Commentary Magazine


Contentions

In Which The Latest Libel is Debunked

Here is something that was utterly predictible: the allegations, aired so solemnly over the past couple of weeks, first in Haaretz and then in above-the-fold stories in the New York Times, that IDF soldiers in Gaza killed civilians in cold blood turn out to be…well, of course, fabrications. Or as they’re now being called, “hearsay” — a standard of evidence rather dubious for front-page treatment.

The JPost has a report on a soon-to-be released IDF investigation that could find no evidence to support the allegations. The controversy originates with someone named Danny Zamir, an Israeli who claimed that soldiers who had served in Gaza said in a meeting at his pre-military academy that intentional civilian killings had been perpetrated. Haaretz, acting true to form as Israel’s New York Times, promptly gave the story top billing on numerous occasions. Who is Danny Zamir? He was imprisoned by the IDF in 1990 “for refusing to guard a ceremony involving religious Jews visiting the West Bank city of Nablus.” Zamir is not a dispassionate or objective source of information — he is a political activist. That is fine, but the fact should prejudice anyone’s willingness to rely on him for sensational stories about the IDF’s conduct in war.

No matter. His claims were promptly given top billing and have had the desired effect, which is to advance the project of convincing the world that the IDF, Israel’s highest-profile institution, is composed of thugs who enjoy killing Arab women and children. There is scarcely a more effective means of encouraging a degenerate moral equivalence between Israel and its foes. Which is exactly why the allegations were made.

The JPost report quotes an unnamed IDF official’s lament:

“Unfortunately, due to competition, sections of the press picked up this story and ran with it. It is a shame the media promoted this sort of spin all over the world,” he added. … “Look at the allegation that we killed 48 civilians in a UN school in Gaza. In reality, seven people were killed, and four to five of them were terrorists. The UN apologized, but the damage is done,” the source said.

It is naive to declare astonishment at the promotion of rank hearsay in publications such as the Times. The real scandal unfortunately is the attitude of the IDF official. If he actually believes that newspapers run stories such as this one because they are in “competition” with one another, he is deluding himself. This is a problem of ideology, not journalistic rivalry.

Go to Camera for the complete analysis, and Yaacov Lozowick has thoughts as well.



Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.