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by Patricia Berlyn

False witnesses and unjust accusers have appeared against me . . . .
–– Psalm 27:12

Libel and its sister Slander can be distinguished from criticism, disapproval, and dislike by the simple fact that they are false accusations with no foundation in reality.

The Blood Libel against the Jews has more millennia been a tactic for those driven by Judeophobia. A phobia is an obsessive hatred and fear that breeds within the mind, without any cause in outside objective reality. For the Judeophobe, all the various shortcomings and faults and mistakes to be found among the Jewish people collectively do not suffice to feed the obsession, so fantastic evils must be invented.

In an individual or a society, the phobia may derive from ignorance, superstition, and fanaticism. Or it may fill a need to
. . . relieve a personal frustration,
. . . explain a personal failure,
. . . take revenge for a slight or grievance, real or imaginary.

Those infected with such a disorder can rarely if ever be cured of it. Proving that the charges are false may at least or at most limit the credence more rational people give to them.

The Blood Libel does not always require a phobia. The liars who perpetrate the libels do not always need to believe their own lies if they serve to
. . . curry favor with superiors or authority,
. . . collect a financial or political reward,
. . . vent a spite,
. . . follow the fashion, when Judeophobia is endemic.

There is a need for Judeophobia and accompanying Blood Libels in one incarnation or another when people or societies or nations are unsure of themselves, or envious, or frightened or frustrated or defeated. They then may need to divert their own inner unease against some outside or alien target –– and the Jews were for millennia available and vulnerable. This is a psychological disorder not often found among those who have genuine self-respect and self-assurance, as distinct from mere conceit and vanity.

The original Blood Libels against the Jews dealt literally with blood –– charges that they shed the blood of innocent victims, for a religious ritual or from mere sadism. The false charges began in antiquity, burgeoned in the Middle Ages, defied the occasional efforts of popes and kings to ban them, hung on throughout the "Enlightenment," and are enjoying a renaissance today in the original or in mutated forms.

HISTORICALLY, BLOOD LIBELS OFTEN FOLLOW A STANDARD PATTERN. The supposed victim –– often a child –– disappears or is found dead under unexplained circumstances. The mystery is solved by ruling that Jews abducted and killed the victim, for some evil purpose that involves imbibing the victims life blood. No evidence is required to prove the charge. Members of a locally available Jewish community are arrested, imprisoned, cruelly and brutally mistreated, their property confiscated, and they are executed en masse or simply slaughtered by mobs.

Sometimes as an aftermath a child-victim is declared a martyr and elevated to sainthood, as was Little Saint Hugh of Lincoln, invoked by Geoffrey Chaucer, in his Canterbury Tales wherein "The Prioress's Tale" gives a version of a Blood Libel in rhyme and with full credence.

[Comment: Perhaps some instigators of the Libel were aware that Jews have such an aversion to consuming blood that a piece of meat or an egg with a single spot of blood is rejected as not kosher. Such an aberration could incite rather than allay suspicion.]]

The Blood Libel did not end with the Dark Ages:

[1] In the year 1840, in the city of Damascus in Syria, a Catholic friar and his servant disappeared, and the local French Consul, aptly named Ratti-Menton, insisted that they had been ritually murdered by Jews. Prominent members of the Jewish community were imprisoned under sadistic conditions that caused the deaths of some of them. Scores of Jewish children were seized by the government and held as hostages. Pogroms against the Jews broke out throughout the Middle East and North Africa.

However, this time there was an innovation in the history of the Blood Libel: There was protests and active intervention by the governments of the United States, Great Britain, and Austria, that finally secured the release of the broken victims who had survived the hideous experience.

Only a few years ago, at the start of the 21st century, the Minister of Defense of Syria wrote a book called "The Matzoh of Zion" in which he proved that the charges against the Jews of Damascus were true, and that Jews do indeed need "non-Jewish blood" as an essential ingredient in the unleavened bread of Passover. An Egyptian film-maker announced plans to produce a motion picture based on the book.

[2] In the year 1911, in the city of Kiev in Russia, Mendel Beilis, a respectable Jewish businessman, was charged with ritual murder by the Ministry of Justice. He was held in prison for two years, before he was finally acquitted.

[3] In the year 1946, in the town of Kielce in Poland, rumors were spread that the Jews had committed ritual murders of Polish children. Mobs that included Polish soldiers and policemen murdered more than forty Jews who had managed to survive the Holocaust.

