On Sunday, December 19, the self-proclaimed “Israeli human rights” group
B’Tselem disseminated a shocking story to the local and international media.
B’Tselem claimed that the previous day, Palestinian shepherd Samir Bani Fadel
was peacefully herding his sheep when he was set upon by a mob of Israeli
He alleged that these kippa-clad Israelis drove up in a car and
chased him away. Then they torched the pasture and burned 12 pregnant ewes alive
and badly burned five others. B’Tselem furnished reporters with graphic photos
of the dead sheep.
While the media published the account without a shred
of skepticism, the police found Fadel’s account hard to believe. Observant Jews
neither drive nor light fires on Saturdays.
And indeed, when questioned
by police investigators, Fadel admitted he made the whole attack up. He
accidentally killed his herd himself when he set fire to a pile of bramble. Too
embarrassed to admit his mistake, he decided to blame the Jews and become a
local hero. B’Tselem was only too happy to spread his lies.
On January 3,
Channel 2 aired a video produced by B’Tselem. The video purported to show
residents of Yitzhar – a community in Samaria – throwing rocks at Palestinians
from the neighboring village Bureen for no reason whatsoever.
presented the footage as further proof – if anyone needed it – that the Israelis
who live in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem are a bunch of lawless,
hate-filled, violent fanatics.
Unfortunately for B’Tselem and Channel 2,
Yitzhar residents also own a video camera. And they also filmed the event. The
Samaria Regional Council released the video to the media on Tuesday.
Yitzhar video exposes the B’Tselem video as a complete fraud. As it happened, on
Monday afternoon a group of Palestinians joined by Israelis and/or foreigners
descended on Yitzhar and attacked its residents with bricks and rocks of all
sizes. Among the assailants was the cameraman who shot the footage presented on
Not only did the videographer – who has blond hair –
participate in the violent assault on Yitzhar.
He staged the incident by
alternately throwing rocks, filming, and directing his fellow attackers where to
throw their rocks.
The Jews of Yitzhar only began throwing rocks to fend
off their attackers.
This past Saturday, the Palestinians invented what
has all the trappings of a new blood libel against Israel.
Israeli anti-Zionist activists, Palestinian Authority employees, and foreign
anti-Israel groups join forces at Bil’in. Together they attack IDF soldiers
guarding construction of the separation barrier adjacent to Bil’in
On Saturday, the PA claimed that Jawaher Abu Rahma, a woman from
Bil’in, died from tear gas inhalation at the previous day’s riot. The PA’s chief
negotiator Saeb Erekat claimed that her death was an IDF war
Erekat, of course, has not distinguished himself as a paragon of
truthfulness. To the contrary. He has a long track record of spreading lies
about Israel on the international stage.
In just one notable example, in
April 2002, Erekat claimed in several television appearances that the IDF killed
more than 500 people at Jenin refugee camp during Operation Defensive
He also claimed that the IDF buried some 300 people in mass
The UN later reported that during the pitched battle in Jenin
refugee camp, 52 Palestinians were killed.
Twenty-three IDF soldiers were
killed in the battle.
Despite Erekat’s rich history of lies, B’Tselem’s
executive director Jessica Montell joined his bandwagon immediately. As NGO
Monitor documented, in a Twitter post on Saturday, Montell wrote, “Sad start to
the year. Jawaher Abu Rahma died this morning after inhaling tear gas yesterday
in Bil’in demonstration.”
Her claim was echoed in similar statements from
her fellow Israeli anti-Zionist pressure groups.
Anarchists Against the
Wall, Yesh Din, Gush Shalom, Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, and attorney
Michel Sfard, who is associated with Yesh Din, Al-Haq and Breaking the Silence,
all alleged that the IDF murdered Abu Rahma with tear gas.
As luck would
have it, though, eyewitnesses say that Abu Rahma didn’t even participate in the
weekly riot. Ilham Abu Rahma, her 19-year-old cousin and neighbor, told
Britain’s Independent that the deceased was at home when the riot took
For its part, the IDF has reported that the medical information it
received about Abu Rahma’s death is not consistent with death through
overexposure to tear gas. During her hospitalization, Abu Rahma received an
unusual mix of drugs that is usually only administered to treat poisoning, drug
overdose or leukemia. The IDF also revealed that Abu Rahma had been recently
hospitalized at a Palestinian hospital.
The easiest way to determine what
caused Abu Rahma’s death would of course have been to perform an autopsy. The
IDF asked for one to be performed.
But the PA refused the request and
instead buried her in record time.
THE SAD truth is that a case can
easily be made that all of this might have been avoided if B’Tselem hadn’t taken
it upon itself to delegitimize Israel’s right to self-defense.
As part of
its efforts, in 2002 B’Tselem spearheaded the international campaign against
Israel’s right to build the separation fence to keep Palestinian suicide bombers
out of its major cities.
