This is really too delicious... Journalist Sharri Markson detained on Israeli visit, Matthew Knott, Sydney Morning Herald, 22/11/15. (Annotations - mine, all mine):
"A prominent Australian journalist..."
"If little Sharri-pops is a 'journalist' then I'm a Kardashian," tweeted Mike Carlton in response to the above revelation. (23/11/15)
"... was detained by Israeli security officials in tense scenes last week during a visit to a hospital treating victims of the Syrian civil war."
Oh yes, that hospital. Ziv. Strange place, Ziv.
Must be the only 'hospital' in the Western world that patches up 'Syrian' jihadis and doubles as as a pilgrimage centre for rambamming foreign politicians and journalists experiencing the joy of Israeli apartheid.
"Sharri Markson, a senior writer at The Australian..."
Sharri-pops has had an interesting career trajectory: Cleo>Media Editor of The Australian>Senior writer - whatever that is - at The Australian. She first came to my attention for her coverage of/revelry in Mike Carlton's harassment by Fairfax management for speaking out against the Israeli cauldronisation of Gaza last year.
"... was detained for questioning by security officials at the Ziv Medical Centre in northern Israel on Thursday. Markson was travelling with other Australian journalists on a week-long study tour organised by the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies and the Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council."
Study tour? Pull the other! Remember my definition of the verb Rambam?: "To be sponsored by smooth-talking Israel lobbyists in Australia for a grooming session conducted by tough-talking PR people in Israel, with a view to the sponsored adopting the missionary position for Israel, when required, in Australia. Usually used in relation to Australian politicians, media hacks and other useful fools." (For those interested in just how widespread this practice is, see my 30/3/09 post I've been to Israel too.)
Knott can only mean fellow rambammer Bevan Shields, Fairfax Media federal politics editor.
"... Markson became 'aggravated' during the 'tense' incident in which security officials demanded she hand over her passport, mobile phone and notes. 'It was very intense and dramatic, a source said. 'There was a major commotion and suddenly there was security everywhere.'"
"Don't you know who I am?! cried little Sharri, stamping a Jimmy Choo in rage. 'You just wait till Chris Mitchell hears about this." (Mike Carlton tweet, 23/11/15)
How I envy that proverbial fly on the wall!
"Over 500 Syrians - including wounded fighters battling the Assad regime - have been treated at the Ziv Medical Centre in Safed, near the Syrian border."
And thereby hangs a (sorry) tale. For the full story on the identity of those wounded fighters battling the Assad regime, see my 3/7/15 post Those Rebels, That Hospital, Our Ambassador & His Wife.
"In a briefing before the tour began, hospital staff told the journalists that the patients could be at risk upon their return to Syria if it became known they had sought treatment in Israel."
Funny how these guys just waltz across the border into Israel, are immediately picked up by waiting ambulances, whisked off to free medical care, patched up, and sent back to fight Asad. Anyone else trying to penetrate Israel's border would be shredded on the spot. Did it ever occur to Sharri-pops or any of her other rambammers to wonder thus. Rhetorical question, of course.
"The hospital uses elaborate methods to secretly transfer the patients in and out of Syria."
Check them out in my 12/12/14 post, A Side of Israel the World Too Rarely Acknowledges.
"The 8 journalists were instructed not to record the names of the patients or to take photos that could identify them."
8! Hands up all those Australian journalists who've been rambammed? My God there are a lot of you!
Now we know about Sharri-pop's mob - see below - but who were the other 4? According to Guardian Australia's Amanda Meade, they were: David Lipson, Sky News political reporter; and Aaron Patrick, print editor of the Australian Financial Review. (Sharri Markson: journalist at The Australian in run-in with Israeli security, 22/11/15)
That accounts for 6, so who were the other 2?
"Fairfax media understands that during the visit, Markson broke away from the other journalists to speak to the patients without supervision and exchanged contact details with them. This led to her being detained by security forces."
NSW Jewish Board of Deputies supremo, Vic Alhadeff, whose job it was to keep an eye on his charges, attempted to crash tackle Ms. Markson, but proved no match for Markson's Jimmy Choos as he sprawled on the hospital floor to the cheers of the convalescing jihadis. Before the hapless Alhadeff could get to his feet and splutter, 'For G-d's sake, Sharri, he's only after a sex slave,' Ms Markson had swapped email addresses with the hottest jihadi in the ward... and the rest is history.
"Fairfax media understands the incident was resolved following intervention by NSW Jewish Board of Deputies chief executive Vic Alhadeff. Mr Alhadeff, who has returned to Australia, said: 'In that regard, we are very mindful of not disclosing their identity. There was an unfortunate misunderstanding but the situation was quickly resolved'."
Too right you are!
"Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council executive director Colin Rubenstein, who was not on the trip, confirmed a 'kerfuffle' had occurred at the hospital. He said the council representative on the trip told him Markson 'took down the email address of a Syrian patient, security officials got wind of it and asked her about it on the way out. Most times it's very clear to all the participants what the guidelines are."
Although hardly any of them, it seems, are clear about The Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance's guidelines/ Code of Ethics: "4. Do not allow personal interest, or any belief, commitment, payment, gift or benefit to undermine your accuracy, fairness or independence."
"It's never been an issue before. The condition of visiting the hospital is to respect and maintain the confidentiality of the patients' identities. If anyone's identity was disclosed it would put them at great risk - it's a brutal part of the world."
As any occupied Palestinian will tell you...
"Other reporters on the trip included Daily Telegraph deputy editor Ben English, Fairfax Media federal politics editor Bevan Shields and Channel 7 reporter Alex Hart."