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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Not the only lie he told about Israel

I'm sure that many of you - especially in the US - have been following the Brian Williams scandal at NBC News.

On Tuesday, the New York Post reports that Williams told a lie about Israel, claiming that he was in a helicopter that was fired upon during the 2006 Second Lebanon War (Hat Tip: Memeorandum).

But that's not the only lie Williams told about his experiences in Israel. This is an account of an earlier Williams lie as told by Sherri Mandell, whose son Koby was brutally murdered by 'Palestinian' terrorists in his home town of Tekoa in 2001.
When Williams interviewed my family in our home, he similarly staged a false drama in order to sell a story. And in that process, he betrayed us and his viewers.
Brian Williams interviewed our family in the late of summer 2004 about our son Koby’s murder. We sat on the nubby sofas in our sunroom in Tekoa, in the West Bank, and he told us that he had been in the neighborhood — in Greece for the summer Olympics — and that is how he came to be in Israel. I looked at his pressed pants, his shiny black shoes, his clean shirt: impeccable.
After talking about how we came to Israel, we told Mr. Williams that Koby and Yosef had been eighth-grade boys who cut school, went hiking in the canyon behind our home in 2001, and were murdered by Palestinians terrorists, beaten with rocks. 
He sympathized and then asked whether Seth had a gun. Seth said yes—he had one locked in a safe upstairs in the bedroom.
“Would you mind going upstairs and getting the gun so we can film you with it?” his producer asked Seth.
Seth said no. We both realized that they wanted to stage a scene – to reinforce a stereotype, a visual of the angry rifle-toting, trigger-happy settler.
A few days later, we saw the interview on the Internet. I was furious. I wasn’t upset by what Seth and I had said. We were distraught about the way our story was framed. To open the segment, NBC interviewed an Israeli – an English speaker from Tel Aviv – about her views on the intifada. She sat on the couch in her Tel Aviv apartment and said: The settlers are a cancer on today’s society. They are the reason for all of the problems in Israel.
Then the newscaster said: And here is an example of the people she is talking about: Seth and Sherri Mandell. Settlers from Tekoa. And the camera panned to show us sitting on our couch in our sunroom.
This story is probably a lot less surprising to all of you after hearing Matti Friedman's accounts of the bias in the international media. But it means that supporters of Israel should not be sorry to see Williams go.

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