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Assisted Suicide

When the Western press gives credence to anti-Israel propaganda, as it did in recent reports about a Palestinian woman killed by Israeli tear gas, it’s Arabs who are hurt most

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The mother of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, who allegedly died from inhaling tear gas, flashes a V-sign during her daughter’s funeral, in the photo that accompanied a credulous New York Times report. (European Pressphoto Agency)
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Web Wars!

The Internet is reshaping our ideas of diplomacy, governance, and war—especially in the Middle East

Israel’s enemies are waging a relentless information war against the Jewish state, and Israel is losing. Some pro-Israel activists insist that Israel must play offense rather than merely defend against the constant stream of charges issuing from Palestinians, other Arabs and Muslims, and Western-funded non-government organizations. Still other friends of the Jewish state think it’s too late, that Israel has already lost the information war waged by its enemies—with the collusion of the Western press.

An example: Last week, the New York Times reported that a Palestinian woman named Jawaher Abu Rahmah had died from inhaling tear gas after participating in a demonstration against the separation barrier. In response, Israeli military officials, along with a group of pro-Israel bloggers, challenged the Palestinian account, and claimed they had evidence that she died from complications due to the medication she was taking for cancer. Among other tell-tale signs that something was amiss with the Palestinian version, there was the curiously worded cause of death: “Inhaling gas of an Israeli solider according to the family.”

The pessimists who think Israel’s case is hopeless have a point. It’s not clear why both the Times reporter, Isabel Kershner, and her editors at the foreign desk failed to treat the story with more circumspection: If the chances of dying from inhaling tear gas in an open space were not infinitesimal, wrongful-death suits would prevent police forces from using it as it they do throughout the United States and Europe to disperse riotous crowds.

If journalists won’t run narratives like the death-by-tear-gas tale through the most rudimentary BS-detector, it makes it harder not to conclude that they are willing to believe the worst about Israel. At the least, this is evidence of a lazy press corps that ought to take its work a little more seriously; at worst, it means that the Western media knowingly participates in a campaign to slander and libel a U.N. member state.

Outside of the Palestinian fable, floated in the late 1990s, about the Zionist chewing gum that made Palestinian women both sexually intemperate and sterile, it’s hard to think of a whopper that the Western media has not swallowed whole. Among other exaggerations and outright fabrications was the so-called “massacre” at the Jenin refugee camp in April 2002. The Western press dutifully followed the lead of the Palestinian news agency, Wafa, and reported that thousands, or hundreds, of Palestinian civilians were killed. Even as subsequent reports, including a U.N. investigation, revealed the truth of the matter—56 Palestinians were killed, the majority of them armed combatants—the narrative describing Israeli soldiers as war criminals and wanton murderers stuck.

Even more impressive is when images are attached to the narrative, like when a Palestinian cameraman in 2006 caught pictures of a young girl distraught on the same Gaza beach where, he reported, seven members of a her family had been killed by an Israeli Air Force onslaught. However, it seems now that a Hamas mine was likely responsible for the tragic deaths.

Most famous is the story of Mohamed al-Dura, the 12-year-old Palestinian boy believed to have been killed by Israeli gunfire on the Gaza Strip in September 2000. His last moments were recorded and flashed across the world, turning the boy into an international icon of Palestinian suffering and Israeli brutality. However, the Israelis didn’t kill Dura, and it’s not clear if he was killed instead by Palestinian gunfire or if the entire episode was staged by a French-Israeli journalist named Charles Enderlin and his Palestinian cameraman. Richard Landes, a Boston University history professor who has done extensive work on the Dura case, coined the term Pallywood to describe the “media manipulation, distortion and outright fraud by the Palestinians (and other Arabs, such as the Reuters photographer caught faking photos during the Second Lebanon War), designed to win the public-relations war against Israel.”

***

But this anti-Israeli misinformation is in fact part of a larger phenomenon. The Arabic word taqqiya is frequently used to denote the kind of dissimulation practiced by Muslims in the Middle East. Westerners tend to abuse the term, as if any Muslim who lies, for instance, about a car robbery, was practicing taqqiya, when he’s just trying to avoid arrest as any other suspect would. Taqqiya is a doctrine particular to the Shia, a Muslim minority who, because they have had much to fear over the last millennium from their more numerous Sunni neighbors, are permitted to lie under duress about their real religious sentiments. The concept, however, is a useful reminder that this is a part of the world where saying the wrong thing to the wrong person can be costly.

Nonetheless, Westerners are very sensitive to the idea that some cultures do not value truth-telling in the same way that we do. For reporters it can be embarrassing if your beat is to cover, say, the Palestinian Authority, since the bulk of your work is taking dictation from frequently malevolent fabulists and having to pass it off as though you were interviewing someone actually worth speaking to. But the convention of our press corps is to treat the utterances of Muamar Qaddafi with the same respect due the prime minister of Canada. To fact-check an entire political culture is beyond the pale of Western journalism, so instead we pretend that Arab societies respect the truth as much as we do, for to say otherwise is to sit in judgment over another culture.

