Friday, July 1, 2011

As Gaza Flotilla Prepares to Form Up, Israeli Propagandists Attack Holocaust Survivor Hedy Epstein

One thing that is apparent to those of us who have been involved in the struggle for Palestinian rights is that no lie told about Palestinians is too big to try to get away with. Any of us with close Palestinian friends, either those who live there now, or who have, for one reason or another emigrated, know that Palestinians, be they religious or not, are often more like you and me than we are ourselves.

Just like in the 19th century, when the American expansionist narrative was forced to paint Native Americans as "the other,"in order to justify their murder as we stole their lands, waters and mineral wealth, so now in the early 21st century, the Israeli expansionist narrative demands that Palestinians be painted as "the other," as they are herded into increasingly smaller reservations, so that their wealth may be robbed.

Those of us who attempt to articulate how wrong this is are badgered from every direction, not just from the far right. The same was true as we exterminated the vast majority of our own indigenous population to make room for people to come to our "promised land."

The number of lies Israeli government sources and supporters of that government have been caught up in these past ten days, in regard to the hard line being erected against the premise of the necessity of this year's Gaza flotilla, is astounding. The bottom line, from that point of view, is that there is no need for Gaza's borders to be open, as all the needs there are being met already, and that those who have a different point of view are enabling Hamas and every other possible entity, real or imagined, that might diminish international respect for Israel, and are therefore indulging in anti-Semitism, whether they understand that or not. The specifics of these lies and falsehoods are interesting, but the most recent is the accusation that Hedy Epstein is not actually a "Holocaust survivor" per se:
Epstein is many things a holocaust survivor is not one of them. She is a refugee from Germany the same that Einstein was and Dr. Ruth, the sex therapist was. To have survived the holocaust is to have a tattoo on your arm or to have been in hiding in an attic for years. One is not a survivor because you spent the war in a London orphanage.To equate her with survivors imbues her with the same level of suffering as Elie Wiesel, Primo Levi and Anne Frank. She says she is a survivor because her family died, well under that guise every Ashkenazi Jew and some Sephardi Jews are survivors too. The problem is that we let people like Epstein and the other "As a Jews"steal the narrative. We should confront them for what they truly are, usurpers of history, hate mongers and collaborators.
Last year, when Ms. Epstein attempted to participate in the late May flotilla, the same accusation was made. The reality, though, is that even the Holocaust History web site defines her as a "Holocaust survivor":
1. Unfortunately there is some confusion and disagreement about what this term means.

2. Some people use a narrow definition, including only those who at the start of WWII were living in or citizens of an area that came under Nazi control. (Note that this does not mean that they ever actually lived under Nazi control; they may have escaped after the war started but before the Nazis actually arrived.) Others use a much broader definition. They include everyone who was living in such an area at the time Hitler came to power, even if they emigrated to a safe area long before the start of the war.

Even within the narrow definition, not every Holocaust survivor is a concentration camp survivor. Any Jew who survived in hiding, or by passing as a Gentile, or as a member of the Soviet army, would be a Holocaust survivor without being a concentration camp survivor.
Many Israeli lies last week were serious, but one of them, exposed by the Electronic Intifada, and further exposed by Max Blumenthal, was not only absurdly hilarious, it serves as an illustration of how dense Israeli propagandists can be. Here's what they tried to pull off:

Here's a link to the initial post on this at EI, where Benjamin Doherty appropriately tagged it as "pinkwashing":
This is a transparent effort to justify the oppressive and criminal siege of Gaza—and possible violent Israeli attack on the upcoming Flotilla—by describing Palestinians as dangerous, violent homophobes and misogynists. Pinkwashing is a tactic that pro-Israel groups and the Israeli government have been consciously using to try to divide and co-opt the Palestine solidarity movement and its connection to other movements around the world. Pinkwashing is a phenomenon that Palestine solidarity activists have become vocal in resisting.
And here's Max's further investigation:
Since [the EI article], Doherty and I have gathered evidence suggesting that the video has links to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office, or is at least being promoted through an official government hasbara operation.

Earlier today, the Israeli Government Press Office promoted the apparent hoax video on Twitter. In the tweet, @GPOIsrael cited @guyseemann. I headed over to Guy Seemann’s twitter feed and found that he had only tweeted one item in his entire history: the pinkwashing anti-flotilla hoax. In fact, Seemann only joined Twitter on June 15, 2011. Then I took a look at Guy Seemann’s bio:

Guy Seemann studied government, international policy, philosophy and physics at American University in Washington, DC. Before moving to Israel, Guy worked for United States Senator Robert Menendez, and then as a special projects coordinator in the North Eastern campaign for then-presidential candidate Barack Obama.

