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IDF Kidnaps U.S. Citizens, Nobel Laureate in Gaza Waters

Let anyone who claims there is no difference between a Likud or Kadima government take note of Israel’s act of piracy on the high seas today when it surrounded an unarmed former ferry carrying 23 human rights activists (including a former U.S. Congresswoman, a Nobel laureate and 21 others) and humanitarian aid to Gaza.  In similar past circumstances, the Olmert government allowed several such ships to dock in Gaza with their humanitarian cargo.  The ship seized earlier today was attempting to break Israel’s siege against Gaza, which itself is a violation of international law.

All American citizens, whether you agree with the politics involved or not should be outraged by this violation of the norms of international and maritime conduct.  American officials should be demanding that its four citizens be released immediately.  Israel had no right to intercept this ship, nor to impound it or detain its passengers.  It has no right to forcibly transfer them to Israeli territory.

The Free Gaza Movement released this statement by former Rep. McKinney:

“This is an outrageous violation of international law against us. Our boat was not in Israeli waters, and we were on a human rights mission to the Gaza Strip,” said Cynthia McKinney, a former U.S. Congresswoman and presidential candidate. “President Obama just told Israel to let in humanitarian and reconstruction supplies, and that’s exactly what we tried to do. We’re asking the international community to demand our release so we can resume our journey.”

And Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire made the following protest:

“The aid we were carrying is a symbol of hope for the people of Gaza, hope that the sea route would open for them, and they would be able to transport their own materials to begin to reconstruct the schools, hospitals and thousands of homes destroyed during the onslaught of “Cast Lead”. Our mission is a gesture to the people of Gaza that we stand by them and that they are not alone” said fellow passenger Mairead Maguire, winner of a Noble Peace Prize for her work in Northern Ireland.

I should add that the Israeli navy will impound the ship in order to inhibit the future work on the FGM.  Pressure must be exerted to get Israel to release the ship undamaged (it is highly likely that Israel will render the ship inoperable or permanently crippled if it ever does return it).

FGM suggests that those who wish to help may contact the following:

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Justice
tel: +972 2646 6666 or +972 2646 6340
fax: +972 2646 6357

CONTACT the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs
tel: +972 2530 3111
fax: +972 2530 3367

CONTACT Mark Regev in the Prime Minister’s office at:
tel: +972 5 0620 3264 or +972 2670 5354

CONTACT the International Committee of the Red Cross to ask for their assistance in establishing the wellbeing of the kidnapped human rights workers and in securing their immediate release!

Red Cross Israel
tel: +972 3524 5286
fax: +972 3527 0370

Red Cross Switzerland:
tel: +41 22 730 3443
fax: +41 22 734 8280

Red Cross USA:
tel: +1 212 599 6021
fax: +1 212 599 6009

{ 65 comments… add one }
  • Michael Levin June 30, 2009, 11:41 PM

    1] The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee [ADC] has provided an easy way to send emails regarding this situation to our [US] elected representatives:


    See 1st item under “Take Action!”:
    Call on Congress to Condemn Israel’s Seizure of Humanitarian Aid Ship on Route to Gaza, Call for End to Siege

    2] In its call to “Let the Spirit of Humanity into Gaza,” Jewish Voice for Peace provides links for lists of the telephone numbers of US Congresspersons and Senators:


    At the top of the page see links to —
    Find your Congressperson
    Call your Congressperson [list of tel. #s]
    Call your Senators [list of tel. #s]

  • Warren July 1, 2009, 12:41 AM

    This is the behavior of thugs and gangsters. The Israeli government and military do this kind of stuff because they assume we (the U.S.) have their back. It’s a big f-you to the rest of the world, basically, ‘we’re above the law and stuff it, you know where you can put your international law and norms’. The thinking seems to be, the gentile world has always screwed us over and we can do whatever the hell we want to others, no matter what we do or perpetrate—we’re the anointed victim.

    There’s certainly no discernible security issue here. A Nobel Laureate and former U.S. Congresswoman for Pete’s sake! I guess worldwide prestige or being an important American doesn’t carry the water it used to. I’m only waiting for our brain-dead Congress to line the front of the Capitol building and pledge eternal defense and support for Israel against Cynthia McKinney. Maybe they could nominate McKinney (yet another courageous African-American) as one of the Axis of Evil nations. Nothing would surprise me anymore regarding my woefully lost & ethically bankrupt government.

    Well, maybe I’m stretching things a bit with this example.

    • ellen July 3, 2009, 4:45 AM

      And – the media would be screaming Bloody Murder right now, if an American had been kidnapped by any nation other than Israel.

      • Avram July 3, 2009, 5:22 AM

        I haven’t seen much noise lately about the two American girls in North Korea, nor did I hear that much press coverage (anywhere for that matter) about the hostages during the ‘Somali Pirate Days’ (have the pirates disappeared?) when they got a few hostages … There are other examples, I think an American nurse was kidnapped in the Phillipines, or Daniel Pearl (there wasn’t much coverage until his gruesome beheading) …

  • Avram July 1, 2009, 1:33 AM


    Please update your story and indicate:

    “The Cypriot Embassy in Tel Aviv issued a statement following the incident, saying “The Embassy of the Republic of Cyprus in Israel would like to inform that the “Spirit of Humanity” boat, sponsored by the Free Gaza Movement, that attempted in the early hours today to reach Gaza was given permission by the competent Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus to sail off the port of Larnaca in Cyprus on the basis of its declaration that its intended destination was the port of Port Said in Egypt.” ”

    The article can be found in the Jerusalem Post.

