Thursday, April 15, 2010

Blood Libel

A few days ago Haaretz splashed a new story across the top of its front page, knowing perfectly well that it would spread like wildfire all over the world: Israel is gearing up to deport tens of thousands of Palestinians. And of course, it did. The fools and the knaves all hugged the story to their hearts and ran with it as far and as fast as they could.

Nothing about this is surprising: not the willingness of Haaretz to harm the country by spreading lies, not the eagerness of our enemies to wield them.

If there's anything at all about the story that's remotely surprising, it's the ease with which it can be disproved. Any reasonable observer of Israel knew immediately that the story couldn't be true as told; the fact that its originators were one of our radical Left NGOs (Hamoked) reinforced this gut feeling. Elder of Ziyon, an anonymous blogger with no public position, sent an e-mail to the appropriate official, who explained that the reality is more or less the opposite of that reported by Haaretz. Here's the full response, though I recommend following the link to read Elder's important comments about the case:
1. The new military order was signed 6 months ago.

2. There are no changes to the repatriation system or the authority/means to repatriate illegal residents in Judea and Samaria. The only difference is that now the process includes a judiciary review.

3. The decision to establish a judiciary committee to review the administrative process of repatriation was taken in response to the Israeli High Court of Justice (בג"ץ) decision that there should be judicial oversight.

4. Any illegal resident who stands to be repatriated will be brought before the judicial committee within 8 days of receiving the order, they will have the right to legal council, and will be able to appeal the judicial decision to the high court.

5. When making decisions about whether or not to repatriate an individual, the administrative and the judicial committees consider family ties.

6. Currently there are very few illegal Palestinian residents in Judea and Samaria - over the past several years, as a goodwill gesture to the Palestinian Authority, the Israeli government has approved an amnesty for nearly all of the 32,000 illegal residents whose names were submitted to the population registry by the Palestinian authorities.

7. Since the beginning of 2010, there have only been 5 Gazans who have been repatriated to Gaza.

8. The current system allows Israeli authorities to arrest, detain and deport illegal residents (specifically those who came in on a tourist visa and decided to stay) - these are the same powers that every sovereign nation in the world possess. The establishment of the Judicial Committee to oversee the process is the only change. (Bold: Elder; italics: me)
So what are we to make of all this:

1. A lie about Israel will cross the world in minutes, the truth won't travel at all.
2. Fringe elements in Israel are eager to lie.
3. Haaretz is courting the fringes (and hundreds of its subscribers have canceled their subscriptions this week. We don't know how many hundreds, it may be many, and their pool of subscribers was not large to begin with).
4. While loudly trumpeting the importance of a free press in a democracy and its own centrality in it, the level of journalism at Haaretz is lower than that of one private blogger.
5. The official agencies who might have confronted this lie, didn't. They waited for a blogger to ask them. Hamoked and Haaretz are malicious; officialdom is incompetent; the country gets by in spite of them all.

Consistently lying about Jews eventually gets people killed. This has been the pattern for millennia; the difference is that now the casualties come from both sides of the lies. You'd think this might matter to the people who propagate the lies, but you'd be wrong.

Update: I'm retracting the title of this post, tho not its content, here.


Alex Stein said...

I assume you were, of course, planning to post HaMoked's response to this -

I await your thoughts on it.

Didi Remez said...

I await them as well, especially since Yaacov was was so quick to charge "Blood Libel".

Perhaps he should remove the beam between his eyes.

Yaacov said...

No, Didi and Alex, I'm not going to respond to each press release some radical NGO sends out. In this case, we've got a "he said she said" scenario, which will be resolved quite easily by watching events: Does Israel do what it's officials say, or will it do what its enemies say.

Nor do I feel this position of mine to be particularly problematic or evasive. I have been following these groups (the NGOs and officialdom) for many years, and have been publishing my findings for about eight years. Occasionally the NGOs get it right, and I do my best to say so openly and clearly; most of the time they don't. I admit however, that it's only in the past year or so that I've been ever more disturbed by the emerging reality that these organizations are not simply representing a legitimate opinion to which I no longer subscribe (I once did, for many years), but rather they are part of an intentional campaign to harm the state of Israel. I say this with deep regret and some pain. There are elements in Israel's far left, now even with a foothold in Haaretz, who are part of the enemy camp.

Alex, you may remember my discussion of this here

Anonymous said...

I wonder if maybe Haaretz's scribblers were inspired by the attention Erdogan's threat to deport Armenians created? - if that was able to create readership why not try it on Israel "lovers"?????

