Israel Forum Watch; 24-Hour Vilification, Apologetics and Hate from a Fanatically Pro-Israel Viewpoint

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Killing: A “Golden Opportunity”

While the battles rage on in Lebanon, Israel has a golden opportunity to rid itself of the Palestinian terrorists in Gaza and the West Bank. In fact, Israel seems to be doing just that, with nearly 200 terrorists dead in the past few weeks since the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit. That’s a huge accomplishment, especially considering that it is being done without much fanfare……. Israel should seize the day and lift all restraints on eliminating the rank and file of the Palestinian terror machine. It’s not every day that Israel gets such an opportunity.

This is the view of the head-fanatic at Israel Forum, a certain Michael Rand.
My first thought was; is anyone stupid enough to put their real name to an incitement to murder like this one? Maybe Michael Rand is real, who knows, all I know is that this is a sentiment that appears to reflect the reality of the situation.

Standard Forum practice is to invoke loaded terminology to hide the hideous reality of what they espouse. In this case it's their all-time favourite – terrorists. Those killed are terrorists, “200 dead terrorists”. The formula is that any dead Palestinian was a terrorist. It's some kind of magical transformation that is very convenient. But is it true?

Lets take a peek behind the façade and see who are these people Israel has “rid itself of”. Rand’s rant was on the 14th, so let's look back at the reports, starting from that day.

Israeli bombing hit a group of farmers near the town's agricultural school. Medical sources at the Kamal 'Odwan Hospital said that Othman Hassan Alba, 55, Zuhair Shehada Al Kafarneh, 50 and Ahmad Ashour Al Kafarneh, 17 were killed in the Israeli air strike.-Aug 14

16-year-old Palestinian Nahed Shinbari, killed when a tank shell struck near his home-Aug 12

Palestinian medical sources and eyewitnesses report that Wednesday night Israeli warplanes fired missiles in northern Gaza City, killing a two year old girl, two Palestinian armed resistance members and injuring three more Palestinians- Aug 10
Two missiles hit the center for Humanitarian Affairs of the Palestinian National Liberation Movement "Fatah", killing a Palestinian refugee and wounding six others- Aug 9

An Israeli tank shell hit a house in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip early yesterday, injuring a three-month-old Palestinian baby and a 25-year-old man, hospital officials said.-Aug 9

Israeli settlers opened fire on 48 year old Husein Mardawi and his 19 year old son Dean. The settlers killed the father and injured his son.-Aug 7

Israeli air strikes killed five Palestinians, including two militants, in southern Gaza on Saturday –Aug 5

Israeli troops have raided southern Gaza, killing 7 Palestinians, including a child, in the latest stage of their month-long offensive-Aug 3

An Israeli tank shell has killed a 16-yr-old Palestinian civilian in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza, Palestinian emergency services said-July 31

at approximately 1:00am, tens of IOF tanks entered the northern Gaza Strip under helicopter cover, and stationed themselves near a petrol situation, subsequently moving to the southern districts and reaching Sha'af Street, where they began to shell houses with tank missiles. 11 Palestinians were killed during this offensive, including: Mohammed Adas, 22 Yaser Banat, 23 Salama Al So'ody, 45 Sabah Habib, 3 Yehia Al So'ody, 30 Husam Al So'ody, 25 Saleh Hasanein, 23 Hamed Herzallah, 25. The 3 others killed in the attack remain unidentified. 55 Palestinians were wounded, including Ibrahim Al Atla, a photojournalist for Palestine Satellite TV.- July 26

But all this isn't enough to satisfy the blood-lust at IsraelForum. Rand says Israel should "sieze the day" and loosen its, far from obvious, "restraints".

Afterall, it's a “golden opportunity” to slaughter with impunity.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Al-Qaeda at IsraelForum

In 2002, Osama bin Laden made a statement where he dismissed the notion of innocent civilians in the US, on the basis that being participants in a democracy they are responsible for the acts of their Government. In the NYT, Noah Feldman described this notion as “perverse” and “morally outrageous”. This is the essence of bin Ladens’ claim,

You may then dispute that all the above does not justify aggression against civilians, for crimes they did not commit and offences in which they did not partake:

This argument contradicts your continuous repetition that America is the land of freedom, and its leaders in this world. Therefore, the American people are the ones who choose their government by way of their own free will; a choice which stems from their agreement to its policies. …………….The American people are the ones who pay the taxes which fund the planes that bomb us in Afghanistan, the tanks that strike and destroy our homes in Palestine, ………. So the American people are the ones who fund the attacks against us, and they are the ones who oversee the expenditure of these monies in the way they wish, through their elected candidates.

This is why the American people cannot be not innocent of all the crimes committed by the Americans and Jews against us.

Surely the strident opponents of terrorism at IsraelForum would also reject such perversity?

