Story Claiming West Bank Rabbi Endorsed Poisoning Palestinian Wells Likely Zio-Hoax
Middle East Monitor (MEMO) published a story (update: it appears to have been taken down) based on an earlier report from the Anadalou News Agency claiming a settler rabbi endorsed poisoning the wells of West Bank Palestinians. If true, this would be yet another outrageous, racist, even genocidal statement in a long line from such settler rabbis. But it isn’t true. For the following reasons:
- The article says the PLO denounced the statement by the rabbi. The PA would be the proper authority to make such a statement if one was made. The PLO does not make such statements.
- The article claims the Jewish figure who endorsed the poisoning of wells was one, “Rabbi Shlomo Mlma” of the “Council of Rabbis of West Bank settlements.” The only problem: there is no such rabbi. The name “Mlma” is not Hebrew and likely fabricated. Though there is a rabbinic council on the West Bank, there is no group with this name. The two rabbis of the settlement of Beit El are Shlomo Aviner and Zalman Melamed. The fake name could be a deliberate conflation of these two real ones. There is a Rabbi Zalman Melamed in Beit El as well, and Shlomo is the Hebrew version of the Yiddish name, Zalman. But only someone versed in the settler community would know this information. No Palestinian reporter would.
- The article says that Breaking the Silence made a statement denouncing the rabbi and suggesting the motivation for his call. But it neither quotes the statement nor names the representative who made it. WAFA, the official PLO news agency, in its story names the representative as Yehuda Shaul, who was once BtS’ spokesperson, but who has not been for some time.
- The story quotes a statement by a “Wasil Abu Youssef, a member of the PLO executive committee.” But no other news sites confirm he made such a statement.
The author of what purports to be the original Anadolu story is Aness Suheil Bargoti. There is an Anees Suheil Barghouti whose stories appear in Google searches. I have written the editors at the Agency to try to determine what the author’s sources were and where this story originated. I also tweeted to Barghouti himself. He has not yet responded. It should be noted that Anadolu is the state-run Turkish news agency. Given the current hostilities between Israel and Turkey, it’s entirely possible the agency would be eager to run such a story ostensibly embarrassing Israel.
The story was also picked up by WAFA, the PLO’s press agency. WAFA knows the PLO well enough not to quote it as the source of the story, as Anadolu did. It even convinced the Palestinian foreign ministry to respond to it unfortunately. This surely made those who created the hoax quite happy.
While there is ample past evidence of settlers poisoning Palestinian wells by throwing dead animals and soiled diapers into them, as noted in reader comments below, this particular version is a hoax.
While it is clear that this story is fake, it’s only slightly less clear who created it. My strong feeling is that it comes from official or unofficial Israeli hasbara sources. The timing couldn’t be more convenient given the recent news cycle which offered a damaging story about Israel cutting off water to West Bank villages as they faced a massive heat wave. What better way to counter the bad press than to put out a hoax, which the pro-Israel press will jump on to ridicule the pro-Palestine media who swallowed the story hook, line and sinker.
UPDATE: An Israeli just informed me that Maariv published a story last week in which the pro-settler group Ad Kan revealed that former Breaking the Silence spokesperson, Yehuda Shaul was filmed two years ago claiming that settlers poisoned a Palestinian well. This claim is being used by Palestinians who are suing American Jewish settler supporters in U.S. courts. Settlers and the Israeli far-right are especially exercised when the testimony of Israeli human rights NGOs are used to “defame” Israel in the international community. All this appears to be the “inspiration” for the poison well hoax, and its connection by those who perpetrated it to Yehuda Shaul and BtS.
Another dubious aspect of the story, which was first noted by Jett Goldsmith, is that the poisoning of wells is an ancient element of Christian blood libels against Jews going back to the Middle Ages. Besides poisoning Christian water supply, Jews were also accused of kidnapping and killing Christian babies and using their blood to make matza for Passover. It would seem the perfect dark, but juvenile joke for a Jew to create a fake blood libel in order to embarrass the progressive media who might run this story.
