Last week the UK’s Independent ran an extremely nasty hit-piece on Israel, claiming that Israel deliberately cut off water supplies to a Palestinian town during Ramadan, purely for the sheer sadistic pleasure in it. The Israellycool blog was all over the story almost immediately:
Leaving aside the fact that during Ramadan, adult Muslims are not supposed to be drinking during the day anyway, the headline is mendacious. It states as fact something that is in all likelihood yet another blood libel – something you only learn a few paragraphs from the end.
A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Indepedent there is “no truth” in the claims, and said the shortages were down to faulty water lines.
They said: “Several hours ago, COGAT’s Civil Administration team have repaired a burst pipe line, which disrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit and Tapuach. The water flow has been regulated and is currently up and running.
“Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply.”
UK Media Watch reports that when the journalist, Peter Yeung, was challenged on the veracity of his article, he came out with the following scandalous “dog ate my homework” excuse:
Yeung’s claim, that the story he wrote “was never reported as fact“, is astonishing. Of course, anyone can make an allegation. It’s the responsibility of professional journalists (and their editors) to determine if allegations have merit, not merely to parrot baseless charges and malevolent smears.
In fact, the exact opposite of Yeung’s baseless smear is the actual reality. UK Media Watch writes in a follow-up piece that COGAT actually increased the Palestinians’ water allocation during Ramadan!
We’ve been in touch with COGAT, who told us that, in order to accommodate Palestinians during Ramadan, when Muslims can’t drink water during the day, “the water supply has been increased during night-time in order to meet the needs of the residents”.
COGAT additionally noted to us that, beginning at the start of Ramadan, on June 6-7, “the water supply to Hebron and Bethlehem [was] expanded [by] 5,000 cubic meters per day in order to meet the needs of the residents“.
So, to clarify, in summer months, the consumption of water naturally increases.
The water carrier can’t keep up with this increased consumption, so residents (both Muslims AND Jews) experience a shortage. Quite simply, the demand exceeds supply.
However, to make up for this shortage and, most importantly, to address the changing water needs of Palestinian Muslims during the holiday of Ramadan, Israel INCREASED the amount of available water to the Hebron and Bethlehem communities, and INCREASED the amount of available water during the night, the time when religious Muslims will need it the most.
So, the Indy’s charge that Israel malevolently “cut off water” to Palestinian Muslims during the month of Ramadan is pretty much the opposite of the truth.
The water-deprivation libel had barely faded from the headlines when another was dreamed up in its place in the Arab media: that Israel was poisoning the Palestinian water supply:
Now we see a new water blood libel doing the rounds in the Arab media: A report concerning a prominent Rabbi who has issued a religious decree “allowing Israeli settlers in the West Bank to poison Palestinian water sources in Palestinian towns.”
Here is one such report.
The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has denounced a religious decree made by a prominent Jewish rabbi allowing Israeli settlers in the West Bank to poison Palestinian water sources in Palestinian towns in occupied West Bank. The PLO described the decree as “an order to kill”.
This call is not the first of its kind. Price tag Jewish groups have waged dozens of attacks against Palestinians, uprooting their trees, burning their houses and destroying their places of worship.
Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements, has issued an ‘advisory opinion’ in which he allowed Jewish settlers to poison water in Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank.
Israeli organisation “Breaking the Silence”, stated that the call for poisoning Palestinian water aims to push the Palestinians to leave and pave the way for Israeli Jewish settlers to take over their lands.
Once again, the intrepid Israellycool blog rips the story to shreds:
The source seems to be the Turkish Anadolu Agency (not correct – see update below)
This story is entirely invented, and represents a pernicious blood libel against Israel and the Jewish people. Here’s how I know this.
Rabbi Shlomo Mlma Does Not Exist
I have never heard of him, nor has anyone else in the know. “Mlma” – with its missing vowel – does not even sound like a valid name!
Not only that, but a few of the stories – like the above – have this photo of this so-called Rabbi.
This is MK Rabbi Yisrael Eichler.
The Council of Rabbis in The West Bank Settlements Does Not Exist
There is nothing called the Council of Rabbis in The West Bank Settlements. No Jews living in Judea and Samaria would refer to them as the “West Bank Settlements”! The closest thing is the Council of Rabbis in Judea and Samaria, whose CEO is Yishai Babad. When contacted, he denied knowledge of any Rabbi of that name or such a decree.
These blood libels serve to cause irreparable damage to Israel and the Jewish people. It is important to ensure the truth is disseminated as quickly as possible, before this damage is done.
Aussie Dave is exactly right when he calls out the blood libels as an enormous danger to the Jewish people. UK Media Watch cites a different example on the same theme when calling out Robert Fisk’s description of Avigdor Liberman as “bloodthirsty“.
The blood-libel motif originated in the twelfth century in England and alleged that Jews needed Christian blood for their Passover service. In today’s Arab world – and in some far-left anti-Israel circles – this staple image of unbridled hatred has mutated into Israel’s alleged quest for Palestinian blood.
The changing nature of antisemitism – whereby racists used to attack Jews qua Jews, but now attack Israel as ‘the Jew write large’ – resulted in the inclusion of such modern day libels into the EUMC Working Definition of Antisemitism.
Nevertheless the onslaught against Israel in some sections of the British media continues, this time with an outrageous attempt in the Observer to tie Israel to an extreme right-wing group which might have a connection to the murderer of MP Jo Cox:
Yet, Mark Townsend, home affairs editor for the Observer (sister site of the Guardian), in an article published on June 18th (Why has the far right made West Yorkshire a home?), somehow managed to tie Israel into the story.
The reference to EDL’s (English Defence League) supposed support for Israel is completely inappropriate in the context of the article, as the far-right group’s alleged position on that particular issue is not even minimally central to their mission. Nor is the information in any way helpful in contextualizing the extremist views of Jo Cox’s suspected murderer.
My two favourite blogs then joined together in outing another outrageous lie by the notorious Israel-hater Richard Silverstein. UK Media Watch adds in the above article:
Interestingly, as revealed by Israellycool, on the very day Townsend published his article in the Observer on Mair and his association with the “pro-Israel” EDL, disgraced anti-Israel blogger Richard Silverstein touched on the same theme – suggesting, without proof, that the suspected murderer may have had affection for Israel.
As Aussie Dave points out:
Note how Silverstein admits he has no proof of the killer’s affection for Israel, yet still tries to make the connection. What he does not mention in his post is the killer’s disdain for Jews, something he was clearly aware of from the tweet he received and acknowledged above. Alas, mentioning that destroys his thesis.
Silverstein’s pathological hatred of Israel is already well-known, but publishing a post in which he tries to suggest a neo-Nazi may have murdered someone for opposing Israel shows just how far gone he really is.
We have all heard the description of antisemitism as a virus, one that mutates with each generation into a new sub-species, but always with the same Jew-hatred at its core. In these above cases we have seen the virus mutate in front of our eyes. It couldn’t make the water-deprivation libel stick, so they came up with the well-poisoning – an old, classic Jew-hating trope from the Middle Ages and further back. And finally they turned themselves inside out by accusing Jew-haters of being supporters fo Israel.
I wish they’d make their minds up. If a Jew-hater supports Israel, does that make themselves pro-Israel hasbarists? The mind boggles.