Indy’s Matt Hill engages in cynical smear about Netanyahu and the Rabin murder

Given our past experience with Matt Hill’s false allegations against Israel, his recent essay at The Independent (Aug. 15) was not at all surprising.  In April, we prompted a correction by Indy editors to an inflammatory and inaccurate claim he made regarding the use of birth control by Ethiopian Israelis, and his latest Indy entry, If peace talks fail, Israel will be the loser, suggests that he is undeterred by past failures.

In an almost comically one-sided pro-Palestinian “analysis” of the current peace negotiations, Hill wrote the following about the villain in his tale, Binyamin Netanyahu:

Optimists hope Netanyahu has had a change of heart about a negotiated settlement since the days when he helped lead the incitement against Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli prime minister who was assassinated for launching the modern “peace process”.

Though I’ve heard some make the claim that Netanyahu turned a blind eye to the incitement leading up to Rabin’s assassination by Yigal Amir, which itself appears to be untrue (as I demonstrate below), I’ve rarely come across such an explicit charge that he “helped lead the incitement”.  So, I followed the link and, sure enough, the article he cited doesn’t even go that far.  Hill’s source is an article in Arutz Sheva about Dror Moreh, the director of Israeli film “The Gatekeepers”, which includes the following quotes:

“There were many incidents of incitement against Rabin who was Prime Minister” in 1995 when he was killed by Yigal Amir. “Binyamin Netanyahu had a role in many of those incidents. Netanyahu made a speech in which a protester carried a coffin for Rabin, and I am sure he saw it. I am convinced he did. He was not naïve, and he knew what was going on in these rallies that he led. They called Rabin a Nazi collaborator.

“It is true that Yigal Amir, Rabin’s killer, is in prison,” Moreh said. “But I believe that many others who collaborated with him are guilty as well. They are just as responsible as the one who pulled the trigger. Amir was their messenger,” he added.

Before even fisking Moreh’s accusation, it should be noted that Hill’s claim that Bibi “helped lead the incitement against Yitzhak Rabin” is evidently based solely on one opinion by one film director that “Netanyahu made a speech in which [a couple of] protesters carried a coffin [of Rabin]“. That’s it – one protest against the Oslo Peace Process in which a protester allegedly incited against the Prime Minister.

However, even this claim has been completely deconstructed by, among others, the popular blogger Elder of Ziyon.  Here are the main points:

  • The Hebrew words on the coffin during a protest in Ra’anana in March 1994 (over a year and a half before the Rabin murder) which Moreh alludes to, were “Rabin, the burier of Zionism” (”רבין, קובר [ה]ציונות”) and “Rabin, the killer of Zionism.”* This is far different than the suggestion in the quote that there was a coffin carrying Rabin in effigy – which would signify the desire for his death. (Indeed, more broadly, if you place “protest” and “coffin” in Google Images you’ll see how ubiquitous such coffin symbolism is during both left-wing and right-wing non-violent demonstrations throughout the world.)
  • In this video, dated April 17, 1995, more than half a year before Rabin’s assassination, Bibi is seen telling a crowd of Likud supporters, who are shouting “Rabin is a traitor”, that Rabin is NOT a traitor. Bibi repeats this several times. He also tells the crowd that though Rabin is wrong, and that he’ll have to step aside, but that “we’re dealing with political rivals, not enemies. We’re one and the same people.“* Also see CAMERA’s reports and links demolishing the charge that Bibi called Rabin a ‘traitor’ here (second item) and here.

In short, there appears to be NO evidence whatsoever to back up the claim that Netanyahu incited violence against Rabin, yet alone “helped lead the incitement” against the slain Prime Minister. While Matt Hill can of course hate Bibi as much as he wants, he isn’t entitled to pass off old hateful rumors as if they were true, about something he evidently knows very little, and pass it off as fact.

