PR blunder: Israeli government’s press office sends Flotilla incident parody video to journalists

By BNO News

JERUSALEM (BNO NEWS) — The Israeli Government Press Office on Friday apologized to journalists after it inadvertently sent out a YouTube link to a video parody about the Flotilla incident last Monday.

Israeli naval forces on Monday seized the MV Mavi Marmara that was part of an aid convoy called the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla”. The ships were en-route to the Gaza Strip.

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers who boarded the ship were met with heavy resistance from the passengers, who beat them with sticks, metal bars, and other items. The Israeli soldiers opened fire, killing nine passengers and wounding dozens more. Israel says the soldiers – who wanted to search the vessel for weapons – acted in self-defense.

The incident prompted widespread international reaction, including the United Nations Security Council and the UN Human Rights Council who condemned the acts.

On Friday, the Israeli Government Press Office accidentally e-mailed a YouTube video link to journalists, including journalists from BNO News. The video, created by Latma TV, used music from the 1985-song “We Are the World,” which was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.

“There comes a time, when we need to make a show, for the world, the Web and CNN,” a man – dressed as the captain of a ship – sings as the song begins. “There’s no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the greatest bluff of all,” the song continues, apparently referring to the people on board the MV Mavi Marmara.

The song goes on, saying they must go on day by day to pretend that there is crisis, hunger and plague in Gaza. “Cause the billion bucks in aid won’t buy their basic needs, like some cheese and missiles for the kids.”

It took the Israeli Government Press Office almost three hours to retract the e-mail. “[The Israeli Government Press Office] would like to recall the message, “CAroline Glick and the Flotilla Band”,” a brief e-mail to journalists said.

About 20 minutes later, Efraim Roseman of the Israeli Government Press Office released a statement with more details. “Earlier today, we inadvertently released a video link that we had received, which was intended for our perusal, not for general release,” Roseman wrote. “The contents of the video in no way reflect the official policy of the State of Israel, the Government Press Office or any other government body.”

The blunder happened as international pressure on Israel over its handling of the Gaza crisis is increasing.

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