As NGO Monitor’s recent in-depth report about
the lawfare campaign to use the language of law to criminalize Israel shows,
B’Tselem was the first NGO to launch a campaign against the security fence. NGO Monitor recalls that in 2002 and 2003
B’Tselem “issued two lengthy position papers, which became accepted as the
definitive analyses of ‘the Wall’ and were widely adopted.”
campaign against the security fence was quickly joined by other NGOs, the UN and
the EU. Its allegations formed the basis of the international campaign to
delegitimize Israel’s right to build the barrier.
That campaign reached a
high point in 2004 with the publication of International Court of Justice’s
opinion on the matter. The ICJ’s opinion parroted B’Tselem’s charge that Israel
has no right to defend itself from Palestinian aggression. So, too, the
“evidence” against Israel’s right to defend itself submitted by the PLO was
based largely on the two B’Tselem reports.
If B’Tselem hadn’t launched
the campaign against the fence, it is possible that Israel’s decision to built
it might have been greeted with the same indifference as the security fences
erected by the likes of India, Spain and numerous other countries in disputed
territories. That is, it might have been seen as the legitimate act of
selfdefense it is.
The central role that B’Tselem and its anti-Zionist
comrades in the Israeli NGO community play in the international political war
being waged against Israel’s right to exist first came under significant public
scrutiny following the publication of the UN Human Rights Council’s Goldstone
Report on Operation Cast Lead in 2009.
As NGO Monitor and the Zionist
student movement Im Tirtzu demonstrated last year, B’Tselem and 15 other Israeli
NGOs funded by the New Israel Fund and foreign governments lobbied the UN Human
Rights Council to form the Goldstone Commission with the clear agenda of
criminalizing Israel and whitewashing Hamas’s war crimes against the Jewish
Moreover, B’Tselem and its fellow-NIF grantees provided 92 percent
of the anti-Israel allegations originating from Israeli sources. These
allegations – most of which were firmly denied by the IDF – were used by Judge
Richard Goldstone and his colleagues to “prove” that Israel committed war crimes
in prosecuting its campaign to protect southern Israel from Hamas’s illegal
Not surprisingly, when scrutinized, like the story
about the scorched pregnant ewes, the Yitzhar “bullies” and the “illegality” of
the fence, these allegations came apart.
For instance, B’Tselem claimed
that during Cast Lead the IDF killed 1,387 Gazans and only 330, or less than a
quarter of them, were combatants. As NGO Monitor notes, the Goldstone report’s
claim that “Only one of every five [Gazan] casualties was a combatant” clearly
was based on B’Tselem’s numbers.
The IDF – which B’Tselem and its
comrades claim has no credibility – reported that of 1,166 Palestinian deaths,
709 were fighters killed in combat. Goldstone dismissed the IDF data.
in November, Hamas’s “Interior Minister” Fathi Hamad admitted to the
London-based Al-Hayat newspaper that the IDF’s numbers were far more accurate
than B’Tselem’s. According to Hamad, 600- 700 Hamas fighters were killed in Cast
ONE OF the reasons that false stories by the likes of B’Tselem and
its fellow Israeli-staffed anti-Zionist pressure groups are treated with respect
by the local media and the international community alike is because they are
perceived as Israeli groups.
Why would Israelis lie about their own army?
On Wednesday, the Knesset voted to form a commission of inquiry to examine these
groups’ sources of funding. The rationale behind this parliamentary
investigation is clear. The time has come to determine just how “Israeli” these
organizations that form such an integral part of the international political war
against Israel actually are. How much of their funding comes from foreign
governments? And if their foreign funding is significant, then how can they
claim to be Israeli groups? B’Tselem for instance receives funding from the
British, Swiss and Irish governments, Christian Aid, the Ford Foundation,
DanChurchAid (funded by the Danish government), Diakonia (funded by the Swedish
and Norwegian governments and the EU), Trócaire (funded by the Irish and UK
governments), and others.
Yesh Din, which specializes in conducting
domestic lawfare against the IDF, is funded by the Irish, Dutch, British, German
and Norwegian governments, the EU, and George Soros’s Open Society
Physicians for Human Rights – Israel, Breaking the Silence,
Bimkom, Peace Now, Gush Shalom, Adalah, the Geneva Initiative, the Committee for
Peace and Security and so on and so forth all receive massive funding from
The Samaria Regional Council alleges that over the
past decade, foreign governments have donated hundreds of millions of euros,
dollars and shekels to these Israeli “grassroots” groups.
The fact is
that these groups’ claim to grassroots status is as credible as their
allegations of Israeli criminality and Palestinian victimhood. In truth, these
NGOs are local agents of foreign governments who use them to advance their
The Knesset’s move to investigate these groups was
greeted by righteous rage from the groups’ leaders and sympathetic Leftist
The Knesset’s decision was castigated as “McCarthyite”
and “anti-democratic.” But it is clear these groups and their parliamentary
allies doth protest too much.
No one is talking about shutting them down.
But the Israeli public has a right to know what these groups really are. And our
political representatives have an obligation to investigate and expose
subversive foreign agents. Israel and Israel’s democratic system are weakened,
not strengthened, when the state’s international reputation and domestic
discourse is hijacked by foreign governments who hide behind their Israeli foot
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