24 thoughts on “Tantura and the Israeli “Conspiracy of Silence” – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Tantura Massacre? That old saw?

    I’ve read a lot of anti-Zionist articles on this subject, and Richard’s is particularly rancid, so I’m not going to waste my weekend fisking it.

    What I will say, though, is that thirteen Alexandroni Brigade soldiers died in this combat.

    1. @Sasha: Says the guy whose response to Goldstein’s mass murder was “ho-hum.”

      “Old saw?” Gee, Adam Raz thinks it’s a critically important issue, as do his editors at Haaretz who have been publishing a series of his critical historical accounts of the period.

      I’m afraid we will have to report you to Hasbara Central since you’re violating one of the principle instructions of the Hasbara protocol: always begin by expressing a limited amount of common ground with the opposition position. Then once you’ve established a minimum of accommodation, state your real position which totally contradicts your opponent. Starting with common ground makes your opponent more receptive to your real argument.

      Not saying you should change your approach here. We’ll see through either one. But Frank Luntz’ “Hasbara Handbook” clearly lays out the guidelines. Somehow in the midst of your training you skipped that lesson.

      Another important point: clearly my comment rules require a comment to state a substantive argument. That means expressing a full, articulate point of view. Dismissal simply because you’re disdainful of the subject is the opposite. Don’t bother to post this sort of comment in future.

      As for fisking: I object to use of this term in this context. It’s offensive and should be left to whatever the original context of it is.

      As for 13 soldiers dying–they did so in a military operation. That’s what soldiers do. They fight and some of them die. They accept this as part fo the burden of being a soldier. But unarmed civilians don’t. And murdering them in cold blood is a war crime. Plain and simple. The fact that you value Israeli lives and reject claims about mass murder because they involve Palestinians is not only offensive, it’s racist as well.

      All in all, not your best presentation here.

  2. a very good article. Ignore racist ignoramuses like Sasha. The Nazis did the same thing when the Einsatzgruppen shot Jewish civilians, albeit on a larger scale. However the principle is the same. Sasha is defending Nazi like behaviour

    1. Tony Greenstein. That old Trot?

      Before the Final Solution, when the Nazis entered a village, they’d round up every Jew they could find, kill them all, and bury all the bodies.

      No mutual combat. No dead or injured Nazis. Just lots of dead Jews.

      In the instance of Tantura, the Alexandroni Brigade fought a pitched battle with the village’s defenders, killing many and expelling the remaining villagers.

      Did the Alexandroni Brigade commit War Crimes in Tantura? Absolutely.

      No on knows to what extent.

      1. No not a ‘Trot’ just someone who speaks up about racism unlike Sasha.

        It is a lie that the Alexandroni Brigade fought a pitched battle with the villagers. Try reading and getting rid of the Zionist spectacles.
        ‘“I was a murderer. I didn’t take prisoners.” Cohen relates that if a squad of Arab soldiers was standing with their hands raised, he would shoot them all. How many Arabs did he kill outside the framework of the battles? “I didn’t count. I had a machine gun with 250 bullets. I can’t say how many.”
        Or try this:
        ‘Soldiers believed the villagers concealed weapons in their homes and began interrogating them.  In order to pressure them into giving up the information, they began killing the civilians. When this did not have the desired effect, eyewitnesses say the soldiers became agitated and angry with the Palestinians. That led to a wholesale massacre:’

        Doesn’t seem like a battle to me but it was part of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. Of course the villagers had the right to defend their village.

        There are Holocaust deniers and Nakba deniers. There is no principled difference between them. Sasha is one of the latter. He has a lot in common with the former

        1. @Tony

          Old memories can be tricky, as in a taped interview where Theo Katz asked an eyewitness a leading question, “Clearly people were shot after they surrendered”, and the eyewitness, Abu Fahmi, replied, “We did not see them killing after we raised our hands.”


          The point isn’t that an Arab villager said he didn’t see anything, but that Katz failed to report what the Arab eyewitness had said after Katz had recorded that testimony in the taped interview.

          So if the memories of an old Arab eyewitness can be faulted, why not the memory of an old Jew?

          Remember. The Arab and the Jew were both at Tantura.
          Both were eyewitnesses.

