The Arab Atrocity Story Again, and Again, and Again

November 29, 2012 4:35 pm 3 comments

Arabic newspapers. Photo: Johl.

In the last two or three weeks, we have heard more stories from  Gaza about  Israel killing or hurting “innocent” Arabs or Western journalists.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyyeh took both the Egyptian prime minister and the Tunisian foreign minister to visit the dead body of a boy who was supposedly killed by  Israel so that the three leaders could symbolically dip their hands in the boy’s blood and condemn  Israel for murdering an innocent “martyr.”

Arabs from North Africa to the  Persian Gulf saw pictures of the child’s blood brandished on Arab TV and the front pages of Arab newspapers. Then it turned out the boy was killed when a Hamas rocket, launched at  Israel , misfired and landed on the boy’s house. Arab TV and Arab newspapers did not publish retractions.

That is because the Arab atrocity story is a best seller, but one should treat the Arab authors—the PLO, Hizballah, Hamas (and the journalists who often work with them or are used by them) —with great, great skepticism. When they cry “Israeli murder !!!” we should be careful not to get caught up in their narrative.

“Ya-da ya-da ya-da”—as  Jerry Seinfeld  used to say.

When you hear Arab accounts of  so-called Israeli “massacres” and “bestiality,” remember that the Arab foes of Israel have perfected a modern literary motif known as “the Arab atrocity story” which usually turns out to be a contrived work of fiction.

No, Jews are not perfect, and Israelis are not supermen. Israeli policy makers and soldiers are NOT  halo-wearing demi-gods, but almost every narrative of Israeli “massacres” from Lebanon in 1982, Jenin in 2002 and Gaza in 2012 turns out to be either greatly exaggerated or completely false.

Remember Yasser Arafat and his agent Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator,  claiming that Israel massacred thousands in Jenin. Arafat and Erekat said that Jenin was the Palestinian Stalingrad—at least 5,000 dead. Even the BBC—the British Broadcasting Corporation—bought the PLO claims.

Later, the BBC Governance Unit admitted  the BBC had effectively turned itself into an arm of PLO propaganda because 23 Israeli soldiers were killed along with 52 Palestinians, 46 of whom were young adult males, almost all armed terrorists.

Woops!!!!! It turns out that the Israeli  commandos carried cameras and recording equipment on them as they searched out the terrorists, and they literally filmed their own military mission.

It seems that Arafat and his crew had turned Jenin into a huge terror base, using some of the inhabitants as human shields. Israel rooted them out at great cost to Israeli soldiers, but almost without any civilian casualties. Even when the UN investigated,  the UN—hardly Israel’s protector—found that Israel was telling the truth.

Remember that every time you hear a PLO spokesman or spokeswoman—Saeb Erekat or Hanan Ashrawi—making claims about Israel massacring someone.

In 1982, the same PLO spread stories that Israel had demolished most of the houses in southern Lebanon, and, they claimed, 600,000 people were homeless. The only problem was that there were not even 600,000 people in southern Lebanon.

The cycle of fictionalized  violence recurs in Gaza, in Lebanon and the West Bank every time there is a clash between Israel and terrorists.

In 1996 and 2006, Hizballah charged that Israel committed massacres in Kafr Kana in Lebanon. Hizballah built its case by using bodies taken from morgues and other sites. Israel even apologized. It was only much later that analysts showed how Hizballah doctored “evidence,” and planted bodies of children and toys to create a massacre.

Western news agencies wittingly and unwittingly often serve as the publicity agents for these phony atrocity stories, often because the stories are planted by Arab stringers—part-time employees who also get salaries from terror groups.

For example, France 2 TV spread a story of Israel killing a young Arab boy—Muhammad Dura—in 2000, the boy “dying” in his father’s arms. The only problem with the film—shot by an Arab stringer—is that the un-broadcast out-takes showed that the boy shielded his eyes from the sun after he “died.”

Another example: when a Reuters news agency Arab stringer, Adnan Hajj,  digitally manipulated his photographs of Israeli air-strikes on Hizballah bases in Beirut in 2006. The pictures were a Reuters best-seller. Only much later and much more quietly did Reuters issue a quasi-retraction.

Meanwhile, you will not hear any stories from Reuters, the BBC, the New York Times, about what Hamas gun men and Islamic Jihad thugs do to their own people—summary executions, frequent extortion and widespread corruption.

You will also never hear how Hamas, Hizballah or Fatah gunmen threaten Western news organizations or suborn them with local Arab agents who disguise themselves as stringers.

Hamas, Hizballah  and the PLO have used Arab “stringers”—part-time reporters—to infiltrate foreign news organizations.

The stringers are usually working for the terror organization but act as “fixers” and “enablers” for Western reporters, bringing them interviews, escorting them to refugee camps,  bringing them in and out of dangerous areas like the offices of Yasser Arafat or Ismail Haniyyeh.

