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Israeli Police Plant Rumor That Palestinian Murder Victim Was Gay, Victim of Honor Killing

Earlier this week, I published a post noting that the Israeli police planted a rumor that Mohamed Abu Khdeir was gay and a victim of an honor killing by his family who was shamed by his behavior. I denounced the rumor as a fraud. I based my post on a Haaretz report that said the boy had been killed as the result of an honor killing. What followed was a festival of gay-baiting from Israeli rightists who were delighted to blame the victim for his own death based on his own “sordid” lifestyle. I knew the smears of the victim derived directly from the police. But the Israeli right counter-attacked with material like this:

When skeptics like Yair Rosenberg accused me of fabricating the claim that the gay rumor originated from the police, I responded that it was obvious that the social media blitz resulted from information provided by the police to the media and their accomplices. But it wasn’t good enough for them.

gay smear of Abu Khdeir originated with israeli police

Amos Harel’s story confirming gay hoax smear originated with Israeli police

Now, Amos Harel confirms my original post with a new piece in Haaretz (pictured here). It’s not yet appeared on the website in Hebrew or English:

Immediately after the murder of the [Palestinian] boy from Shuafat, the police disseminated unfounded speculation (which enjoyed widespread publication in a manner that would never occur if the victim was Jewish) according to which the murder had a homosexual motive. The Right explained that Jews aren’t capable of horrible things like this [the murder] and conveniently forgot a long list which includes names like Ami Popper, Eden Natan-Zada and more Jewish Hamasniks.

Let’s chalk up the gratuitous swipe at Hamas–since that movement appears more disciplined,  and consistent than the settlers who dominate Israeli political discourse and their henchmen who murder little Palestinian boys–to Harel’s liberal Zionism.  To his inability to acknowledge that Palestinian nationalism that aggressively resists Israeli Occupation is legitimate. That’s his problem, not Hamas’.

Leaving aside that limitation, here is proof that my original post was right on the money. The police, being the vile, racist, incompetent slobs that they are, decided that until they could solve the case they’d comfort Israeli Jews with a cock and bull story that would allow them to feel smug and self-righteous and wash their hands of this horrible crime. One which we now know was committed by a cell of Jewish terrorists who spring right from the center of Jerusalem’s Orthodox-Mizrahi community.

Mekomit, the Hebrew version of 972 Magazine adds this:

The purpose of the police was to exploit racism and ignorance of the media and its readers in order to commence a rumor mill that would divert the public’s attention from what was in all likelihood a cruel lynching by racists rightists.  It worked, of course, media outlets quoted widely this explanation.  On social media they deduced (as expected) that the murder victim was homosexual and responded with the requisite level of homophobia.

The rumor was despicable and about as likely as Shimon Peres being Yaser Arafat’s secret lover. I knew it stunk to high heaven and said so. But there were those who refused to believe the police were capable of such chicanery. Any reader of this blog knows what the police are capable of. If they only equally capable of solving crimes and securing convictions. If only they’d properly investigated the report of the attempted kidnapping of a 9 year old Palestinian boy only days before in the same neighborhood. Then Mohamed Abu Khdeir need not have died a most horrible death. The Israeli police too have his blood on their hands.

They perpetrated a hoax on the Israeli public in this case, not to mention smearing the memory of a Palestinian murder victim. This is unforgivable. But will they pay any price for it? Are you kidding?

{ 11 comments… add one }
  • Deïr Yassin July 7, 2014, 1:36 AM

    Thank you, Richard, for pointing out Amos Harel’s free shot at ‘Hamasniks’.
    Concerning the false rumours, I was disgusted yesterday to see that many comments on the French newspaper Le Monde also claimed Muhammed Abukhdeir was killed because he was a ‘well-known’ homosexual. Reminds me of the words of the French counterpart to Abe Foxman, Roger Cukierman “When Sharon came to France, I told him he must absolutely create a Ministry of Propaganda just like Goebbels” (cf. article by Akiva Eldar in Haaretz, september 26th 2001)

    I still wonder: if two surveillance cameras belonging to Palestinians (one to Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s own father) hadn’t filmed the kidnapping/kidnappers, if Palestinians hadn’t taken the licence number etc would the Israeli police have done much to find the killers ? We know now that they had the images right from the start, and still they kept Muhammad’s father for the whole day, trying to pressure him to sign his son was killed in a family dispute.
    When I see how careless the missed kidnapping was handled by the Israeli police I doubt they would have done much.
    As Suha Abukhdeir, Tariq Abukhdeirs’s mother, says: “If my son weren’t an American citizen, he would be left to rot in an Israeli prison”.
    I’m pleased to see that the American consulate in Jerusalem has done their job and stood by the family, such as the presence of three American diplomats in during court hearings on Sunday.
    PS. The one billion question is: are they going to demolish the family homes of the six suspects and arrest their family members…..

  • poirefrais July 7, 2014, 10:07 AM

    Thank you for the report, Richard.
    Thank you Deir Yassin for your comment. The police have masked their actions, motives and covered their crimes many a time.
    The press ‘gag orders’ seem to ensure further misinformation and propaganda.
    Planting rumours and withholding information will continue. Media appears, often, to selectively report and encourage biased narratives.
    The more journalists, lawyers, etc., probe, demand and challenge ‘facts’, the more people will see past lies and propaganda, and Israeli society (and others) can confront and expose injustices and crimes, and hold those responsible, accountable.