It may be no accident that the first pro-Israel blog to find and denounce this story as a fraud is David Lange’s Israellycool. He posted his story one day after the Anadolu post was published. He was careful not to link to the Anadolu story itself, but to another site which republished it.
Lange himself has engaged in serial frauds and hoaxes on Facebook and other social media in which he posted anti-Semitic material, then featured it in his blog in order to gin up hatred of Palestinians. Most recently, he attacked 15-year-old, Leanne Mohamad, a UK schoolgirl who won a speaking competition with a speech on her love for Palestine. Lange and blog co-author, Brian Thomas. A hitherto unknown figured named Edgar Davidson also joined in the attack. Several activists told me that Davidson is none other than Thomas (in Davidson’s blog he mentions himself and Thomas in the same sentence and in this Israellycool post Thomas even concedes someone outed Davidson as him).
They all smeared Moahmad by calling her a ISIS recruiter and terrorist. As a result, the competition pulled her from the competition. This bullying was noted by the UK press, who caught on to Lange and Thomas’ MO and denounced his tactics.
Lange and Thomas have been photographed together with IDF spokesperson Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, and they jointly form a clubby mutual admiration society. Thomas has also posted a tweet saying it was a shame halacha didn’t permit him to shoot me.
In his post attacking the alleged water poisoning story, Lange even connects the Israeli water shut-off to the so-called blood libel (his words) story about the settler rabbi. I strongly doubt this is a coincidence:
A few days ago, I was one of the first to report on and debunk a blood libel perpetrated by The Independent (and others) regarding Israel restricting the access of palestinians [sic] to water.
Now we see a new water blood libel doing the rounds in the Arab media: A report concerning a prominent Rabbi who has issued a religious decree “allowing Israeli settlers in the West Bank to poison Palestinian water sources in Palestinian towns.”
What’s ironic is that the notion that settlers poisoned wells is no blood libel, but fact. It’s just that they didn’t in this particular situation because it was invented by pals of the settlers. If this isn’t dark irony I don’t know what is.
If there’s smoke wafting from this gun, it appears to lead back to the shooter, David Lange (or his pal, Brian Thomas). Of course, it’s always possible that someone associated with them pulled the hoax and told them about it so they could be first to publish a story debunking it. Time will tell…
UPDATE: Now Lahav Harkov one of Jerusalem Post’s top hack journalists has swallowed this hoax hook line and sinker. She has published a splashy story about how the PA news agency, WAFA, is publishing blood libels against the Jews, amplifying the garbage Lange already published. In truth, she and the Post are themselves willing dupes of this meretricious nonsense. The Post is a veteran hoax victim, having published fake stories about anti-Semitism in Norway and Ireland. It never published any retraction or correction to those stories, nor will it now.
The editor of MEMO thanked me for bringing the story to his attention. It appears to no longer be on the site. The public affairs department at Anadolu thanked me as well and said they would examine the matter, but the post is still accessible on the site. I will update as I learn more.
42 thoughts on “Story Claiming West Bank Rabbi Endorsed Poisoning Palestinian Wells Likely Zio-Hoax – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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I’m not sure I get this.
Anadolou and Anees Barghouti blood libel Israel. You can’t confirm or deny anything about Aness Barghouti or the source of the Anadolou article, so you accuse Lange, et al, of creating a ‘false flag blood libel’?
Did I get anything right?
“Did I get anything right?”
Nope ! And why are you always first to comment, Barbar Ltd ? Mostly with absolutely nothing to say. Are you locked up somewhere ? In the basement of Hasbara Central, maybe ?
@Abbelel: Reading comprehension not your strong suit?
So you’re claiming Anadolu & Barghouti invented the story themselves? You’re claiming that they follow Israeli media carefully enough to read Maariv’s Ad Kan story & connect it to this hoax? That they also know the names of settler rabbis enough to conflate the 2 real rabbis whose names were used?
Do you have any proof that either Anadalou or Barghouti have ever done anything like this before? Because I have proof that Ad Kan & Lange have done it many times.