Do whatever it takes to get attention, never mind victims, never mind decency, never mind adherence to ethical behaviour, never mind the most basic allegiance you owe to your country

and to Alex and Didi

- that the Haaretz piece was a phony came through by the language used alone, only readers in love with the most obscure conspiracy theories out there could fall for lousy rich in insinuation poor in facts stuff claiming to have insider knowledge - it was a piece written for the gullible and it succeeded - shame on them.

and as to incompetence of the authorities: their rebuttal is such a dry text compared to all the enticing hinting at hidden somethings Haaretz did that probably they might as well have refrained from publishing it at all - and I can't see for the life of me how one could make their rebuttal as exciting as Haaretz made their stuff - they being the authorities can't come up with pithy headlines and we the public have long been conditioned to disregard anything that comes without one.


Didi Remez said...

Well, I expected more of you.

"Blood Libel" and "Enemy Camp" are words one should use with caution.

A responsible writer, especially an influential one, makes sure they apply to the incident in question.

Your post "is a he said she said" one. If you choose to stop the account arbitrarily (even though the HaMoked's response is on substance), you might want to hold your WMDs in reserve.

Otherwise, you are the Blood Libeler.

BTW, here are some more "Blood Libelers" from the "Enemy Camp". Careful, at this rate, even among Jews, those that you don't count as enemies, will be few.

Steve M said...

Today you've written:

If there's anything at all about the story that's remotely surprising, it's the ease with which it can be disproved. Any reasonable observer of Israel knew immediately that the story couldn't be true as told; the fact that its originators were one of our radical Left NGOs (Hamoked) reinforced this gut feeling.

Yet on Monday April 12th you wrote:

I don't know if Haaretz is lying. Probably not: there's a limit to the amount of dishonesty a newspaper can engage in at once, and Haaretz is already in trouble on other matters. On the other hand, it may well be that they're not telling the truth the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

I didn't read this story in Haaretz, as a regular follower of this blog, I read it here. I would have preferred to have been told immediately that the story was nonsense. Aren't you after all a 'reasonable observer of Israel'?

Anonymous said...


don't you have a nice way of threatening? excellent on the insinuating side
well done
I wonder what it reminds me off - must be something from early childhood


Yaacov said...

Good question, Steve, and very valid.

My initial reaction when I saw the front page of Haaretz that morning was that the story could not possibly be true, for all sorts of reasons. Israel doesn't operate that way; the story was very vague on concrete facts and details; there's nowhere to which hundreds of Palestinians could be deported, to say nothing of tens of thousands; the Israeli populace would never allow such a program to happen so the officials would never think it up; the international uproar would be so immense and in this case justified as to shoot our government out of the water, and so on. There was no way it could be true. (And: Haaretz had very good reasons to wish to distract our attention that day).

On the other hand, I didn't know where the grain of truth might lie. If you go back to that post you'll see that Alex Stein and I discussed this, and we both agreed that the story might be a cover for a different story. So I decided to be careful, and leave open the possibility that all of my instincts were wrong.

In the meantime three days have passed. Not a single bit of supporting evidence has emerged anywhere (no, not at Hamoked, either), the story has died in Israel, even as it continues to spread abroad and in Tunisia apparently there's a newspaper now reporting that the deportations have already begun (see Elder's post). And now Elder has produced an explanation of the reality which addresses the uncertainly I had three days ago.

Maybe I was too cautious three days ago; maybe I'm being too angry now (that's what Didi and Alex say). Perhaps. Blogging lacks perspective, for better and mostly for worse; on the other hand, I try to do blogging through the filter of years of observation and thinking about the matter. The story of how Israel's tiny extreme-Left serves the enemy is not one I'm able to discuss with academic dispassion, much as I try.

Alex Stein said...

Yaacov - you are extremely hypocritical, but at least it reveals your true colours. You go on and on (sometimes with justification) about how inflammatory and provocative the Israeli left is, but then you happily throw out epithets like 'blood libel'. By all means challenge the findings of the article; but don't use it as an excuse to try and demonise people you disagree with.

Barry Meislin said...

General rule of thumb:

Something that defames Israel must be defended at all costs. Useful rationales include:

1. "Israel needs a strong and independent press." (In translation, this should be read as: "The quasi-fascist state of Israel, which has already co-opted its voters, and whose supporters control the US, the UK, the media, world finance and ("fill in the blank with your favorite pet-peeve)", can only be saved from itself by the the Leftist media reporting/digging up/inventing what ever it can to defame the country, so that others can see that not all Israelis are fascists, and maybe even the government will fall, etc.")
2. Even if a report is false, it might have been true---so that the public has the right to know about it and the media has the obligation to print it (see point 1).
3. A report that cannot be proved true COULD be true---and the media and other passionate and noble fighters for human rights have obligation the often thankless responsibility to warn the public lest the practice continue to hurt the State of Israel's reputation (e.g., the Swedish report of IDF's removing kidneys and who knows what other organs from dead Palestinians).
4. The Israeli state is a monstrous creation. Anything that might lead to its demise is the zenith of virtue, the epitome of morality.
5. Etc.

