Saturday, May 2, 2009

Barbara Lubin's Reckless Reporting

by Becky Johnson
May 2, 2009

Santa Cruz, Ca. -- Barbara Lubin of the Middle East Childrens Alliance (MECA) couldn't wait to go to Gaza. She had to see "the destruction and the trauma" for herself. As soon as she possibly could, she rushed to the Gaza border and was eventually able to enter Gaza. She started to send her written and telephoned reports back as soon as she could.

Now MECA is issuing disclaimers for those reports.

Lubin wrote on January 24, 2009:

"Out of all the devastation I have seen so far, there is one story in particular that I think the world needs to hear. I met a mother who was at home with her ten children when Israeli soldiers entered the house. The soldiers told her she had to choose five of her children to “give as a gift to Israel.” As she screamed in horror they repeated the demand and told her she could choose or they would choose for her. Then these soldiers murdered five of her children in front of her. The concept of “Jewish morality” is truly dead. We can be fascists, terrorists, and Nazis just like everybody else."

Lubin also repeated this report in several radio interviews, one of which was played on Free Radio Santa Cruz several times.

Listen here:

She even expanded it by saying that it was the same as the plot in the movie "Sophie's Choice" where Sophie is asked by the Nazi's which child she loves the most so that they kill the other child. "This was just like Sophie's Choice," she told the interviewer. But was it true? What was the name of the woman? Where did it happen? How were they killed? Who are the witnesses? Which group of IDF soldiers are blamed? Lubin had no details.

Here, her story was featured in The Progressive:


Unconfirmed: Gaza Children Murdered by Israeli Soldier in Front of Mother

Barbara Lubin and all of us at the Middle East Children’s Alliance believe that we should have confirmed the story about the Gaza woman who was told by an Israeli soldier to choose which five of her ten children should die, and then witnessed their murder. We are doing everything we can now to verify the story, but have been unable to do so. We ask that you do not publish or post this story on the Internet. If you have already done so, please post this statement, as well.

Barbara Lubin went to Gaza to deliver four tons of medicine and other aid to the people there. When she arrived in the immediate aftermath of the Israeli assault the scene she encountered was chaotic and the people traumatized. She heard and retold many horrifying accounts, and saw for herself the devastation to homes, schools, businesses, land and lives.

In these catastrophic circumstances, it’s not difficult to see how Barbara would find this story credible. Unfortunately, we sent it out before taking the time to verify it."

BLOGGER THOM WRITES ON FEB 23 2009: "Barbara Lubin has now confessed to outright lying about the atrocity story. She lied when she said she heard it first hand. She heard a third hand story about a mother and her five children who died in a rocket attack on a house. The "pick five", the deliberate killing, those were lies, though it is unknown whether Barbara Lubin made up those lies or just spread them without checking. What's more, Barbara Lubin explicitly refused to apologize for lying about an atrocity. Since she thinks there is nothing wrong with falsely accusing Israelis of atrocities, no story she tells about atrocities or anything else can be trusted."

HERE IS MECA'S report which clarifies that the family was warned to leave (but for some reason didn't) and that no "Sophie's Choice" drama ensued:


....the story happened in Bourij Camp in the middle of the Gaza Strip. The Israelis called the woman, Manal Albatran, and told her that they wouldn't kill her or her husband Hussein Albatran, instead they would make them die of sadness because they would kill her children. The next day they shot her house with a rocket killing her and 5 of her children.
The dead:
Manal Albatran 30 years old
Walaa Albatran 12 years old
Islam Albatran 11 years old
Belal Albatran 10 years old
Ezz Albatran 8 years old
Ehsan Albatran 7 years old
The father who is an employee at an UNRWA school and the youngest child were saved."