I’m not claiming anything. I’ve merely applied ‘Ockham’s Razor’.
So where is Anadalou or Barghouti’s disclaimer?
@ Abby: Surprisingly, I neither work for or with either. Nor am I responsible for the actions of either. Nor am I empowered to speak for them. If you have questions, why don’t you ask them. I already did.
‘Abby/Barbar/Granny Flegmstein/ etc’ ,
You yourself are a prime example of WHY people distrust anything hasbarists say: You do nothing but lie, and post nonsense and fake links here.
You seem to have the urge to pose as something you are not, again and again. You are not intelligent enough to pull it off, and make a fool of yourself.
(But telling you this will probably not help, as it appears to be behavior you have no control over.)
No one is “blood libelling” the so-called “Jewish state”.
The reality is that Israel, and people like you, are the ones who’re most consistently guilty of blood libel when it comes to the Palestinian people (alleging that Palestinian mothers and fathers want their children to be murdered at the hands of Israel, for example) and all other peoples or parties that the “Jewish state” made into enemies.
The repulsive, cretinous hate-mongers at the propaganda site “Israellycool” are also good examples to look at when it comes to relentless attempts to demonize and blood libel the Palestinian people.
Your defense of such evil, worthless people (AussieDave and “Brian of London” in particular) is indeed telling. You’re as worthless as they are.
What a tactic – changing the details of true accusations so that they become deniable and can even be dismissed as “blood libel” (this term is now used so indiscriminately that it will ultimately lose its original meaning). It is well established that settlers have stolen Palestinian waterwells and somewhat less well established that they have occasionally poisoned others – link it all to a non-existent rabbi and hey presto, you have your “blood libel”.
I wonder what these characters will say about a furious recent statement by Herzog’s spokesman,
“Opposition leader Isaac Herzog on Sunday condemned a Facebook post published by his spokesman that called settlers “scum” whose swimming pools were built “with slain children’s blood.”
After watching a recently-released documentary on the settlements, spokesman Ofer Neuman wrote: “This scum that is destroying our future has won without a struggle. Nobody stands up to them. Once it was thought that they were crazy. They were laughed at. And they’ve accomplished horrors with a lot of strength and determination, this blatant abuse of our chances not to die here. They have violently stolen our hope.”
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/1.725862
“On 13 July 2004, residents of Hirbat Atwana near Hebron found rotting chicken carcasses in their well after four Jewish settlers were seen in the village. Israeli police said they suspected militant Jews from a nearby settlement outpost called Havat Maon. Settlers blamed the action on “internal tribal fight between the Palestinians;” Israeli police spokesman Doron Ben-Amo said it was “unlikely” that the Palestinians would contaminate their own well. On 9 December 2007, members of Christian Peacemaker Teams, an American NGO, reported to have observed a group of Israelis stop next to a cistern in Humra Valley, open the lid, and raise the bucket. The water was later found to be contaminated. Oxfam, a British NGO, has reported that settlers deliberately poisoned the only well in Madama, a village near Nablus, by dumping used diapers into it; and that they shot aid workers who came to clean the well.
A United Nations survey released in March 2012 documented the increasing use of threats, violence and intimidation to deny Palestinians access to their water resources in the West Bank. The survey stated that Israeli settlers have been acting systematically to gain control of some 56 springs most of which are located on private Palestinian land. The report noted that settler actions included “trespass, intimidation and physical assault, stealing of private property, and construction without a building permit.” The report criticized the Israeli authorities for having “systematically failed to enforce the law on those responsible for these acts and to provide Palestinians with any effective remedy”.”
@richard – “If there’s something wafting from this smoking gun” – SMOKING GUN??? How is it a smoking gun? Maybe for a pacifist a fart seems like live ammunition.
@Israel: the only fart here is you smelling up the comment threads.
I bet he first read it on your twitter when you totally bought into it and wrote “Palestinians decry settler rabbi call to poison West Bank water”https://twitter.com/richards1052/status/744705419919167488
You did so on the 20th at about 5am Israel time. Lange had to be up pretty early to have learnt about it somewhere else and write about.