    • Richard Silverstein July 1, 2009, 5:31 PM

      The JPost is not a credible source. The ship certainly would not have given its destination as Port Said when the group’s websites & all their press releases including messages communicated to the Israelis made clear the destination was Gaza. Nice try though.

      • Avram July 1, 2009, 7:33 PM

        So which one is it:
        a) the JPost deliberately fabricated a statement by the Cypriot Embassy?
        b) the Cypriots are lying?

        And just because their website and press releases all said one thing, it doesn’t necessarily mean they actually said the same thing to the Cypriots in Larnaca …

        • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 1:24 AM

          I never saw any press release. I never even saw a link fr. you to a story in the J. Post. BTW, you’re talking about a newspaper whose reporter fell for a hoax claiming Norway was rife with anti-Semitism. So do I believe the Post is entirely capable of royally screwing up its coverage of just about any story? You bet. So let’s have a little proof.

          • Avram July 2, 2009, 1:34 AM

            I cannot find a link to the Cypriot Embassy but the link to the JPost is:


            While I understand you worry about the JPost, you could just about say that about any newspaper. Be it most of the modern media which ‘fell’ for the death of Mohammed Al Dura, etc. Media make mistake, but to say the newspaper as a source is now ‘not credible’ is wrong imo.

            It’s similar, in my opinion, to me ignoring any thing about Free Gaza because Ewa Jasieiwcz (one of their members) called for a 3rd intifada …

          • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 10:34 AM

            While I understand you worry about the JPost, you could just about say that about any newspaper.

            No, I don’t “worry” about the Post. I know for a fact that they are allied with Likud w. the exception of columnists Larry Derfner & Gershon Baskin. Their reporting generally lacks credibility & rigor has a distinct ideological bias (not to mention that they get hoodwinked due to their ideological gullibility as in the Norway story for which they never apologized nor disciplined the reporter involved). I don’t say other Israelis papers don’t have biases as well, but the Post’s is one of the most blatant (except for Yisrael HaYom, which is bought & paid for by Sheldon Adelson/Bibi). I have written a number of posts here critiquing specific JPost stories & pointing out their substandard journalism. This Cypriot embassy rpt. is equally shoddy I’m certain. Why don’t you write to the FSM group via their website & ask them to explain the rpt. & then rpt. back here on what they say. That would be more construcitve than circulating unfounded rumors via a suspect Israeli shmate.

            You’re the 10th rightist commenter who’s attempted to sneak Mohammed al Dura into a comment thread. This is off topic. Don’t do it again. Your claims about this incident are also fraudulent. But if you go into this subject here you’ll be violating my comment rules which specify that comments must be “on topic.” This is not a forum for raising pet peeves of the pro Israel right.

          • Avram July 2, 2009, 10:57 AM

            And Haaretz doesn’t have a distinct ideological bias?

            I’ve seen you are fond of Amira Hass’s reporting. Do you remember her court case for her lies about the Hebron settler youth, which we both agree need no ‘lies’ to paint a sickening/negative story about. She was forced to pay a fairly large fee for those lies. Do you still trust her 100%? Or does it not bother you that she’s happily lied before, and she may very well do it again (if she has not done already).

            I do agree that the JPost is too often guilty of ‘substandard journalism’ (It’s the reason I rarely read it, and stick mostly to **gasp** Haaretz).

            “That would be more construcitve than circulating unfounded rumors”

            If I call the embassy and they confirm those words, would you be willing to change your tone re: THIS news story?

            “rightist commenter”

            Didn’t expect you, unlike some of your commentators, to be so willing to tar a poster so quickly. Oh well, c’est la vie. “Dan le kav’zcut” and all.

            “Your claims about this incident are also fraudulent”

            Can you e-mail me please how they’re fraudulent as you don’t want this discussed in the thread.

            “But if you go into this subject here you’ll be violating my comment rules which specify that comments must be “on topic.””

            Explain to me why you’re giving me this speech, and sparing LD the same one? Surely, his comments were just as ‘off topic’ as mine (though we were discussing journalism and how we trust the news, so I’m not exactly sure why there’s a need for the attitude or the warning – ‘Tis your house however, your rules).

          • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 10:22 PM

            If I call the embassy and they confirm those words, would you be willing to change your tone

            Just call the embassy, ask them to fax you a copy of their statement, send it to me, & we’ll take it from there. And while you’re at it, give the FGM an opportunity to present their side of the story & ask them to respond to the Post story. That would be fair before believing everything you read in the Post.

            Can you e-mail me please how they’re fraudulent

            No, I want to get into the 8th knock down drag out fight about Mohammed al Durrah with one of my IDF apologist readers like a want root canal surgery.

            sparing LD the same one

            You’re right. I’ve told him before that I thought his rhetoric was too hot & I should’ve done so this time. Thank you for reminding me to do so.

          • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 10:48 PM

            And Haaretz doesn’t have a distinct ideological bias?

            I’ve seen you are fond of Amira Hass’s reporting.

            If you’d read my comment more carefully you’d have noticed that I acknowledged that virtually every Israeli newspaper has an ideological bias. But Haaretz’s bias is far less than the others. And it’s journalism, while still flawed in many cases, is far more professional that other papers & light years ahead of the Post. That’s why you read IT and not the Post.

            And btw, I hardly ever read or write about Amira Hass’ reporting. How much have you actually read of this blog? Perhaps you’re confusing me with all those other “leftist” bloggers who allegedly adore every leftist Israeli newspaper columnist?? You’d be far more credible if you actually bothered to read the work of those you seek to criticize.

