Until now, I merely thought the Israeli far-right was violent, intolerant and racist. But now I know that it is also devious and practiced in the black arts of false flag operations that smack of Shabak (or at least a trained intelligence background). In the past few days, a purported radical leftist website has surfaced (and disappeared) which featured doctored images of Bibi Netanyahu in SS uniform. The author of the site claimed to be an opponent of the Netanyahu government who spurned the J14 movement because it isn’t radical enough for his taste. The rhetoric is so clever and diabolical it has to be read (and parsed) to be believed:
We are citizens of Israel who believe that the words in the document listing the demands of the enormous demonstrations which took place lately, are a disgrace.
You read correctly. We represent the heart of the Israeli protest against the capitalist-pig policies of Bibi Netanyahu. We believe that any effort by one camp or another [within the protest movement] to engage with the current government is nothing but absurd.
Try to imagine what you would feel if a drunk murdered your loved ones. And let’s assume he did this in a humiliating, exploitative manner. Yes, a death through torture. And the murderer did this for months, years, even decades! Would you try to find a way resolve your differences and could you live easily with this murderer?
Israeli governments have, for generations, and the current one specifically, have devised a policy of daily exploitation and deception against the citizens of Israel. And it realized this policy with a total absence of oppositions from the masses of Israelis.
We, the very heart of the immense, expanding citizen’s arrest [movement] of the State of Israel demand bringing Mr. Benyamin Netanyahu to justice, including all ministers of the current government and those who preceded them in other governments. We demand that they be brought to account within the framework of “field justice,” where they would be tried by a jury sworn to this duty, which would represent the citizens of this nation whose exploitation and degradation is ongoing.
This website has taken upon itself the overarching goal of civic unity and the recruitment of the proper and suitable legal authorities from among the Israeli public. We all hope that the raging public body will join in with our important goals.
While one has to admit that this fraud is quite clever, anyone with half a brain and any experience with the way those in the progressive movement talk and think would know that this is a fraud; or else something written by Lyndon LaRouche or Gus Hall back in the day. But the J14 movement? Not a chance. I’d say that not even Hadash would use such rhetoric.
In fact, anyone with an ounce of historic memory will know that these pictures and this rhetoric is a holdover from the days of incitement suffered by Yitzhak Rabin before a right-wing assassin murdered him. The SS uniform, the works. They did it to Rabin. That’s where the far-right learned this trick.
Use of the term “citizen’s arrest” is meant to echo the efforts by the international human rights community to arrest Israeli military officers who travel to foreign countries for alleged war crimes offenses. Since this is a controversial practice in Israel, the attempt is to link the J14 movement to a campaign that would be highly unpopular in many circles in Israel. Again, an effort that continues the duplicity of the overall effort involved in these hoax sites.
In fact, the term of “Citizen’s Arrest” was first used in another bizarre blog, which purports to have been founded by a hitherto unknown group, “Mizrahim against Israel.” This site in turn links to yet another, which urges Palestinians to return to the suicide bombing strategy of the Second Intifada–to “spill rivers of Zionist blood in the streets of occupied Palestine.” The site also wraps itself in the mantle of the Israeli Black Panthers, a group which hasn’t existed inside Israel for decades.
And what self-respecting leftist cares about “civic unity?” This again is a hallmark of far rightist thought which seeks to impose consensus and stamp out diversity of thought and action.
As for the notion of “field justice:” again, this presumes that the left wants blood and vengeance for its suffering. No, that’s the MO of the far-right. They’re the ones who want blood and retribution (which they got in the form of the Rabin assassination). The left wants peace, not blood.
So anyone in the media who accepted this at face value has been had. And of course, that doesn’t matter to these fraudsters because by the time the deception is uncovered their website has disappeared, the authors have sunk back into the mire from which they sprang, and the damage has been done. Naturally, these Drudge-like reports have been picked up by more mainstream outlets and published as fact. In fact, Haaretz published a story reporting that the Likud filed a complaint against the website featuring the Bibi SS images. But of course, the Likud thought at that time that the website was in fact one sponsored by the radical Israeli left. When they find out it was in fact devised by one of their own, I somehow doubt they’ll seek to file charges against a true-blue Likudnik (see below).
These photographs of course have nothing to do with the J14 movement. Instead, Israeli activists have exposed the real author of this dirty trick. He is the owner of the semi-official Likud website (designated thus by Haaretz): Philip Hubert. Hubert has also registered a number of domains and websites with equally provocative titles designed to smear the Israeli left: Anarchists Without Borders, Mizrahim Against Israel, and a number of other similar false fronts. These websites were created before the J14 movement sprang up. But it appears that Hubert saw an opportunity once the tent protest movement threatened to topple the Netanyahu government, to do some damage to it by mobilizing all his false front operations to smear J14.
It worked to an extent, since few media outlets have yet reported the hoax. But without the terrific research and reporting of Itamar Shealtiel and his comrades at Activismos, Hubert’s machinations might never have been exposed.
UPDATE and CORRECTION: Philip Hubert has released an entirely unconvincing and confusing statement to Calcalist in Israel claiming that while he is currently listed as the owner of the domains mentioned above, that he actually has no responsiblity for any of their content since he sold his company (which owns the sites) to another individual. Hubert’s claim is that this individual has allowed others to take over these sites and that the content is neither his nor that of the individual who currently owns his former company. Of course that doesn’t answer the question who is responsible for the sites. Apparently, if you can believe Hubert, the new owner would know that information. All the latter has said is that if there is a complaint registered about the sites he will examine it to determine whether or not it violates the company’s terms of service.
Activismos released a statement standing behind its original post. But after Hubert made a threat of legal action against the website, Activismos removed the blog post to protect itself. However, I will not remove this blog post as I believe in good faith that the information is accurate (to the best of my knowledge). If Hubert wishes to make any further claim or statement regarding this incident I will publish it here and am willing to entertain any further evidence to bolster his claim.
I made one error in my translation of the website and the correct term is “citizen’s arrest” and not “citizen’s treasury” as I originally wrote (one word contains the letter ayin and the other the letter alef and I mistook the letter and hence mistranslated). I should note that the reader who noted my error in an attempt to negate my overall claims about the site, also mistranslated the phrase claiming it meant “citizen’s curfew.” The word otzar may mean “curfew,” but in this context it does not.