It seems that Richard is monitored ….Are you Gerald Steinberg from NGO Monitor ?
@ Deir Yassin: God, I hope I’m being monitored by someone more formidable than that jackass. At least the foreign ministry, PMO or perhaps Israeli intelligence. I know the censor has a PC screen in her private bathroom so she can read me in comfort as she’s relieving herself (wink-wink).
@Israel: Lange can’t have read it on my TL because I blocked him fr mine. But he likely has other fake Twitter accounts which I haven’t yet blocked.
My tweet was based on a MEMO article, which is usually a credible source. I’ll take it any day over the dreck you read at Arutz Sheva & Israellyfool. But unlike you, I discovered the hoax & reported it. That’s really what’s bugging you.
@Richard – “I blocked him fr mine” – you don’t need to be recruited to 8200 to know you can simply sign out of your account, or even better, open chrome in incognito mode to read whatever TL you want.
That is the lamest explanation ever.
Lange didn’t need my tweet. He likely perpetrated the hoax himself.
There is evidence from Israeli sources regarding well poisonings: Cohen begins by describing how Zionists during the 1948 war poisoned the wells and water supplies of Arab villagers. According to Israeli military historian Dr. Uri Milstein, the typhoid epidemic that spread throughout the costal town of Acre in May 1948 was the result of Zionist Jews contaminating the Arabs’ water supply. In Gaza the Jews failed in a similar attempt. The Egyptian Army found four Jews disguised as Arabs near the water wells. The four terrorists were caught with a canteen filled with dysentery and typhoid bacteria. All four were tried, convicted, and hanged within a three-month period. Dr. Cohen questions if the two incidents were isolated or part of a larger program of bio-warfare during the 1948 war. – Dr. Avner Cohen documents Israel’s program in his paper, “Israel and Chemical/Biological Weapons: History, Deterrence, and Arms Control.”
The Jerusalem Post is running with this story for all it is worth with plenty of references to medieval “blood libels”. Once again a history of martyrdom has to serve to cover up the present day martyrdom Israeli Jews subject others to:
“False accusations of poisoning wells have been used to inflame violence against Jews since as early as the Middle Ages.
Anadolu did not respond to questions as to its sources for the story, nor to a question whether Aness Suheil Barghoti, who wrote the story, or his editors, are aware that well-poisoning is a libel that has been spread throughout history to inflame violence against Jews.”
Poisoning wells is no doubt rarer there than making them altogether useless to Palestinians. I, for one, have no doubt it has occurred however. But by spreading deniable reports about it the faux indignation caused by these can serve to cover up the ongoing story that Israelis are continuously tampering with the water supply of Palestinians in an effort to drive them off the land.
Here among many others is an early report about Israelis tampering with Palestinian wells that Jonathan Freedland did not manage to keep out of the Guardian:
“The Oslo accords created a Joint Water Management Committee, which grants Israel a veto over water resource and infrastructure in the West Bank. The committee issued a joint declaration in 2001 “for keeping water infrastructure out of the cycle of violence”.
The Emergency Water, Sanitation and Hygiene group (EWASH), a multinational consortium of NGOs funded by the European commission, accuses Israel of breaking this declaration, although there is a long list of other obligations under humanitarian law as an occupying power. In the past two years, it has logged the destruction of 100 water, sanitation and hygiene structures, 44 cisterns, 20 toilets and sinks, 28 wells. This year alone, 20 cisterns have been destroyed. Most of this is happening in Area C, which is under full Israeli military control.”
And here is a more recent EWASH report:
Israeli Demolitions hold Disastrous Effects on Water Accessibility in AlHadidiya
“A number of structures in the Palestinian village of AlHadidiya were recently demolished by the Israeli army, OCHA reports. Located in Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank in the north of the otherwise fertile Jordan Valley, AlHadidiya is disconnected from all basic services, vulnerable to demolition and prohibited by the Israeli authorities from connecting to a water network despite the village’s proximity to a Mekorot pump. Due to this dire living situation, 40 families from the community have been forcibly transferred since 1997. In the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Roi, people consume 23 times more water than what is available to AlHadidiya, or about 460 liters of water per day. In AlHadidiya, the figure drops to 20 liters per day.
