisoners, and not only to Palestinian children, but to prisoners in general and child prisoners in general.

    That the Israeli Government has now stopped this long term practice “under pressure from human rights groups, since it came to PUBLIC ATTENTION that this was IN FACT the practice in Israel. Namely that: “The office of Justice Minister Tzipi Livni confirmed the decision and said it came after Ms Livni became aware that it had been a longstanding practice and had included keeping Palestinian children in the cages during snowstorms.”

    The wording there says “included”, it did not say ONLY. As such, that statement was and still is correct and 100% accurate. As confirmed by:

    “.. information from the Public Defender’s Office about child prisoners being kept in cages did not refer specifically to Palestinians.”

    “This article was amended to reflect the fact that the now-halted practice of holding detainees in outdoor cages involved Israeli citizens and not necessarily Palestinians.”

    What does J-Wire have to say about this abominable practice of PLACING CHILD PRISONERS IN OUTDOOR CAGES AT NIGHT, INCLUDING WHEN IT IS SNOWING?

    You say nothing Tzvi Fleischer. Not once in this article do you condemn this unholy practice outright. Not once do you condemne the Government of Israel for this inhumane practice.

    Instead your article intimates that ‘Hey, it it isn’t that bad, they stopped doing it now.’ and ‘Hey, these reporters and the ABC especially are really bad because they didn;t ‘fact check’ enough it came across as was misleading to suggest the Israeli ONLY did this to Palestinian kiddies’? Their crime is one of poor reporting practices and possible a couple of minor errors.

    Did you write this article while watching the distressed 5 year old boy being terrorized by Israeli soldiers Tzvi Fleischer? I do not think you did. You have no empathy nor normal human decency if you fail to see the real import of this report by Four Corners. Do you believe that it is acceptable human and government behaviour that this is a price that 5 year old CHILD has to pay for the actions of adults over 66 years long before he was born?

    Nothing can ever justify nor rationalise such terror being consciously and systematically inflicted upon young children and families of any race, of any religion! It is inhumane and it is abhorrent. No excuses. None.

    And yet in 2014 the Israeli Government had to be told by others first and be publicly exposed before they stopped it? (Well they say they stopped it, but have they?) Are you serious Tzvi Fleischer?

    Ethics, sometimes known as philosophical ethics, ethical theory, moral theory, and moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending and recommending concepts of right and wrong conduct, often addressing disputes of moral diversity.

    The term ETHICS comes from the Greek word ethos, which means “character”. The superfield within philosophy known as axiology includes both ethics and aesthetics and is unified by each sub-branch’s concern with VALUE.

    Philosophical ethics investigates what is the best way for humans to live, and what kinds of actions are right or wrong in particular circumstances.

    The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is a declaration adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 10 December 1948 (the very same year Israel unilaterally declared itself an independent nation state) says:
    “Whereas recognition of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world,”

    Australia played an important role in the development of the Universal Declaration. The President of the United Nations General Assembly in 1948 was then one Herbert Vere “H.V.” Evatt (aka Doc Evatt), an Australian statesman of the highest order.

    Are you an Australian or an Israeli citizen? Think deeply and then make an ethically sound, well reasoned choice as to whose Values and Ethical norms you truly aspire to Tzvi Fleischer. Live video recordings do not lie and distort the facts. People do. Governments do. Apologists for Israel’s actions no matter those actions might be, do.

    I believe that the inhumane, unjust actions and entrenched deceptions of the Israeli Governments over decades is a black stain on the soul of humanity. It will not stand.

    Your article, in my opinion, is an extremely biased apologetics of unbridled spin. Far more biased and error laden than the ABC Four Corners program. Such sophistry and disinformation has no place in Australian society.

    Please post my comments on this website in full.

    Sean Arundell
    NSW Australia

    • Lynne Newington says:

      Why on earth did you think they wouldn’t Sean, in fact we have a few black stains on the souls of humanity ourselves……

  11. Ben says:

    The long standing hasbara tactic of trying to explain away reality by picking at a small detail. Even the article does not deny that children were kept in cages, merely that the practice has been stopped. Whether it has been resumed is unclear.

    The bigger truth is that this is a continuation of the policy going back to Herzel and Jabotinsky of displacing the Palestinians.

    • admin says:

      The only reason this is being published is so that you and other readers can know that we do not now your real name and that you are using an email address which bounces. We will accept NO further posts from you without proper ID and a legitimate email address

      • Ben says:

        sorry Editors

        I have posted with the same email address for several years and continue to use the same email.

        • admin says:

          That’s true but you do not comply with our current policy. This is not your real name and we have to communicate this way as your emails get rejected

          • Well admin, you know my full identity but you decided not to publish my comment. It does not fit with the right wing view.

            May I point out that I know a number of Jews who see the situation like me. But you don’t want to give us a voice.

            I am not left wing or right wing, but I oppose the building of settlements and of extremists like that woman interviewed on Four Corners. And my comments explained why.

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