Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Israel's Homegrown Jewish Enemies

I have made no contribution to the furious discussions about the tragic death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, first and foremost because I have no information beyond what everybody else sees. It also seems callous to be making political points out of the death, whether the points are being made by the top Palestinian leaders or furious Israeli bloggers.

The description in the NYT strengthens the feeling of distaste. The woman was standing with her mother and others outside their home, watching the weekly demonstration at Bil'in. At one point some tear gas fired by the Israelis wafted in their direction, harming no-one except Ms. Abu Rahmah, who collapsed, was taken to the hospital, and later died. Since no postmortem operation was done (or will ever be done) we'll never know what caused her death, but even if it was connected to the tear gas it was clearly a rare, freakish sort of accident. There's no plausible way it can be construed as an Israeli intention to kill, or even a foreseeable accident that should have been avoided by taking necessary precautions. You'd need a large dose of malice to charge otherwise.

The Palestinian leaders had that malice, and we've taken note, but we don't expect much better from them anyway. It's not as if they're our eager partners in negotiations towards peace. On the contrary. As Steven Rosen points out, they are non-partners to such an extent that the main question is why the Obama administration is letting them get away with it.

You can however see the problematic dynamic of the official Israeli response. The lesson learned from the Muhammad Al-Durra case in September 2000, and then from other examples since, is that Israel's enemies often blatantly lie about complex cases so as to create an irrevocable public perception of Israeli guilt, and by the time the Israelis complete their careful examination and can exonerate themselves, the story is long over and the damage is done. Hence the need to respond quickly - the problem being, however, that responding quickly can often be sloppy, and Israeli inaccuracies are as damaging as the enemy's lies.

I don't see how this can be rectified. Especially since there's a large market for stories of Israeli malice, irrespective of their veracity.

What has however been striking in this story is the alacrity, indeed, the overt and obvious need of certain far-left Israeli figures -journalists, NGOs, bloggers, they all know who they are - to convict Israel of a crime. I can understand, and even appreciate, Israeli observers who wish to hold our military to a high moral standard. Yet it would be reasonable to expect that when such observers detect wrong-doing, they'd try to get it fixed, out of a feeling of shame at what our side sometimes does. What's not defensible is the way some of them go out of their way, and bend over backwards, to make certain the IDF is guilty; indeed, they're at the forefront of casting doubt on any official attempt to clarify the facts. For these home-grown enemies of Israel, if there's any doubt whatsoever, there's no doubt: the Israeli troops are criminals, the investigating organs are liars, their defenders are thugs, and of course sooner or later the criminals will have to be brought to trial and if they're not it will be further proof of Israeli culpability.

It's sickening.

The sense of revulsion these people call forth eventually creates misguided responses, such as the decision in the Knesset this afternoon to investigate some of the NGOs. Not one of our finest hours, even if the NGOs earned the opprobrium with the sweat of their brows.


Silke said...

I had the "good fortune" to encounter some of the Israel bashers posing as honest question askers at Elder of Ziyon, CiFWatch and Letters from Rungholt.

I was told that the same perfectly synchronized reading way of arguing was also done by commenters of Mondoweiss.

Of course I don't know whether these people are members of NGOs but if they should be and their actions were approved of by their NGOs then I'd say some disciplining is required.

Why? Because as I perceived it they tried with all their concerted keyboards disguised as oh so concerned question askers to create another AlDura-Hoax and judging from all the MSM coverage they got, they may have been successful at it.

Because what will be remembered a year from now except by the very few? right! Israel causes Palestinian suffering.

Whether upholding free speech and effectively muzzling those who more than ask for it can in any way go together I don't know. By my gut they are guilty of hate speech and slander. Whether that is punishable by which law I have no idea. But it should be.

After all in private life you are probably even in the country with the freeest speech imaginable not allowed to run around and accuse your neighbour of fraud without having any evidence for it.

Anonymous said...

My dad got a surprise dose of tear gas walking out of a library (english teacher). Twenty years of bad asthma.
It doesn't seem to work that well at stopping a determined young athletes from throwing rocks.

Sérgio said...

It´s sickening because these types are sick indeed. They lost their moral north or are probably bored. As philosopher John Kekes discusses in his nice book "The human condition", boredom is one major source of evil.

AKUS said...

I agree with every word. The Israeli loony left provide the fodder that the rest of the media feed off.

I was shocked by the incredibly biased reporting by National Public Radio of this event, where every word from a Palestinian was taken as truth by their correspondent, Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, who then used this to publish the claims by Jonathan Pollack that he and others are being systematically "targeted" by this repressive state.

Anonymous said...

By the way, if once I might have agreed that the Knesset's actions with regard to groups like NIF was misguided, today I do not. Living outside Israel, I am subjected to an endless stream of articles and programs aimed at demonizing Israel that draw their legitimacy from the fact that Jewish Israelis provide them with material and therefore hide the true nature of their rapid hatred of Israel and Jews.

The fact is, as we have revealed several times on CiFWatch, and as many other have on their blogs, that these groups draw huge amounts of funding from countries and organizations that are determined to undermine Israel's legitimacy and curry favor with the oil-rich Arab states.

By cutting off their funding, and imprisoning those whose actions are treasonable -such as persuading impressionable high-schoolers that it would be wrong to serve in the IDF - Israel is doing nothing more than fighting back - finally.

Avigdor said...

What can be gained from investigating the funding of NGOs? Is it a step towards closing down funding from abroad? That doesn't seem likely given how many pro-Zionist groups are likewise funded from abroad. Is it a step towards delegitimizing the left even further in Israeli society? It's already on the fringes.

A tiny percentage of the country's citizens are doing everything in their power to undermine and manipulate the government, the economy, civil society. Do you read Haaretz English? It's become a hatefest. Almost every article is so venomous, so cynical, so angry. It was bad enough for years, but after Netanyahu became PM it's become hysterical. They've gone berserk.

peterthehungarian said...


What can be gained from investigating the funding of NGOs?

A lot. In my professional field, (electrical power generation and distribution)I was taught by independent experts in the seventies that using nuclear power plants is the best way to minimise the pollution of the environment exactly what the green movements say today. The public outcry and pressure following the environmentalist movements' activity governments have been forced to abandon this idea and building coal/oil/gas powered stations. At that time the fact that these movements and organisations were financed by the big oil companies (and naturally by Moscow) was unknown.
The consequences are the otherwise preventable deterioration of the environment and the waste of thousands of billions dollars.
I think that every organisation whose aim is to influence public opinion must be absolutely transparent regarding their finances. This kind of openess would help the public to decide objectively about matters of common interests.