  • gabrielle July 1, 2009, 5:50 AM

    thanks Michael – the ADC made it very easy. I recommend going through them as well.

  • DICKERSON3870 July 1, 2009, 6:04 AM

    ***From: US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (uscampaign@mail.democracyinaction.org)

    Take Action to Free the Spirit of Humanity’s Passengers and Crew

    Please send an email to the Israeli Prime Minister’s office, the Israeli Defense Ministry, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, and your Members of Congress demanding that The Spirit of Humanity’s passengers and crew are released!

    ***TO SEND – http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/641/t/2439/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=27540

  • Violinist July 1, 2009, 6:16 AM

    I am not sure that America would have acted any differently!

    • fiddler July 1, 2009, 6:54 AM

      You sure must mean the interception by the US Navy and Air Force of scores of ships and planes bringing cigar-buying, Fidel-supporting tourists to Cuba.

      Seriously, if America, or any other country, would do the same, they’d deserve the same condemnation as Israel. If I thought “my” side capable of committing a crime, that doesn’t make it right when others actually do commit it.

  • DICKERSON3870 July 1, 2009, 7:18 AM


    A RELATED POST: “Pirates of the Mediterranean”, By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, 07/01/09

    (EXCERPT) …As President Obama has called for humanitarian aid to be sent to Gaza, and as the International Red Cross has damned the inhumanity of Israel’s blockade of Gaza, the question that immediately comes to mind is why did not the United States send sufficient US Navy escort to see the “Spirit of Humanity” safely through international waters to Gaza? We send ships against Somalian pirates, why not against Israeli ones?

    We all know the answer. The US talks a good “human rights” game, but never delivers–especially if the human rights abuser is Israel. After all, Israel owns the US Congress and President Obama. Israel even has an Israeli citizen and former member of the Israeli Defense Forces as the Chief-of-Staff in Obama’s White House. Israel owns millions of American “Christian Zionists” and “rapture evangelicans.” When it comes to Israel, the American government is a puppet state. It does what it is told…..

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts07012009.html

  • Robin July 1, 2009, 8:08 AM

    Has anyone here seen the posting on the IDF website for this?

    IDF Navy Forces Intercept Cargo Boat


    Note, they are referring to the “Spirit of Humanity”/Arion as a CARGO BOAT. Furthermore, they post a picture of a true cargo boat that was intercepted in February. Is this some very poor subliminal suggesting here that yesterday a misnamed “cargo boat” like the one in the picture was intercepted by them? Absolutely pathetic. Call it a “cargo boat” all you want to Israel if it suits your fancy but this is just plain misleading. Furthermore, the AP and other sources reported as well that a “cargo boat” was intercepted. Reminds me of a rhinestone fisherman’s fish story, hey everyone I CAUGHT A FISH. Only problem is that the rhinestone fisherman caught a minnow but posted a picture of a fish caught on another trip so he could win the pot back at work for the biggest fish caught on vacation.

    • Mary Hughes-Thompson July 3, 2009, 11:43 PM

      Having been on board both the TALI in February and the SPIRIT OF HUMANITY in January and again earlier this week, I can attest to the fact there is no similarity. The TALI is a true cargo boat the likes of which we at FREE GAZA can only dream of having. Our SPIRIT OF HUMANITY is a tiny wooden ferry boat on which our brave English Captain Denis agreed to squeeze 20 other crew and passengers in hopes it could chug all the way to Gaza. Especially courageous of Captain Denis in view of the fact he was also captain of our small yacht DIGNITY when it was rammed on three sides by IDF gunboats last December 30th. Passengers (including Cynthia McKinney) credit Denis with saving their lives. (DIGNITY now lies at the bottom of the Mediterranean)

  • LD July 2, 2009, 12:01 AM

    Because Zionists constantly lie and project their disgusting behavior on to others.

    Oh and Amnesty International published a report on Gaza.

    From AFP:

    “Amnesty accuses Israel of using human shields in Gaza

    By Leigh Baldwin – 10 hours ago

    JERUSALEM (AFP) — Amnesty International on Thursday accused Israeli forces of war crimes, saying they used children as human shields and conducted wanton attacks on civilians during their offensive in the Gaza Strip.

    The London-based human rights group also accused Hamas of war crimes, but said it found no evidence that the Islamist rulers of Gaza used civilians as human shields during the 22-day offensive Israel launched on December 28.”

    The report:

  • LD July 2, 2009, 12:03 AM

    Highlight of the report:

    However, contrary to repeated allegations by Israeli officials of the use of “human shields”,
    Amnesty International found no evidence that Hamas or other Palestinian fighters directed
    the movement of civilians to shield military objectives from attacks. It found no evidence that
    Hamas or other armed groups forced residents to stay in or around buildings used by fighters,
    nor that fighters prevented residents from leaving buildings or areas which had been
    commandeered by militants.

    Zionists once again proven to be liars. The US Army War college report echoed once again.

  • Russian Jew July 2, 2009, 12:46 AM


    I’ve stumbled on your blog today and I am deeply disturbed.
    I do not question your love for Israel, your energy or commitment to tikun olam as you interpret it.
    However, PLEASE try to comprehend that your energy is distractive to Israel and to Jewish people as whole. As it is distractive to America as we know it.
    You might not consider IsraelNN “reliable source of information” but consider this point of view from a distinguished author:

    • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 1:21 AM

      your energy is distractive to Israel and to Jewish people as whole.

