Just when I think that the IDF and Israel’s far-right religious leadership cannot get any weirder, they surprise me yet again. The IDF distributed to its soldiers a pamphlet endorsed by a far-right pro-settler rabbi and written by the American Orthodox movement. It contained this little bit of Jewish conspiracy theory paranoia:
The Pope and the cardinals of the Vatican help organize tours of Auschwitz for Hezbollah members to teach them how to wipe out Jews, according to a booklet being distributed to Israel Defense Forces soldiers.
Officials encouraging the booklet’s distribution include senior officers, such as Lt. Col. Tamir Shalom, the commander of the Nahshon Battalion of the Kfir Brigade. The booklet was published by the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, in cooperation with the chief rabbi of Safed, Rabbi Shmuel Eliahu, and has been distributed for the past few months.
The booklet, titled “On Either Side of the Border,” purports to be the testimony of “a Hezbollah officer who spied for Israel…The story is narrated by a man named Avi, who says he changed his name from Ibrahim after he left Hezbollah and converted to Judaism. Avi says he was once close to Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, and describes Hezbollah’s purported close relationships with the Vatican and European leaders.
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement: “The book was received as a donation and distributed in good faith to the soldiers. After we were alerted to the sensitivity of its content, distribution was immediately halted.”
“Distributed in good faith???” What narischkeit. It was distributed in bad faith. It is a racist piece of utter nonsense. Anyone with half a brain in their head could see that. Don’t IDF officers have half a brain? Or do they just not give a good goddamn what is conveyed to its soldiers (in the IDF’s name) about Arabs?
Lest we wonder how the IDF can prosecute a war in Gaza killing 1,400 of whom 1,100 were civilians, this story conveys how such a horror can happen. You tell gullible 18 year olds such fantasies and they will believe anything you like about Muslims. The result is unrestrained mayhem. In fact, the Breaking the Silence testimonies reveal that soldiers were told that there are no civilians in Gaza; that everyone is Hamas. This gave the troops license to consider anyone with whom it came into contact as a dangerous enemy. The way you create such notions is with delusional propaganda like this booklet.
And what is even more depressing is that I know that most Israelis and certainly the IDF itself will see little or nothing wrong with this. The officer will probably not even receive a reprimand. The only regret will be that the incident saw the light of day in a newspaper. This is how Israel has become coarsened by Occupation. Most no longer care about anything having to do with the Palestinians (or in this case, the Lebanese). They’re prepared to believe the worst and need very little urging to get them to do so. Their brains (not to mention their hearts) stopped working long ago when it comes to this subject.
Here is more of this Protocol of the Elders of Hezbollah:
According to the book, Nasrallah was invited to join a delegation to tour France, Poland and Italy, including the Vatican. Nasrallah could not refuse an invitation from the Vatican, Avi explained: “We knew [the Pope] identified with Hezbollah’s struggle.”
The book describes the alleged visit of Hezbollah officials to Auschwitz, led by the Vatican: “We came to the camps. We saw the trains, the platforms, the piles of eyeglasses and clothes … We came to learn … Our escort spoke as he was taught. We quickly explained to him: Every real Arab, deep inside, is kind of a fan of the Nazis.”
The following passage confirms that there are religious frauds in other places than the Bible Belt and with names other than Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Ted Haggard:
The younger Eliahu was also behind an online video in which he described the “miracle of our matriarch Rachel,” whom he claims appeared before Israeli soldiers in Gaza to warn them of booby-trapped buildings during Operation Cast Lead.
“In some of the places we went in Gaza there was a woman who warned them … ‘Did they tell you who I am,’ she said, ‘I am the matriarch Rachel,” Eliahu says in the video. “I told her: Rachel, there’s a war… Go to God, Blessed Be He, pray over the soldiers who sacrifice themselves for the People of Israel, so that they will strike and not be struck.”
David Menahemov, an aide to Eliahu, claims the book is not fiction. “Avi is a real person and everything in the book is absolutely true,” insists Menahemov. “It’s a totally true story, I know the guy personaly [sic]. He’s an Arab, who even though he converted still acts like an Arab. We helped him to write and to translate it. We changed a few details to protect him and his family.”
What does “acting like an Arab mean?” Does he still steal? Lie? Cheat? I’ll let you know if Rabbi Eliahu ever produces any further evidence of the existence of the mysterious Avi/Ibrahim.
H/t to Amir Terkel.