          1. @ Sasha: This is casuistry. The fact is that multiple Israeli veterans who participated in the incident confirmed it happened. That’s all that’s necessary to prove the veracity of the account. Whether a Palestinian saw something and whether Katz distorted or omitted this element in his published research is barely relevant. A minor peccadillo, as Adam Raz noted. Further, Raz is the premier researcher on this subject. He has done all the research and reviewed all the accounts and acts as an objective outsider evaluator of the evidence. He says the issues with Katz’s research are minor. I believe him. You, who know barely anything and have not reviewed the evidence, say otherwise. Gee, that’s a tough one: who to believe?

            The memories of many “old Jews” (Israelis btw, not old Jews) cannot be discounted, try as you might to do so.

          2. No this is not a minor peccadillo.
            We don’t know what else Katz might have omitted in the way of exculpatory evidence.
            Adam Raz doesn’t know either.

          3. @ Nate: “Not a minor peccadillo” says the hasbarist with no degree in history in general or Zionist history in particular. I’ll stick with Adam Raz, Israel’s foremost researcher on this period, who says precisely that. Since you mention Benny Morris, he has examined both the historical record and commenting on the libel trial, he said he was “very troubled” by it and what we now know were the false claims of witnesses at the trial.

            As for “omitting exculpatory evidence”–historians don’t do that. They gather as much evidence as they can, no matter whether it supports or opposes their own personal viewpoint. They sift through all of it to come up with their best account of what happened. That’s the way historical writing works, but not the way hasbara works. That’s what you peddle.

          4. @Sashah

            Certainly old memories can play tricks but what’s your excuse? You can’t even remember what you’ve read 5 minutes before!

            What does it matter if one witness, Abu Fahmi said ‘we didn’t seem them killing after we raised our hands’ the fact is that as the article states:

            ‘Amitzur Cohen, who talked about his first months as a combat soldier in the war: “I was a murderer. I didn’t take prisoners.” Cohen relates that if a squad of Arab soldiers was standing with their hands raised, he would shoot them all. How many Arabs did he kill outside the framework of the battles? “I didn’t count. I had a machine gun with 250 bullets. I can’t say how many.”

            It must be difficult these days being a propagandist and hasbarist for Israel given the evidence of what did happen. I just hope that the job is well paid. Perhaps you could consult with David Irving as your techniques lack a certain something.

      2. @ Sasha: You are done in this thread.

        As for your attempted insult regarding Tony’s ideological views: we don’t disparage people for their ideological views, unless those views lead to war crimes. Not to mention that you couldn’t even get his ideological viewpoint right. So whether Tony is a “Trot” or Marxist or Zionist has nothing to do with the substance of his arguments. Deal with substance. Not irrelevant side issues.

        As for the “pitched battle” at Tantura. It was not much of one. All the documentary evidence says resistance was minimal. So no, there were hundreds of Israeli soldiers and a handful of residents who had weapons. The vast majority of the remainder were innocent bystanders swept up in the Haganah’s killing spree.

        As for the Nazis, they engineered a process of extermination and genocide. That much is true. But instead of killing all the Palestinians in ’48, which would have been impractical since Israel didn’t have the technology to do so, as the Nazis did–it simply expelled the majority of them. In that way, it washed it’s hands of them. It’s just a different way of dealing with a similar “problem”

        In your earlier comment, you dismiss the charge of war crimes. In this one, you concede it. Which is it? Don’t bother answering. It was a rhetorical question.

  3. The recollections of the Jewish eyewitnesses are all over the place, with descriptions of the numbers of victims who were shot dead from “a few” to “several dozen” or “more than 200”.

    Contemporaneous, archival documents found by Revisionist historian, Benny Morris, said that there were dozens of corpses.

    What I really find the most galling is how Richard and Tony ignore the fact that the same week as the battle for Tantura, Arab soldiers had massacred unarmed Jews during a battle near Jerusalem.


    1. @ Nate: You simply have no clue how witness accounts of historical events work. Of course with hundreds of Palestinian eyewitnesses as well as a similar number of Palmach eyewitnesses accounts will vary based on the location of the witnesses, what they saw, when they saw it. Each account may vary slightly and in certain nuances. But the overwhelming preponderance of evidence will agree on the general outlines of what happened. And in this case that is precisely what happened.

