Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blood Libel Correction

Following the ferocious response by Alex Stein and Did Remez to my previous post, I'm issuing a correction.

The lie about Israel gearing up to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians, repulsive as it is, probably isn't extreme enough to justify the title I gave it, "blood libel". A blood libel is when enemies of the Jews propagate a story about how Jews are murdering innocents. While there is no dearth of such stories in the reportage on Israel, this particular lie is not that serious. Its propagators are reporting on an Israeli policy which doesn't exist, but they're not saying Jews are murdering anyone.

So, here's my retraction of that terminology.

As for placing some of Israel's own radicals in the camp of its enemies, that unfortunately is something they have done. I'm merely reporting on it, though with great reluctance and some real pain.


Alex Stein said...

Yaacov - I am very active in Combatants for Peace. I don't know how much you know about our work, but if you're interested I would be very happy to arrange a meeting for you with our current Israeli and Palestinian coordinators. Let me know what you think.

Barry Meislin said...

Ah, the winsome face of indoctrination.

And who knows, maybe you'll find yourself (finally) capable of penning such ultra-ethical gems as:

What should be of more concern to the Israeli citizen? A sensationalist headline, or yet another example of deepening repression in the territories? I know which worries me more.

Yaacov said...


I'm always willing to meet people, especially if we all accept that I'll come with my agenda and they'll have theirs.

Contact me at the e-mail address to the left.

Anonymous said...

Retracting the title and only the title was the right call IMO.

In a slightly better world, literal blood libels would be a matter of history and the term would be available for figurative use in situations, like this one, which have the identical logic but are not literally allegations of murder.

Unfortunately literal antisemitic blood libels are ubiquitous and relentlessly increasing in number and viciousness. So it is important not to dilute the term by extending its meaning.

Alex Stein said...

I don't see an email! Email me at

Anonymous said...

Ya'acov -

I am glad you returned to this topic. I saw this post on JTA yesterday, "Israeli army calms Palestinians over order"
but I thought, perhaps the post had traveled too far down the list.

I agree "blool libel" is the wrong title. "Ha-aretz Commits Unprofessional and Irresponsible Journalism Again" much more descriptive and chastising.


Anonymous said...


I'm sure your group has worthy goals, but I think you have to choose a better name in English.
"Combatants for Peace" means you will achieve by physically pommeling the other party in submission. Maybe the name works in Hebrew (like להרביץ תורה ), but not in English. An oxymoron.

Maybe you could be "Coffee-drinkers for Peace"


Alex Stein said...

In Hebrew its לוחמים לשלום
Which is of course a soft kind of pun.
The English title reflects the fact that the group is primarily made up of former combatants.
We have our alternative Yom Hazikaron ceremony on Sunday night, if you're interested.

Anonymous said...

I am a little bit too far away.

I think you mean "combat soldiers."


Anonymous said...

Combatants for Peace has to be a good thing, but every time I examine its web site and read some of the stories there I'm struck by a pervasive difference between the Israeli and Palestinian members. The Israeli stories invariably seem to be "we've been oppressive and brutal to the Palestinians; we feel guilty and remorseful and want to find another way." The Palestinian stories, though more ambiguous, mostly seem to be "you've been oppressive and brutal to us, but we're willing to get beyond that and find another way"

In other words, the missing element continues to be what it always has been: A Palestinian (in fact also a general Arab) acceptance of a share of the blame. It's that omission that scuppers attempts to negotiate peace.

Paul M

NormanF said...

I have no hesitation about the terminology. A destructive lie about the Jews is a blood libel. And I wouldn't retract the term because Haaretz broadcast a lie and knew what it reported it wasn't the truth. Not close to it at all. You would think it would do some soul-searching. I don't expect to see it from arrogant leftists for whom punishing Israel for its real or alleged sins is more important than standing beside it and defending it to the world.

AKUS said...

Yakov - don't feel too bad about this. After all, we have Gideon Levy's new blood libel to contend with:

"If it were up to the people, Anat Kamm would be executed"

So to keep Alex Stein comfortable, here are a couple of just breaking news items which he can compare against the way the world media treats parallel cases - in this case the Anat Kam affair:

A former senior executive with the National Security Agency has been indicted on 10 felony charges related to the alleged leaking of classified information to a national newspaper in 2006 and 2007, the Justice Department announced Thursday morning.

JERUSALEM -- The Hamas-led government in the Gaza Strip on Thursday executed two Palestinians convicted of providing Israel with information that led to the assassination of Palestinian militants.

It was the first time the Hamas government carried out the executions of so-called "collaborators" who had been convicted in a military court since the movement took control of Gaza in 2007.

