Writing in Foreign Policy Magazine last April, Peter Bouckaert, emergencies director of Human Rights Watch, related a touching story about the bond that’s been forged among the exclusive group of foreign correspondents, who are also war correspondents.
I could poke fun at the name droppage and elaborate sense of John Le Carre mystique infusing paragraphs like:
In war, we have to be able to rely on each other. We meet on the outskirts of the world, where the messiest of conflicts are underway, places like Chechnya, Somalia, Iraq, and Afghanistan. The journalist I’m sharing a drink with in the evening may be the one applying a tourniquet to a potentially fatal wound if I am hurt tomorrow. It is not just the danger that draws us close, but also our time together and the experiences we share.
Now, that’s a pickup line!
Bouckaert writes that he and his fisherman-vested buddies are “members of a close-knit, but informal brotherhood – I half-jokingly call us the Vulture Club, as we usually convene only when the blood is flowing. Bonds forged in war run deep.”
This reporter did his service in the 1970s as correspondence for an IDF magazine (after a stint as standup comic, don’t ask, war is hell), so I earned the right to declare that this romantic war bonding garbage makes me gag. Just an opinion.
But, as is so often the case, it now turns out that if a foreign corespondent is a self-centered, name dropping blowhard, he is also likely to be an Israel hater. It’s how God made the world.
And, as The Washington Free Beacon’s Alana Goodman reveals, Bouckaert’s Vulture Club meets regularly on Facebook to trash Israel, the IDF and the Jews’ sinister plans not to be annihilated.
According to Goodman, the closed Facebook page on Tuesday “quickly devolved into an anti-Israel hate-fest,” in response to the newly released Israeli government report clearing the IDF of wrongdoing in the 2000 death of a 12-year-old boy from Gaza (Israel Explodes the ‘Big Lie’ – Gaza Al Dura Boy Wasn’t Killed).
The Vulture Club journalists and activists mocked the IDF report, attacked the IDF, and claimed pro-Israel lobbyists were influencing the media coverage.
In other words, an admitted, 3,500-member media cabal is accusing the Jews of controlling the media.
And our romantic friend, Belgian-born Peter Bouckaert, quickly dismissed the Israeli report as “typical IDF lies.”
Mind you, Bouckaert boasts membership in a slew of investigation teams on behalf of Human Rights Watch: he is “a veteran of fact-finding missions to Lebanon, Kosovo, Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Macedonia, Indonesia, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and many other war zones,” as his official HRW profile boats (incidentally, I hate—and erase in our own publication—the “many other” reference. It suggests the list is too long to include all of the items in this context, but, in reality, it’s an empty bragging. If you’ve been there—mention it by name, otherwise shut the heck up – can you tell I’m angry?)
“As usual, it takes them a long time to really build up the falsehood,” Bouckaert shared with his brave buddies on Facebook. He also blasted the New York Times for its coverage of the report: “It really isn’t good journalism to write this up as if these are credible allegations when it is a pack of lies,” he wrote.
Maybe the NY Times should have added that they fact checked the Israeli report in a bar in bombed out Aleppo, against a stunning Mediterranean sunset—that would have made it much better journalism.
And then, Goodman reports, correspondents from numerous outlets, including the Associated Press and the Agence France-Presse, also piled on.
“[T]he lobby uses all its strength and is able to push anything in majors [sic] English newspapers or in the NYT[imes],” wrote El Mundo reporter Javier Espinosa. “Israeli embassies call their contacts in all those newspapers and they agree to publish that information.”
OMG – that’s like an expose of a crime in progress. You mean to say those Israeli bastards have PR people, special PR experts, and they, like, call newspapers and push their point of view? And the special court at the Hague is keeping quiet?
And Associated Press photojournalist Jerome Delay wrote, “The IDF thinks the earth is flat, btw.”
This is a mind blowing quip from a man who should know better. Back in April of 2002, Delay was the first photographer to enter the Jenin refugee camp, along with Greg Myre, who relates the story in his book, This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Transformed Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.
A major part of the Jenin chapter in the book is about Myre and Delay’s entry into a camp that, according to the Palestinian, was supposed to be a slaughter house of at least 500 dead civilians, executed by the IDF. But when they enter they see nothing of the kind, and Myre focuses on IDF Spokesman Col. Olivier Rafowicz, and on his professional, calm cooperation, versus the crazy-eyed attempts of the Palestinians to perpetuate the myth. Myre describes how Delay was hectically roaming through the camp, in search of those illusory bodies – and to his frustration found nothing to write home about (shoot home about?).
So, who is the true Flat Earth believer, the IDF or Jerome Delay?
Goodman also quotes Andrew Ford Lyons, an activist with the International Solidarity Movement, who called the al-Durrah report “a feeble attempt at historical revision, at best.”
Andrew Ford Lyons is featured in the Rogue Gallery of a website called Stop the ISM:
It’s one thing for someone to state a different opinion, but in Andrew Ford Lyons’ case, he just lies if information about the ISM on his websites comes out that is not true.
Arabs venture onto Jewish community property in the West Bank and steal produce? Then Andrew writes that poor Palestinian Arabs were trying to harvest their olives when the big bad Jews came in and drove them off THEIR property.
Stop the ISM operative Paul Cinato meets with ISMers who cavort with Al Aksa Terrorists who wave machine guns around and takes their picture as evidence, so Lyons claims he’s a liar who ran around the West Bank seeking to set up the ISM.
Someone asks why Arab children are allowed to run around loose in active combat zones in Rafah where they can be injured, Lyons makes up the phony excuse that there are “feral” children in Rafah like there are “feral” cats.
He’s another phony revolutionary wannabe who uses his internet skills to aid terrorist human shields for killers such as those found in Hamas, PFLP, etc.
Those qualities sound like the prerequisites for belonging to the Vulture Club.
And now, for your entertainment, the actual exchanges on Facebook, as screenshot by Alana Goodman:
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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