Unfortunately, there is no getting around the fact that societies where the truth is just one among many possible narratives are going to fare worse than societies where truth is valued. In Western culture, truth has been virtually deified since the Enlightenment. Beginning in the early 19th century, Middle East reformers have rightly feared that a similar enlightenment in their society, a regime of Arab or Muslim reason, would threaten the entire ruling order, including God’s place in it. If reason is supreme, and everything must fall under the scope of the empirical method, then there is nothing to protect the supernatural or divine from the same rigorous investigation. The Muslim reformers looked at the West and saw a civilization to be admired for its scientific and technological progress and pitied for its spiritual malaise. Thankfully for us, even as the crisis of faith must inevitably follow enlightenment, it is only reason that guarantees technological progress.

Arab educators and other liberal intellectuals regularly decry the lack of critical thinking in Arab education, and yet the problem is not the ability to think critically but what it is possible to think critically about. You can’t speak critically of political authorities in the Arabic-speaking Middle East or security services will break your limbs and crack your skull, as they did this week in Tunisia. Obviously, religious topics are off-limits in a region where cartoons of a prophet can touch off widespread riots. Once you have circumscribed any limits to critical thought, you have inscribed red lines throughout your society. The reason the Arab countries do not lead the world in any field is not because they are any more violent or stupid or lazy than anyone else; rather, it is because the culture is set against the very principles of reason that make success possible. It is no mystery why Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah must come to New York for medical treatment—even though his country is more than wealthy enough to build first-rate medical facilities. The culture of the kingdom rewards students for memorizing the Quran, not for scientific explorations or pushing cultural boundaries; half of the country’s population is not even allowed to drive a car.

***

Western cyber-optimists argue that information technology like satellite television and the Internet will so inundate the Arabic-speaking Middle East with images and information that it will entirely reconfigure Arab societies. But this has it exactly wrong: Culture is more powerful than technology, and how a society uses any given technology is determined by its culture. This is why no one wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to have a nuclear bomb, but no one has a problem with France’s weapons program. This is also why the Internet is not going to open the eyes of those Arabs who are instead more inclined to use it to spread disinformation. Pallywood is nothing more than the nexus where an Arab culture of lies meets Western technology.

That is to say, the Arabs are not winning an information war against Israel, nor anything else for that matter. Rather, the stories and lies they tell to delegitimize the Jewish state are part and parcel of the war that they have been waging against themselves, and with stunning success. The tragedy is that everyone knows where the Arabs are heading, because the signs of failure and self-destructiveness couldn’t be clearer—poverty, violence, despotism, illiteracy, mistreatment of women, and the persecution of confessional minorities, like Egypt’s Coptic Christian population. The Western journalists and NGOs who repeat and credential these lies are doing no honor to either the values of their own society or those of the Arabs; they’re merely helping a culture kill itself.

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The real reason?

American Muslims – inspired by their “Prophet” – are extremely violent, islamic and barbaric. And they are willing to use their violent worship of the Pedophile to achieve political goals.

If you make a cartoon show that openly and constantly mocks God, Jesus, Judaism, Christianity. . . nothing happens. If you have an episode of that show take a minority and heavily persecuted church, like the Church of J.C. of Latter Day Saints, and mock their prophet, their actual beliefs, their society . . . you’ll get an angry worded letter to the editor.

By contrast, make a show that in a gag shows a respectful cartoon of the Islamic god-man, you will immediately see riots, death in the streets, and burning embassies. The dhimmi cartoon network forced South Park to censor their cartoon for the sole reason that American Muslims are barbaric, islamic, and violent.

Step One: Admit the facts. That American Muslim violence changes how NGOs, the Media, the far far left which controls academia behave. They know that anything which even hints at a the wickedness, subhumanity and inherent inferiority of the Islamic death cult, is dangerous. By contrast, blowing up a bus load of Jewish children results in a peace march by the Israeli left.

Step Two: ?

Step Three: Profit

Here, from wikipedia, is an entry on the Pakistani physicist and Nobel Laureate Abdus Salam, which is illustrative is Lee’s point:

In 1974, when the Parliament of Pakistan declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims, he left Pakistan for London in protest.
[edit]Death

The defaced grave of Abdus Salam in Rabwah
Salam died on 21st November 1996 at the age of 70 in Oxford, England after a long illness. His body was brought to Pakistan and kept in Darul Ziafat, where some 13,000 men and women visited to pay their last respects. Some 30,000 people attended his funeral prayers.
Salam was buried in the graveyard Bahishti Maqbara in Rabwah next to his parents’ graves. The epitaph on his tomb initially read “First Muslim Nobel Laureate” but, because of Salam’s adherence to the Ahmadiyya Muslim sect, the word “Muslim” was later erased on the orders of a local magistrate, leaving the nonsensical “First Nobel Laureate”.[11]

George One says:

The worse result of this phenomenon is that a lot of arabs actually believe their own propaganda and of course they are assisted in this by left leaning media and the teaching profession

Morris Abadi (Sao Paulo - Brazil) says:

Unfortunately, the muslim and the arab street have no way out.

They do not participate in education, health, research, and so on. They are kept this way by opressive regimes, and what do they learn?