      My humble apologies. Now, here I thought it was the job of the Jewish people as a whole to embody the prophetic values of justice represented by a few bearded guys who lived a few thousand years ago in places like Tekoah (Amos). I’d say that perhaps your priorities are distractive fr. what Judaism’s real values ought to be.

      As for Arutz Sheva, do I consider it a credible source? The Voice of the Settler? Credible? And who is Jack Engelhardt & why should I consider him “distinguished?”

  • LD July 2, 2009, 1:50 AM

    Translation: do not criticize Israel because it makes Jews look bad.

    I’m so sick of this perspective. It’s criminal. Who decides what a Jews is? A Jew has to be a Zionist as well?

    Quite totalitarian and TRIBAL if you ask me.

    Here’s some reporting on the hijacking of the AIDE SHIP by Israel:

    RussiaToday interview with Paul Craig Roberts:


    Wiki-bio on Roberts:

    Paul Craig Roberts (born April 3, 1939, in Atlanta, Georgia) is an economist and a nationally syndicated columnist for Creators Syndicate. He served as an Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan Administration earning fame as the “Father of Reaganomics”. He is a former editor and columnist for the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, and Scripps Howard News Service. He is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology and he holds a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia. He was a post-graduate at the University of California, Berkeley, and Oxford University where he was a member of Merton College.

    And I just heard that Zionists are trying to get California to send money to Israel or something.

    Here is the Zionist community in a nutshell:

    Tribal politics

    Exploit the Holocaust

    Anyone who deviates from the tribal mentality = Self-hating

    Anyone who is not in the tribe and viewed as hostile = Antisemite

    Do not have meaningful debate on Israel and Jewishness. Reinforce positive imagery of Jewishness and Israel AND focus on ‘point-scoring’ (Terrorists! Antisemites! Hitler! Palestinians use human shields! We are defending ourselves! Right to exist! They want to throw us in the sea!)


    • Avram July 2, 2009, 2:04 AM

      “Who decides what a Jews is?”


      “A Jew has to be a Zionist as well?”

      Not at all – anyone who says that is deluded.

    • Avram July 2, 2009, 2:06 AM

      “Here is the Zionist community in a nutshell:

      Tribal politics

      Exploit the Holocaust

      Anyone who deviates from the tribal mentality = Self-hating

      Anyone who is not in the tribe and viewed as hostile = Antisemite”

      Thanks for those BS generalizations. Might I ask how you define the African American community? or the Arabs? Just wanted to see if you’re as narrow minded with your generalizations.

    • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 10:51 PM

      I’m so sick of this perspective. It’s criminal.

      I know that you meant the word “criminal” as a bit of hyperbole, but I’m a bit sensitive to words like that when they’re yoked to other words like “Israel” and “Zionism.” So let’s be careful and not raise the temperature more than we need to.

  • LD July 2, 2009, 2:13 AM


    I said, ZIONISTS.

    • Avram July 2, 2009, 2:18 AM

      I know, I can read.

      I just wanted to see if you like to generalize any group as much as these ‘Zionists’.

      Do you feel ‘binational state’ Zionists think the same way as ‘two state’ Zionists, or as ‘one Jewish state’ zionists, etc? Or do you want to just admit you just generalized a whole group and are just as bad as idiots who say, “Oh All Arabs eat humus and are terrorists”

      • LD July 3, 2009, 2:23 PM

        I am definitely conflating. I realize that but there is no ‘left-wing’ in Israel.

        And there is no meaningful peace camp or peace activism.

        There are a minority of groups that do good work but when you juxtapose that to the whole, it’s pathetic.

        I could count on my hand the number of ‘bi-national’ Zionists.

        To even consider bi-nationalism would be purely academic. Its not going to happen and its not the Palestinians fault.

        The relationship between Jew and Palestinian is that of Master and Slave.

        The Zionists have been lording over the Palestinians for over 40 years.

        They were already racist chauvinists before that, but now it’s on a whole other level.

        So no, I couldn’t care less about the conflation when I’m right about the meaninglessness of the ‘left’ in Israel.

        Do not equate. It’s a shallow tactic.

        Want an example?

        Compare studies done on both groups when it comes to their attitudes of ‘the other’.

        The conclusions are OBVIOUS and TYPICAL. Israel is a colonial project and the racism Zionists feel towards not just Palestinians but all Arabs is TYPICAL colonial racism.

        Just read Theodore Roosevelt’s memoirs. I even recall Mark Twain being incredibly racist towards the ‘savages’ but believing in freeing the ‘slaves’ or something.

        You have to dehumanize and hate Palestinians to continue living in Israel and being a mainstream Zionist.

        Racism and hatred across all groups and eras, may take on the same manifestations as an end result but they do not have the same origins and the relationship between the haters and the hated or groups of people who hate each other (not simply 1 hater and 1 hated) is something that needs to be understood to get at the cause of those feelings.

        It’s this dishonest debate on racism that is why racism still exists.

        We are simply socialized to prefer certain groups over others.

        We can elect a black guy for president but we’re still bombing the fuck out of Arab countries and arresting Muslims who ‘support terror’ through charities. Yea sure, did we do that in the same degree or at all to the Catholics supporting the IRA? We knew many of them were.

        So yea, I can be exact and fair – in fact, I acknowledge my comments are very hypocritical. However, it’s hardly the same as when an Israeli Jew calls a Palestinian Arab a radical islamist florist nazi jew-hater without understanding anything about their struggle and so on and so forth.

        Compare the numbers of blah blah in Israel to blah blah in Palestine.