On Hamas,

the problem comes when policies to that effect are implemented, and violence is generated as a result. Once that happens, it is fully within Israel's right to react as it sees fit.

The parents of these 12 innocents or these 12 themselves voted for hamas. They got what they voted for.

On Hizballah,

I see the citizens and government of Lebanon at best passive participants and at worst active participants and thus either guilty by inaction or guilty of action, but guilty none the less.

Not wasting time on analogies here, lebanon is responsible for attacks that emanate from its sovereign territory. End of story.

Looks like our forum fanatics are in agreement with the approach of Osama bin Laden. This won’t came as a surprise to anyone who takes careful note of pro-Israeli apologetics.

Though forum members are capable of moments of lucid thought, at least when the object of their ruminations is the official enemy. A forum member had this to say about bin Ladens’ logic,

Madness is often based on solid logic. The moment you swallow the outlandish basic premises of a madman's worldview, his actions will become amazingly rational.

That does sum up the fanatical pro-Israeli supporters quite well – accepting the "madmans worldview"; only Israel has right of self-defence and has rights that are superior to anyone else – Israeli actions are therefore “amazingly rational”. And supremely moral, as they never cease to assert.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Selective Outrage

The herd at IsraelForum are deeply concerned over the death of innocent civilians. Just look at the outpourings of sympathy/grief/rage over the death, or even endangerment, of Israelis from Palestinian terrorism.

one must seriously question whether the new Israeli government has gone mad in expecting people to just go about their daily lives while Palestinian rockets continue to rain down, killing children, destroying houses, schools and synagogues with no end in sight.

Another hearbreaking attack by savages.

The attacks continue to prove that Pals are nothing more than savages who want terror

Consequences should be established for every death of an Israeli

7 mortar shells fell on Gaza today. The world is silent, I suppose, because no Jews were killed and therefore there is little opportunity to alternately cheer and blame the victims.

casualty figure revised according to channel 2: 27 people injured, most suffer from light injuries except one who is in serious condition

Being such fine upstanding individuals, they must be deeply distressed by the deaths of over 1000 Lebanese civilians. How could it be otherwise when they have such noble sentiments on the subject.

lebanon should have been carpetbombed like dresden instead of sacrificing these young guys

All armies……..aim to disrupt the communications and the supply lines of the opposing forces. The IDF too has had to do this in order to soften up the resistence of Hezbollah.

Hezbollah aggression is responsible the deaths of hundreds of Lebanese

Hizbullah wanted a war and it got itself one; unfortunately the rest of the country went down with it. Well, who cares.

I say go for it - let the whole country disintegrate and fail. Let the 'Lebanese Army' try to stop Hezbollah and have the whole thing erupt into a civil war. That suits me fine. Let them go all the way down to cannibalism.

Hezbollah is the enemy and lebanese are helping them. Hezbollah has to be taken out and lebanese civilians are casualities of war.

They are a bunch of terrorists and must be taken out completely no POW no trial just kill them then and there. Of course anyone guilty of hiding/assisting a terrorist is also culpable and hence lebanese civilians (shias) are fair game? Don't you agree?

Oops. Something’s gone wrong. How could it change all so quickly? A forum regular has this to say about Lebanese people (and we can assume it applies doubly so to Palestinians),

You're animals and savages and we expect no better of you.

Such a shining example of what the forum fanatics refer to as ‘moral clarity’!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Anti-Semitic ICRC

Uncovering anti-semitism is a major task at IsraelForum. An entire section is devoted to this vital task. Now they have found it, of all places, at the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The Jerusalem Post provides the vital clues for the Forum fanatics,

International Committee of the Red Cross President Dr. Jakob Kellenberger devoted the vast majority of a Jerusalem press conference Thursday to Lebanese civilian suffering and little to that of Israelis under attack by Hizbullah.

At the press conference, held at the American Colony Hotel in eastern Jerusalem and attended almost entirely by foreign correspondents, the Swiss national spoke extensively and with emotion about the deaths, injuries and lack of food and water among the Lebanese population, but did not mention the fact that the war was started on July 12 by the Iranian-trained Hizbullah militia, which killed eight soldiers in a cross-border attack, abducted two others and rained rockets on northern Israel.

I have a wild suggestion to make here. Is it just possible that the vast majority of civilian suffering is being done by Lebanese civilians? Let’s see, in southern Lebanon they have little access to food and medical supplies, no electricity, the IDF has promised to bomb any vehicle on the streets, so people can’t leave and the Red Cross is having great difficulty getting in, and up to 1,000,000 people are displaced from their homes. In northern Israel, people have bomb shelters, food and water, electricity, full medical services, all roads and bridges are open, and Israeli civilians can be evacuated south by air-conditioned buses without threat of being bombed off the road. Though I have heard that Israeli civilians are being keep awake by the noise from the IDFs constant shelling and bombing raids.

