Foreign Ministry Removes Cartoon that Angered Foreign Press

June 21, 2015  

Israel’s foreign ministry has taken down a video that angered foreign journalists by ridiculing their coverage of Hamas-ruled Gaza, AFP reported Sunday.

“The goal of the video was to illustrate the crimes of Hamas,” ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon explained, adding, “When that was misinterpreted, we decided to remove it.”

The 49-second cartoon clip, entitled “Open your eyes about Gaza”, was posted on YouTube a week ago. It was also posted on the ministry’s website.

Primarily addressing the coverage of last year’s war in Gaza, it drew condemnation from the Foreign Press Association (FPA) in Israel, which called it “inappropriate” and “unhelpful,” as well as from Israeli journalists.

The video featured a blonde-haired television correspondent in Gaza with an American accent declaring before a camera that “there are no terrorists here, just ordinary people”, while a masked militant fires off a rocket, presumably towards Israel.

Another scene has the reporter describing tunnels that Hamas fighters used to stage attacks into Israeli territory as “the first Palestinian subway.”

A female character then gives the reporter a pair of glasses, allowing him to see the reality of “life under Hamas rule”.

The reporter then faints.

The FPA called the ministry’s decision to remove the “much-criticized cartoon that denigrated foreign press coverage” of the Gaza war a “victory”, according to AFP.

Nahshon said the video was “poking gentle fun at the phenomenon” of Hamas allegedly using “human shields” during fighting and the “partial reporting” of this by international media.

The international media reported during the 2014 conflict on the alleged use of civilian sites by Palestinian terrorists to store weapons and fire rockets.

While the clip was meant to address the international condemnation leveled against Israel largely due to news coverage that often failed to present the context of Hamas’s violations in embedding its terror infrastructure in its civilian population, the FPA was evidently not amused.

The foreign press body said it was “surprised and alarmed” by the “misleading and poorly conceived” clip, adding “it is disconcerting that the ministry would spend its time producing a…video that attempts to ridicule journalists reporting on a conflict.”

Hamas often fired rockets near sites where journalists were present, putting them in danger and indeed several journalists died in the conflict.

The terrorist organization Hamas claimed 17 journalists were killed covering the July-August Gaza war, a claim that the the privately-run Israeli Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center disputed, showing how Hamas-linked media operatives or combatants were counted as journalists.

The International Federation of Journalists says at least 13 media workers were killed.

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