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Evidence discredits army's version of Bil'in woman's death

The following is a detailed response to the army’s claims regarding the death on 1 January 2011 of Jawaher Abu Rahmah, who was taken to the hospital on 31 December after inhaling tear gas at the weekly demonstration against the separation barrier in Bil’in, a small Palestinian village near Ramallah. The response was written by Jonathan Pollak, media coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee. *

Contact details for all the eyewitnesses listed below are available upon request for journalists.

The evidence surrounding the events leading to the death of Bil’in resident Jawaher Abu Rahmah disproves completely the army spokesperson’s version, to the point of putting the army in a ridiculous light. The army’s version is based on claims made anonymously, without any supporting evidence – unlike the version of the Abu Rahmah family and the Popular Coordinating Committee of Bil’in, which is detailed below.

A Palestinian man surrounded by a tear gas cloud in Bil'in on 31 December 2010 (photo: Oren Ziv/activestills.org)

Since yesterday, the army has been promoting in the Israeli media a mendacious version regarding the events that led to the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah of Bil’in on Friday, 31 December 2010. According to the army’s version, Jawaher was not injured by tear gas and was possibly not even present at the demonstration. The army spokesperson did not see fit to publish an official statement on the matter, instead passing the information to the media in the name of anonymous “army sources.”

The facts of the matter, which are supported by the testimony of eyewitness who were present at the demonstration, as well as by the ambulance driver who evacuated her to the hospital, contradict completely the army’s version:

Soubhiya Abu Rahmah, mother of Jawaher: “I was standing beside Jawaher on the hill that is near the place where the demonstration took place, when we were injured by a cloud of tear gas. Jawaher began to feel unwell from inhaling the gas and started to move back from the place; soon after that she vomited and collapsed. We took her to the nearest road, and from there she was evacuated by ambulance to the hospital, where she remained until her death. She was not sick with cancer, nor did she have any other illness; and she was not asthmatic.”

Ilham Fathi: I was on the roof of my house, which is located a few meters from where Jawaher stood. When the cloud of tear gas moved in our direction, I went downstairs in order to close the windows. While I was closing one of the windows, I saw her lose consciousness from the gas and ran over to her, together with Islam Abu Rahmah, in order to pull her away. We picked her up together and carried her to my garden. We called for help and she began to vomit and foam at the mouth.

Islam Abu Rahmah: “I was standing with Jawaher, her mother and my grandmother in order to watch the confrontation that was going on just in front of us, in the area of the fence. The wind moved the gas in our direction, making our eyes itch and tear up. After that she (Jawaher) began to cough and foam at the mouth. Soon after that she became weak and lay down on the ground. I succeeded in carrying her as far as the Abu Khamis home, about 40 meters in the direction of her house, but then she became terribly weak, vomited violently and foamed at the mouth. She was having difficulty breathing and lost her sense of direction. We got a few women to help her by waving a paper fan over her face in order to provide some oxygen. After that she was taken to the hospital.”

Saher Bisharat, the ambulance driver who evacuated Jawaher: “We received Jawaher near the entrance that is parallel to the fence, which is where the demonstration was taking place. She was still partly conscious, answered questions, and said that she had choked on gas. I took her straight to the hospital.” (Click here to view the Red Crescent report).

The army has also claimed that the reports about Abu Rahmah’s injuries started to arrive only several hours after the incident, in the evening. That claim is contradicted by a report sent via the Twitter account of NGO Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP), which reports the injury of Jawaher, including her name, in real time (click here to view). The tweet was sent at 2:36 pm Israel/PA time (4:36 am on the East Coast of the United States). Wafa, the Palestinian news service, published a report that includes the injury of Jawaher Abu Rahmah shortly after the event (click here to view).

Also according to “army sources,” which remain anonymous, Jawaher Abu Rahmah suffered from a serious illness, possibly leukemia; the “sources” postulate that she died from a pre-existing condition rather than tear gas inhalation. Several sources reject that claim.

Dr. Uday Abu Nahlah: “Jawaher Abu Rahmah was employed in my home on a regular basis. On Thursday she was at work as usual, healthy, only one day before her death.”