They shout “Allah u Akbar”, and blame everyone who is not muslim, as if we were responsible for their incompetence.

dani levi says:

The truth is that Arabs largely do not trust each other. The truth in Arab culture is always subservient to Islam and ones Tribe or nation. With that as a premise it pretty much is a free for all.
In an Enlightened society the truth is ones honor. Where is the honor in Arab culture?

You give the NYT and other Western media too much credit. What they report usually has many factual errors, and if you go back over their analysis about Israel and her neighbors over the past 20 years they were usually wrong. I don’t think that it is a conspiracy. Their reporters have a certain mindset and are unable to think outside of it. I think that it is also hard for them to understand that not everyone in the world thinks and acts like an upper middle class American. In any case they do a disservice to their readers.

Fuming says:

I am so ENRAGED at this article I can barely think! It’s racist, offensive, bigoted, racist, and Zionist! My God, Tablet magazine infuriates me with its NEOCON PROPAGANDA OF LEE SMITH! I’m going to fire off an e-mail to Andrew Sullivan and Roger Cohen!

I just saw the Canadian film “Cairo Days” starring Patricia Clarkson and set in the present…she is on a public bus from Cairo to Gaza to join her UNWRA employee husband, and the bus is stopped at an Israeli checkpoint! She is motioned off the bus by a gruff Israeli officer who tells her, “Get back to Cairo; this bus isn’t going anywhere.” He’s right, of course, as any bus from Egypt to Gaza going through Israeli-controlled territory does not exist in this world.

bashmann says:

Bravo Lee… You’ve outdone yourself this time. This is the most bigoted article you ever wrote.
I guess desperate times require desperate measures.
You seem to be certain of the facts your present, you might want to step out for a minute from under the influence of your co-religious cohorts and do some BS-fact checking yourself in the region. You would be surprise how much of this anti-Israeli “propagandas” as you call it, seem to be widely under-reported.
Here are a few facts about the violence perpetrated and protected by your lovely State of Israel, for you and your friends to ponder and think twice before you judge an entire “Arab” culture to be a violent backward swamp. These are the workings of your peace loving settlers and IDF soldiers in the West Bank against un-armed Palestinians since March 2010;
1- March 16, 2010, IDF soldiers shoots and kill in cold blood Mohammad Ibrahim Abdulkader Kaddous south of Naples city.
2-March 21, 2010, Israeli settlers run-over 10 year old Palestinian child by car, Mohammad Al-Kanbar, twice and later arrested by IDF soldiers in Ras Al-Amoud town.
3-April 3, 2010, Israeli settler run-over a 17 year old girl, Samar Seif Radwan, East of Hebron.
4-April 5, 2010 Israeli settlers of Keryat Shamona kill a young Palestinian by setting him on fire, and the same day three other Israeli settlers pour Hot Water on the face and body of a 27 year old Palestinian young man named Monajed Basharat which caused him sever third degree burns all over his face and body.
5-April 11, 2010, an Israeli settler run-over a young Palestinian child in the village of Al-laban west of Ramallah.
6-April 27, 2010, IDF soldiers shoot and kill Ali Al-suoity and mutilate his body.
7-May 10, 2010, one and half year old Palestinian baby dies inhaling tear-gas from bombs thrown by IDF soldiers ( and yes people die ‘cause of this ). Same day IDF soldiers beat to death a 10 year old Abdullah Isa’a.

bashmann says:

8-May 16, 2010, an Israeli settler run-over a Palestinian mother and her two daughters, Ro’ua 2 years old, and Nagham 5 years old, at the entrance to their village, Al-Job’a, south of Beit Lahem.
9-June 11, 2010, an IDF Jeep driven by an IDF soldier run-over Mazen Na’iem Al-Jamal, a 48 year old Palestinian and kills him.
10-July 19, 2010, an Israeli settler run-over Abdullah Hassan Almuhtaseb, a 12 year old Palestinian child and kills him instantly.
These are some of the Under-Reported violent and barbaric atrocities committed by the “culture of reason” you so proudly affiliate yourself with.
Before you spew this bigoted, prejudiced, and racist rhetoric and judge an entire culture with such garbage, you might want to do some due diligence and check your own BS.
The only one playing “Assisted Suicide” here is you and countless un-ethical journalists like yourself.
Believe me, YOU are not doing your Jewish friends or State any favors by this hate mongering.

John Allan says:

Lee Smith is completely smitten by drinking the Kool-Aid called Israeli hasbara. Everything the fanatics say, he believes. Sad.

Yael Taubman says:

Did you ever think why these kids had been run over? they were chasing the cars, throwing rocks at the drivers, jumping in front of the cars with groups of kids…look up and check the reasons for all the things you are reporting…
what about all the killings and shootings of people driving home on roads that edge the arab areas? ick, you make me sick, you people who lie and never tell WHY something happens…only so you could say it was on PURPOSE.

Stephanie says:

Just thought I’d mention that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article this weak citing an Israeli study showing that high incidences of tear gas can be lethal.