  • Arie Brand July 2, 2009, 2:41 PM

    Further to the article by Paul Roberts. He says something quite at variance with the alleged Cypriot claim, referred to by Avram, that the “Spirit of Humanity” had declared to be on its way to Port Said:

    “I knew the “Spirit of Humanity” would fall to Israeli piracy the minute I received on June 25 from an official of an Israeli peace organization a “public advisory” that the government of Cyprus had withheld permission for the “Spirit of Humanity” to leave for Gaza. …The “Spirit of Humanity” obtained permission to leave Cyprus when all aboard signed a waiver absolving Cyprus of all responsibility for the crew’s safety at the hands of the Israelis.”

    But even if the crew had declared to be heading for Port Said would that justify this act of piracy.?

    • Avram July 2, 2009, 8:23 PM

      I guess it’s Robert’s ‘official of an Israeli peace organization’ vs the JPost’s Cypriot Embassy contact … I wonder who will win this heavyweight battle?

    • Mary Hughes-Thompson July 3, 2009, 11:51 PM

      It’s trrue the passengers and crew signed a waiver absolving the Government of Cyprus of all responsibility for their safety. The Cypriots seemed to think we might be in danger for some reason.

  • Arie Brand July 2, 2009, 3:47 PM

    “her lies about the Hebron settler youth”

    I understand that Hass reported what she had heard from sources she deemed credible and believed that it was the responsibility of editors to cross reference that with reports from other sources. Perhaps she was guilty of credulity which is not the same as having lied. Since these other sources mainly seemed to be the assertions coming from the IDF and the settler community I can understand that Haaretz had little desire to go after these.

    Here is the relevant bit in Wikipedia:

    “In June 2001, Judge Rachel Shalev-Gartel of the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruled that Hass had vilified the Jewish settler community of Beit Hadassah in Hebron, and ordered her to pay 250,000 shekels (about $60,000) in damages. Hass had reported Palestinian eyewitness accounts of Israeli settlers defiling the body of a Palestinian militant killed by Israeli police; the settlers argued that the event did not take place, and said that Hass reported the story with malicious intent. The presiding judge found in favour of the settlers. Ha’aretz indicated that it did not have time to arrange a defense in the case, and announced that it would appeal the decision.[2] Hass noted that she had brought forward sourced information from the Palestinian community, and said that it was the responsibility of newspaper editors to cross-reference it with other information from the IDF and the settler community.[3]”

    • Avram July 2, 2009, 8:26 PM

      The responsibility of the newspaper editors to cross-reference it? Ok dude, if that’s how you can ‘forgive’ her for printing lies about a group, who as I said earlier don’t need ANY help to get most of Israel (right or left) pissed off/angry/frustrated/embarrassed/etc, then so be it. I wonder if it was a lie about Palestinians in Haaretz by a ‘right wing journo’, if you’d be as forgiving.

      • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 10:38 PM

        Ok dude

        Civility my friend is a virtue. Call others names you would have yrself called. If you wouldn’t like it yrself then don’t do it to someone else. And even if you wouldn’t care, I do.

        My other problem with your claim is that Haaretz appears, from the Wikipedia article, to be appealing the decision. If that’s the case, then Hass hasn’t yet been proven to have done anything. I’d like to know whether this case is still pending or has been settled. One of my comment rules demands accuracy & sourcing for all controversial claims. That means you, Avram.

        My other problem with this is that Israel doesn’t allow its journalists to report from the Territories. Hass is the only one who has done so for years. IF Israel allowed reporters to cover Hebron and other W. Bank areas, then information on stories like these would be more readily available. If a reporter gets a story wrong then the IDF is at least partially to blame for refusing to allow wider coverage.

        Besides, the notion that a reporter can be fined for publishing a story that allegedly wrongly accused the Israeli police of defiling a Palestinian body is preposterous. Everyone knows that the Israeli police & settlers detest Palestinians and many of them would willingly defile a Palestinian body if they could do so & get away with it (just as some Palestinian militants would prob. do the same to an Israeli body). So fining Hass makes about as much sense as fining a cheetah for killing & devouring a gazelle.

        • Avram July 2, 2009, 10:51 PM

          Why is ‘dude’ a bad term? It’s like ‘mate’, ‘bud’ etc. I meant no disrespect by it.

          “One of my comment rules demands accuracy & sourcing for all controversial claims. That means you, Avram.”

          I didn’t post the wikipedia link, Arie did. And it confirmed what I had said. I don’t know if Haaretz ever appealed this ruling – so I don’t think I need to provide ‘sourcing’ as I never said that (again, Arie’s link did).

          “My other problem with this is that Israel doesn’t allow its journalists to report from the Territories”

          That’s not exactly true Richard. Plenty report from the territories. None, bar I think Amira Hass, were in Gaza during the past offensive/war.

          “If a reporter gets a story wrong then the IDF is at least partially to blame for refusing to allow wider coverage.”

          To an extent, I agree – but I can understand, for example, why Gaza was kept closed. I see quite a lot of reporting about Israel’s committed wrongs in the West Bank from friends, Israeli journalists and foreign journalists too.

          “Israeli police & settlers detest Palestinians and many of them would willingly defile a Palestinian body if they could do so ”

          I don’t think that’s true. As I asked Arie, can you please provide a link about Israelis (whoever they are) doing this to a ‘dead body’ (I don’t care if it’s a militant or not). Surely you can back up a controversial claim like this with some sort of evidence.

          “some Palestinian militants would prob. do the same to an Israeli body). ”

          ‘prob. do’? I’m sure you remember those two reservists who were lynced and what happend to their bodies? Or the Givati deaths in the APC Bombings in Gaza where their bodies were held up in defiance?