Barry Meislin said...

Oh, and I forgot:

If you complain about any of this; should you dare raise your voice that such lying, misrepresentation, confabulation and fabrication has ramifications not only for Israel but for Jews world-wide, then you sir are a hypocrite, disingenuous, a fear-monger, a low-life, etc.

And yes, such people do take themselves seriously (hard as it is to believe).

And more, seriously, the have a world-wide audience eager to lap up their brand of behavior, morals, ethics, and mores.

What to do: Read "1984" at least once a year? (Ah, but who has the time....)

Michael said...

Barry, doesn't this remind you of the "Rathergate" fiasco from 2004? "Fake but true!" The story had to be true, because it was about Bush, and anything derogatory about him was of course true.

Barry Meislin said...

Yes, but keep in mind that "Fake, but true" is a label used by those who still harbor discomfort whenever political capital is made from lying.

For those who don't harbor such, um, lame(?) reservations, "Fake, but true" becomes, in fact, "True!" or at the very least, "Fake, but that's an irrelevant detail---It's True enough for us".

A variation of the latter would be: "Fake, but since the ends justify the means, then it must be seen to be true."

These days, the confabulators are even quoting Orwell (which is kind of cute in a way, even if it is nauseating...but there you have it.....)

Gavin said...

Calling it a blood libel is a bit harsh Yaacov, you'll end up like the extreme left & run out of choice epithets if you don't use them sparingly. But you're right, it is libellous and it's extremely annoying. Yes it made the news in my country, same old same old. And no, there will never be a rebuttal printed in our media. One more lie to fuel the fires of anti-semiticism. It's very disturbing that these anti-Israel lies that infest our media with monotonous regularity begin with your fellow Jews. Have they not learnt the lessons of your history.

Alex seems to be a little confused. You'd be a hypocrite if you didn't demonise them.


Anonymous said...

unfortunately the "fake but true" seems to be a terribly complicated label to apply

- even Orwell has been accused of it with respect to "shooting an Elephant" and "a hanging" if I remember correctly (Orwell when it mattered behaved like an unflinching patriot btw, which is something one should remind do-gooders off who want to usurp him for one of their Kumbayas)
- the difference of course is that the way humans behave in these stories is extremely plausible when checked against one's own experience and that, though it says it is journalism, it is really art. I don't know the standards of his time when he wrote them but it would have been wonderful if he had said something about it.
... and most recently our media are all over Kapuczinski with the same claims with seemingly a lot more substance than the Orwell-"fiskers".

by which I want to say whenever one reads something one should always ask one's "totally irrelevant" personal real life experiences "is it likely?" and the Haaretz-article screamed for even the most ignorant reader, which I happen to be on the subject, "conspiracists" having one of their "tell-alls"

I only know Kapuczinski's Ethiopeia piece as a radio piece - the way the authoritarians behaved in it, once you subtracted the "exotics", behaved exactly like a lot of office bosses I have met through the decades.


Steve M said...

Thanks for the clarification, Yaacov.


Elder of Ziyon said...

A slight clarification: I happen to be on a mailing list that an IDF spokesperson is on; I did not solicit the statement directly. I did ask to clarify one point and received this official response:

"There has been no change to the administrative policy in the west bank regarding repatriations. The new order formalizes standards that have been in practice, and it adds a level of judicial oversight, enabling anyone who is going to be repatriated to appeal the decision within 8 days, after which they are also entitled to appeal to the high court. "

Thanks for the link.

NormanF said...

Haaretz couldn't be bothered to clarify the new orders. It had to incite Arab rage and stoke hatred of Israel. If there is another Arab-Israel war, the Jewish blood will be on Haaretz's head for inciting a malicious blood libel. So this how the newspaper repays its responsibility to the country in which it is based - by spreading lies and slanders about its policies abroad and taking pride in it.

Sylvia said...

Didi Remez wrote:
Careful, at this rate, even among Jews, those that you don't count as enemies, will be few.

Indeed there is a connection between Haaretz, Gush Shalom and JStreet. Thank you for reminding us. Who are the founders of those three organizations? What is their national origin, ethnicity? How do they view themselves? How do they view us Jews?

If we think about it, it's all about identity politics. Schocken? Germany. Uri Avneri/Otto Ostermann? Germany. Jeremy Ben Ami? Austria. Avrum Burg? Germany. And it is precisely what assures that they will always remain just that: a tiny ethnic -albeit strident - minority of German/Austrian cultural supremacists and/or red diaper babies with no loyalty or feeling whatsoever for any country, let alone Israel.

