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Reporters, human rights activists trash Israel on secret Facebook site
A “secret” Facebook group of foreign correspondents and human rights activists quickly devolved into an anti-Israel hate-fest on Tuesday following the release of a new Israeli government report that cleared the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) of wrongdoing in the 2000 death of a Palestinian boy.
Journalists and activists mocked the report, attacked the IDF, and claimed pro-Israel lobbyists were influencing the media coverage, in a private Facebook group for foreign correspondents known as the “Vulture Club.”
“As usual, it takes them a long time to really build up the falsehood,” wrote Bouckaert.
“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.
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.”
“That reinforces lack of media credibility and conspiracy theories as we are being used as mouthpieces for propaganda,” Espinosa added.
“And fuck no, it’s not true that ‘Everyone in France knows the footage is a hoax,’ as Karsenty says,” wrote AFP reporter Marc Bastian. “Everyone here knows that [France 2 journalist Charles] Enderlin is an honest man, and Karsenty is an extremist.”
“I know, I’m always too polite,” responded Bastian.
“The group is a secret FB group, and our discussions are confidential,” Bouckaert said.
Human Rights Watch did not comment.
The Vulture Club has around 3,500 members.
Espinosa also declined to explain his comments when contacted over Twitter.
“[Y]ou have some personal examples at the facebook page that you have read,” he wrote.
The Associated Press did not respond to requests for comment.
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