Right on cue the West Australian has run an article today about an Israeli backpacker who died in the Christchurch earthquake. A newspaper in Southland, New Zealand started the story by alledging that the backpacker concerned had five passports on him. The rest of the story was built around his friends leaving the country as soon as they could (as you would in an earthquake zone), about the involvement of Israeli medical support crews (as Israel is famed for doing), and other spurious circumstances that pass every possible logic test you could choose to apply.
This story has gone global, feral and viral as yet another chance to deliver a negative perception about Israel and its citizens.
I do not blame the West Australian for including this story – it was a major international story. However in extending the benefit of the doubt, it must now be known that the story as alleged was not true.
The West has printed in its article two refences to the allegation that the backpacker concerned had five passports on him. This has now been established as false, and the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, has catagorically stated that he was carrying only one passport.
In the interests of honest reporting we expect to see a follow up article or a correction that notes that the initial allegations were a complete lie and that the Southland Times journalist concerned has now been internationally embarrased for his shoddy work.
If nothing else, this story has once again highlighted for Jewish people a clash of cultures. The State of Israel will protect the life of its citizens with every effort, whereas in this regard the emergency management approach in Christchurch was considered by the families involved to be lacking.
Update: Friday 22 July
Today’s paper contained no followup article. The corrections column on the editorial page had one item on it, but it did not relate to this story. So the West has still printed a complete lie and failed to clarify or correct the record.