Two recent cases of Israeli troops caught murdering Palestinians demonstrate the power, and limitations, of an entire nation deciding to believe what it wants to believe, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.
They call it “Pallywood.” Like Dark Matter, it’s a non-observable phenomenon, derived from our need to settle the contradiction between the viewable and the expected.
As we gazed out into the stars, a universe presumed to be slowing down by gravity, was actually accelerating and expanding. Matter should have given the opposite result (contraction), and antimatter was insufficient in quantity to explain the forces pulling the universe apart. There had to be something else, something invisible yet massive, which though we can’t directly detect or prove, makes sense of the world as we know it.
- Israelis and Palestinians are living in different worlds
'He should have been a hero, instead he's a murderer'
By Dahlia Scheindlin |
Day of catastrophe for ‘Pallywood’ conspiracy theorists
By Larry Derfner |
Beitunia killings and the media's incredibly high bar for Palestinian stories
By Noam Sheizaf |
Such is the nature of humanity, that we fill the void of knowledge with knowledge we presume is unavoidable. Greater than our inability to understand the cosmos is our lack of desire to accept a cosmos which is not as we believe it to be.
Psychologists call this “cognitive dissonance,” which creates “belief disconfirmation“: a paradox between our beliefs and what we see does not change those beliefs (which is very painful for most people to do) but leads us to create distorted interpretations or selective blindness — to bend the seen to the will of the desired.
The birth of Pallywood
For most Israelis and others in the pro-Israel camp, the day the the galaxies were first detected to be moving in the wrong direction was September 30, 2000. A video depicting the possible killing of 12-year-old Muhammad al-Durrah by the IDF was broadcast onto television screens all over the world. Israelis have been indoctrinated to believe their army, which maintains the longest military occupation in modern history, is “the most moral army in the world.” Yet here was a video that showed our north star of morality, our righteous IDF, might actually be pointing south.
Faced with the possible collapse of their values and beliefs, Israelis craved an explanation of the images on their televisions. The government asked two people from outside law enforcement, Nahum Shahaf and Joseph Doriel, to “investigate” the killing of al-Durrah. The two were known conspiracy theorists with no background in criminal investigations, who have been laughed out of Israeli courts repeatedly when giving “expert testimonies” in criminal trials (constantly finding that the accused was actually framed by Palestinians).
Surprisingly, the conspiracy theorists concluded al-Durrah’s killing was a conspiracy. The boy was either alive or killed by the Palestinians themselves, in order to frame the IDF, they said.
The new normal
As cameras became cheaper, better and smaller, more of these incidents started to emerge. Morality should have led to videos depicting an opposite phenomenon (kindness or at least self control), and Israelis know anti-morality to be insufficient in quantity to explain the forces pulling the IDF’s conscience apart.
The conspiracy theory had to become a conspiracy industry: an explanation not just for one video, but for the multitudes which followed and any which might yet come. As with Dark Matter, the viewable 5 percent — videos depicting soldiers’ immorality — was corrected by a 95 percent dark industry, composed of thousands of Palestinians directing and filming these frame ups. “Pallywood” (Palestinian Hollywood) was the name given to this industry.
Outside of Israel this might sound absurd, but one cannot understand Israelis’ position vis-à-vis the Palestinians without first accepting that most Israelis believe “Pallywood” exists, event rampantly so. An elaborate scheme fitting of a “Mission Impossible” movie becomes not only a plausible explanation, it becomes the obvious one. A Pallywood conspiracy isn’t a burden on the accused soldier to prove, but a requirement of the dead Palestinian to disprove.
Today, the Pallywood starship continues its mission to explore strange new worlds and to boldly go where no Zionist has gone before. The days of the simple al-Durrah conspiracy theory — a single low-definition camera with no other physical evidence — are long gone, and by current standards such a “self-explanatory” conspiracy wouldn’t even require an investigation.