Submitted by Mohit Joshi on Fri, 01/16/2009
found at:

Gaza - A mother and five of her children were killed by an Israeli tank shell in the al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip Friday evening, witnesses and medics said.The children were aged 7 to 12 and the mother was 30 years old, the witnesses said. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

In another incident in the southern part of the strip, a militant was killed in an airstrike while riding on a motorcycle. (dpa)

JON BURACK wrote on January 26, 2009:

"Let's be real. It is HAMAS that glorifies the sacrifice of children for jihad and celebrates them as martyrs. It is HAMAS that puts children in the line of fire and hides behind them (on the very sound expectation, by the way, that Israel will be deterred to some degree by that barbaric behavior). Moreover, it ought to raise a red flag regarding this story that it fits like a hand in a glove into the ages old blood libel against the Jews that they sacrifice the children of gentiles. It is ugly in the extreme that Lubin has lent credence to this example of the libel with totally naive acceptance of a story told her within the context of a totalitarian setting in which she would have no possible way of knowing." ---Jan 26, 2009

BECKY JOHNSON: Note in the "corrected" report that the whole "Sophie's Choice" scenario is gone. This note also documents that the IDF called the home prior to bombing it. Does Hamas call first before firing a rocket or sending a suicide bomber out? And if this family was warned, why didn't they heed the warning and leave? Did they CHOOSE martyrdom or were they coerced into becoming martyrs? These things have happened before and we should be alert to the possibility.

And where is Lubin's report of Fatah Palestinians summarily executed during the offensive? Or the nearly 100 Fatah members who were knee-capped or shot in the knees? No where. She claims that Israel had shut down the Rafah crossing into Egypt and simultaneously reports that thousands have gone to Egypt for treatment.

This was necessary for even as dire reports were issued by Palestinian health professionals during the height of the bombings, a reporter in Gaza reported empty wards in the hospitals.


'Maximum 600 Palestinians died in Gaza'

Jan. 22, 2009 Staff , THE JERUSALEM POST

The number of Palestinians killed in Operation Cast Lead did not exceed five or six hundred, Lorenzo Cremonesi, a correspondent for Italy's Corriere della sera reported on Thursday. Cremonesi based his report on tours of hospitals in the Gaza Strip and on interviews with families of casualties. He also assessed the number of wounded to be far lower than 5,000, the number quoted by Hamas and repeated by the UN and the Red Cross in Gaza.

"It is sufficient to visit several hospitals [in the Gaza Strip] to understand that the numbers don't add up," he wrote.

In the European hospital in Rafah, one of the facilities which would presumably be filled with wounded from the "war of the tunnels," many beds were empty, according to Cremonesi. A similar situation was noted in the Nasser Hospital in Khan Younis, and in the privately-run Amal Hospital Cremonesi reported that only five out 150 beds were occupied.

Cremonesi interviewed Gazans who echoed Israel's insistence of how Hamas gunmen used civilians as human shields. One Gazan recalled civilians in Gaza shouting at Hamas and Islamic Jihad men, "Go away, go away from here! Do you want the Israelis to kill us all? Do you want our children to die under their bombs? Take your guns and missiles with you."

"Traitors, collaborators with Israel, spies of Fatah, cowards! The soldiers of the holy war will punish you. And in any case you will all die, like us. Fighting the Zionist Jews we are all destined for paradise. Do you not wish to die with us?" the religious fanatics of Hamas reportedly responded.

Other Palestinians told Cremonesi of Hamas operatives donning paramedic uniforms and commandeering ambulances. A woman identified as Um Abdullah, 48, spoke of Hamas using UN buildings as launch pads for rockets. Cremonesi reported that he had difficultly gathering evidence as the local population was terrified of Hamas.

This article can also be read at /servlet/Satellite?cid=1232292938156&pagename=JPArticle%2FShowFull

So it appears that Lubin and MECA are willing to manipulate the emotions of Americans so as to cause hatred against the Israeli military and the State of Israel either recklessly or by design. Since MECA does not fund any Israeli children who are victims of the conflict, nor condemn HAMAS for using children in combat zones as human shields, it's obvious to anyone who investigates that MECA is primarily a propagandist organization rather than a humanitarian one on behalf of children.

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