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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Rolling in her grave

Martha Gellhorn was an amazing journalist who did some groundbreaking reporting over sixty years, traveling to most major conflicts.

I've mentioned her views on Palestinian Arabs in the past, when she filed reports from 1961 and 1967. Even though she was a committed leftist, she had no patience for how the Palestinian Arabs had turned into pawns in the conflict nor for their wildly inflated claims as to what happened in 1948. She was passionately pro-Israel.

So she would be aghast at the fact that the award named in her honor has been going to people who she would have eaten for lunch in real life, such as Robert Fisk. The award committee includes such rabid anti-Israel advocates as John Pilger.

The latest co-awardee is Mohammed Omer, whose credentials as a journalist are non-existent, as he only writes for his own website and he gets articles printed in rags such as the "Washington Report on Middle East Affairs. " His account of his interrogation by the Shin Bet as he returned home from receiving the award is so over-the-top ridiculous that it is amazing that anyone believes it:
The security men also demanded he show all the money he had on him, and particular attention was paid to the British pounds he was carrying. His Gellhorn prize money had been awarded in British pounds but he was not carrying the entire sum on him bodily, something the investigators refused to believe.

After being unable to produce the prize money, he was ordered to strip naked.

"At first I refused but then I had an M16 (gun) pointed in my face and my clothes were forcibly removed, even my underwear," Omer said.

At this point Omer broke down and pleaded for an end to such treatment. He said he was told, "you haven't seen anything yet." Every cavity of his body was searched as one of the investigators pinned him down on the floor, placing his boot on Omer's neck. Omer began vomiting, and fainted.

When he came round his eyelids were being forcibly opened and his eardrums probed by an Israeli military doctor, who was also armed. He was then dragged along the floor by his feet by the Shin Bet officials, with his head repeatedly banging on the floor, to a Palestinian ambulance which had been called.
Israeli officials deny any mistreatment but who are they next to an "award-winning journalist" whose media sponsor couldn't even arrange press credentials for him to go across the border?

If Gellhorn would still be alive, she would have figured out that Omer is a fraud in a couple of seconds. Unfortunately, her name is now associated with people who she wouldn't deign to spit on.