Jawaher had an inner ear infection, which affected her balance, for which she was recently given a CT scan. The radiologist who performed the CT scan, Dr. Hamis Al Sahfi’i, confirmed that the brain scan was normal (for the CT scan results click here). Jawaher had a minor health issue involving fluids in her inner ear. Her physicians insist that she did not suffer from any illness or from any symptoms that might, if combined with tear gas, lead to her death.

There is not, nor could there be, any indication that Abu Rahmah had cancer; in fact, she was in good health. The director of the hospital refutes the claim that she died from a pre-existing condition:

Mohammed Aida, director of the Ramallah health center where Abu Rahmah received her care: “Jawaher Abu Rahmah died from lung failure that was caused by tear gas inhalation, leading to a heart attack. She arrived at the hospital only partly conscious, and then lost consciousness completely.” (Click here for the hospital’s official medical report.)

Mohammed Khatib, a member of Bil’in’s Popular Coordinating Committee: “The army is trying to evade its responsibility for Jawaher’s death with lies and invented narratives that have no basis. They are spreading these lies and invented narratives via the media, which is not bothering to do basic fact checking. Our version is supported by named sources and with medical documents. In a properly functioning society, the army’s version, which has been spread by anonymous sources, would not be considered worthy of publication.”

*Translation by Lisa Goldman, who is responsible for any errors that may have occurred during the transition from the original Hebrew to the English.

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    1. [...] stricken by cancer in a single day. Fortunately, +972 magazine has gathered eyewitness testimony to demolish the army’s version of events, and I am extremely proud to have one of our tweets be part of the evidence against their ludicrous [...]

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    2. [...] שפוזרו בנושא הזה הפריכו כמה וכמה בלוגרים. קראו את ליסה גולדמן, ג'רי האבר, רחביה ברמן, וריצ'רד סילברסטין. לא אחזור על [...]

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    3. maayan

      These testimonies conflict with each other, Lisa. Sorry.

      1.
      Soubhiya says, “We took her to the nearest road, and from there she was evacuated by ambulance to the hospital”

      Ilham says, “We picked her up together and carried her to my garden.”

      Islam says, “I succeeded in carrying her as far as the Abu Khamis home, about 40 meters in the direction of her house.”

      So one says they took her to the road, the other says they took her to his own garden and the third says they took her toward a house that is not Ilham’s and does not mention either a garden or a road at all.

      2.
      Soubhiya says, “Jawaher began to feel unwell from inhaling the gas and started to move back from the place; soon after that she vomited and collapsed. We took her to the nearest road, and from there she was evacuated…”

      Ilham says, “I saw her lose consciousness from the gas and ran over to her…We picked her up together and carried her to my garden. We called for help and she began to vomit and foam at the mouth”

      According to the first, she became ill once and was then directly evacuated. According to the second, she became ill twice, once in his garden, and only then evacuated.

      3.
      Soubhiya says, ““I was standing beside Jawaher on the hill”

      Ilham says, “I saw her lose consciousness from the gas and ran over to her, together with Islam Abu Rahmah…We picked her up together and carried her to my garden.

      Islam says, “I was standing with Jawaher, her mother…I succeeded in carrying her as far as the Abu Khamis home”

      Ilham says that he had to run there with Islam, but Islam says he was standing next to Jawaher and her mother and her mother makes the point that she was standing next to Jawaher. Either Islam had to run to her or not, which is it?

      Ilham says that he and Islam worked together to help Jawaher, but Islam says that he carried her himself. Did Islam forget that his friend Ilham was there, the same friend whose garden he omits from his story?

      4. The ambulance driver says he picked her up where the demonstration was taking place, not near any garden or house.

      5. The JVP testimony is written by people who call a fence “wall.” It is clearly not a wall the demonstrators were approaching, and the sections they’ve cut away in previous demonstrations are fence. When JVP associates lie openly by using misleading terms to promote their propaganda, it’s hard to believe they wouldn’t lie about something else if called for.