          I think it’s sick if ANYONE, be it Jew or Arab, defiles the dead. It’s inexcusable.

          • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 11:55 PM

            I meant no disrespect by it.

            OK, that was my snappish, churlish side coming out. Dude sounded a bit snarky to me. But I take you at yr word.

            If the case is still pending, then she’s not guilty of anything. If it’s been settled and a fine paid, then you can say she’s guilty of whatever was claimed in the case. So calling her a liar overstates the case as far as I can tell until you show me otherwise.

            Plenty report from the territories

            From the stories I read in Haaretz and Ynet it appears there is very little Israeli reporting from the Territories. There may be stories about what happens in the Territories, but it doesn’t appear many journalists actually physically go there or report fr. there. Certainly, that’s true of Gaza where no Israeli can legally go unless they’re in a tank or helicopter gunship.

            I’m sure you remember those two reservists

            Yes, of course, that’s why I mentioned this.

            I think it’s sick if ANYONE, be it Jew or Arab, defiles the dead. It’s inexcusable.

            I agree. But I think that extremists on both sides are mentally disabled by their hate. I simply will not say that one side hates more than the other; or the sins of one side are worse than the other. I will say that both sides hate and both sides sin and that hate and those sins are repulsive coming from whatever side they come.

  • Arie Brand July 2, 2009, 9:59 PM

    “printing lies” .

    Hearsay is not the same as ‘lies’. She reported truthfully what she had heard. And how do you know they were lies? Haaretz did not come up with a defense at the time since it had not had enough time for it. It was planning to appeal. I don’t know whether that ever happened. The sources contradicting what Hass had heard were the IDF and the Hebron settlers – real paragons of veracity.

    What Hass had heard about those worthies from Hebron was entirely in character. No wonder she assumed it was true.

    But since Haaretz did not come up with a defence then the Judge concerned had little choice, assuming that she wanted to do the right thing – which is a generous assumption as regards an Israeli court.

    Right wing websites have used this case to smear Hass using the same deliberate ‘confusion’ between lies and hearsay you came up with.

    • Avram July 2, 2009, 10:17 PM

      Sorry Richard, for a reporter that gets almost ALL her information (when reporting/living in Gaza or the West Bank) from Palestinian sources, she needs to be held accountable when she prints something that blatantly wrong.

      “how do you know they were lies?”

      If someone doesn’t want to defend themselves, for whatever reason, then something is up. Why be ‘proven guilty’ when you’re innocent? It’s like Michael Jackson and his cases.

      Or let’s reverse the question, how can you PROVE it was truth? You can’t …

      “entirely in character.”

      Can you link another ‘entirely in character’ story where settlers play around with a dead Palestinian (I don’t care if it’s a militant or not, I think it’s disgusting if you ‘abuse’ a dead person one way or another)?

      There’s a lot of other reasons why ‘people’ (not just right wingers as you claim) have issues with Hass. But it’s irrelevant to the conversation.

      • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 10:44 PM

        she needs to be held accountable when she prints something that blatantly wrong.

        Curiously, you’ve been entirely silent when JPost perpetrated a blood libel on the entire nation of Norway by accusing it of being rife with anti-Semitism. Where was yr voice then? Oh, you didn’t know or didn’t care? Then why care so much about Amira Hass’ alleged failures. When you can prove you’re not a hypocrite then you might have some credibility here.

        And pls. note who you’re quoting and referring to. Your discussion was with Arie, not me. YOu quoted his statements & attributed them to me. I’d appreciate trying to be a bit more careful please.

        I think it’s disgusting if you ‘abuse’ a dead person one way or another

        And isn’t it equally disgusting when you turn a living person into a dead one as Israel has been doing with such success for lo these 42 years and more??

        ‘people’ (not just right wingers as you claim) have issues with Hass

        Do please show us all those who are not right wingers who have issues with Amira Hass. I’m curious who you’d categorize as not a right winger. And remember, not just names, but actual citations.

        • Avram July 2, 2009, 11:10 PM

          “Curiously, you’ve been entirely silent when JPost perpetrated a blood libel on the entire nation of Norway ”

          To be honest, I hadn’t heard of this. Again, I RARELY read the JPost (at best, the weekend edition at my mother in law). If what you say is true, it’s disgusting. There’s no excuses for reporting that inspires hatred or unnecessary fear, be it that done by Jew or Arab.

          “Your discussion was with Arie, not me.”

          Apologies about that – wasn’t intentional.

          “And isn’t it equally disgusting when you turn a living person into a dead one as Israel has been doing with such success for lo these 42 years and more??”

          I think there are many facets of Israel’s 42 year stay in the West Bank that are quite wrong. I don’t have excuses for them, and I think we are obligated to correct some of them when an indepdent Palestine arises next to us.

          “I’m curious who you’d categorize as not a right winger. ”

          Friends who voted Meretz and Meimad. Only problem Richard is that I cannot ‘offer citations’ as it’s conversations with these friends. Their reasons are more to do with what seemed like an ‘in’ with PLO/PA while she lived in the West Bank. The issue never really revolved around content, which they felt was mostly true, but around her residence there and what that entailed.

          • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 11:46 PM

            I’m sorry about my snappish tone. When you get what you think is your 10,000 hasbara type reader/commenter you tend to snap a bit. There are some intelligent right of center readers and commenters here. But they are rare and you appear to be one of them.