Most of the article is well researched and thought out–except for the conclusion! How can you say Israel is losing? Look at the facts–Israel is thriving. Immigration is up. The economy is doing well by global standards, access to holy sites is unimpeded, terror deaths are at a low (lower than traffic deaths.) For the “winning” side, the Pals have unemployment, sputtering economy, no real chance of a state, no support even from other Arab countries. I’d take this “losing” any day.

Even the other Arabs no longer believe the Pal propaganda. You can fools all of the people some of the time, but never all the time.

Fuming with Bashman and John Allan says:

Lee,

My friends Bashman and John Allan say it all! You are a bigoted one and are obviously on the payroll of Netanyahu’s government! Shame on you!

Raymond in DC says:

Stephanie writes, “Just thought I’d mention that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article this weak citing an Israeli study showing that high incidences of tear gas can be lethal.”

That claim is bogus. The original source material says nothing of the kind. Ha’aretz was just doing what it does all too often – twist a few references and claims into a false report only to defame their own country.

dani levi says:

HEY bashman,
how’s the HR sit in Aza these days? can we have a detailed up date P-lease. and do not spare us the details. I want street names and DOBs. also while you are at it….how many dead xstians in sunny Egypt.
and please take your time.

“If journalists won’t run narratives like the death-by-tear-gas tale through the most rudimentary BS-detector…this is evidence of a lazy press corps that ought to take its work a little more seriously; at worst, it means that the Western media knowingly participates in a campaign to slander and libel a U.N. member state.”

I don’t think either explanation is quite accurate. Journalists have their own interests–telling a good story; appealing to home audiences; pleasing editors, who have their own interests and biases; making their own lives and jobs easier. Those interests influence which sources they choose to present as credible and which they discount.

For example, CNN executive Eason Jordan famously admitted, after the fall of Saddam Hussein, that his network downplayed the Iraqi government’s atrocities for the sake of its employees in Iraq. Given that Palestinian organizations, including the PA and Hamas, have also been known to terrorize journalists in order to influence coverage, it’s hardly surprising that many reporters covering the Palestinian beat figure it’s not worth their while to antagonize the wrong people by digging to deeply into Palestinian claims against Israel.

Then again, too, the biases of the New York Times editors are well-known, and they aren’t exactly pounding the table demanding stories from the field that make Israel look good or the Palestinians look bad. If somebody is supplying a story that would clearly please the boss, why look too hard at it?

A journalist could try to resist these pressures, of course–but in practice, such journalists simply move to a different beat instead. The result is that the Times’, and other major news outlets’, representatives in the Middle East (or, for that matter, anywhere with local tyrannies of which their editors happen to be fond) tend to be the reporters who are willing to “play ball” with tyrant-supporting liars, and report bias-reinforcing propaganda as fact.

Unfortunately, there is no getting around the fact that societies where the truth is just one among many possible narratives are going to fare worse than societies where truth is valued. In Western culture, truth has been virtually deified since the Enlightenment.

–Are you including America among cultures that value “truth.” Ever hear of Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, Sean Hannity… George w. Bush?

America, which has done imponderably more than any nation in history to use science to promote health and prosperity globally is no better than most countries in the Middle East?

Love it or leave it, Rabbi.

shavit says:

Stephanie – “Just thought I’d mention that the Israeli newspaper Haaretz published an article this weak citing an Israeli study showing that high incidences of tear gas can be lethal.”

Yes, they did. But you forgot the rest of the article. They were citing an Israeli government study done prior to the adoption of tear gas by the military that found tear gas in closed quarters (i.e. inside) could be fatal if there is a very high exposure. Of course, outside or in a well-ventilated space, the study found the possibility that a full grown human could die to be so remote as to be absurd. It seems worth noting that the study also suggested that a person would most likely die from asphyxiation (from the sheer amount of the gas necessary to cause death) prior to being able to consume enough of the chemical component, but hey, just details …

Seems odd that no one (not just you) ever mentions that the Israeli government actually did the study to prevent people from dying from its use. Even more, one death from millions of uses does not make the product unsafe (if this were true, automobiles, trains, planes, probably yoyos, and cough drops would have been outlawed by now). Nearly every country uses the stuff, and will continue to use the stuff. Highlighting Israel’s use seems somewhat absurd … unless of course you imply that they did it on purpose because they are brutal agents of apartheid …

Interesting article, simplistic and devoid of analysis and sources, with the exception of the old case of Pallywood star Dura. Is this guy getting paid? Dear Tablet, please hire me.

@ bashmann. Fascinating list. Keep reading Khaled Amariye and I’m sure he’ll give you the proof that us Israelis are really evil space lizards, hellbent on – you guessed it – the blood of innocent christian and muslim children.

shavit says:

that last comment was somewhat off point …

can one of the previous posters actually explain how this article is bigoted? [leave off the generalized use of "Arab" ... give the author some slack. without the word he would have had to list each country separately (or at least how i read it), and besides, the countries of the middle east do share a few laws and cultural similarities ...]

IT´S TIME TO FIGHT BACK AGAINST THE ANTI ISRAEL PROPAGANDA!!!