      6. According to Ha’aretz, “Abu Rahmah’s brother Samir said that for several weeks his sister had complained of bad headaches, mainly near one ear. He said she also had dizzy spells and problems keeping her balance and had unusual marks on her skin.”
      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/idf-no-proof-palestinian-woman-died-from-tear-gas-at-protest-1.335043
      In your report her mother, Soubhiya, states, “She was not sick with cancer, nor did she have any other illness…”

      7. The same Ha’aretz article provides lawyer Michael Sfard’s post-investigation findings which were, “After she was injured by the tear gas, she was taken to the village and then transferred to an ambulance.”
      His version contradicts that of the ambulance driver’s who picked her up near the demonstration.
      ————-
      I have no idea whether Jawaher died because of tear gas inhalation or something else. She may well have died of tear gas poisoning, but there are some serious questions raised by the inconsistent witness reports, the absence of medical records previous to this injury or the sharing of such records with the IDF, the illness her brother testifies she was experiencing and, frankly, the aggressive and immediate way this woman’s death was used as propaganda. I don’t think anything you’ve published here provides clear cut evidence of anything and perhaps even undermines the case for the IDF’s culpability somewhat. What you need, Lisa, is video or other compelling and irrefutable visual evidence of Jawaher at this demonstration. It’s not as if there weren’t many cameras there. It’s also not as if there weren’t many other protesters there, none of whom have reported becoming sick and certainly not seriously enough to die. Her becoming this ill at the site of the demonstration was a highly unusual event, and it is hard to imagine that nobody recorded it. Find the video or photos and prove your case.

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    4. Maayan, the inconsistencies are in your mind, sorry. They’re not even worth addressing. Find the evidence to disprove the documentation and eyewitness testimony.

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    5. Maayan – if you were once to Bil’in, you would have understood that the testimonies are consistent. the houses are on the hill where the protest starts (so the outside of the house and being “near the road could be the same). there was a wind from the west, and it carried all the tear gas to the protesters. we all felt it.

      have I seen her collapse and hospitalized? no. does the Palestinian version sounds credible? yes, very much so.

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    6. [...] sources did not respond as quickly as usual; as the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee noted today, the Palestinian Wafa newservice reported it shortly afterwards (Arabic). Even assuming Abu Rahmah [...]

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    7. maayan

      Lisa says, “They’re not even worth addressing.”

      That’s a laughable response. You should be questioning everything on the Palestinian side just as aggressively as you question everything on the Israeli side, especially when the accusation is of unnecessary killing. I do.

      Noam, thank you for clarifying some things. At least it explains the ambulance driver’s testimony.

      Even with a clearer understanding of the geography, I still propose that some of the eyewitness reports collide. Lisa may wish to avoid addressing having one witness say he ran to the scene with another while the other says he was there all along, but this conflict is enhanced when both then offer different versions of the events and locations that followed. Also, doesn’t it at least make you wonder that they used the exact same unusual language (foaming at the mouth) to describe Jawaher’s symptoms? Similar unusual language in the mouth of witnesses may be the result of coaching.

      I agree that it’s credible that the tear gas killed her, but shouldn’t somebody other than the committee in charge of these demonstrations do the investigating?

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    8. Maayan: I would love to see Israeli press rushing to Bil’in to check what really happened. as you can see in my post on the issue, I separated what I really saw with my own eyes from what I heard. the fact is that Israeli journalists printed the IDF “version” (which is not even a version) without questioning it and without investigating. hence the need for the Popular Committee’s report.

      I can also say that before writing my post, I had several phone conversations and e-mail exchange with people that were there, trying to figure out what really happened. I know that Lisa did the same.

      My impression is that Jawaher was at the edge of the village, not part of the main march (which is common with women in Bil’in), and she had an unusually strong response to the gas. But that’s only a guess, which is as good as anyone’s. what made me angry and upset was the rush to adopt the IDF version, as if this was a hoax, and to discredit the family and the people of Bil’in (on top of everything they suffered). they even hinted that she was murdered by a family member!

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    9. forgive my Italic – html error

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    10. maayan

      Noam, we’ve both seen video of “dead” Palestinians rising from stretchers in Jenin. Mohammad Al Dura was a fabrication (some of us didn’t need years of trials to conclude this, it was obvious from the angle of the bullet holes behind him). Suicide bombers have been known to have been selected because they were ill or needed to defend their family’s honor. In other cases, there was compensation to families who had “martyrs” among their children. Palestinian officials have every interest in blowing this story up into something big.
      All this is to say that while the Israeli media might be “swallowing” IDF dissemination that may not be true, and perhaps not investigating it either, it is no less valid to point out that proponents of the idea that Jawaher was killed by the IDF are also “swallowing” information that is being fed to them by highly interested parties.
      I want you to consider the following curious question. If it is true that it took an “intelligence” operation to get Jawaher’s medical file, do you think that the IDF or Shabak would have undertaken such an operation if they didn’t suspect that the accusation was a false one? Doesn’t it seem odd to you that they would use these kinds of elaborate resources if there weren’t some serious questions about the veracity of the Palestinian accusations?

