US media ‘whitewashing’ Israeli war crimes by citing ‘discredited’ Zaka: The Intercept

by Anadolu Agency


A well-known US non-profit news outlet has exposed American media for peddling Israeli war “propaganda,” primarily citing Israeli voluntary search-and-rescue organization Zaka to disseminate information with the apparent goal of “whitewashing” Tel Aviv’s war crimes against the Palestinians.

According to an article by Arun Gupta in The Intercept published on Tuesday, “Zaka has been scrutinized by the Israeli press but not the US media,” American media continues to cite Zaka to “whitewash” Israeli war crimes through their news stories, even though “its Oct. 7 atrocity stories are discredited.”

In the piece, Gupta also referred to a “blockbuster” Haaretz report, which revealed that senior military leaders sidelined Israeli soldiers specialized in “recovering bodies and preserving evidence and sent in untrained Zaka volunteers instead.”

“Zaka reportedly turned massacre sites into a ‘war room for donations,’ used corpses as fundraising props, ‘spread accounts of atrocities that never happened,’ and botched forensics that are central to Israel’s claim that Hamas carried out a premeditated campaign of mass rape,” The Intercept report said.

The piece also criticized that Zaka volunteers dominated media coverage of the Oct. 7 attacks.

“They have been quoted by Reuters, CNN, New York Times, BBC, The Guardian, NBC News, Politico, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and many other outlets — with few, if any, mentions of past scandals or present controversies,” Gupta added in the article.

“These outlets fail to scrutinize Zaka stories. Many volunteers describe extreme crimes that would leave extensive evidence yet aren’t corroborated by reporting,” the report said.

The writer also cited a Zaka spokesperson claiming that “he saw dozens of dead babies, and children bound together and burned,” although numerous stories about dead babies have been debunked by media outlets, including Israeli television news programs, as “fictional.”

Zaka part of ‘Israel’s propaganda machine’

Gupta also emphasized that Zaka volunteers do not offer “verifiable evidence of war crimes,” “but rather serve another purpose.”

“They are an invaluable part of Israel’s propaganda machine,” he stated.

According to The Intercept, Israeli government officials “portray” Hamas as another Daesh, a largely eradicated terror group with no territorial control in Syria or Iraq, to spark a total war on Palestinians.

Zaka advisory board members include ex-Obama advisor

Stuart Seldowitz, an American diplomat to Israel and former US President Barack Obama’s advisor, is also on Zaka’s advisory board.

According to a statement posted on Zaka’s official website, Seldowitz joined the board on Feb. 12, 2018.

Seldowitz made headlines in late 2023 when he harassed a halal food vendor in New York City.

In one particularly disturbing video posted on X, he can be heard calling the vendor a “terrorist” and saying, “If we killed 4,000 Palestinian kids, you know what? It wasn’t enough. It wasn’t enough.”

The former diplomat served in the US Department of State’s Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs from 1999 to 2003, before moving to the National Security Council during the Obama administration.

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