On the one year anniversary of the death of non-violent Bilin protester Jawaher Abu Rahme, her family’s Israeli human rights lawyer, Michael Sfard, reminds us of the nasty conspiracy by senior IDF commander, Maj. Gen. Avi Mizrahi, with the Israeli media to rob Abu Rahme in death of her dignity through outright lies. These lies were dutifully disseminated by reporters and right-wing hasbara blogs like Muqata, Israellycool (yes, our old friend David Lange again), and Jonathan Hoffman at the Jewish Chronicle, who claimed in blaring headlines that the Palestinian non-violent movement had created a “blood libel” against the IDF. Virtually every claim of the IDF and their media whores was disproven. Yet no newspaper except Haaretz published anything close to the truth, nor did anyone publish a correction or retraction.
Thanks to Oren Persico at 7th Eye for publishing Sfard’s J’Accuse against Mizrahi. I should point out that the publication, showing an abundance of caution, refused to name the IDF liar (though Sfard did in his remarks). But it didn’t need to, because Yossi Gurvitz did so last year in +972. Sfard’s comments are expanded upon in Blood Libel in Bilin, a full-length investigation (summary here) prepared by the NGO Keshev. It recounts the entire media coverage of the tragedy and tells a particularly ugly story. To be fair, the report singles the Palestinian media out for criticism as well. But given that the killing was perpetrated by Israel and its media is much larger and has more resources, Israel’s media is far more culpable.
This is the schandeh of which Gen. Mizrahi is guilty: he told the Israeli media that Abu Rahme wasn’t at the demonstration at all and therefore couldn’t have died of tear gas inhalation. He told them that the activists delayed getting her to the hospital, which caused her death. He told them the hospital committed medical negligence by treating her for the wrong condition thereby causing her death. He said that the drugs she was given during treatment indicated she had cancer rather than gas toxicity and died of cancer instead of asphyxiation.
All these things were lies. Disgusting lies for which Mizrahi and no one in the IDF has paid a price. But Mizrahi isn’t the only bald-faced liar. Last year, I wrote a post noting that Brig. Gen. Nitzan Alon also joined in the lie-fest echoing his colleague. In fact, Alon is such a good liar he was promoted to assume Mizrahi’s former position. On a further note, Mizrahi’s troops also murdered a Palestinian grandpa in his bed just before Abu Rachme’s killing. The troops had broken into an apartment on the wrong floor and killed the 65-year-old innocent man as he lay sleeping, while they held a gun to the head of his poor wife as she sat in another room. All this is proof positive that in addition to merit, the IDF rewards its commanders for deceit, subterfuge, fakery, murder, and dishonoring the memory of their Palestinian victims. It makes me ashamed. Damn ashamed.
The Israeli military prosecutor is “investigating” the case and there will be a Supreme Court hearing in July. Without this, the army would undoubtedly sweep yet another negligent homicide under the rug. For those who object to the term “homicide” they’ll recall an IDF study from 2002 which noted that CS gas in strong enough concentrations could kill a human being, which is precisely what happened.
Another word about the role played by David Lange in this matter. He and his fellow Hasbara media mavens were willing co-conspirators with the IDF in spreading its lies. They were hoaxed, but willingly so. And they in turn perpetrated the hoax on their readers, and they too may’ve been willingly hoaxed. I don’t mind that Lange hoaxed me into exposing a fraudulent identity he’d created for himself. All that was hurt was my pride. But through his fraud in this instance he dragged Jawaher Abu Rahme’s reputation in death through the mud. That is a far worse crime. Lange will never apologize. He doesn’t have it in him. Not least because Abu Rahme, as a Palestinian isn’t fully human to him. She is the enemy and therefore anything she does, including dying, is a personal affront to Israel and its army. An affront that’s worth lying about to “expose.”
Finally, we should note that the very same CS tear gas and the projectiles that deliver them continue causing death to Palestinian protesters including one that happened last month. The fact that the IDF uses munitions and crowd control devices that kill not just once but repeatedly, makes the entire army guilty of violations of international law. These deaths are no longer accidents or unfortunate mistakes. They are, at the very least negligent homicide and at worst murder. Take your pick.