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    11. directrob

      After all the fake, this story feels like the real thing. In a way the IDF was right, she was not at the demonstration. Just an innocent onlooker overcome by IDF gas. It makes a pre-condition a moot point.

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    12. maayan

      Lisa, don’t worry because here is another discrepancy that’s not worth addressing.

      In the New York Times, Isabel Kershner reports, “Her brother Samir, 34, was at home when neighbors called him for help. He said he found his sister lying on the floor of the neighbor’s house. “She said, ‘I’m going to die,’ ” he recalled, standing outside the family home, a small, weathered structure with a bare concrete floor.”

      Now this new version contradicts her mother and Ilham completely and probably Islam’s version as well, although that is arguable. It also contradicts the ambulance driver’s version because he doesn’t mention any house.

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    13. anti-Israeli

      It’s a good thing for freedom-loving people whenever Israel is attacked. They need to be terrorized 24 hours a day, every day of the year. They should never be granted one moment’s peace or contentment until they get off Palestinian land and are brought to justice for their crimes. All the rest is dishonesty.

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    14. Brian Shaposhnik

      Mabrouk, Maayan. Yesh lach sechel! Now how do we make the rest of the world get one?

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    15. Klil

      Maayan:

      All of these accounts, including the one from the NYT, are translations from Arabic of accounts by people who were at a very stressful scene, so even if the translations were exact (one issue I could imagine to be relevant is that “house” may not mean the physical building but may include the garden around it, resolving one discrepancy, there are probably others), we would not expect them to be word-for-word copies of each other.

      On the contrary, it is when you get two testimonies that are identical, that you start suspecting foul play, because that is when coaching or corroboration may be a possible source.

      Nevertheless, all of these testimonies are consistent with Jawaher Abu-Rahma falling ill due to the breathing of CS-gas, being dragged a few tens of meters away from the gas-drenched area towards the village itself (and therefore, perhaps near someone’s house), then being picked up by an ambulance, treated for gas-related breathing disorders, and then dying in the hospital. Unless the IDF can summon actual evidence that supports one of their increasingly incoherent alternatives: the honor killing, her dying in her home, her actually dying from cancer and not having been in the demonstration, none of which are supported by what we currently know, and most of which require her to not have been at the demonstration, which is actually contradicted by all of the testimony above, then this is the most likely scenario that any reasonable person should accept.

      Anti-Israeli:
      During the period of 2001-2004, at the height of the Al-Aqsa Intifadah, Israeli Jews felt exactly as you suggest. This did not improve the situation of Palestinians one whit – it merely provided impetus to further military oppression and justification for more land grabs. This is why Palestinians on the ground have moved towards other modes of resistance.

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    16. Ben Israel

      Anti-Israel:

      As bloodthirsty as you are, you should keep in mind the historical fact that the more the Arabs attacked Israel, the more they lost, and the more they fell behind Israel militarily, technologically, socially and economically.

      Pharoah had the same idea as you…..keep attacking them, but as it says in the book of Exodus, the more they were attacked, the more they multiplied.

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    17. anti-Israeli

      Hi Ben

      Your point is reasonable and may in the end prove correct. Clearly, the odds are overwhelmingly against the Palestinians on all counts. They are completely weak and militarily, no match for the Israeli murder machine. The smart money says that Israel will succeed in its policy of extermination and ethnic cleansing. If I had to place a bet, I bet that the Palestinians lose and are consigned to permanent misery and enslavement at the hands of your Nazi-inspired countrymen.

      The question is what can they try to do to save themselves and pursue the basic rights they are entitled to? I’d say it makes sense to look at other similarly lopsided struggles. For the Vietnamese, facing the most ruthless, sadistic, criminal and powerful killing force in all of human history, there was one answer: kill as many American invaders as possible. Tomorrow: kill more and hope that they go away. There is no guarantee and the Palestinians may very well lose with this gambit. I only advocate it because every other strategy assures them defeat.