            I wouldn’t criticize Amira Hass for living in the West Bank. It was the only way she could reliable cover the beat so that she wouldn’t have to constantly get stopped at checkpoints & other inconveniences, I imagine. These Israelis should appreciate she was doing something any other good reporter covering a beat in the rest of the world would do–live in the place she covers.

  • Avram July 2, 2009, 10:42 PM


    I I’m all for listening to FGM – note, not ONCE have I said a) they’ve done something wrong (though in the past, some of their members have said some really peculiar stuff) or b) I agree with Israel’s actions. When their story is printed, I’ll read it.

    I’ll do my best to call the embassy on Sunday –

    Re; Al Dura. Just e-mail me your links, I don’t want to ‘debate’ it (neither of us will most likely budge each other on this), but I want to READ it and see what other sources say (I may have read them already but I’m still curious).

  • AvramAvram July 2, 2009, 11:12 PM

    Re; Haaretz. I agree with ‘journalism’, ‘professional’ part …

    You got upset when she was arrested when she returned from Gaza, where she was there without a permit …

    I don’t read you slightly less than some of your friends (in the blogger world) – but you do seem to be the more ‘moderate’ and realistic than them.

    • Richard Silverstein July 2, 2009, 11:43 PM

      Ah yes, I did write specifically about her arrest, which I thought was outrageous. But what the hell does “without a permit” mean? You can’t get a permit to be an Israeli journalist in Gaza. The IDF doesn’t want any Israeli news coverage about Gaza. That’s because it values so highly its reputation for a “free press” & as the only democracy in the Middle East, right?

      I do thank you for calling me “moderate and realistic” or at least moreso than unspecified other bloggers. That’s a back-handed compliment. But I’ll take it.

      • AvramAvram July 2, 2009, 11:56 PM

        If she was smart, she should go via Egypt and finished, like some of my reporter buddies. Wrt Free Press – it’s a tough one but I think overall, we do a fairly good job in Israel proper & the West Bank. Gaza … I struggle to figure out what to think. I think we are as close to a democracy you’ll find in this region – I don’t claim we are a really good one for other reasons, but that is really off topic.

        It honestly isn’t a backhanded compliment – it’s far easier to be honest with a person if he’s realistic. We may have differing views in many arenas BUT I think we both want both people to ‘heal themselves’ and build their futures, even if ‘separately’, but still side by side in peace.

        • Richard Silverstein July 3, 2009, 12:03 AM

          I think we are as close to a democracy you’ll find in this region – I don’t claim we are a really good one for other reasons

          That’s a far more reasonable way to talk about the issue than most pro-Israel nationalists. Israel is “close” to a democracy, but lags in many respects. That’s one of the reasons I write this blog. I’d like to see Israel come closer than it has. And it can and will eventually.

          It honestly isn’t a backhanded compliment

          Then I take it back & thank you for your compliment, period.

          we both want both people to ‘heal themselves’ and build their futures, even if ’separately’, but still side by side in peace.

          Yes, we do. I can buy that. In the longer term, I’d like to remove the word “separately” because I think to truly succeed Israel will have to forge a future that somehow embraces its Israeli Arab minority and forges close relations with Palestine. It’s going to be a tough one and won’t happen overnight.

          • AvramAvram July 3, 2009, 12:12 AM

            “I’d like to remove the word “separately” because I think to truly succeed Israel will have to forge a future that somehow embraces its Israeli Arab minority and forges close relations with Palestine.”

            Separate is a necessity (I feel) for now. Both people are angry and frustrated beyond belief. Both people need to heal … and there’s enough good in our world, and their’s, in order to promote this. I think if we can somehow get to Israel/Egypt relations between us/Palestinians in the next 10-15 years, we’ll eventually see something similar to Israel/Jordan and then probably better.

            I don’t think the peace will make a difference to the Saudis (you and I will never be able to go there, or see Meccah etc) or various extremist elements in the Arab world, but honestly, I could care less. Make peace with the Palestinians, and maybe the other dominos can be unhinged slightly!

  • AvramAvram July 3, 2009, 12:01 AM

    “I’m sorry about my snappish tone.”

    It’s ok – we are on the internet sir, where all of us tend to get a wee bit angrier and more confrontational than usual. It’s tough to try remain respectful and calm all the time …

    There are some intelligent right of center readers and commenters here.”

    Thank you – I used to be far more right wing. My reasons for moderating are not ‘eye opening experiences’. My extremism was motivated by anti-semitism (at a big NY uni campus) but it gradually waned when I got here. I want to have ‘my’ country but I understand the need of our neighbors to have a right to ‘their’ country too. Both sides need to compromise on a lot, and there’ll probably be things that ‘upset’ many on either side (be it land swaps, or foreign troops, or whatever) but BOTH people are in desperate need of a break to ‘rebuild’ themselves. It’s essential for their survivals. We don’t trust each other now – both sides with good reasons. That’s ok. Trust can be rebuilt, but not like this. A ‘Cold Peace’ (like with Egypt) or a ‘Warm Peace’ (like with Jordan) will do wonders for both people …

    • Richard Silverstein July 3, 2009, 1:08 AM

      Yes, we agree on a great deal.

      Are you by any chance related to any Pihas in Seattle? A big Sephardic family here.

      • Avram July 3, 2009, 2:09 AM

        Funnily enough, that is one of the most common questions I get asked by anyone from that region!

        I do use the Seattle Sephardi Shul’s prayer book however – as my dad’s family is from Rhodes and Southern Turkey and I am eager to continue the minhagim (the food stuff I’ve seen my whole life, so ’twas easy). I’ve asked the cantor htere, Isaac Azoze (if you know him), many a questions about Rhodesli minhagim as a lot of things were mixed when my family moved into the Congo, Rhodesia and South Africa.

