I'm sending you this article by Isi Liebler. It deals with serious charges against the Israeli military--charges which are unsubstantiated and apparently absolutely false. These charges were publicized by Israeli and Jewish sources, and were picked up by the world media--which seems to enjoy vilifying Israel whenever possible. This article helps us understand the "news" from Israel.
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Blood Libels Manufactured in Israel
By Isi Leibler
In highlighting what was subsequently proven to be outright
falsehoods about IDF soldiers deliberately killing Palestinian
civilians, the daily Haaretz has behaved in an unconscionable manner
and inflicted enormous damage to Israel’s global standing, already
severely battered in the wake of other false accusations of war crimes.
At a pre military college a number of soldiers made unsubstantiated
allegations concerning acts of indiscriminate killing and vandalism
perpetrated against Palestinian civilians. It subsequently transpired
that the key “witnesses” were relying entirely on gossip they had heard
and had not even served in Gaza. They even confessed that although they
were unaware that they were being taped, they had exaggerated rumors in
order to “make an impact” and convey their message “powerfully”. The
allegations were neither verified nor considered within the context of
threats such as suicide bombers. Nor was the IDF granted advance notice
to provide a response.
The accusers not only alleged that IDF soldiers had indulged in
atrocities against Palestinians but also claimed that they were
motivated by fanatical IDF rabbis who “anointed us with oil and stuck
holy books into our hands". They provided "booklets filled with
Psalms....we could have filled the room with the Psalms they sent” and
that Goyim invading our sacred land had to be expelled. The obscene
implication that soldiers were brainwashed by zealous rabbis to
initiate killing sprees has chilling parallels to the blood libels of
the Middle Ages promoted by apostates who turned on their own people.
The truth is that the defamed religious Zionist soldiers and officers
are renowned for their patriotism and frequently held up as role models
of dedication and self-sacrifice. They also volunteer to serve in IDF
combat units in far greater numbers than their proportion of the
There is another element involved. The pre military academy in which
these “exposures” were aired is headed by one Danny Zamir, who upon
providing the IDF with the so-called testimony refused to identify the
informants. Nor did he wait for the military authorities to ascertain
the veracity of the charges, but rushed to release his “scoop” to
Mr. Zamir is no innocent bystander and has a record. In 1990, then a
parachute company commander, he was tried and sentenced to 28 days in
prison for refusing to obey orders to protect those whom he referred to
as “right-wingers" at a ceremony at Joseph's tomb in Shechem, then
under IDF supervision. In 2004, in a book titled "Refusenik: Israel’s
Soldiers of Conscience" endorsed by Noam Chomsky the icon of
anti-Israeli academics, Zamir published a crie de coeur justifying his
refusal to obey military orders, in the process of which he attacked
the IDF and denied that Israel was a democratic state.
This begs the question. How could the IDF possibly approve a major
pre military academy headed by a post-Zionist radical convicted for
refusing to obey military orders? It would certainly be inconceivable
for a religious officer who had rejected orders to be appointed head of
a religious pre military academy. Zamir expressed no remorse after the
IDF findings. His only concern was that “if soldiers will now feel that
they cannot talk because of the outcome of this specific story, then
this will be bad for us as a society and army”. In the light of all
this the fact that Zamir is still permitted to retain his present role
surely borders on the insane.
These unsubstantiated accusations received front page prominence day
after day in the Israeli Haaretz whose editorial policy and columnists
like Gidon Levy and Amira Hass maintain ongoing campaigns to demonize
their governments. Few would deny that in recent years Haaretz, notably
its English internet edition - has more effectively damaged Israel's
image in the Western world than all the Arab anti-Israeli propaganda
combined. With the anti-Semitic tsunami now enveloping the world, most
of the global media including the New York Times carried blazing front
page headlines highlighting these false allegations and demonizing
Israelis as war criminals.
Even after the Military Advocate General had denounced the atrocity
stories published by Haaretz to be “categorically false” and “purposely
exaggerated”, instead of apologizing, Haaretz repeated the accusations
and argued that the army had failed to address testimonies given to the
foreign media by Palestinians renowned for providing fabricated
allegations of atrocities They added sarcastically that the IDF
findings suggested that “either the troops are liars or the IDF is as
pure as snow”.
For Israel this has been a no-win situation. All wars incur civilian
casualties. Yet every element of objective evidence confirms that
despite confronting an enemy which deliberately targets Israeli
civilians, the IDF went far beyond any other army in implementing a
code of ethics and endeavored to minimize civilian casualties. This
despite the fact that Hamas ruthlessly employed civilians as human
shields, encouraged their militias to masquerade as innocent civilians
and transformed hospitals, schools and mosques into bunkers and
arsenals. Which other country under such circumstances would not only
drop leaflets but actually telephone hundreds of thousands of civilians
providing them with advance notice to evacuate?
Contrary to the figures presented by Hamas, the final casualty tally
disclosed that 800 terrorists and 300 civilians were killed. That
relatively so few civilians died in such grim urban warfare is truly a
tribute to the IDF. For us to now be accused of war crimes is to turn
the world upside down.
That is not to deny that in every military conflict, aberrations and
brutalities occur. But any Israeli soldier found violating the army’s
strict ethical code will swiftly and transparently be brought to
justice, as in the past. Even if the false allegations had contained an
element of truth - which was not the case - depicting them as the norm
would be equivalent to using Jack the Ripper to besmirch the British as
a nation of cutthroat barbarians.
IDF Advocate General Brigadier General
Avihai Mandelblit in closing the case said “It will be difficult to
estimate the damage done to the image and morals of the IDF and its
soldiers in Israel and throughout the world by these statements”. It is
surely obscene that neither Haaretz nor Zamir have yet seen fit to
apologize or express remorse for the untold damage they have inflicted
on the nation. Who needs enemies when, at a time when every anti-Semite
is salivating to find means to demonize the Jewish state, we have an
Israeli newspaper exploiting freedom of expression not to expose
injustice but to disseminate unsubstantiated and false allegations,
providing ammunition to all who seek to harm if not to destroy us?