The evil ICRC also have made suggestions in the realm of arithmetic, that appear to be anti-semitic.

He added, however, that "over 1,000 civilians have died in southern Lebanon," hinting that it was a significantly larger toll compared to the 40 civilians plus more than 80 Israeli soldiers who have died.

Really? On what basis can the ICRC hint that 1000 is more than 40. The nerve!

And how do our forum fiends react to the enormous civilian suffering in Lebanon (granted that it doesn’t match that of Israels poor civilians),

Enemy's population not getting sufficient medical help? I call that good news.
Yeah, it's always good when it's "them" who are dying.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Qana: “their own fault”

Daniel Dor laid out the basic categories into which fall most apologetics for Israels actions.

I picked out a small sample of the endless excuse-making that can be found at IsraelForum on the topic of the Qana bombing, and you can see how they fit into Dors classification;

1. Counter-blaming (the other side is guilty, therefore I am not)

It should be of no surprise - that Hizb'Allah would plan, detonate and destroy a building filled with innocent civilains.

They are casualties of their own fault; their state could not uphold its own laws

I don’t think it is a big stretch to think that Hezbollah fighters would sacrifice some crippled children to further the noble goal of punishing the Zionists.

…….civilians are dying on both sides because terrorists are putting them in harms way.

Israel too kills civilians but that's a byproduct of their actions against the terrorists who bear the real responsibility……

2. Disqualifying the source of the blame (they have no right to judge me)

After the Qana attack, the entire world was disturbed and came to a halt. As if this was an unprecedented tragedy. The reaction is selective outrage, as the world doesn't react with the same emotions to terror by Hezbollah and other Arab groups!

3. Blurring intention (I did not mean to do that, it happened by mistake)

people CAN leave, but the fact that Hezbollah intermingles with them isn't the IDF's fault. It is part of Hezbollah's strategy of keeping civilians in the area as shields.

israel has every right to attack when being attacked!, yes ofcource civilen will die when militants use lebanons city's around lebanon as there armybase or battleground

……a tragic accident in war. You know, armies do make mistakes……

……a tragic accident of war.

4. Coercion (I was forced to do what I did).

The entire northern part of Israel is not functioning at this point …………We can’t survive like that. We have NO choice.

Israel has tried everything. Negotiations, peace for land offers, unilateral withdrawals but it seems that all it's efforts are to no avail.

These categories apply to all pro-Israeli apologetics, no mater what the event. The Intifada, the Six Day War, you name it, they are an all-purpose range of tactics with the same purpose – to absolve Israel of blame for its action. Following on from this, Israel bears no responsibility for events and so no change in behaviour, on its part, is required.

But it also answers a question I have long pondered; do Israels' apologists truly believe the lame rubbish they spout?

According to Dors’ theory the answer is, no. If guilt is the motivating factor, then what creates guilt is an internal acceptance of wrong doing. Hence, even as these apologetics represent an attempt to suppress guilt they are an acknowledgment that the criticisms of Israeli actions are justified.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Suppression of Guilt - Part 2

Dor continues to examine the Israeli media coverage of the 2002 re-occupation of the West Bank.

How then, does the obsession with guilt translate into a worldview?.....Well, as we shall see in this chapter, the common denominator, the foundational basis, lies in the portrayal of Israel – its government, its military, its people – as an agent without intentions, an innocent society that has been pushed into the operation…….by the sheer force of Palestinian violence, with no agenda of it’s own except self-defense……..

The most remarkable feature…….is that none of these commentators ever raises, or even hints at, the possibility that Sharon actually knows very well what he is doing, that he does have a plan, and that he is not particularly bothered by the fact that the military operation will not lead the parties back to the negotiating table. In other words, the media never formulate the alternative interpretation: that Sharon has not been passively pushed into this action…..

Is this alternative interpretation necessarily true? Not at all. But the reporters working for the five media institutions consistently brought in materials which strongly suggested that this interpretation may actually be closer to reality. These materials, however, were systematically published, or broadcast, in a way that amounted to suppression.

The Israeli media suppresses any idea of political intent, but also reports the actual conduct of the IDF in the territories in a similar manner.

This is most clearly reflected in the coverage of 2 topics, which from the point of view of the international press, were thought of as indicative of Israel’s long-term intentions: the IDF attack on the Bituniya headquarters of Jibril Rajoub, the head of the PA preventative security in the West Bank, and the damage caused by the IDF to the civic infrastructure of the PA.

