From the Jerusalem Post today comes one example of why the Israeli government has had a difficult time getting its message about the Victoria — the cargo ship loaded with weapons headed for the Gaza Strip — out to the foreign media.
Yesterday, the government held a press conference to display to journalists the weapons confiscated from the Victoria. But unfortunately, many of the foreign reporters never saw the weapons, since they were allegedly deterred by the extensive security checks and hour-long wait in the Ashdod heat, the Jerusalem Post reported.
“Angry foreign reporters left a press conference on Wednesday which displayed the weapons aboard the Victoria,” wrote the Post. “The event was meant to show foreigners the successes of the Israeli commandos and to justify the naval blockade on Gaza, but the extensive security checks at the entrance led many reporters to leave.”
“We were told to get here at 12,” Jerusalem Post video reporter Ben Spier said, “and we waited about an hour and a half in the sun. A lot of foreign journalists decided to walk away.”
It’s understandable that there were security checks, since both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak were speaking at the event. But this sounds like an error that could have been easily prevented by increasing the number of security staff, or by holding the speeches and the weapon display at different times and separate locations. Foreign journalists are already loath to give Israel positive press coverage, and it seems foolish to put additional obstacles in their path.