On November 25-27th 2015, Israeli authorities demolished a number of structures in AlHadidiya, seven of which were donor-funded and implemented by humanitarian agencies. One of the structures demolished was a road rehabilitated by an international NGO (INGO) with funding from the European Union funding agency for humanitarian projects, ECHO. This road had an injunction issued by the Israeli High Court of Justice to freeze its demolition until the end of December 2015 but was demolished nonetheless.
Completed only one month before its demolition, the road was used to ease access to water trucks for the community of AlHadidiya, who are denied running water by the Israeli authorities. Israeli restrictions on the development of any kind of Palestinian infrastructure in Area C forces the community of AlHadidiya to purchase water from private vendors, who bring water by trucks at a price which can be up to 5 times more expensive than water from the network. When the road is not paved, the time needed to bring water to the community increases and so does the price: the residents of AlHadidiya were paying around ₪30 (around €7.3) for private water vendors, a very expensive amount to a community depending on herding for income.
Not only has the road now been demolished, but the Israeli authorities have also confiscated a truck that was used to bring water to the village. The truck had been contracted by an international organization to increase water access to this vulnerable community.”
Just a few months before the demolitions, on July 22nd 2015, EWASH and one of its members took a coalition of members of the European Parliament to AlHadidiya to let them witness a direct example of the direness of the water situation and briefed them about Israel’s restrictions of water to Palestinians.
Yet since then, more European funded structures have been demolished and the population of AlHadidiya has been further affected by Israel’s discriminatory policies.
Visited a Palestinian friend a few days ago at his village.
His family is in electronics business and he showed me a few controlling board for well pumps. I asked “Are this for municipal use?” and he answered “No, just somebody digging hole in the ground to pump out water.”
So all those numbers about well being destroyed are most probably this type of wells. ILLEGAL ONES. A settler who will do the same thing will have his well destroyed and any citizen inside Israel attempting that will have it destroyed as well.
Crying “Wolf, Wolf” over is PROPAGANDA
@Israel: That is one of the lamest bits of Zio-hasbara I’ve read in, oh, the last 30 mins. First, you have no idea whether Palestinian wells are legal or illegal. Second, the idea that a settlement would build a well that was illegal & be destroyed by anyone is laughable. Can you provide an example of a settlements building such a well that authorities destroyed? Third, the notion that Palestinian wells may be poisoned because they’re illegal is disgusting and offensive.
Please prepare the next round of hasbara trainees to take over for you. You’re not long for this blog.
Settlements don’t build wells. They get their water from Mekorot. Building a well is illegal. PERIOD.
Just another basic fact you don’t know!
@Israel: These Palestinians whose Wells were poisoned had not built illegal wells. Their wells have probably predated the founding of the state itself. I object to your offensive claims that the villagers had built walls that were illegal. Especially since your claim has no foundation in fact.
Warning: if you publish a comment here whose claims are not supported by fact you may lose your comment privileges. In other words, prove that Palestinian Villages have wells that are illegal. If you don’t you’re a liar.
Yawn. Frenzied frothing at the mouth, and at the end of the day no one believes your lies as it is.
Time well wasted?
There should also be a quotation mark at the very end of my previous post.
‘Years ago, “the settlers poisoned all the water cisterns of the villages”.’–Breaking the Silence
About Madama, ‘Abby’:
In 1928, the British laid a pipe from the wells of the main fountain to the town, and since then there has been running water in the village, at least in winter and spring. But from the end of 2002 through 2003, water stopped reaching the villagers.
An inspection of the pipes found someone had sabotaged them, stuffing dirty diapers and dead chickens into the main wells. Oxfam financed the repairs but the pipes were repeatedly sabotaged.
When the wells were covered with concrete, the openings covered with iron grates, the cement was smashed and the wells once again became a receptacle for trash meant to disable the water system. Twice in September 2002, Israelis shot at Oxfam and village workers trying to repair the system. The work was finally ceased in 2003, when it became evident it was going nowhere.