Still Fuming After all this Time says:

I’m still enraged. It just shocks me that Lee Smith, a Neocon-cum Mossad agent, is allowed to publish this Hasbarah propaganda in a Jewish publication! Plus, he’s racist. And a bigot! I’m going to read the latest issue of The Forward, and then attend multiple J-Street meetings, to calm myself down! Then, I will make a ten dollar contribution to NIF! Shame on you!

dani levi says:

@ bashmann
I just googled a handful of the “victims” and found none. You are making this up. These people do not exist.
I think Lee Smith has proven his point, Lies, lies and lies.
you are so cute.

dani levi says:

@bashmann
every time a Palestinian is badly hurt or killed, it is all over the Israeli news. Haaretz and others write about these cases without fail. Your names do not come up.
I know what you are thinking! you are thinking The Guardian was bought by a Jew/Mossad and so they also stopped writing about these cases. You are good bashmann, too good. Nobody can fool The Bashmann.

Tlaloc says:

I used to get worked up about the many many injustices in Israel, both by jews and arabs. Now I just don’t care. The situation will work itself out eventually, probably with a lot of bloodshed, like I said- don’t care anymore. All I want is for us to stop pouring billions every year into that rathole. Israel is free to keep up the BS, just not on our dime.

Bigoted because he attributes to the Arabs a trait, mendacity, that is universal. All nations, movements, factions, etc do exactly the same thing but Lee only damns the Arabs. Remember the WMDs? Remember the Maine? Tonkin Gulf? Remember The Protocols of the Elders of Zion? etc, etc, etc….Be better than this, Lee.

Lee Smith’s article is bullshit. Israel has not presented any evidence that Jawahir died of complications from a preexisting condition. Nor will it. The IDF takes its favorite reporters (Yaakov Katz, in this case, whom I have know personally since he was in high school, know personally, and who will report anything the IDF tells him to) and simply lies to them. Jawahir was taken from the demonstration (there is a tweet confirming this at the time) to the hospital. We are supposed to believe, according to the IDF, that she coincidentally died of cancer at that time. By the way, Israel has not presented any medical evidence3 is no medical evidence that she had cancer, nor that she was taking drugs for cancer. In the initial briefing, the IDF did not even claim that she was. Haaretz published her medical scan.

Credibility? Excuse me, but I could write a book of the IDF’s backtracking over its spin, when caught. White phosphorus, shooting of prisoners, etc. — the IDF Spokesperson office has 0 credibility.

But don’t believe me. Read the +972 webzine which has testimony from Israeli activists and Palestinians at the scene. Read Haaretz, which brings testimony from Jawahir’s personal physician and the medical result of her CT scan. Again, not a single document of evidence has been produced by the IDF. If they have it, why don’t they release it to the media?

And most of all, go to the Breaking the Silence website, which has published a 450 page booklet of SOLDIER testimonies, documenting how Palestinians are treated by Israeli soldiers.

As for the examples cited — either they themselves were rejected by the Palestinians (the Jenin massacre story was offered in real time when men were rounded up, and later corrected) or are still disputed. They are very different from this case, where only one side has produced any evidence.

Lee, good and inciteful article, but I disagree with you on a salient point, Israel is not winning any kind of propaganda war. While Israel is thriving in many respects, governments of the world and the UN led by the Islamic block are seeking to isolate and obliterate the Jewish state.That the despotism hurts those living in the Arab world the most, that is for certain but rather simplistic.In the present world-wide political climate it is going to be the Jewish child in Israel who will die from Hezbollah and Hamas rockets, and their Arab counterparts will dance in the street.

The issue you never seemed to ask or answer is why does the world really accept the lies about Israel so readily? A discussion of cultural displacement/transference by not understanding how Middle Eastern society works or the underpinnings of Arab culture, is not really the answer to why Pallywood lies are accepted at face value. Anti-Israel delegitimization is so part and parcel of extreme old-fashioned antisemitism that in many respects I suppose it begs the question.

a concerned jew says:

i don’t see why anyone would expect the NYTimes to give Israel the benefit of any doubt, when it steadfastly ignored the Holocaust while it may still have been possible to save countless lives.

driver to light says:

Calling Lee names, is not the cure. Shielding the Muslim societies from Enlightened ideas, just prolongs our mutual misery.

Arabs, of course, are lying because it is intrinsic part of their culture. But the left wing media is happy to repeat the lies against israel, because the “noble” lies are part of their culture as well. Both left-wing ideology and Islam are collectivists ideologies. For collectivists, the truth is what is good for their clan, group. Israel and West do have individualistic ideology. It is why Palestinians – and any totalitarian society – are much more dear for left-wingers than West and Israel, and it is why the lies defaming Israel are so popular among leftists.
Thank you for the good article, but, I think, you need to address the close kinship between Arabs and leftists, which makes spread of the Arab lies about Israel so easy.

I Love Jerry Haber says:

Jerry Haber is my man! His rant thoroughly exposes lies, propaganda, and other things about Lee Smith Zionist! By citing Ha’aretz, Israel’s repeatedly discredited paper, he shows facts only! Jerry, I love you and want to meet you for coffee, so we can rant about Lee Smith together!

