by Yisrael Medad
The recently released Shamgar Commissions secret section details the negligence of the electronic media as a contributory factor to Ravivs "success".
The report blames specifically the television for being engaged, in part, in the creation of a virtual reality of a right-wing "incitement campaign".
"Eyal", the report states, referring to Avishai Ravivs fictitious skeleton crew, "existed for all intents only in Ravivs pronouncements and via the coverage provided him by the television".
The electronic media failed. The public were cheated of the truth.
The commission directly addressed one unique instance when
TVs Channel One broadcast a "swearing-in
ceremony" in September 1995. In the fourth section of
chapter four, on page 28, a clear charge of guilt is made when
the commissions members write:
"...all during that time, [Raviv] continued his connections with the media in order to portray Eyal as an existing group and achieved the collaboration of the television when it broadcast a swearing-in ceremony, that was actually a staged event, and anyone who was present should have been aware that it was nothing but a staged affair".
Staged Eyal swearing-in ceremony by GSS agent provocateur Avishai Raviv. Pictures published in newspaper Makor Rishon 31.10.97 (Many Thanks).
Media consumers, we now know, were, to a large degree, fed misinformation. Raviv sought coverage that would justify himself in his eyes and those of his General Security Services handlers.
The media were interested in the situation because it was good film footage. Each exploited each other. But someone of responsibility in the GSS, and ultimately, someone in the political overview echelon, let developments get out of hand.
Raviv was permitted by his handlers to move fringe actions, in themselves initiated by Raviv, to center stage by titillating reporters and cameramen with material they could not pass up.
- Raviv was shown instructing teenagers in the art of urban guerrilla warfare;
- Planning an armed break-in to the Orient House;
- Patrolling, in a violent fashion, the alleyways of Hebron.
- Praising Barukh Goldstein for murduring arabs worshipers in Hebron.
GSS Agent provocteur Avishai Raviv
praising Barukh Goldstein near Goldstein's tomb in Kiryat
Arba-Hebron with a fellow disguised in orthodox Jew: " We
are not sorry, of course, that arabs died".
Thanks to Makor Rishon, 31.10.97 for the picture.
No one, though, thought to take a deeper look and focus their lenses on Raviv himself.
- His initial taking the credit for the killing of an Arab in Halhul early in September 1995 was widely reported.
- So, too, was the supposed links with the Hamas.
- Recalled into service in 1993, he was ordered him to paint anti-peace process slogans on walls.
- Raviv called for Rabins death while being paid by the government.
Secret service (GSS) agent provocateur Avishai Raviv photographed (before the assassination of Yisthak Rabin za"l) with a T-shirt "No rest for traitors" upon a picture of Yisthak Rabin !! Thanks to the newspaper Hatsofe, 14.11.1997.
Somehow, the media accepted his actions as "normal" or as understandably representative of the Right.
The media cannot now avoid its own need to undergo a process of accounting. The media surrendered its professional duties to get a story which fitted a certain mold it felt comfortable with. That mold was retold by the Michael Karpin propaganda film produced for the "We Shall Not Forget" society which highlighted the incitement campaign while conveniently ignoring Raviv. And that mold, one can suspect, was fed by personal ideological persuasions of media persons.
Not one investigative reporter or program producer was intrigued enough to go after Raviv. Even after Israels Media Watch filed a criminal complaint against the Israel Broadcasting Authority for transmitting that "swearing-in ceremony", we as well as the subject were treated with disdain. What the late Law Faculty Dean of Tel Aviv University and the former President of the Supreme Court considered a staged event, was presumed an aberration.
We, media consumers, are owed an apology. Our right to know was harnessed to an out of focus approach by many media persons. The time has come to clear up matters if they are to fully regain our trust as commentators of the political scene.
Yisrael Medad is director of Israels Media Watch
Israel's Media Watch is a non-partisan advocacy group concerned with the ethical and professional standards of the media in Israel.
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