    The occupation and it’s abuses, the illegal settlements encroaching on Palestinian life, the injustices and oppression all led directly to the death of this poor. little boy.
    Netanyahu, with all his promises to find/prosecute the perpetrators, is responsible for the crimes perpetrated against Palestinians by Israel and deaths, on both sides, from his government’s policies. He has used the pretext of ‘security’ and turned it into tyranny. He has continued settlement building even in the last weeks. He, seemingly, needs no excuse to continue bombing Gaza, kill innocent civilians, and try to divide the Palestinian people and government.

    The awful news of Tariq Abukhdeir’s murder is horrifying. The murder of innocent children and deaths of three youth (Israeli/American) will not be forgotten. These children and many others are victims, daily, of Netanyahu’s government policies and extremist ideologies/Zionism gone amuck.

    May some measure of sanity and international/domestic pressure end this nightmare. Refugee camps are full of children and families, suffering, far too long.
    End the occupation and it’s stranglehold on everyone!

    • Deïr Yassin July 7, 2014, 10:46 AM

      Thanks God, Tariq isn’t dead :-) His first cousin Muhammad was killed.
      I don’t want to seem heartless, but I really ask myself: is Israeli society and the parents (one came from Talmon, a settlement, the Fraenkel-family lives in Nof Ayalon, built in 1994 on both sides of the Green Line so I consider them settlers too) going to ask themselves why three young Israelis were studying in a Yeshiva in a settlement (it seems only two of them studied in Kfar Etzion, the other in Hebron) built on occupied Palestinian land. Did these parents ever think about what Gush Etzion and other settlements have done to the Palestinians ? Kfar Etzion has a history of dumping their sewage on Palestinian farmland for instance, and I’ve seen some pictures from a Pourim-party where the settlers (many fat/ugly Anglos…) of Kfar Etzion were dressed up as…. Arabs ! Women wearing the ‘veil’, the ‘setting’ was some kind of a desert tent. Sick people…..

      • David July 7, 2014, 10:29 PM

        It is part of the settler world image and reputation that they seem to be a uniquely unattractive slice of Israel. When we think “thug” and “bully”, what comes to mind? A big bloated guy with shirt buttons popping open, swaggering about with an automatic weapon, very busy stealing land and whopping Palestinians. And trying to justify it all.

        One half of the Israel settlement budget is provided by American taxpayers. The nightmarish occupation would be throttled some if the US withheld these funds. If the US wanted peace (the “peace process” — is this charade still invoked anywhere?) it would stop financing the occupation. I am withholding $25 in taxes which is the average American taxpayer’s share of the “aid” to Israel and I try to get others to do so as well. I’ll include a note that in contravention of statute and conditions, Israel uses the money to illegally settle the WB and for weapons for that purpose. As these actions are illegal, and I know the use to which the funds are put, I would be an accessory to these illegal actions by funding it. Can the IRS force me to break the law? Stay tuned.

        • Deïr Yassin July 8, 2014, 1:47 AM

          Yes we’ll stay tuned on your tax-paying story. It seems a good idea. Small daily-life actions like this can change the picture. Since I was a teenager, I’ve tried to drop a word on why I don’t buy any Israeli products to various people when the occasion appears, I remember first time I said to a fruit seller that I didn’t want to buy his Israeli oranges or whatever, looked at me as if I’ve fallen down from the sky…..
          There’s no avatar any longer, are you David from San Diego who became Davey taking back your real name ? Too many short names and without the colored avatars make it difficult to distinguish the various commenters.

  • Dcdoc1 July 7, 2014, 10:24 AM

    [comment deleted–this is NOT a venue for hasbara, anti-Arab rants, etc. You’re free to do that to your heart’s content elsewhere. You know the comment rules (or, if you don’t read them). Follow them. If not, you’ll be moderated.

    • Elisabeth July 7, 2014, 10:42 AM

      Again: Read up on past posts and you would not ask these questions.

      A lot of such nonsense comments full of ‘earnest questions’ these days Richard. And they are all very similar. Interesting to see.

  • sAV July 7, 2014, 9:01 PM

    I just want to thank you for your diligent, important work.

  • Myron Joshua July 8, 2014, 1:56 AM

    Richard, do you have an idea of what the motivation of this lie was. Was the diversion part of an attempt to whitewash and ignore the crime? Was it a stupid and ugly manipulation in order to move ahead with the investigation? Or was it, as you seem to be saying just something that came from a racist investigator/cop/police system that would shoot itself in the leg when their lie would be shown to be false (by its own investigation)..? Granted the latter is a possibility since it turns out no shot in the leg has happened..but it has all been forgotten.

    • Richard Silverstein July 8, 2014, 11:51 PM

      My source told me there were Shabak & police units trying to develop different leads in the case. The police were developing the theory that it was an honor killing. Someone within the police (not on the police team) leaked a false rumor that he was killed because he was gay. I’m not sure my source is right about this, but he claims it was meant to distract the Israeli public from the Ronel Fisher-Alon Hassan scandal which enveloped the police leadership. Personally, I think it’s more likely it was meant to comfort Israelis and tell them no Jew did this, but rather Palestinians did it to themselves. Certainly a racist motive and one common to the police.

  • Aharon Eviatar July 8, 2014, 7:41 AM

    Richard, Harel is right. The Palestinians have a full right to oppose the occupation and to resist the army. Their attacks on civilians are the mirror image of the settlers and indeed they seem to need each other. Otherwise, you are right on, as usual.

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