Since the campaign and moving to Israel, Guy was awarded a fellowship to work with international journalists and diplomats at the Prime Minister’s Office, served as the international director for Lev Echad, and volunteered for the IDF. Guy will soon begin a new job at the Prime Minister’s National Security Council working on Iranian, US and UN policy.

Why would the Israeli GPO have tweeted at Guy Seemann, a Netanyahu aide who seems to have created a Twitter account for the sole purpose of promoting the pinkwashing hoax? And what was Seemann’s role in the video’s creation? How did Lazarus know about the video before it had garnered any media interest — and only a small handful of hits? These questions remain unanswered. However, the video’s promotion by an exclusive cadre of official Israeli hasbara entities and figures suggest the hoax was part of a desperate government operation designed to discredit the Free Gaza flotilla. I will be updating here as I learn more.

Update: Guy Seemann’s twitter page has disappeared and his bio has changed.
Israeli government efforts to paint flotilla participants as terrorists might work on the U.S. Senate and our State Department, but the U.S. media was surprisingly open to honestly reporting about this fuckup, including MSNBC and the Christian Science Monitor. Yet even though Doherty exposed the fraud on June 23rd, as recently as the 29th, media outlets were continuing to report Gershon's hoax as fact.

A compilation of the disinformation dispersed by Israeli-tied sources appeared Thursday at the Institute for Middle East Understanding. It touches upon some of the material above, but also on some very serious, yet totally unsubstantiated allegations about flotilla participants. Those are that:
1) The flotilla is financed by organizations with ties to terrorism.

2) There is a hard core of terrorist activists embedded within the passengers and crew.

3) There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

4) Participants intend to use chemical weapons upon Israelis when they attempt to board the vessels.
Each of these claims has been thoroughly debunked.

At the same time Israeli resources and compliant American outlets and politicians have created a massive disinformation campaign, the Israelis appear to be trying to pick off one flotilla vessel at a time before they even leave port. The Irish boat appears to have been sabotaged in such a way it could have killed people on board. The Scandinavian boat was dealt with similarly, but may be repaired in time. Max Blumenthal, among others, thinks this has all the markings of an Israeli operation. That the Israelis appear to be denying this is not surprising, as admission of involvement would be owning up to an act of war upon the nations who own the harbors that were invaded.

The Israelis are backing individuals and organizations seeking to cut the flotilla off from access to electronic communication during the journey. This also isn't surprising, as last year's flotilla message, at first controlled in the debris of the wake of the intercept by imagery created by the Israeli government, was ultimately discredited by the compilation of all surviving material from before, during and shortly after the interception, murders and boardings.

Although I am once again praying that nobody gets hurt or killed, the level of misinformation seriously promulgated by the Israeli government this past week leads me to believe that they want to make an example out of these people that will end flotillas once and for all, and that in the minds of those in control of the operation, that message necessitates bloodshed that will shock people into abandoning the idea once and for all.


Trish said...

"There is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza." This happens to be absolutely true, as announced by both the IRC and the UN in the last couple of months. Your attribution of inconvenient facts to some horrible Israeli propaganda ploy undermines the credibility of everything you say here. Quit shilling for terrorists (Hamas IS a terror organization engaged in war crimes).

Geir said...

Below is from a post at Mondoweiss, June 29, 2011.

It should first be pointed out that "supermarkets" with "products", "restaurants", and (through some sick, Islamic curse of geography) a stretch of sand near water does not invalidate the fact that there is a humanitarian crisis, and not just because most of those "products" are smuggled in through tunnels, and not the result of Israeli kindness. Also, as has been pointed out before, the Warsaw Ghetto had a lively "marketplace" in which people wore "coats" and sometimes the oppressed and imprisoned residents even went to the "theatre" where they'd watch "performers" like Diana Blumenfeld, Izak Moszkowicz, Leah Krause-Miller, and Aizik Samberg. No one would argue that these facts disprove the contention that there was a "humanitarian crisis" in the Ghetto, in which food restrictions entitled Jewish ration card holders to a mere 300 calories per day.

Geir said...

According to the Wiki Theresienstadt Nazi concentration camp page the Red Cross did not find a humanitarian crisis there either.

From Wiki:

On June 23, 1944, the Nazis permitted the visit by representatives from the Danish Red Cross and the International Red Cross in order to dispel rumors about the extermination camps. The commission included E. Juel-Henningsen, the head physician at the Danish Ministry of Health, and Franz Hvass, the top civil servant at the Danish Foreign Ministry. Dr. Paul Eppstein was instructed by the SS to appear in the role of the mayor of Theresienstadt.[15]

Anonymous said...

I don't see any Palestinians being shipped off to end up in an oven, do you? Infact the Grand Mufti was a guest of Hitlers during WW2, that says a lot! So you need to try another argument, Geir.

mary b said...

If anyone is paying attention, Gaza is one big Concentration Camp!!