Senior officials of the IDF have also publicly admitted that he was not involved in terror-related activities…..the attack on his headquarters…was thus interpreted by some of the international press as evidence that Israel intended to destroy the PA itself……Ha’artez then, just like all the other Israeli media, bases its coverage of the attack on the IDFs formal description of the event: the headquaters were attacked because wanted individuals were found there. Ha’aretz’s main headline on April 2 simply states: ‘Siege on Wanted Individuals at Rajoub’s HeadQuarters…

Crucially, this perspective is flatly contradicted in the commentary written by Danny Rubenstein, the papers own senior commentator on Palestinian affairs, published on April 7 in section B of the paper – away from the news pages: ‘…..The goal is the complete destruction of the Palestinian security system. This is no scoop……’.


This is how one of the senior military correspondents described circumstances in an interview, ‘The atmosphere there was incensed and hot-blooded, and they did things there which should not have been done…

These comments are significant, because none of this ever appeared in the Israeli media throughout the operation. In most reports, and, as we have seen, in all the reports highlighted by the editorial text, the soldiers are portrayed as sensitive, thoughtful, and considerate towards the Palestinian civilians…..The possible link between Sharon’s rhetorical style and the conduct is never mentioned. Consequently, and quite unbelievably, only a single report throughout the operation takes the damage inflicted on the PA civil infrastructure as its topic.

Lack of intention on the part of Israel is just one aspect of the approach, the other is to locate intention elsewhere. No prizes for guessing where.

If Israel is the passive entity, dragged into a war against its will, then the Palestinians are always crystal clear about their goals, these goals are always totally evil……this perspective is most dramatically reflected in the portrayal of Yasser Arafat……….

Dozens of items through out the month focus on Arafat, and they all tell the story of a larger-than-life enemy: evil, murderous, cunning, subtle, determined, invincible. He is always in full control of the events in the territories……..

This then is the crux of the analytical perspective projected by all the media: the entire Israel-Palestine conflict, in all its incredible complexity, depends entirely on the individual personality of Yasser Arafat……None of the media ever attempts to question it, and once the ID enters the muqata’a they all full-heartedly participate in the incrimination: if Arafat is guilty, then we are innocent.

Proving Arafats intentions became a focus of both the IDF and the Israeli media. Much was made of documents which claimed to prove that Arafat was financing terror attacks.

Whenever some sort of ‘proof’ was found for Arafats involvement in terror, the finding was reported as no less than a victory. The IDF produced press releases, organized displays and press conferences- and the media published and broadcast as much of this as possible. Throughout the period only two writers…. took the trouble to critically examine the ‘proofs’ supplied and displayed by the IDF……
Here is....a paragraph...from April 26: ‘Was the Tanzims terror activity financed by the Authority? According to the [IDF] commentary, yes. According to the documents, no. All the ‘financing documents' are in fact a collection of bitter complaints about the Authority’s tight fist, and the fact that it does not provide the Tanzim with resources…..Did Arafat approve of money transfers to people involved in suicide attacks? Those who only check the pre-digested texts are led to believe this was indeed the case. But whoever reads the texts themselves will not find a trace of evidence.’….

Within this general framework, the media simply refrains from asking some of the most fundamental questions regarding the causes behind the reality of terror….the deeper casual questions having to do with the inseparable ink between the suicide attacks and the occupation……Whenever a reporter brings in important materials regarding these questions, it is buried deep in the back pages of the supplement..

Dor provides several examples of this crucial perspective that the papers own reporters produced,

…for example, correspondent Ariela Ringel-Hoffman interviews experts on terror…..One of the experts…makes the following comment: ‘The method of closures between and around cities is the root cause of all evil…..Effectively it has turned an entire population into one homogenous bloc which produces terror…


..a long article in the holiday supplement….. ‘Many people in the defense establishment now believe that Israel has played a considerable part in the fact that the Tanzim has joined the circle of suicide attacks. The assassinations of its senior members…generated a tremendous urge to respond…In private conversations, the PM and Minister of Defense have admitted that the execution Ra’ad Carmi –carried out at a time of relative calm in the OTs – was a mistake…’……

This all important piece of information does not merit a headline and does not appear in the news pages….

The effect of all this is that,

..even when senior Israeli security sources openly admit that a causal connection could be detected between Israels conduct and the continuation of terror, and even when three senior correspondents report this, this significant fact does not make it across the editorial text – and does not leave a mark in the Israeli public consciousness.

Dor develops an explanation for what he has described that goes beyond ‘manufacturing consent’. But for our purposes here, it’s enough to note that this contrives a defence against judgement, particularly from the outside; you can’t judge us, this is not our fault. That it is an issue of guilt is highlighted by the fact that blame is not the problem. In fact blame is often accentuated, but countered by shifting all responsibility elsewhere.

Anyone paying attention to Israeli politicians and spokespeople will note this consistent message in their pronouncements regarding Lebanon; not our fault, we had no choice.

I’ll look at just this framework, in relation to Qana, in the next post.