The boundaries of Pallywood
Two trials currently coming to completion can help us understand what Pallywood can and can’t do for Israeli troops caught on film committing crimes against Palestinians. The first case is the recent manslaughter conviction of Elor Azaria, a soldier who was filmed executing Abdel Fattah al-Sharif after (according to the IDF) he stabbed and wounded a fellow soldier. Azaria arrived at the scene after the attack had already ended, and al-Sharif was bleeding supine on the road. A few minutes later, and 12 minutes after other soldiers had already neutralized al-Sharif, Azaria executed him with a single shot to the head:
Though it sounds insane, normally in Israel, Pallywood would have gotten Azaria out of this mess. If it had just been the video, the irrational explanations Azaria later gave in court — fearing al-Sharif could still stab him or might have a bomb — would likely have been sufficient to dismiss the charge or at least reduce it to some technical, lesser crime (some variation of “conduct unbecoming” or “illegal use of a weapon”) with little or no punishment.
But right after firing the deadly shot, Azaria confessed his motives and told the people around him: “he deserved to die.” Pallywood has a blinding effect on Israeli investigators and judges, but for now, not a deafening one. Thus the limits of the force known as Pallywood were discovered: you are still required to lie about your motives.
Making a murderer… only criminally negligent
The last chapter in the Pallywood book (for now) and the most complex and insane to date, is being written in Israeli courts right now. On May 15th, 2014, Nakba Day, Ben Deri, a Border Police officer, was caught on tape shooting dead Nadeem Nawara, as he was walking alone, unarmed, at the scene of an already dispersed protest:
The cameras also captured the shootings of three more Palestinians in the same place that day. (All together two were killed and two others wounded by live ammunition.) In Azaria’s case, it was naturally hard for Israelis to find sympathy for the executed victim: he had attempted to commit murder. But Deri’s victim didn’t hurt anyone, which meant Israelis could not brush it off as a technical crime, lacking moral implications.
The Zionist universe was being torn apart by some force that looked just like immorality, but simply couldn’t be. But unlike Azaria, Deri didn’t confess, thus allowing irrationality to come to his rescue. Since this was likely the most documented and forensically evidenced murder by Israeli forces ever, the dark unseen force of Pallywood had to grow proportionately.
Deri and his comrades claimed to have only shot rubber-coated bullets that day. In Israel, the whole incident became a joke that ostensibly exposed the pathetic nature of Pallywood and the gullible bleeding-heart lefties who buy in to it. This view is most clearly demonstrated in the following clip (one of many), which according to its cynical creators, “was recorded by a reliable B’Tselem volunteer and corroborated by an eye witness testimony from Stevie Wonder”:
The ensuing conspiracy theories, many of which were propagated by the Israeli defense establishment, reinforced by an acquiestent media, and which permeated through popular discourse in Israel and the pro-Israel blogosphere at the time, later made their way into Deri’s defense strategy in court.
Here are just a few of dozens of explanations and conspiracy theories which ostensibly “proved” the event was a Pallywood production and not a cold-blooded murder caught on camera:
‘He broke his fall, that means he was acting’
If the gunshot killed Nawara, why doesn’t he fall limp like they do in the movies, instead breaking his fall in such a phony way? Conspiracy theorists used this point to argue that Nawara was acting, as opposed to being killed.
As with most of the crackpot theories propagated to discredit the idea that a murder even took place, this one has a pretty simple explanation: Roughly at the age of six months old, as we start to crawl and approach walking, all babies develop a defensive reflex called the parachute reflex.Unless the bullet goes through the brain or severs the spine, most falls of people who are shot will be accompanied by the parachute reflex.
‘If Nawara was shot in the chest, why isn’t he blown backwards?’
Another TV myth. This one I need not explain, for TV giveth and TV taketh away. “Mythbusters” dedicated an entire episode to trying to move a body with a bullet. Watch if you wish, as they move from guns, to rifles and almost cannons, and still fail to get any movement resembling the “blown away” effect you see in the movies. (A warning for animal lovers: they conduct the test by shooting a pig’s corpse):
‘You can’t shoot live rounds through a rubber-bullet rifle extension’
A few days after the incident, Israel pretty much proved that the Palestinians were lying: the extension seen on the end of Deri’s rifle barrel is meant for shooting rubber bullets only, and a live round could not have been fired through it.