These “stringers”  are basically terrorist chaperons who also serve as informers on the Western journalists.

That was the system used in PLO-controlled Beirut in the 1970′s-80′s, in Saddam Hussein’s  Baghdad in 1990, in Hizballah-ruled southern Lebanon, and in Hamas-run Gaza today.

The boy, in whose blood the Tunisian and Egyptian foreign minister and prime minister dipped their hands symbolically, was actually killed by a Hamas rocket. Many Hamas rockets misfire, and many Hamas bombs explode prematurely.

Hamas rarely admits its  explosive errors. A few years ago, a Gaza family  was killed on a beach. It was an Israeli air-strike, they claimed.  Later it was shown to be a Hamas bomb that was left unattended.

Nevertheless, the standard operating procedure is blame Israel. That always sells.

Dr. Michael Widlanski, an expert on Arab politics and communications, is the author of  Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat published by  Threshold/Simon and Schuster. A former reporter, correspondent and editor, respectively at The New York Times, Cox Newspapers and The Jerusalem Post, he was  Strategic Affairs Advisor in Israel’s Ministry of Public Security and teaches at Bar Ilan University.

3 Comments

  • This article is comical.

    “but almost every narrative of Israeli “massacres” from Lebanon in 1982, Jenin in 2002 and Gaza in 2012 turns out to be either greatly exaggerated or completely false.” To that I say “almost” is not good enough.

    Oh and explain the use of white phosphorous.
    Everyone knows hundreds and hundreds of Palestinian civilians were killed by Israel in 2008.
    Please don’t try to convince people it’s Gaza’s rockets that are killing the Palestinians.

  • So true. The rules of war do not matter to these people as they attempt to poison others against Israel and Jews.

    The media’s gullibility may be interconnected with what seems a predisposition toward the Palestinian narrative, that balanced inquiry would show is checkered at best.

  • Just like the anti-Serb stories out of (now) Islamic Srajevo…

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    ‘Death of Klinghoffer’ Actress Compares Met Opera to ‘Schindler’s List’

    An actress starring in the controversial Met Opera The Death of Klinghoffer defended the show on Tuesday by comparing it to the 1993 Holocaust film Schindler’s List, New York Post reported. “To me, this was like [the movie] Schindler’s List. We make art so people won’t forget,’’ said the actress, who plays a captured passenger in the show and asked not to be identified. The Met Opera focuses on the infamous murder of Lower East Side Jewish resident Leon Klinghoffer, 69. The wheelchair-bound father of [...]

    Read more →
  • Analysis Arts and Culture Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    Beyond ‘Klinghoffer’: Opera’s Composer, Librettist Have Broader Jewish Problem

    JNS.org – One of the most controversial operas in recent memory, “The Death of Klinghoffer,” debuted Oct. 20 at New York’s Metropolitan Opera. The Met has scheduled seven more performances through November. The first staging did not occur without protest, as about 400 demonstrators—including Jewish communal and nationally recognized leaders—came to Lincoln Center to denounce the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel opera. “Klinghoffer,” the creation of composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman, premiered in 1991—with few additional stagings. The opera is based [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot in Talks to Star in Ben-Hur Remake

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot is in negotiations to take on the female lead role in the remake of the 1959 classic Ben-Hur, according to The Hollywood Reporter. If the deal is finalized Gadot will play Esther, a slave and Ben-Hur’s love interest. Actor Jack Huston will star as the Jewish prince who is betrayed into slavery by his childhood friend Messala, played by Toby Kebbell. Ben-Hur fights for his freedom and vengeance with the help of Morgan Freeman’s character, who trains Ben-Hur how to win at chariot-racing. [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Sports Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    Young Israelis Try to Crowd-Fund Their Way to Major League Baseball Playoffs

    JNS.org – Baseball, hot dogs, and apple pie are the American dream. So why do two young men who have built their lives in Israel have a GoFundMe crowd-funding webpage with the urgent message that they need $3,000 to travel to the U.S. to watch the Kansas City Royals and Baltimore Orioles square off for Major League Baseball’s (MLB) American League championship? Brothers Naftali and Yoni Schwartz, 27 and 25, respectively, are Kansas City natives. Even though they made aliyah with their [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Sports Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Race Cars Speed Through Jerusalem in Amazing Exhibition

    Some 3,000 years ago, King David probably never imagined cars racing at 240 kilometers per hour (150 miles per hour) through the ancient capital of the Jewish people. But on Monday and Tuesday, October 6-7, thousands of Israelis lined the streets to watch Porsche, Audi, and Ferrari race cars fly through the capital against the backdrop of the Tower of David, the Old City Walls, and other city landmarks. The second annual non-competitive Jerusalem Formula One Road Show had been [...]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.