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Letter: Take closer look at reports regarding Oct. 7 attack


While it’s certainly possible that individual cases of rape occurred on Oct. 7, “Association: Rape, sex assault took place during Hamas attack” (Reading Eagle, Feb. 22) goes further, stating that the Association of Rape Crisis Centers in Israel report submitted to the UN claims evidence of systematic rape.

This report highlighted in the article was in part based on media reports, notably citing a New York Times story 11 times. For that article, which claimed sexual violence on Oct. 7 was rampant, the Times hired Anat Schwartz, who had no journalism experience before November and liked a tweet endorsing turning Gaza into a “slaughterhouse.” It was co-written by her 24-year-old nephew and a reporter who has been accused of publishing falsehoods. Critics who debunked much of the story led the Times to shelve a corresponding podcast episode, indicating that a story that was a key part of the association’s report contained glaring errors.

The report relied extensively on ZAKA, a volunteer paramedic group (not medical experts by their own admission) that actively prevents autopsies. Many of ZAKA’s claims that were debunked by Israeli media, such as its reports of beheaded babies, not only shaped the narrative around Oct. 7 and were used to justify Israel’s assaults on Gaza but continue to be parroted by Western media outlets.

Imagine if The Associated Press reported uncritically on these kinds of claims if Israel were Russia, and Gaza were Ukraine.

Matthew Driben

Source: Berkshire mont

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