One of the favorite techniques of Israel’s enemies is to invent an atrocity. Naturally it is much harder to prove that something did not happen than it is to claim that it did, and Israeli denials are met with further inventions, until the invented story becomes a controversy, something with two sides that can be debated endlessly. This is the same method used by Holocaust deniers, and it works because irrational Jew-hatred or its direct descendent, Israel-hatred, predisposes its subjects to believe these stories.
“A lie can go halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes,” said Mark Twain. Here are some examples of lies sent around the world by the enemies of Israel:
The “Gaza beach incident”
The Jenin ‘Massacre’
There are others. Sometimes they are based on a nucleus of truth that is wildly exaggerated (Deir Yassin), and sometimes they are simply made up from whole cloth. And in the non-Western world there are even worse ones, like claims that Israel perpetrated 9/11 or has biological weapons able to selectively kill Arabs.
No matter how many times they are refuted, they never go away. It’s especially ugly when the promulgators of these libels are Jews, like Ilan Pappé, the renegade Israeli academic who was primarily responsible for spreading the Tantura story. Pappé famously said “I am not as interested in what happened as in how people see what’s happened,” and in his writing he often presents the latter as if it were the former.
But it is still worse when organizations dedicated to supporting the Jewish people become complicit. “The Admission” is a play by left-wing Israeli writer Motti Lerner which lightly fictionalizes the Tantura allegation, and which created a furor when a DC Jewish theater group planned to put it on. The Washington Post reports,
Officials at the D.C. Jewish Community Center (DCJCC), where Theater J performs and gets other cost-defraying support, in tandem with Theater J’s artistic director, Ari Roth, have decided to pull back “The Admission” from a 34-performance, full-production run in March. It will now be presented in what they are describing as a “workshop” run, lasting 16 performances, in proposed repertory with “Golda’s Balcony,” a biographical play about the late Israeli prime minister Golda Meir.
Playwright Lerner, who grew up in Zichron Yaakov, not far from Tantura, said he recalled hearing stories of the massacre from neighbors. He issued his own statement saying that “the play is not an attempt to make a historical judgment based on the materials I collected, but an attempt to explore how Jews and Arabs in Israel have created their historical memories as a means for survival.”
Translation: it’s bullshit, but bullshit that Arabs like to believe — so we need to take it seriously. This is precisely the argument used by Israeli Arab filmmaker Mohammed Bakri whose film “Jenin, Jenin,” a purported documentary about the “Jenin Massacre,” was composed of made-up atrocity stories (and like the master’s thesis which began the Tantura libel, was the subject of a lawsuit by outraged Israeli soldiers).
The DCJCC received over $400,000 in 2012 from the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. One can understand that some of the donors to the Federation — which in years past supported efforts to get Jewish refugees from Europe to Palestine, and later helped Soviet Jews leave the USSR — were angry.
It’s offensive for the performance, even in ‘scaled down’ form, to be supported by Jewish funds. The Palestinian Authority paid for the legal defense of Teddy Katz, Pappé’s student whose master’s thesis introduced the Tantura libel. Perhaps it ought to finance this performance as well?