        I really want to go to Seattle – just to go to that shul but it’s so far away now! Who knows, maybe if I win the lottery.

        Shabbat Shalom.

        • Richard Silverstein July 3, 2009, 10:00 PM

          Wow, do a search for “Issac Azoze” on my blog & you’ll find the Pesach music blog post I did including mp3s of lots of diff. types of Jewish music, including a Four Questions in Ladino sung by the Hazzan. We shared e mails & he graciously allowed me to feature the mp3 in my post. I broadcast the music as a show on KBCS a few Pesachs ago.

          • Avram July 4, 2009, 10:03 AM

            I will do! That is fantastic! If you’re big into Ladino music, your best bet is obviously Yehoram Gaon’s stuff. I found a 6 CD collection set of Ladino music if it interests you – not bad price either (~70 USD).

            Thanks for this!! :)

          • Richard Silverstein July 4, 2009, 10:58 PM

            Funny you should mention Gaon. We must have similar musical tastes as that radio show in which I featured Hazzan Azoze also features Gaon’s wonderful double recording of Ladino Pesach music.

          • Avram July 4, 2009, 11:02 PM

            I love Spangole music (, food too! I make pastelicos, pepitada, pechado con salsa de agristada etc) & the Ladino language … I just wish my nonnou had passed on the language more to my dad, and him to me … Oh well, I guess I could learn it but I will do my best to give my son a chance to learn the language, as it’s almost dead (I’ve read reports that around 90% of Ladino speakers died in the Holocaust) …

            On another note, there is a wonderful museum in Rhodes in the Juderia (where my family used to live ‘back in the day), which has many Ladino CDs … So get there, and you’re set!

          • Richard Silverstein July 5, 2009, 12:25 AM

            Rhodes, huh? About as close as I’m going to get to Rhodes is visiting Ezra Besaroth or the other Sephardic synagogue in Seattle. But one can always dream…

  • AvramAvram July 3, 2009, 12:07 AM

    If it’s pending, you’re 100% right. If it’s not, then we’re in agreement too.


    I think there’s journalists in there all the time. I know a few, but they report for foreign newspapers mostly. Most news broadcasts have the guys there … Gaza is as you say ‘closed’ to reporters.

    re: mutilating dead bodies – I don’t think there’s been a case of this in recent times. I remember Arik writing about it in Warrior, and how he berated the soldier (sometime in the early 1950s) but it’s not something I’ve heard of otherwise.

    “I think that extremists on both sides are mentally disabled by their hate”

    I don’t know tbh – disabled is a strong word. A lot of them are realistic at times. I’ve heard one Hamas guy (the name escapes me), who’s very high up, who seems to be very much ‘in tune’ with reality despite a harsh and hateful tone. Reality dictates we cannot continue the way it’s going. It’s screwing both people beyond belief, and yes the Palestinians are getting it far worse than us on many levels. It cannot go on like this … and if it does, “we” (ie the Jewish residents of this area) will be the losers in the end.

    “I simply will not say that one side hates more than the other”

    Don’t think we can prove it one way or another, so concur.

  • Arie Brand July 3, 2009, 2:40 AM

    I still haven’t had an explanation from Avram why he identified hearsay with lies. Hearsay is not admitted as evidence in court (at any case not in Australian courts) but one can be perfectly truthful in reporting it.

    As to settlers being able to abuse Palestinian corpses I think there is little doubt about that – seeing what they do to living Palestinians. The other side is capable of it as well? Yes, only they get less chance to do it.

    I don’t like ‘the both sides have sinned’ approach. I think one of the parties here has been manifestly more wronged and sinned against than the other. If I wasn’t deeply convinced of that I wouldn’t bother to write about the matter.

    • Avram July 3, 2009, 2:57 AM

      Ok, I can compromise. Hass was ‘perfectly truthful’ in reporting a lie. Better?

      I struggle to believe any ‘sane’ human being would gladly fool around with a ‘dead’ body. As I said later, I’ve read about it happening in the army (in the middle of an operation, soldier stepping on dead man’s head and cursing or something like that) but I’ve yet to see an example of random settlers coming up to a dead body, poking it, etc etc.

      “As to settlers being able to abuse Palestinian corpses I think there is little doubt about that – seeing what they do to living Palestinians.”

      In other words, you don’t have any evidence but you think it’s true. Hearsay!!! Please provide a link of it happening please. Also, you should be a bit more exact with the term ‘Settler’. I know PLENTY of settlers in Efrat etc and I think they’d puke before even getting close to a corpse.

      As for your last paragraph, to each his own. I doubt we’ll agree for varying reasons but I can respect your opinion, though I disagree with it.

  • ellen July 3, 2009, 4:51 AM
    • Avram July 3, 2009, 5:24 AM

      I don’t get this.
      a) Why jail time? Surely, they should just be let go –
      b) How is she allowed that much time on a phone call if she’s in serious trouble for breaking the law??

      Something isn’t adding up overall for me.

      • Richard Silverstein July 3, 2009, 10:03 PM

        She IS a former U.S. Congresswoman from a country with whom Israel has an extremely delicate relationship these days. To mistreat her wouldn’t exactly go over well with the Obama administration.

        • Avram July 4, 2009, 10:04 AM

          Hence, “I don’t get this”!

          Something is just odd … or maybe we’re just being idiots, which happens uuuh occasionally.

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