Lee Smith is correct. The Israeli government received a copy of the hospital records of the woman who allegedly died from inhaling tear gas.
Those records show that she was hospitalized before the incident, and died there as a result of her condition. The other incidents noted by comments are also fake. That Palestinians need to make up such lies, and reporters accept them so naively reflect a desire to demonize and delegitimize Israel. When the truth comes out, however, these distortions appear pathetic and desperate attempts at self-confirmation.

Arab states are NOT self destructing.

Make no mistake about it, what they are doing is demanding that Western states kill them, or do things their way.

That is the choice they are giving us.

Joshua Scholar says:

The ranting of the angry Arabs and their fans in this section is so funny, it is no longer possible to distinguish between their brand of paranoid, bigoted confabulation and parody.

I fully expect a read a post saying that the concept of “truth” was invented by Jews to humiliate the Arab Nation and must be rejected.

dani levi says:

Jerry Halber,
how can the IDF produce evidence when there was no autopsy and the body is buried? And then we are supposed to believe the Pals who also make Bullshit up as the day is long all the time. Jenin being the worst example. 500 my arse.
I do not see what the big whoop is? A woman was exposed to a drifting cloud of tear gas that was most likely not “aimed” at her. She sadly passed away a day? later. Every week dozens?hundreds? of people are exposed to tear gas because they choose to engage armed soldiers in an area where they know the will be CS gassed in the open. This lady will most likely have died of the effects from CS gas, but you can not blame anybody really, since there was no intent. I have a friend who nearly died last year after eating some nuts, had he died would I been blaming the nut company? hardly.
Life’s a bitch. and that fence will be moved soonish, and then all those people died for what? because a chain link fence was 500 meters there and not here. I think dealing with Hamas in the WB is more pressing than that chain link fence. Or how about training people in truly peaceful resistance? No! every week these dudes show up and play cat and mouse with a handful of soldiers who shoot CS gas at them from hundreds of feet away. IF you know you will be CS gassed, then don’t bitch when you get CS gassed. Do not pee on the electric fence, unless you like the feeling.

The reason the left repeats the lies of the Arab world is because they share a similar goal. The journalists of the left dream of a world without nations, governed by the UN. Thus, it is their mission statement to get rid of nations, starting with the most controversial nation, Israel. It is the same reason why the same journalists promote an open border between the US and Mexico. If you believe that the American West was illegally acquired, then the reconquista of California, Texas, and Arizona is similar to the Palestinian “right of return”. The Muslim world also wants a world without borders, but governed by a caliphate. This is similar to the Nazi-Soviet nonaggression pact.

Maxtrue says:

When we look at the ME however, let us not forget WHO we are talking about. Iranians could certainly use information to their advantage. In Turkey, information filtering has kept the general population in relative dark and will be the foil that keeps Turkey out of the EU. It is amazing what Turks get via Turkish Press. In Lebanon as well, information can be effective in breaking the hold of control as it might in Syria and Iraq.

The daughter of the recently murdered Governor in Pakistan is told to watch what she says about the Blasphemy Laws. In Egypt, we learn some brides are force to have sex on their wedding night in front of their In-Laws. Today the BBC report on Hizb’Allah in Lebanon did not have one reference to their being a terrorist organization. It described them as a Shia social group and a militant group. What can Hizb’Allah make of this? That we are daft? As Michael Totten reported recently, the NYT gives Al Akbar cover despite AK’s Pro-Hizb’Allah line. Did they not read the editor’s note in Al Akbar’s response to the Feltman letter, stating that their reporter (who was tipped off from Hizb’Allah about the assassination plot), is really a glorious martyr for his courage. In fact, he was killed in a return volley after witnessing a Lebanese sniper murder an Israeli officer in cold blood as Israelis pruned a tree on their side of the border fence. In doing this, the NYT gives what is perceived as their support for AK spreading these false stories and drumming up support for a terrorist organization. So it is not only the bad fact checking that is perhaps intentional, but also the filter they put on their coverage, which is obviously intentional.

dani levi says:

I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the fence is there because Arafat refused to sign a peace deal in 2000. He then started and egged his peeps on into the second intifada, Hoping that he could strong arm his way to what I do not know. He sat fat and idle, as his people made futile attempts to engage Israel in blind pointless violence. Over 4000 Pals died and over 1000 Israelis died, many in random mass murder called “suicide bombings”. After 28 holocaust survivors were shredded in a hotel dining room, Israel went ape shit killed “500″ ;) Palestinians in Jenin “home of the suicide belt” and YES decided to build the fence. and hey PRESTO! No more exploding inner city buses in Tel Aviv. So all in all a win win situation in this zero sum game. Holocaust survivors can now eat in peace, their mince meat from the plate, and not their flesh from the ceiling, and Hamas can save their bomber boys for their secular rivals once they have their state. and they lived happily ever after.
Arafat of course spent the rest of his messed up life in some compound without electricity. He eventually died , finally ! , in Paris. We to this day do not know what he died of, because the Arabs can apparently not bare the truth. Which takes us back up to the article.