      Yes, there are certain discrepancies between accounts for precisely this reason. But as I said, Adam Raz is a professional researcher and historian who has combed through tens of thousands of pages of archival material and eyewitness accounts. He has seen the film and probably seen all the outtakes of interviews. Unlike you, I trust academic historical standards. You may continue to vainly attempt to cast doubt. But we know what & who you are. You are uninterested in historical truth. You have a clear agenda to avoid it and suggest every other possibility no matter how lame.

      Teddy Katz estimated that 250 were killed. Another eyewitness who participated in the burial said the number was at least 200. Other untested accounts by figures seeking to downgrade the historical accounts estimate as few as 12 and a number say 50. But there is one way to find out. Excavate the parking lot and do a forensic archaeological dig and count them. Let me know when you and your bosses at Hasbara Central agree to do this. Then when you urge Hasbara Central to lobby Israeli officials to do so, you can inform us of the progress you make. Till you do any of that, stop nattering away about nonsense.

      As for the massacre of Jews, of course there were. But there were far more massacres of indigenous Palestinians than Jews. Which repeats subsequent history showing the numbers of Israeli Jews killed compared to Palestinians ranges anywhere from 6 to 1 to 25 to 1 depending on which war or historical period you’re talking about.

      You are done in this thread.

      1. Which repeats subsequent history showing the numbers of Israeli Jews killed compared to Palestinians ranges anywhere from 6 to 1 to 25 to 1 depending on which war or historical period you’re talking about.”

        Source please…

          1. @ Dan Lev: No, the problem actually is that you’re misrepresenting what I wrote. I was not “talking about a whole other period.” And in fact, this is the portion of my comment which you omitted:

            As for the massacre of Jews, of course there were. But there were far more massacres of indigenous Palestinians than Jews. Which repeats subsequent history

            Nowhere did I say that the ratio of dead between Palestinian and Israeli Jews was the same between 2008-2020 as it was “from 1920-1960.” Actually, you said that, not me.

            But I did find an informative graph which notes the respective Israeli Jewish and Palestinian dead in 1948. There were approximately 1,100 Palestinian dead to approx. 300 Israeli Jewish dead. The graph does not include the 200 Palestinian dead at Tantura, which is inexcusable, so I’ve added them to the total number presented in the graph. That’s almost 4 to 1 ratio. The ratio has vastly increased since then because the lethality of Israeli weaponry has increased while the Palestinians are restricted to rocks, the occasional gun, and explosive devices. That explains the 22 to 1 ratio of late.

            In future, do not take my words out of context. IF you quote or refer to something I write, quote it in full context. If not, I will take it as an act of bad faith on your part.

  4. “However and whenever people learn and accept the truth, I’m glad they did. But I’m so tired of the anti-Palestinian racism that allows the world to dismiss and deny our history until confirmed by our colonizers and oppressors.”

    Couldn’t have said it any better Margaret Zaknoen DeReus @mzdereus

  5. Dear Richard: I don’t normally answer some of these fools who post under your articles, Zionists who have never been to Israel or aren’t old enough to remember the steady massacres done by European Jewish terrorists in 1948. I’m making an exception today. Below is the account of my husband, Ribhi M. Kalla, on what happened to him when he tried to defend his town of Safed in 1948. I wrote this report 15 years later when I first met him. The Palmach, a Jewish terrorist group, lined up 70 defenders of their homes in Safad and murdered them. They were kids with repeating rifles against the might of Jews from Europe armed by the British (which is another story completely)

    He told me how, at 19, he’d fought the Jewish militias in l948, coming away with shrapnel still embedded in his larynx, giving his voice a throaty, sexy sound on top of the lilting accent. He’d lost everything; his heritage, his homeland, some of his family, part of himself. He was one of the ‘local Palestinian militia’ trained by a Syrian colonel and was the proud possessor of some kind of repeating rifle.

