Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Lack of FACTS You Can Gag On

Posted by Ellen W. Horowitz

“Uvda” means "facts" in Hebrew, and it's the name of a highly popular television program hosted by investigative reporter extraordinaire Ilana Dayan. It was anticipated that Monday evening’s program would shed some light on an explosion which occurred last Purim in the Israeli town of Ariel, seriously wounding a messianic pastor’s son.

But Uvda failed to live up to its brand name, as it was sorely lacking in anything of substance concerning the unresolved case.

Dayan started out the show by claiming that the incident, which severely injured a messianic pastor’s son, was most likely carried out by Jewish terrorists. But for slightly less than 30 minutes we were treated to high school basketball footage, hospital footage, footage of surveillance cameras (the actual cameras, not what they surveyed), some personal interviews, some speculation, and a few hallelujahs - all accompanied by ominous background music.

Rather than a serious piece of investigative journalism, in the end we were left with yet another public relations piece for the evangelical/messianic community – whose members are portrayed as a benign, spiritual and persecuted people. And, of course, the villains are painted in ultra-Orthodox black - although it should be noted that while representatives from the counter-missionary organization Yad l’achim were featured throughout the program, the organization was cleared of any involvement in the Ariel incident.

Dayan’s handling of the case was mild when compared with other reports, yet she still managed to implicate Orthodox Jews without a shred of evidence (there has been a police gag order in place on this case since day one).

The overall shoddy treatment of the entire Ami Ortiz case by the media, legal experts, and evangelists with an agenda, teeters terribly close to the border of blood libel territory.

In the coming days, I’ll be reviewing the few facts we do know, and what Ilana Dayan chose to ignore.

While you’re waiting for me, you can start with the initial report which was issued immediately after the blast from the Bethlehem office of the Palestinian Ma’an news network.

They reported on an “ambiguous explosion” and that “Israeli police said the cause of the explosion is unclear and could have been caused by a firecracker during the Purim celebrations”. But there was something more in that inital 5:27pm report:

Fatah's Al-Aqsa Brigades claimed responsibility for sending a parcel bomb to an Israeli settler in Ariel near Nablus.They said in a statement, "Fighters of the Al-Aqsa Brigades – Struggle and Return Battalion - detonated a new kind of explosive device through a parcel mailed to the Ariel settlement near Nablus."The statement added that the explosion came in retaliation for the assassination of Hizbullah's military leader Imad Mughniyya and the ongoing Israeli atrocities against the Palestinian people in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

to be continued...

2 comments:

Hadassa DeYoung said...

Shalom!
It's worth noting that Arabs in villages near Ariel had been most displeased with the pastor for entering their communities and proselytizing. There is no need to connect the exploding "Purim basket" with another other retaliation.
Hadassa DeYoung, K'far Darom/Elon Moreh

Ellen said...

Hadassah,
You're so right! David Ortiz acknowledged that there was a published fatwa out on him and that the US Embassy had asked him to keep a low profile.

He admitted that he had been beaten and that his car had been firebombed. Several of his "converts" were jailed by the PA. He engaged in clandestine operations like extracting the familes of condemned Palestinians out of Fatah-controlled areas. He admitted that he had challenged and met with radical Hamas leaders.
He had a lot of enemies in both Fatah and Hamas.

The leader of one US organization which funded Ortiz asked to remain anonymous due to the Muslim threat.
Another US evangelical fundraising organization put out a statement recognizing Ariel as a center for Christian evangelism among Palestinians.

The mayor of Ariel openly encouraged Ortiz and his proselytizing activities, because of the enormous Christian funding that came with it.

All of this information is available online and was written up prior to the bombing. Example: The JPOST Christian Edition Magazine of August 2007 had a feature story on Ariel, Nachman and Ortiz.

What's really insane is that the purported "evidence" pointing to Jews, rather than Palestinians, is that "the bomb was more sophisticated than those made by Palestinians since it contained plastic explosives". But you can see from the Arab report I posted -which was issued just shortly after the explosion that they claim to have "detonated a new kind of explosive device". And it was previously reported in the Israeli papers that plastic explosives had been stolen and smuggled to the PA.

Also, as to the surveillance cameras...members of the Ortiz congregation in Ariel said that the sun was reflecting off the lens of the camera and that the pictures were too unclear to identify a culprit (another report says that the head was down, and therefore he could not be identified).

The gagged investigation continues, and I hope and pray that Jews were not involved. But that numerous evangelical/messianic leaders, lawyers and organizations have taken advantage of a gagged police investigation in order to speculate, weave fiction, and finger the Orthodox community while creating empathy for an apostate community in Israel is unethical and immoral, and reeks of a blood libel.

There is so much more, and I hope to be able to write it up soon.

But I would like to know why Ilana Dayan failed to even touch on any of the above points in her "investigation".