Adrienne Ross says:

Bashman, your claims are disturbing, Several on this comments list have tried confirming these allegations without success. Could you please give references or citations?

dani levi says:

Adrienne Ross,
please reread the article. It will answer your valid question. There are dozens of Israeli human rights organizations who would have these names listed. And there would be dozens of pro Pal organizations all over the world who would have these “victims” listed. The Bashmann seems to have proven the very point Lee Smith made. Looks like irony is also alien to this school of thought.
Had this many people been hurt and/or killed in that amount of time, we’d probably have a third Intifada on our hands.
The Bashman even writes that Abdullah Isa’a ( 10 years old ) was supposedly “beaten” to death by the IDF. I think this says more about what anti IDF propaganda looks like than all of Lee Smiths articles put together. Naked hate is more evident on the side of the Arabs than it is on the Israeli side. For those who truly know Israel this comes as no surprise. The Bashman and The Joker are one and the same person. Were it not for Superjew, I’d be scared.

“Credibility? Excuse me, but I could write a book of the IDF’s backtracking over its spin, when caught. White phosphorus, shooting of prisoners, etc. — the IDF Spokesperson office has 0 credibility.”

Those are poor examples: if the shooting of prisoners did happen (and I’m not sure what incident you’re referring to, nor even if it exists), it is the act of misbehaving soldiers, not IDF policy. That is an extremely important distinction to make, especially when Israel is fighting enemies who specifically target civilians.

As for the white phosphorous, Israel admitted that it was careless and anticipated less damage from that. That sounds more like an apology than “backtracing.”

If you’d like to continue the discussion, look up the Fora on my website.

Michael Pinter says:

Excellent Piece, right on the money. When the Arabs start valuing their own and their children’s lives more than they hate Israel, there can be progress and peace.

Howard Immanuelson says:

Can anyone explain how all the Israel bashing in the comments here counters in any way the points made by Lee in the article? It seems more like a convenient forum to bash Israel than anything that would change my opinion of Israel. Hint: want to do that? Post intelligent, point by point refutations that can be confirmed by non-biased sources.

After reading the Israel bashing comments here, as others noted, it just reaffirmed the points that Lee was making in his article.

Michael Lonie says:

The activities of armed Jews defending themselves against genocide seems to make a lot of people angry and nervous, even drives them to hysteria. I can only wonder why.

Martin K says:

M. Lonie: Well, its kind of hard to find unbiased sources debating the point about wether arab culture is a “culture of Lies”. It starts out from the same pov if I was to accuse jewish culrure of being of “unprincipled moneymaking” or some other stereotype. Can you disprove it?

Smith, as is usual among the JPost school of Israel defenders, uses the same methodology as usual: take a singular case (wich is still hotly contested) and ties it into a part of a larger myth (“pallywood”). The same method goes for the anti-semites where you take a couple of Israelis involved in organ-trafficking and make it into a larger narrative. Or you can go into the whole disgusting accusation of Holocaust-profiteering that the revisionists are so fond of. Its not that I do not think that the pals and their allies make up propaganda now and then, just as the Israeli side does, but its that Lee Smith tries to make this into a narrative where the wily palestinians kill their own grandmothers to strike at the honest Jew. Its a mode of rhetoric as old as bigotry itself, making particular histories into indicators of whole cultures. So Lee SMith sees a palestinian lie and declares that “Arab culture is a culture of Lies”. He could just as well have concluded that “Jewish culture is a culture of organ-trading” or “black culture is a culture of rape”. He just needs to change the factual elements in the model of the story.

Shmuel Almagor says:

Around the globe, wherever there is conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims, and that is about everywhere there is a significant number of Muslims, Muslims will always pose as victims.
Muslims have perfected the role of the victimized to such heights that they deserve a Nobel on acting.

i think Ron Kampeas at JTA does a far better job both on reporting and analysis and in the process pokes holes in smith’s: org/blogs/article/politics/2011/01/05/2742421/dalia-scheindlins-clarifying-anger

Danya Cohen says:

Lee Smith’s article on the death of Jawaher Abu Rahma is one of the poorest examples of journalism I can recall. Smith regurgitages the IDF’s unofficial account of her death despite their being absolutely no evidence supporting it. All claims that her death was a hoax cite “military sources” rather than the IDF spokesman, who is reluctant to stand behind this story and whose only official comment is that her death is under investigation. The IDF provided no evidence that Jahawar was not present or that her death was not caused by tear gas. The controversy was manufactured by an unauthorized person inside the spokesman’s office holding an unofficial press conference for bloggers with the intent of spreading baseless insinuations about her death. Yes, she had another minor medical condition-an inner ear infection, which gave her headaches and made her dizzy. There was no evidence of cancer, leukemia or certainly not an honor killing, as was also insinuated. Have any of those who doubt that tear gas in an open space can cause death actually been tear-gassed? Did they consider the long-term effects of having your entire village gassed weekly for 5 years, especially when your home is located just 100 meters from the so-called separation barrier? Could that have been a cause of Jawahar’s headaches? Dozens of Israeli witnesses, including a personal friend of mine, saw her at the demonstration and her injury was reported by twitter @ 230 pm by Joseph Dana. An investigation carried out by Haaretz, with the help of a number of eyewitnesses, concluded Abu Rahmah stood about 100 meters from her home, watching the protest. Jews often have a hard time accepting the fact that sometimes the IDF spokesman lies to cover up crimes of the occupation. I would like to know what Lee Smith feels is an appropriate response to the Security Fence being built on private Palestinian land, cutting off the villagers from their lands and fields three and a half years after the High Court ruling t