      They have one advantage over the Israelis and its the same advantage the Vietnamese had. The victims can endure far more suffering than the oppressors can. If the Palestinians can spread panic and total fear in Israel, the Israelis will ultimately relent, because at bottom, they are cowards and they have far more to lose than the palestinians, from whom, everything has already been taken away.

      (ps..just for the record, the Book of Exodus is a silly fairy tale no adult takes seriously)

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    18. anti-Israeli

      Hi Klil

      What you say represents the dominant narrative and of course, there is probably a lot of truth in it. Real resistance by an oppressed population is usually met by even more aggressive efforts at suppression and denial of rights, so this is hardly surprising. But I don’t agree that the violence launched against Israel was wholly counter-productive. i think the evidence suggests otherwise. During the height of the suicide bombings, Jews weren’t going to visit israel, much less move there. It was too dangerous. Jews already living in Israel were contemplating getting out of that lunatic asylum. To me, that’s progress. That’s a better state of affairs. Today the israelis have nothing more pressing to worry about than dieting and hair loss. That is a worse state of affairs, from the standpoint of Palestinian autonomy and human rights.

      Another case in point: The Americans demolished Saddam’s elite military in Iraq in a matter of days. But the Americans were DEFEATED by a highly mobile Iraqi resistance using low tech methods to tear the US supply lines to pieces and destroy US Nazi armored vehicles, using highly effective IED’s that could be manufactured for a few dollars. I believe Israel can be defeated through the proper strategies. The alternative is probably a nuclear WWIII, because the Israelis are textbook psychotics–many of them, religious crazies, and they have been threatening nuclear war for a very long time.

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    19. Klil

      I am sorry, but you are ill informed. It is in fact now, more than any time that I remember before, that more and more Israelis are contemplating leaving Israel, while more and more Jews outside of Israel are leaning against dominant Israeli policy. This situation was inconceivable just half a decade ago. Could you imagine an organization like J-Street publicly arguing with the likes of AIPAC and surviving in 2005?
      I also do not think you understand what the US had in mind in Iraq. The Americans were not defeated in Iraq. They left victorious! The country may be rife with anti-American sentiments, and the US military may have felt shame as they left because there was no clear-cut military victory, but the oil deals still stand. And that is the only real reason the US got in there in the first place.

      In any case, your comparisons are bereft of a very important difference between Iraq and Vietnam on the one hand, and the Israeli-Palestinian issue on the other. The Israeli Jews have no overseas nation to retreat to. When it comes right down to it, Israel is their home, and the most they can expect to find in the US, Europe or Canada is a place as migrant or refugees. So while more and more of them are considering it now, they will be unable to do so, and have nobody abroad working to make that feasible.

      Additionally, I must ask that if you think that “Israelis” (apparently a homogeneous mass) are textbook psychotics, why is it that they have not yet used any of their nuclear arsenal?

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    20. anti-Israeli

      Hi Klil

      The few Israelis of character like Gideon Levy routinely describe Israel as pretty homogeneous and polls like the one conducted by Tel Aviv University which showed 94% enthusiastic approval of the Gaza massacre (not to mention 1000 other compelling lines of evidence) appear to bear this out.

      The so-called combat between J Street and AIPAC is a fine piece of Yiddish comedic theater which Jews of conscience saw through instantaneously. J Street is of course, a branch of AIPAC and regurgitates the AIPAC position on virtually all substantive matters (including Israel’s “right” to massacre Palestinians as an act of “self-defense” during Cast Lead and steadfast opposition to any boycott of Israel. All very predictable. AIPAC want to control 100% of jewish discourse on israel so they cleverly form a subsidiary for more left-leaning Jews, lest they lose them altogether to some organization genuinely committed to human rights and the rule of law. Honestly–who can take an organization seriously when their slogan is “Pro-Israel and pro-Peace”?!? Can’t get much more Orwellian than that. Why not “Pro-napalm and pro-Peace” ? it makes about as much sense.

