Author of "Embracing Auschwitz" and "Mensch•Marks: Life Lessons of a Human Rabbi - Wisdom for Untethered Times." Winner of the Rockower Award, the highest honor in Jewish journalism and 2019 Religion News Association Award for Excellence in Commentary. Musings of a rabbi, journalist, father, husband, poodle-owner, Red Sox fan and self-proclaimed mensch, taken from essays, columns, sermons and thin air. Writes regularly in the New York Jewish Week and Times of Israel.
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
In This Moment: The Botched Gaza Hospital Explosion Story: Fog of War - or Epic Blood Libel?
In This Moment
Our teens discussing the current situation last night with Israeli emissary Yoav Yaron
The Botched Gaza Hospital Explosion Story:
Fog of War - or Epic Blood Libel?
The “fog of war” has often been used as a convenient excuse for journalistic laziness. But what happened with the Gaza hospital bombing is turning out to be a case of outright malpractice, one that may have cost some lives and could have cost many more, had it not been headed off by Israeli investigators (who are mostly not believed) and President Biden (who mostly is). But as we look at the damage that was done by this rush to judgment, this Mother of All Overreactions committed by some of the world’s most reputable journalists, publications and networks, the fog of war is developing a definitive stench.
What is irrefutable is that something horrible happened at the hospital and innocent people died. That is beyond tragic and should have sufficed as news, until the cause could be discovered. That’s not what happened. The initial claims of Israel’s responsibility were dutifully reported, and in a manner that suggested veracity.
I am a journalist myself, as well as a rabbi, and I am humble enough to know that even now, the facts could reveal a different truth. But I am not responsible for producing the front page of the New York Times, so the damage I can do is relatively minimal. I was not capable of singlehandedly causing the cancellation of a crucial summit between President Biden and several Arab leaders in Amman. I’m not responsible for the 300,000 Israeli soldiers waiting for an order to invade, or for the 200+ hostages who might have been on course to be released when the hospital lie took hold.
So let’s take a quick look around at some reactions, shall we? First, from the President of Israel.
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