As for Taqyie and lying, who does the author think he is fooling? This is the Middle East and EVERYONE – Jews, Arabs, Xstians – are constantly lying, lying, lying. To themselves and to others. This is true for the people and even more so for their leaders. The Arabs are indeed leading, mostly because it’s easy to lie to their uneducated constituencies, but us Israelis come in a good second, with the (native) Xstians having the constant reality check of being a minority everywhere.

Those having difficulty accepting Lee Harris’ critique will be disappointed by the findings of the IDF investigation which, according to Haaretz, concluded today that:

“Rahmah’s condition deteriorated at the hospital after she received an incorrect diagnosis and inappropriate treatment.”

“The IDF findings, which were presented to GOC Central Command Avi Mizrachi, were based on hospital documents, some which showed that doctors believed Abu Rahma was sickened by phosphorous fertilizer and nerve gas. She was therefore treated with atropine and fluids, without Palestinian doctors realizing that she had in fact inhaled tear gas.”

“The investigation also found that Abu Rahmah was not present at the demonstration itself, but instead was near her house.”

I know this is painful, hard to accept. Just doesn’t comport with the accepted narrative. After all…who ya gonna believe? Practitioners of taqqiya from the PA’s media team or a truth seeking investigation based on documentary evidence? Just have to hunker down and wait for another chance.

Herzl says: “I know this is painful, hard to accept. Just doesn’t comport with the accepted narrative. After all…who ya gonna believe? Practitioners of taqqiya from the PA’s media team or a truth seeking investigation based on documentary evidence? Just have to hunker down and wait for another chance.”

Regarding “taqquiya,” did you bother to read this in the article: “The Arabic word taqqiya is frequently used to denote the kind of dissimulation practiced by Muslims in the Middle East. Westerners tend to abuse the term, as if any Muslim who lies, for instance, about a car robbery, was practicing taqqiya, when he’s just trying to avoid arrest as any other suspect would. Taqqiya is a doctrine particular to the Shia, a Muslim minority who, because they have had much to fear over the last millennium from their more numerous Sunni neighbors, are permitted to lie under duress about their real religious sentiments.” To my knowledge, nobody in the PA is Shia.

In addition, given the legal troubles that a number of recent PM’s have had, is there anything to suggest that there’s an obsession with truthtelling among Jewish Israelis in positions of leadership? What does that say about the IDF’s conclusions, given that the articles linkeded to above suggest that at least one element — that Abu Rahma was not at the demonstration — is patently false (and if she hadn’t been, how could she have been exposed to tear gas, as the IDF’s own statement now seems to admit?)

dani levi says:

this whole discussion is proof that there is much hot air over nothing coming from many. He said, she said, bla here, bla there. No autopsy, no desert.
How can you have any pudding if you didn’t do your autopsy? I mean what the…..?
NEXT!

a concerned jew says:

Today, Ynet News reported that an IDF investigation determined that the woman died as a result of an overdose of atropine administered at the hospital in Ramallah. “An examination of her medical records confirmed that the young woman had died as a result of faulty medical care in the hospital and not from the crowd dispersal methods used by the IDF soldiers. The investigation revealed that the Palestinian medical team hadn’t properly diagnosed her case, and thought that she needed to receive large amounts of atropine. Had she received a smaller dose, her life would have been saved.” http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4016368,00.html Ynet news is the english-language web site of Yedioth Ahronot, israel’s largest newspaper.

Recent events in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt clearly illustrate how volatile, unpredictable and unforgiving the Middle East can be. Lebanon, for example, a neighbor state of Israel, has virtually fallen into Iran’s orbit and Jordan, another neighbor, is dangerously veering towards Iran’s pull. The fate of Egypt, Israel’s southern neighbor, has suddenly become uncertain as well. Israel is surrounded by Arab states in flux. In the Middle East, there are no guarantees, no certainty and no mercy. This will only make it harder for Israel to hold her own and survive.

So then why are “peace groups” such as Peace Now trying to sabotage Israel’s security? By advocating their “Two State Solution”, they are pushing for Israel to give up control over her valuable land assets, Judea and Samaria (a.k.a “West Bank”). If these groups have their way, Israel will be left with INDEFENSIBLE borders. A new cataclysmic war would then be inevitable.

Israel is an island of democracy, sanity and Judeo-Christian Western values in a sea of turmoil antithetical to the West and to peace. She has been correctly compared to the largest U.S. “battleship” floating in an enemy-infested sea. The last thing Israel and the West need are to be stabbed in the back by these “peace groups” who only work to undermine Israel’s security.

For a good, graphic look at Samaria, Israel’s critical land asset, log onto the SHOMRON CENTRAL blog here: http://shomroncentral.blogspot.com/

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