This claim was not advertised by random internet trolls; it came directly from the IDF’s Spokesperson, and was then repeated by Israeli politicians on CNN. The most effective argument (for Israelis, at least) came from the prime-time testimony of Yosef Yekutiel, an Israeli weapons “expert” who works with the IDF and Israeli police, who almost laughed at the Palestinian accusation:
If this claim was true, it would have meant the Palestinians were lying and the whole thing was a Pallywood production. And so, a week after the incident, I went searching for the rifle extension’s manual on the Israeli manufacturer’s website. It turns out the munitions expert and the army were wrong.
You can shoot live bullets through the rifle extension, it seems. It actually is specifically designed so that a soldier wouldn’t have to unscrew the extension off of his rifle barrel while someone charges at him with a knife.
‘Why is there no blood?’
Unless we’re looking at a head-shot or a severed artery close to the surface of the skin (like in the neck), a regular bullet wound will not produce squirts of blood or intense and immediate external bleeding.
(Nawara, bottom, photographed after being shot.)
M16 bullets create small entry and exit wounds, and most of the damage is internal (as was found in the autopsy in this case). Like a leaking pipe inside a wall, it takes time for a significant amount of blood to leak out of the wounds.
As for blood stains on the ground — both victims were lifted within seconds of being shot and carried to a nearby waiting ambulance. Since blood doesn’t flow out like in the movies, there wasn’t and shouldn’t have been any blood stains — certainly not pools of blood.
A theory no more
These were just a few of the simpler and saner theories. The theories floated by Deri’s defense lawyer at trial also included the possibility that the bodies were swapped, the possibility of invisible snipers, and much more.
But this isn’t just propaganda: for the 2 killings and 2 attempted killings of innocent Palestinians that day, Deri was only charged with the killing of Nawara. Furthermore, the court was never even given a chance to convict him based on the plethora of evidence because the state offered him a plea deal, in which Deri only had to plead guilty to negligent manslaughter (he will likely serve little or no jail time), based on an implausible theory that Nawara’s death was the result of nothing more than an innocent ammunition mix-up.
The sole reason Deri was able to get this deal, even though this was the most documented and forensically corroborated murder in Israeli military history, is the possibility of Pallywood and the pseudoscience which “proved” it. Nawara’s family is currently appealing the plea deal to the Israeli Supreme Court, but are very unlikely to win.
While the Elor Azaria case taught us what Pallywood can’t do — acquit you after you confess — Ben Deri’s case teaches us what it can: everything else.
Understanding the Zionist universe
What started 17 years ago with two conspiracy theorists trying to prove Israel’s innocence — after the IDF had already destroyed the wall behind al-Durrah thus destroying and removing the bullets that could have identified the shooters — has since grown, matured and reversed. In Israel these days, the “crazy ones” are those looking at these videos and assuming that what actually happened, is what you see happening. Any new video which surfaces depicting wrongdoing by Israel, is presumed to be Pallywood until proven otherwise beyond an unreasonable doubt.
Though hundreds of Israelis murder hundreds of other Israelis every year, for some reason we simply cannot accept that a single soldier would murder a Palestinian. And since we can’t accept it, we don’t. “They are child-killing monsters,” we say, even though Israeli security forces have killed hundreds, perhaps thousands of Palestinian children in recent decades. “They are terrorists even when they kill armed soldiers, but we are soldiers even when we kill unarmed children,” we tell ourselves.
It is impossible to understand this rational without knowing that most Israelis sincerely believe every Palestinian killed by Israeli troops was either a terrorist, a frame-up (Pallywood/human-shield) or an honest mistake. Thus, mainstream Israelis can reject murder and land theft as immoral acts in principle, while supporting and seeing them in action on a daily basis.
Trying to understand why the Zionist universe is expanding — beyond the ‘67 borders and into the inevitable immorality which lies beyond it — without understanding Pallywood is the equivalent of trying to understand why the universe is expanding without understanding Dark Matter: we do the immoral, because Pallywood “proves” we do not.
Eishton is an Israeli anonymous investigative blogger. This text is an edited excerpt from the full investigation into Deri’s case and all the Pallywood and fake science used to clear him (of any meaningful charges), which you can read here: “Making a Murderer… only criminally negligent: How Israel turned a serial killer of Palestinians into a clumsy hero.“