Finally, it’s difficult not to note the abject cynicism of those like Hill who would falsely accuse an Israeli politician of incitement to murder a fellow Jew, while completely ignoring the countless examples of Palestinian leaders explicitly inciting the murder of Jewish civilians.  Here – to use just one example – is Mahmoud al-Zahar, senior leader and co-founder of Hamas, in 2010, waxing eloquently on the need to annihilate the “blood sucking” Jews.

What most defines Guardian-style Leftists (such as Matt Hill) is the risible platitudes they often advance that they’re truly concerned with Israel’s survival while simultaneously coldly turning a blind eye to explicit calls by Palestinians to engage in the mass murder of Jewish men, women and children.  

Those who can not summon the outrage necessary to condemn, without qualification, the often Nazi-style rhetoric of jihadists simply can not claim the mantle of anti-racism or liberalism, nor feign shock when their moral decency is called into question. 

(*Translations in the videos cited have all been confirmed by multiple sources.)

Richard Silverstein gets duped again by a ‘high level Israeli source’

When Richard Silverstein isn’t expressing support for the end of the Jewish statedefending terror groups like Hamas, or engaging in smears and reckless attacks against his opponents, he’s often busy peddling false scoops about Israel based on the flimsiest of evidence.

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Richard Silverstein

While CiF Watch’s exposes on his hateful rhetoric may have been partially responsible for his near disappearance, since Dec. 2009, from the pages of ‘Comment is Free’ (a possibility he openly acknowledged), his notoriety somehow hasn’t prevented him from being taken seriously, on one or two occasions, as a “journalist” by other media outlets.

Bibi’s Secret War Plan: 

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In August, 2012, one “serious” news source was duped by a Silverstein “scoop” titled “Bibi’s Secret War Plan”.  

Silverstein’s post claimed to be based on information he received from a high-level Israeli source detailing the possible methods of an upcoming attack on Iran.  However, the “secret document” he had “obtained” was a near verbatim quote from a Hebrew forum which had appeared online days before his post, and which itself was based on mere speculation from open-source information.

Prisoner X:

Today, Feb. 13, Silverstein reported this about the identity of an unknown prisoner who was being held in solitary confinement in an Israeli jail – known as “Prisoner X” – who committed suicide in 2010.

“Back in 2010, I reported that Israel had arrested an unidentified individual, and imprisoned him in total secrecy in an Israeli jail.  …Even his jailers didn’t know who he was.  His jailers apparently did a lousy job of monitoring Prisoner X, as he was called and he hung himself from a bar in his cell.

Now Australia’s ABC network blows open the story.

He was a Mossad agent named  Ben Zygier”

However, the alleged (and completely unverified) identity of Prisoner X, which Silverstein is now reporting, totally contradicts his original Dec. 2010 “scoop”, where he first “revealed” the identity of the ‘secret’ prisoner.

Here’s Silverstein on Dec. 11, 2010:

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“Until today, we didn’t know [the identity of] “Prisoner X”…a story I broke [in] June (2010).

[But], through a confidential Israeli source I have exposed his identity.  He is a former Iranian Revolutionary Guard general and government minister under former President Khatami named Ali-Reza Asgari.  Western news outlets reported in 2007 that he either defected or was kidnapped by the Mossad, with the assistance of western intelligence agencies (either the CIA or British or German intelligence depending on the source) in Istanbul.  A conservative Iranian publication first reported last year that Asgari was in an Israeli prison and this wasreported by AP as well.”

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Photo and caption which accompanied Silverstein’s post

So, it seems as if Silverstein was again duped by his “high level” Israeli source.

In today’s post, however, Silverstein explained his “error”, thus:

“A word now about the error in my own reporting.  My source was told by an Israeli intelligence official that the dead man was Ali Reza Asgari.  In hindsight, it appears this was a ruse designed to throw the media off the scent of the real story.”

Whilst information on the true identity of the prisoner has not been definitively corroborated, as one Twitterer cheekily observed at the time of his ‘Bibi War’ post, about the credulity of those in the media who take Silverstein’s gossip  as serious “scoops”:  

They’re more likely to obtain incisive Middle East analysis from a man on the street corner with a sandwich board reading ‘The End is Nigh!’.