Just like the Ghetto's of Warsaw, they are unable to have a job, unable to grow their own food, unable to build schools and teach their children, and unable to leave their County (of what's left of it).

The Israeli government is like Bush/Cheney on Steroids! The Palestinian People have been oppressed for far too long. It is past time they were given back a chunk of their own land and recognized Internationally as a Country. No more bombs. No more Israeli propaganda!!

Anonymous said...

Oh please! You and the people there are TRYING on purpose to instigate the Israelis. Could you be any more obvious. And 7:33 am, have you been to Palestine?? No, you haven't. You couldn't be more wrong about the situation. You have no clue what you are talking about.

Keep making the situation worse Phil.
From a fellow Unitarian who isn't an anti-semite. I have to laugh at your calling them Israeli propogandists. What do you think you are doing ? What do you think the entire purpose of these flotillas are for ?

Anonymous said...

I am an American Jew who has lived in Israel and worked in both Israel and Palestine. Your claims are outrageous and filled with false information.

Mary b, you are clueless. HOW DARE YOU compare Palestine to a concentration camp. My grandparents DIED in a concentration camp.
The owner of this blog does this entire issue a great disservice. For shame. Listen to the other posters. They happen to be right.

Philip Munger said...

"Oh please! You and the people there are TRYING on purpose to instigate the Israelis."

--- first time anyone has tried that foul, piece-of-crap lie on me. So I'm the one who put a bullet in Furkan Dogan's head from 10 inches away, eh?

Anonymous said...

It isn't a piece of crap lie you anti-semite. Have you been on a flotilla boat? Were you there when the gun was shot? How do you know it is the truth. How do you know for 100% that the Israelis did not feel threatened by these people or were attacked first. If you weren't there, you don't know.

You ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS say things against Israel and never tell the other side. That is the clear sign of a JEW HATER. I find it hard to believe you are a true Unitarian searching for peace in this situation. In my UU church, people and the minister tell the story from BOTH SIDES.

Phil, why aren't you bitching and screaming about the people starving in Darfur?

What about Syria and other middle eastern countries? Why aren't you screaming about the way the people are treated there?

Because you only talk bad about Jews, never Arabs. Going back through your blog, I do not see any arguments against people who are abusing others in Arab countries. Why is that?

Here are some other questions-see if you can answer them.

Why don't the how many Arab countries surrounding Israel help the Palestinians? They may send some weapons and food, yes, but do they ever offer a bit of their own land? There is a huge Sinai peninsula there. What about Jordan? Most of the people in Palestine are from Jordan originally. Why don't they give them some room. Because this is "their" land.

You only tell one side of the story and that is why I think you are an anti-semite. You NEVER EVER EVER EVER tell the story from an Israelis point of view.

For that reason, you disgust me. Why? Because you are not helping the Palestinians. You are making the situation worse by spreading propgranda and inflaming the tension.

Why do the Palestinians consistently turn down offers from the Israelis for peace over the past 30 years? A plan was presented to them identical to Obama's recent proposal and Abbas turned it down? Why is that??

Keep making the situation worse Phil. Keep telling your one sided Jew hating point of view without balance. You are really helping no one here on your little blog by doing this. I hope it makes you feel better though. I would have more respect for you if you talked about other people's suffering in the Arab world, but for that reason alone, you lose all credibility.

Philip Munger said...

Here's my response, posted earlier at PA to your despicable question, "Phil, why aren't you bitching and screaming about the people starving in Darfur?

"What about Syria and other middle eastern countries? Why aren't you screaming about the way the people are treated there?"

PA and the Palestinians

Anonymous said...

I see the the American Taliban reads your blog. They sure do believe the lies Israelis like to tell over and over.

AKjah said...

Hangin Phil it's a hell of a ride.

Geir said...

Anon at 7:09,

You're absolutely correct;gas chambers and

White phosphorus bombs and bulldozers manufactured in the good ole USA..........YES!!!

Sixty three years of slow methodical strangulation would be an apt description of the fate of the Palestinians.

Anonymous said...

One word about Phil, PROPAGANDA. Nothing he writes is original it's all puked up from someone else and he eats it warm with a spoon and then feeds his "fans" who follow his blog. He learned it by reading Mein Kampf.
As for the rest of you morons the Muslims/Arab countries need looking at for how they abuse their own. I believe the remarks by anonymose on July 1 already brought that up but you just keep blathering like the idiots you are.
I did get a laugh out of this Freudian slip?
"AKjah said...
Hangin Phil it's a hell of a ride.

July 1, 2011 10:48 PM"

I know the twat meant to say, *hang in there* but it's funnier just the way it stands.

Phil won't stop though until he can take credit for getting a few Jewish babies murdered, although if you think about it their blood is already on his hands. He supports those who have been murdering them for years.

Why don't you answer the person's questions he brought up on your blog you old "Palestinian" whore? You can't because you know the person is right.