        One day, his younger brother, Subhi, raced home from school and yelled that Jews were killing children in a playground, and he had to come right away. Ribhi grabbed the rifle, ran to the school, and hid behind small sandbags, shooting at a better-armed Jewish militia. He was hit by shrapnel when a grenade exploded in front of him, wounding him in several places. Screaming for help, his brother had picked him up in his arms and taken him home, both of them covered in blood. Although the wounds were all superficial, one piece had severed his vocal cords, so his father wrapped his throat and made arrangements for him to leave. Another had pierced his helmet, and if he hadn’t worn it that day, he would have been dead.

        He didn’t want to leave, but he had no choice. On an early morning in April, l948, he climbed onto the back of a small donkey, his blood-soaked neck bandaged, and rode the back roads from Safad to Tyre to Beirut to see a doctor his father knew. Along the way, he saw mutilated bodies and the corpses of horses and donkeys. He’d lost the ability to talk, but somehow, he got word back to his family to run and hide.

        They gathered what they could, took the key to their house, and fled to Damascus. A jeep with a blaring bullhorn had come through Safad the same morning Ribhi had left and told them to leave, that the same thing would happen to them that happened at Deir Yassin, and everyone would be massacred. That jeep was driven by the Irgun, one of the European Jewish militias. A couple of weeks later, the young men of Safad who stayed to protect the town were lined up against a wall and murdered when Palmach took over the town. Ribhi’s family was lucky to escape with their lives.


    1. in 1948 there were 18,000 Arabs and 2,000 Jews in Safed. There were soldiers from 5 Arab countries surrounding Safed before the declaration of independence by the Jewish authorities. The Arabs were allowed to possess guns and the Jews not.
      I live in the Jewish quarter of Safed which has been Jewish for approx 500 yrs or even more. When I bought my house and was doing renovations I found many rifle bullets in several ‘slicks’ or hiding places so the British would not find them. The Brits left Israel and the Jews with no apparent way to defend themselves. It was war and the goal was to win. Unfortunately for the Arabs 18,000 could not beat 2,000. I see no reason to complain just because the Jews in their small numbers beat the Arabs.

      1. @ Naor Israeli: The British left Jews with no apparent way to defend themselves?” The Palmach didn’t need the British to do that. First of all, they raided British armories and stole weapons when they could. They received millions in aid from Diaspora Jews which they used to buy Czech weapons. Not to mention, what the Russians agreed to send via the Czechs. How did the Jews get the superior weaponry they had to the Palestinians? Did they conjure it out of thin air? A neat trick, no?

        “It was a war.” War criminals and their apologists throughout history hit the same notes and the tune bores after a while from the repetition. Contrary to you, I see a profound reason to “complain” when Israel claims the high moral ground while massacreing Palestinians then and up to the present day.

        You are done in this thread.

    2. [comment deleted: this is off topic. Dragging in tangentially related historical events happening far outside the time frame of the Nakba (the period and subject under discussion) are off-topic. You may seek to divert attention from the specific topic of the post. But I will not permit it. Stay on topic. Failure to do so may result in moderation.]

  6. Ironic that these Tantura stories burst as Holocaust memorial stories approached. They are related in more than surface ways I think, not just for the double shame. Maybe the one caused the other. Take it out on the Arabs… and then prove how we belong here… exclusively. The Tantura massacre happened as a part of the birth of Israel, the imperative of a Jewish Israel because of what happened in the war, the urgency of traumatized refugees, shock, their inability to find security and protection elsewhere- such emotions.This affect remains today in many Jews with re Israel; it’s been passed on.This history and suffering is the basis of rationales of Israel’s moral exceptionalism. We belong, they don’t. Holocaust remembrance is a two sided coin and Tantura shows the other side.
    We are familiar with Nachsholim, have friends there, go there. You would not know we are by those graves. Maybe now there will be a memorial worthy, not a Yad Vashem but something for goodness sake!.
    I want to also say, knowing the kibbutz, I had researched somewhat this story several years ago during my useless “hot arguing days” on this subject. This story, this truth, has been suppressed, maligned, in discussions/ arguments on the internet, and finally buried. Nice propaganda work. It’s good to see that this movie has been made and that people at the end of their lives want to tell the story- and that Sundance is giving it a showing.

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