And I bet that Ha'aretz won;t be splashing those across the top of its web page.

I haven't even started in on Arizona's new laws allowing immediate arrest of illegals in its state.

Gavin said...

Paul M. It's a common theme. I've tried in the past to discuss the conflict with Arabs and hit the proverbial brick wall of the Palestinian narrative. It's all the Jews fault, the Arabs were just sitting there minding their own peaceful business & the evil Zionist colonialist invaders came storming in & stole their land.

The appeasement camp is a fools gambit. If the Jews were to shoulder all the blame, apologise for their (imagined) sins... well who in their right mind can conceive the Palestinians being content with the West Bank & Gaza under that scenario. Let the invaders have the lions share of the territory...?.. not a chance in hell you'd have peace there. Besides being naive in the extreme appeasement is a pathway to national suicide.


Barry Meislin said...

Not sure it matters much.

The Palestinians will not be content with (only) the West Bank & Gaza under any scenario.

(Even if that's what Obama's plan is and somehow he's able to force Israel to accept it.)

But there's always the likelihood that the next war may push these issues to the sidelines (or else make them irrelevant...., though just how might be anyone's guess...)

Gavin said...

There's an interesting Op-Ed in the Jpost here;

There's a bit of (unnecessary) rhetoric but generally it seems pretty factual & accurate to me.

What I find interesting is the number of commenters who clearly read Haaretz and who are not Israeli. I very much doubt they're even Jewish and yet they're all dead keen on abusing the author of the article. Haaretz does indeed appear to play to it's international audience as the author suggests.


Alex Stein said...

Anon - sorry, only just seen this now. It's a reasonable point: the best thing to do is to come to one of our house-meetings and ask the Palestinians this directly yourself. Drop me a line at if you're interested.

Sylvia said...

Indeed the link between the mess Haaretz is in with the Kamm affair and the "mass deportation" calumny has been obvious from the very beginning. What they've done was try to intimidate the IDF, bring the legal system and the country down to their knees, show us who really holds the power. Like "here's a sample of what we can do to you". Haaretz doesn't have to fear to lose its readership because it has already lost it a few years back when it sold part of its holdings to a German family with Nazi ties.

Haaretz does more than fuel anti-Israelism - it fuels anti-semitism.

But the REAL interesting story to me this was being played out right here on this board and will probably continue out of Yaacov's mailbox.

Yaacov has clearly been identified by some elements here as a "soft target", ambushed, and given the "moral stick" treatment by immoral people wrapped in moral garment. This was a classic textbook "attack" and in this case one that has been successful since 1) Yaacov has surrendered and corrected the title 2) Yaacov has agreed to meet where he should expect more histrionics.

Some people are not here to discuss or advance opinions, they're here to fish and gain new souls for "the cause."

Sylvia said...


Can you see that cloud from where you're at? How does it look and feel like in your neck of the woods?

Barry Meislin said...

...the missing element continues to be what it always has been: A Palestinian (in fact also a general Arab) acceptance of a share of the blame.

But why should they "share the blame" when so many of the moral, ethical, and progressive members of the human race are so eager to blame Israel (with Ha'aretz proudly leading the pack)?

Indeed, one of the real tragedies (perhaps the greatest tragedy) of this whole conflict is that Hamas and the Palestinian Authority can't even agree on how to destroy the State of Israel....

Perhaps "Combatants for Peace" and other like-minded groups should try to bridge the gap between Hamas and the PA? Or at least recognize that this is at least as praise-worthy an effort as trying to persuade to Israelis what they were already willing to do (and still would be---Israelis', and Jews' thirst for self-delusion being as strong as it is).

Yes, if only Hamas and the PA would agree....

Anonymous said...

sorry saw your question only right now

I assume you mean the volcanic cloud and not the Haaretz smear cloud
the mostly blue sky up here at the Baltic sea has lots of clouds all the time and they look as pretty as usual - media tell me that's normal that the volcanic clouds are mostly invisible to the eye
as to Haaretz cloud:
nothing has come my way - fortunately our biggest tabloid which also seems to have the best newsroom has been forbidden to write anything smearing Israel by its late owner and his widow seems to be strong enough to keep up that policy. The same applies to its sister newspapers. Other than that they are of a sometimes hard to tolerate conservative bend

Anonymous said...

as to "Yaacov"
I think retracting on blood libel was Yaacov setting an example of how a gentleman measured by Jane Austen standards should behave and I admire him for it.

As to his willingness to go to another one of these get togethers hoping one more time to find a something that is not going to be there is a waste of his precious time even if the hosts should behave like it behoves hosts to behave when having a gentleman guest.