Yesterday night, I noticed several Israeli Facebook users infecting my feed with false claims that Mohamed Abu Khdeir, the 16 year-old who was murdered by suspected Jewish terrorists, was killed in an honor crime because he was gay. With the help of an Israeli friend, I traced the rumor to, of all places, the Israeli police (Hebrew). They leaked (Hebrew) this false information to the media, which dutifully reported it as if it was true (it wasn’t). The police claim (made anonymously of course) that it had “information” Abu Khdeir was gay was false. But this calumny spread like the wind, and a credulous Israeli public eager to believe the worst of Palestinians and refusing to take any responsibility for their own brethren spilling the blood of a Palestinian, took to social media like a raging plague and spread this bile everywhere.
This is the proverbial “blaming the victim” tactic often used by accused rapists and their defense attorneys. But this is worse because the victim in this case is dead and the fellow citizens of the accused killers refuse to acknowledge the pain and suffering of the murder. They want to wipe it out because they hate Palestinians and believe them undeserving of sympathy.
This Haaretz report (pictured on right) by Nir Hasson and Jack Khoury documents the fraud and conveys the angry response of the victim’s family:
Our family is not involved in any dispute and he was a good boy. this is not a family problem. It is a kidnapping [now murder] and everyone must know this.
The police are living up to their reputation of being the most corrupt, incompetent, racist and thuggish agency in the entire nation. I’ve reported here their incompetence in handling the 911 calls from the Hebron kidnapping victims and their family. The families of the victims now complain (Hebrew) that the Shabak lied to them initially telling them the shots heard on the 911 call were “blanks.” They were not. They were also told that no DNA was found in the burnt vehicle used to kidnap the boys (blood and bullets were found). All this gave them false hope they might still be alive. At a certain point, the families realized the police could not handle an investigation of this magnitude. That’s when the IDF became involved.
Now, in the current case, instead of solving the crime and apprehending the Jewish terrorist who likely committed it, they prefer to create red herrings which confuse the case and the public, thus diverting attention from the real killers. You’d almost think the police are in cahoots with them or at least so sympathetic they don’t want to catch them. What I’d like to know is whether the false reports to the Israeli media were part of an orchestrated police or even government campaign or whether this was an impromptu idea some idiot cop thought up on his own.
To add further fuel to this fire, Maan reports that instead of the kid gloves treatment accorded the Israeli families, the Palestinian victim’s father was questioned for hours by the police, who tried to get him to say that there was a family feud in which Mohamed was caught up. Though the father doesn’t mention the claim of his son being gay, that is no doubt due to the fact that subjects like this aren’t publicly discussed by families. The father vehemently denied his family had disputes with anyone. This angle of investigation is spurious and an attempt to sow deliberate confusion. The father also reveals that there is surveillance video of the kidnapping which clearly show the perpetrators.
The family is deeply critical of the police “response:”
Muhammad’s father Hussein Abu Khdeir said the family notified police about the incident immediately after it happened but are still waiting for a response.
“We notified the police of the incident when it happened, but until now they haven’t moved a muscle or arrested the kidnappers, despite their clear appearance in the surveillance cameras,” he said.
“If things were different and an Arab kidnapped an Israeli, it would have been uncovered in moments.”
Hussein said that following news of the killing he was detained and interrogated for several hours and his wife was forced to take a DNA test.
“Police want to cover the issue up, to protect the settlers, but the cameras were clear,” he added.
If the police would exert half as much energy in finding the real killers as they are in spinning lies, they might find them.
Sheera Frenkel, one of the few reporters based in Israel I trust writing about this story adds some potentially incendiary developments in her reporting. We knew that when Abu Khdeir’s body was found it had been burnt. But we didn’t know the scenario of what had happened and how he was killed. Frenkel sheds light on this:
The body of a Palestinian teenager was found in the Jerusalem Forest on Wednesday, beaten and burned to death.
The notion that this boy was tortured before his murder and that he may not have been dead when they set his body alight takes this crime beyond mere blood vengeance into the realm of deviant pathology. When this new development makes its way through the Palestinian community and into the wider world, it will light a tinderbox. If you wonder what it might take to cause a Third Intifada, this is precisely the fuel that would do it.
Speaking of pathology, Rabbi Noam Perel, the worldwide leader of the Bnai Akiba youth movement which, at one time, was known as a bastion of modern Orthodox Judaism, called for vengeance for the Hebron killings:
“An entire nation and thousands of years of history demand revenge,” Perel posted on his Facebook page…
“The government of Israel is gathering for a revenge meeting…The landlord has gone mad at the sight of his sons’ bodies. A government that turns the army of searchers to an army of avengers, an army that will not stop at 300 Philistine foreskins,” Perel wrote, alluding to the biblical tale of David, who killed 200 Philistines and gave their foreskins to King Saul as the bride price for his daughter.
“The disgrace will be paid for with the blood of the enemy, not with our tears…”
I wish I could say this is deviant Israeli Jewish behavior. But at a certain point you have to admit that the lunatics have taken over the asylum and are running it. If there are any sane people remaining they’re too ashamed, too frightened, or too tired to do anything to stop it. Which may mean that Israel is doomed. Unless the rest of world comes to its senses and restores sanity by knocking heads together and forcing compromise.
Amidst all this misery, the only small flicker of hope and humanity is this statement released by the uncle of one of the murdered Israeli boys:
Yishai Fraenkel, uncle of Naftali Fraenkel, called upon Israelis and Palestinians to “refrain from any type of violence” following the deaths of the four young men.
“The life of an Arab is equally precious to that of a Jew. Blood is blood, and murder is murder, whether that murder is Jewish or Arab,” Fraenkel told CTV News Channel in a telephone interview from Israel.
“There’s no justification whatsoever to revenge or do anything as a result of the barbaric murder of my nephew.”
The wild-eyed lunatics in Yitzhar and other warrior settlements won’t accord the Fraenkels any respect, even in their period of mourning.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.