      I do’;t agree about iraq. I think it was an utter catastrophe for the US> Obviously it was far worse of a catastrophe for the poor iraqis, but I think that the US blew a couple trillion dollars to deliver the country into the hands of pro-Iranian elites and the oil winnings are anything but a done deal. We lost. Big time.

      The Israelis continue to menace the region with nukes and threaten to launch another attack against a sovereign nation, as they have done again and again, with spectacular loss of life. I’m glad you feel comfortable that their intentions are benign due to the fact that they haven’t YET blown up the world. Others are not so sanguine about the matter.

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    21. Klil

      Certain disgusting, outrageous and violent policies may be popular among the Jewish-Israeli public (when they are even aware of them), but that has a lot to do with the options presented to them by a media that is beholden to the IDF spokesman and to the financial interests of the oligarchs controlling it. They are not homogeneous by any account; if Gideon Levi says so then he is in this instance being foolish and defeatist, and this comes from someone who is so defeatist that he has left the country entirely to pursue a life elsewhere. There are ethnic, class, social disparities throughout the country, which savvy politicians exploit in order to target Arabs (and, increasingly, leftists) as scapegoats.

      As for your allegations about J-Street, do you have any evidence for it being a subsidiary of AIPAC? I am genuinely interested, as this is the first time I’ve heard that particular accusation.

      Finally, I never said that their intentions are benign. Far from it. You will notice that my first response here was meant to refute Hasbara allegations.
      Nevertheless, reality does not bear out your analysis. You are the one who brought up the nuclear weapons and called “Israelis” psychotics.

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    22. anti-Israeli

      Gideon Levy’s assessment seems pretty typical among the very few remaining Israeli leftists. Most seem to echo precisely the same line: “Please save us from ourselves. The country has gone stark raving mad and we can’t fix it internally. We haven’ got anything close to the necessary manpower here. A solution MUST be imposed on us from without.” Israel’s chief rabbi IS a dangerous psychotic and according to the reliably Israel-friendly NY Times, both political parties, despite occasional grumbling, are beholden to him and essentially march to his exterminationist “the goyim are the slaves of the Jews” lunatic mindset. As to J Street, I wasn’t trying to float a conspiracy theory. I have no evidence of organizational ties between the two groups but that is hardly necessary. It is clear that they both serve the same ends–to define the boundaries of acceptable criticism of Israel, to ward of ANY meaningful efforts to hold Israel to account, to continue the “peace process” charade while Israel continues its ethnic cleansing and land thievery. Your point about the power of media manipulation is reasonable. A significant portion of the US is also thoroughly insane. Most Americans continue to view the Vietnam genocide as a worthy cause, regretful only that the US lost the war, and the wisdom and righteousness of attacking two civilian population centers with atomic weapons during WWII is rarely questioned. My impression however is that the Nazi mentality is more fully developed and ingrained among the Israeli public. Judaism deserves a good portion of blame for this. Just imagine if every year, Arab families got together to celebrate the angel of death passing over Arab homes to strike and kill the first-born Arab child. People would be outraged, and rightly so. But even we leftist Jews carry on with these debased rituals which act to solidify the never-ending enmity between Arab and Jew. (Dont even get me started on Purim.) As Jews, we have some major house cleaning to do, but I don’t think we’re up to it. Most are simply too enamored of their Jewish tribalism and the significant societal perks that go along with it.

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    23. Klil

      The reason NYT claims that people are beholden to a specific racist Rabbi is that they would rather blame this specific individual and ignore the fact that it is merely a culmination of long-standing Israeli policy. Then they would have to admit that they have been supporting a racist regime all this time. The horror!
      And you are conflating two entirely different things: that Israeli policy is no longer changeable from the inside, without the aid of outside pressure, and that Israeli Jews are homogeneous. While I think I agree with the former, there is no evidence to support the latter.
      As for the ceremony you are referring to, passover refers to the ancient Egyptians, who were not Arabs. And neither Christianity nor Islam, when nations led by them caused atrocity after atrocity (to which you may well add Iraq and Afghanistan, if you take Bush’s “crusade” literally), required such a yearly ceremony.

      Finally, your feelings regarding J-Street are not the same as an actual organizational connection, and unless you provide evidence for that assertion, the fact that J-Street and AIPAC have come to blows and yet J-Street is still standing speaks volumes of the change in diaspora Jewish politics, regardless of whether one supports J-Street (if their policy regarding that resolution is an indicator, then I would not support them).