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/poisoning-the-village-wells-1.137154
Seems that Yehuda Shaul is basixcally right. Or do you think the villagers poison their own well with dead chicken?
Here is some real blood libel for you:
Commenting on the report on Tuesday, Likud MK Anat Berko said, “Yehuda Shaul suffers from a classic case of antisemitism and uses claims taken from the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Given his logic, I wouldn’t be surprised if he bakes Passover matzah with the blood of his fellow Jews.”
I always knew Berko was a lunatic. But now I know she’s certifiable. The insane now run the asylum!
I am afraid this kind of incitement will lead to bloodshed soon. Apparently the Jo Cox murder has not resulted in any introspection in these lunatic politicians.
Israeli spokesmen “will never say Israel sells the Palestinians 64 million cubic meters of water a year instead of the 31 million cubic meters agreed to in the Oslo Accords. Accords that were signed in 1994, and that were supposed to come to an end in 1999. They will not say that Israel sells the Palestinians water THAT IT FIRST STOLE FROM THEM (emphasis added AB).
Bravo for the demagogy. Bravo for the one-eighth portion of truth in the answer. Water is the only issue in which Israel (still) finds it difficult to defend its discriminatory, oppressive and destructive policy with pretexts of security and God. That is why it must blur and distort this basic fact: Israel controls the water sources. And being in control, it imposes a quota on the amount of water the Palestinians are allowed to produce and consume. ”
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.726350
Now that Abbas finally figured out he was duped, the question of who was exactly behind this hoax only gets more interesting…
If I am to understand this correctly, right wing Israeli sources published a story in an official Turkish news service, creating an intentionally false blood libel,i n order to discredit any other blood libels. Is this Turkish news service in the habit of publishing stories by reporters it doesn’t know?
The New York Times reported that the original story was published on a PLO office website. Are you claiming that someone from right wing Israeli pro-settler hasbara published it on the PLO website so it would be picked up by the Turkish site, and thereby tricking Abbas into claiming it was true? You do realize this is an an absurd claim?
@ Adam: Read the comment rules. One comment at a time & don’t repeat yourself. No you misunderstood what I wrote (people like you always do). A Palestinian stringer for Anadolu published the original story there. It was later picked up by MEMO, Palestinian Chroncle & others, almost all of which took the story down (some after I alerted them to the hoax). Then WAFA, in its infinite wisdom picked up the story as if it was true.
The original stringer was very likely sent the story by a source like Lange or someone associated with him. And yes, Middle Eastern media outlets publish all sorts of outrageous stories.
It’s not an absurd claim at all because many pro-Israel trolls have done precisely this, including Lange. I’ve documented his past frauds. I’ve also documented here numerous attempts by such trolls to get me to buy stories which they gussy up to make them appear true when they’re not. So before you yourself make stupid claims you might want to use the methods I did of disproving what I wrote using actual evidence rather than your own opinion, which means nothing here.
I really hope you can get in contact with this Anees Suheil Barghouti. He has a lot to answer for if this hoax originated with him!
@ Elisabeth: Conveniently, neither he nor Anadolu ever responded to me. I’m going to post some embarrassing tweets to them just to make them pay a price for their negligence.
Barghouti he has not twittered since the end of 2015. Maybe he is trekking in Nepal, or in administrative detention….
And speaking of baseless blood libels, I can’t believe you tweeted the Israel ‘false flag’ at Entebbe.
Richard. When it comes to Israel, you are like a rabid dog, biting everything with poisoned fangs.
This is a BBC article based on a British Foreign Office rpt. Not sure how you get to these sources being guilty of blood libel. But yr crowd can turn even Little Bo Peep into a Jew-hater. Must be a Zio-fever dream you’re having.
This is an entirely credible source and claim.
I put “rabid” Zio-dogs down. For serial comment rule violations you are now banned. Let Hasbara Central know to send your successor via Ben Gurion flight arrival