Right-wing media distort U.S. position on Gaza flotilla incident

››› ››› MATT MCLAUGHLIN

Right-wing media have claimed that the United States showed "hostility" and "lack of support" for Israel by joining a United Nations resolution condemning "acts" that led to deaths and injuries in Israel's raid on a Palestinian aid flotilla. But the U.S. reportedly negotiated to "pare down the language" of the resolution and has "avoided any hint of criticism of the Israeli action in its public statements."

Media conservatives claim U.S. has shown "hostility," "lack of support" for Israel

Hannity: U.S. showed a "lack of support" for Israel. In a segment of his Fox News show to discuss the United Nations' reaction to Israel's commando raid of a flotilla that reportedly sought to provide aid to the Gaza strip, Sean Hannity said he was "concerned about the lack of support from the United States of America."

Hewitt: Obama's "unprecedented level of hostility toward Israel" shown by his "joining in the pounding of Israel." In a June 1 blog post, radio host Hugh Hewitt wrote: "The president's hostility to Israel flared again yesterday, with his concurrence in a U.N. Security Council resolution condemning Israel." Hewitt later wrote that President Obama was "joining in the pounding of Israel" and that "[t]he unprecedented level of hostility to Israel from an American Administration continues, and Israel and its supporters must recognize that President Obama is not a reliable supporter when the going gets very tough indeed."

Rather than showing "hostility," U.S. reportedly avoided criticizing Israel

Politico's Smith: White House "avoided any hint of criticism of the Israeli action in its public statements, and American officials appeared sympathetic to Israeli explanations that their soldiers were attacked." From a June 1 Politico article by Ben Smith:

With much of the world expressing fury over the raid, the contrast with Washington's muted response could not have been more striking.

"The situation is that they're so isolated right now that it's not only that we're the only ones who will stick up for them," said an American official. "We're the only ones who believe them -- and what they're saying is true."

[...]

Israel's traditional critics denounced the raid -- the chief Palestinian peace negotiator, Saeb Erakat, called it a "war crime" -- but so did some of the countries Jerusalem counts as friendly. Turkey's prime minister described the incident as an act of "inhuman state terror," Ankara withdrew its ambassador to Israel and the Conservative British foreign secretary took the occasion to call the Gaza blockade "unacceptable and counterproductive."

The White House, in sharp contrast, avoided any hint of criticism of the Israeli action in its public statements, and American officials appeared sympathetic to Israeli explanations that their soldiers were attacked by flotilla participants.

The U.S. "deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained" in the Israeli raid, deputy White House press secretary Bill Burton said in the first of three carefully modulated statements Monday, The administration, he said, is "working to understand the circumstances surrounding this tragedy."

The White House rendition of a call between Obama and Netanyahu also strained to avoid condemnation, and went out of the way to note that many of those wounded in the incident "are being treated in Israeli hospitals."

Six hours later, State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley issued a third statement, adding that the U.S. expects that the Israeli government -- the unstated emphasis was not the United Nations -- "will conduct a free and credible investigation."

Foreign Policy's Rogin reports that U.S. was successful in "effort to pare down the language" of U.N. resolution. In a blog post for Foreign Policy magazine, Josh Rogin wrote:

The U.S. effort to pare down the language of the Security Council statement condemning "acts" related to the effort was also a success, according to the Israeli official.

"Definitely the Americans were making an effort, maybe they didn't get as much as we hoped, but they got a lot," the official said.

"We'd like to express our thanks to the United States that worked behind the scenes to water down the [statement] at the United Nations," said Mark Regev, an Israeli government spokesman.

Those efforts were led by U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and her deputy, Alejandro Wolff. A key point of contention in the Security Council was whether there would be an outside investigation of the Miva Marmara affair, or whether it would be sufficient that Israel conduct its own inquiry. The United State has "every confidence that Israel can conduct a credible and impartial, transparent, prompt investigation internally," Wolff told reporters today.

ABC's Tapper: "US succeeded in making [resolution] more neutral where other nations wanted it to criticize and condemn Israel." In a June 1 article on ABCNews.com, headlined "Official: US Will Stand with Israel," Jake Tapper reported that the "US succeeded in making [the U.N. resolution] more neutral where other nations wanted it to criticize and condemn Israel." Tapper further reported: "The US also pushed for language conveying that it's acceptable for the Israelis to conduct their own investigation into the matter as long as the investigation is 'prompt, impartial, credible and transparent.' Other countries were pushing for an independent investigation, perhaps by the UN itself."

U.S. deputy ambassador to the U.N. Wolff criticizes flotilla and Hamas. In a statement released with the U.N. resolution, Alejandro Wolff, the deputy U.S. Amassador to the U.N. criticized the flotilla effort, stating, "The direct delivery by sea was not appropriate, or responsible." Wolff further stated: "Hamas' interference had complicated humanitarian efforts in Gaza, and it had undermined security and prosperity for all Palestinians."

Posted In
National Security & Foreign Policy
Network/Outlet
Fox News Channel
Person
Sean Hannity, Hugh Hewitt
Show/Publication
Hannity
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