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    24. anti-Israeli

      You write:

      “The reason NYT claims that people are beholden to a specific racist Rabbi is that they would rather blame this specific individual and ignore the fact that it is merely a culmination of long-standing Israeli policy. Then they would have to admit that they have been supporting a racist regime all this time. The horror!”

      Yes..I agree completely. Is anything the good rabbi has said somehow more offensive than Golda Meir’s straight-faced declaration that “there’s no such thing as Palestinians. They don’t exist!” or Begin’s characterization of Palestinians as “cockroaches” and on and on with remarkable consistency, regardless of the purely cosmetic changes of govt from labor to likud? So we seem to agree that the state is indeed, homogeneously racist and has been since its inception and when you really think about it, how could it possibly be otherwise? The idea that you can simply expel people from their own land for the crime of being non-Jews is a poisonously racist concept and is essential for the formation and maintenance of a Jewish state in Palestine. Once more–I was being facetious in stating that J Street is a “subsidiary” of AIPAC but I stand by my statement that on all substantive issues relating to Israel’s conduct and culpability, AIPAC and J Street are essentially in lockstep agreement. J Street is lobbying to pass laws ensuring that israel can never be referred to the UN Security Council regardless of their crimes and that the ICJ should have no authority of any kind in terms of responding to Israel’s stomach-turning disdain for international law. J Street vociferously denounces all efforts at divestment, sanctioning or boycott of Israel. Their truly despicable condemnation of Goldstone pretty much says it all. So i will say that the arguments between AIPAC and J Street are carried out to create the ILLUSION of a broad range of Jewish opinion when in fact, the two organizations follow a nearly identical agenda. Finally, I again agree with you that Passover is certainly not a requirement for any country or group to engage in hideous behavior toward others, but it’s hard to argue that it improves matters. I think it does act to reinforce this corny idea of Jews as eternal victims, and that certainly has profound relevancy in the current Mid East catastrophe, in my opinion.

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    25. Klil

      A state and the people residing in it are not the same thing. Your analysis ultimately suffers from the conflation of the two.
      In any case, I don’t see any point in going further off topic from this update. Thanks for the discussion.

      Reply to Comment
    26. [...] Israeli activists have forced right-wing blogger, news media and the IDF to walk back misinformation aimed to exonerate the IDF, like whether Abu Rahmah even attended the [...]

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    27. Brown brownie

      Ben Israel:
      Regarding the book of Exodus – you do know that it is fiction, right?

      Reply to Comment
    28. [...] army’s claims have quickly been discredited by eyewitnesses who were at the demonstration against the separation barrier.  Haaretz catches on today with a [...]

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    29. [...] of Jawahar Abu-Rahmah of Bil’in, who in all likelihood died as a result of IDF tear gas (and probably not hyper-rapid leukemia or the common cold.) On Monday, Ma’ariv gave us reason to believe that [...]

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    30. maayan

      Klil argues with Anti-Israel respectfully. Outcome? The Anti-Israel scumbag publishes a ton of BS on your site and gets away with it. In fact, he gets a respectful hearing. Congrats, 972.

      Reply to Comment
    31. anti-Israel

      MAAYAN. Stay in Israel. It’s the right place for you. It has always been a dumping ground for Judaism’s fanatics, criminals and losers who are intimidated by the diaspora and can’t compete intellectually in the real world.

      Reply to Comment
    32. Maayan

      Come on Anti-Israel, stop insulting the various authors of 972mag that way. It’s not nice.

      Reply to Comment
    33. [...] and Palestinian protesters gathered Friday in front of the Israeli consulate in Boston to mark the death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah. Jawaher was killed by American made tear gas fired by the IDF on New Years Eve during a weekly [...]

      Reply to Comment
    34. Thanks, Maayan. I deleted ‘Sandberger’s’ comment.

      Reply to Comment
    35. Nimrod

      I would have been more impressed if you refuted “Sandberger” than just deleting him. Your published viewpoints are not that far from his

      Reply to Comment
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+972 is an independent, blog-based web magazine. It was launched in August 2010, resulting from a merger of a number of popular English-language blogs dealing with life and politics in Israel and Palestine.

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