Now these Third Reich Dhimmis view us as "their" Jews. For what gives a Gideon Levy (Germany) the right to assert that all "the People of Israel" want Anat Kamm executed? Does he realize that "all the people of Israel" are against capital punishment? Of course he does. But his status as son of Holocaust survivors and his superior German cultural background give him, in his view, every right to calumniate Israelis very much in the same way Jews were slandered in Central Europe.

Or when Amira Hess (indoctrinated from birth in the Cpommunist Faith and daughter to a Holocaust survivor) issues such a slander the consequences of which we have not seen yet, who does she think she is hurting? Who does she think she is, period?

Or where do a Jeremy Ben Ami and an Avrum Burg find the arrogance to think they're the ones who can "save Israel from itself"? Who has given them a mandate?

Of course, it goes without saying that the great majority of German/Austrian Jews do not share those views. Yet, I think that to present the Holocaust as the major - and to these people and Ahmadinejad the only - founding event of the State of Israel was a monumental mistake.

This needed to be said.

AKUS said...

Well, well, well.

Look who funds "hamoked" (cited by Alex Stein).

From their website - an assortment of the world's busybodies:

HaMoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual would like to acknowledge the supporters of this legal internet human rights library:

The Commission of the European Communities, Belgium

The Open Society Institute, USA

HaMoked would like to acknowledge the support of the following donors in 2008:

CCFD (French Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development), France

E.E.D., Germany

The Commission of the European Communities, Belgium

Diakonia, Sweden

Embassy of Finland, Tel Aviv

The Ford Foundation, USA

Misereor, Germany

NGO Development Center (NDC), Ramallah, Representing Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Switzerland

Netherlands Representative Office, Ramallah

New Israel Fund, Israel

Oxfam Novib, Netherlands

Royal Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Norway

Swiss Cooperation Office Gaza and West Bank (SDC)

Spanish Cooperation Office (AECID), Jerusalem

Trocaire, Ireland

Carrie said...

It is interesting that The Ford Foundation is funding a lot of these anti-Israel NGO's.

The left mocks the right for taking money from Christian Evangelicals, but the left has no problem taking money from the private foundation of an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer who published The Protocols of the Elders of Zion on a widespread scale.

Anonymous said...

E.E.D. Germany is protestant
Misereor Germany is catholic

I don't get it - why don't they give their money to Israeli charities instead of meddling in politics?


Sylvia said...

Indeed. Or do like the Christian Evangelicals who donated street shelters in Sderot, which benefiots all walks of society, right left and center, Jews Christioan Mudlims and atheits, and saves lives.

Sylvia said...

Indeed. Or do like the Christian Evangelicals who donated street shelters in Sderot, which benefits all walks of society, right left and center, Jews Christians Muslims and atheists, and saves lives.

Sylvia said...

Haaretz piece - and many like it - are part of a political They do it regularly and people doing their jobs don't have the time to address the lie every time. The Goldstone report is based on the same strategy., knowing that it'll take for ever for the army to oinvestigate abd rebuke any accusation, or explain it.
Haaretz manipulates poll results knowingly and purposedly. See for example, this one caught by the pollster himself.

Why isn't there a "Haaretz Watch" Whoever starts such a blog will have plenty of material.

Sylvia said...

Sorry for the typos. This box slips up and down while I write.

Anonymous said...

below is what German churches are after in their support for Isreali NGOs i.e. they are not aiming at helping them in their whatever they actually do, they are helping them making anti-Israeli PR in Germany instead of building shelters in Sderot -
- thanks for that info ...
(maybe there should be a soft word for treason - any organisation that sails under their umbrella is of the Israel can't do anything right colour)

I wonder if one of the churches jobs is to use their influence due to the power positions they hold in public media to get them anti-Israelis air time -
(maybe there should be a soft word for treason - any organisation that enlists the help of these guys is of "Israel must be saved from itself" variety)

German bashing from abroad is still a good way to get my countrymen and -women in line - if you know a blogger who'd know how to make their shenanigans public my time and effort would be his to command.

It gets weirder and weirder they have 10 professionals in the field worldwide 8 of which are working in Israel, they give 2.47 mio to Israel and 8 professionals but 2.76 and 0 professionals to the PA - the slyness of it all is quite revolting


"Since 2007, MISEREOR - a German Catholic development organisation - and EED work together in the "Joint Initiative for Humanitarian Law in the Middle East" to help non-governmental organisations from the region to express their concerns with regard to human rights and international humanitarian law more effectively in Germany and Europe."