Such charges are not a thing of the past. Saudi Arabia informed the United Nations Human Rights Commission that the Talmud requires Jews to drink human blood. A professor at King Faysal University in Saudi Arabia explained in gruesome detail how contemporary Jews mix the blood of Muslim and Christian children into pastries for the Purim festival [See Issues No. 15: "Judeophobia –– Part II]

There has never, in all these centuries, been a proven or authenticated instance of Jews committing murder for a religious or ritual motive. The Jews falsely accused were the only ones who suffered and died.

"It is very dangerous for individuals or nations to confess to sins which they have not committed."
–– Ahad Ha'am

CONTEMPORARY BLOOD LIBELS ARE A STAPLE OF ANTI-ISRAEL PROPAGANDA, sometimes acted out by what has been dubbed "Pallywood." There have also been up-dated versions of the medieval fantasies that Jews poison wells and deliberately spread contamination and disease –– nowadays to Arab children. Keeping up with the times, the Jews now carry on their ancient wickedness with modern technology.

The supposedly respectable world news media specialize in reports of how the Israelis

-- mistreat the poor suffering innocent Palestinians, when in fact their discomfitures are of their own making,

-- "besiege" the residents of Gaza, when in fact all security measures are to prevent terrorists entering Israel by way of Gaza,

-- deny humanitarian rights to Gaza, when Israel in fact supplies electricity and fuel, facilitates import of food and other necessities, and even treats Gazans in Israeli hospitals.

[Comment: The plaintiffs on behalf of Gaza's "rights" do not bother to offer examples of any other occasion when a country gave such support and assistance to a declared enemy out to destroy it.]

These later-days libels are often spread by the international mainstream news media, either as accomplices or dupes. Indeed, some of their reports and broadcasts are in themselves perpetrations of Blood Libels, or at the very least propagation of them [see further, Issue No. 13, "The Fourth Estate" and Issue No. 64, "The News-Fakers"].

THE FOLLOWING ARE ONLY A FEW EXAMPLES OF THE ON-GOING BLOOD LIBELS against Israel and its friends. There are facts enough available to refute them, but truth is rarely agile enough to overtake assiduously crafted deceptions.

[Comment: Truth is not always well-served when Israeli officials and spokesmen too hastily express regrets and apologies for damage that Israel did not in fact cause, or that did not even happen. Revelations of the truth and attempts to make it known often come from private parties acting on their own, but the truth does not overtake or erase the lies.]

[1] Rachel Corrie –– was a young woman who joined the radical-left anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM). She and her comrades came from America to Israel to give aid and comfort to PLO terrorism, and inhibit Israeli defense against it.

The news media reported that she was trying to shield the entrance to a dwelling in a Gaza "refugee camp" and an IDF bulldozer deliberately drove into her and killed her. Her girlish idealism and martyr's death were put on stage in a London drama entitled My Name Is Rachel Corrie to considerable applause.

A video tape that actually recorded the action as it took place shows that she was not shielding a peaceful dwelling but the entrance to a tunnel through which terrorists were receiving weapons and explosives. It also shows that she was standing in a trench, where the driver of the bulldozer could not possibly have seen her or known that she was there.

[2] Jenin –– is a city in Judea-Samaria that the Osloids/Peresites recklessly turned over to the PLO, that turned it into a base for terrorism against Israelis. In 2002, that terrorism had reached such intensity that the IDF moved into Jenin as part of its Operation Defensive Shield. It actions were limited to a very small area, comparable in size to a ball-field, where the terrorists were holed up.

The Israeli soldiers were put into unnecessary danger by taking extra precautions to avoid injury to Arab civilians in the area, and this caused the sacrifice of the lives of twenty-three of these young men. By the end of the action, fifty-four Arabs had been killed, almost all of them weapon-bearing terrorists.

The world's newspersons screamed "massacre" and "war crimes" –– with the British press both acting the lead role and conducting the chorus. United Nations officials swore to the bloodlust of the merciless Jews with testimony to "wholesale obliteration," "a human catastrophe that has few parallels in recent history," "helicopters . . . strafing civilian residential areas," and "bodies . . . piling up" in "mass graves." Peter Hansen, then director of UNRWA, claimed to have seen proof of this massacre himself –– an out-and-out shameless lie, because it was soon proven that none of these alleged horrors had ever taken place.

There was little media correction of the first false reports, or retractions by the most prominent of the false accusers, and the Blood Libels were perpetuated by film-producer Mohammad Bakri in an opus called "Jenin, Jenin."

[3] Muhammad al-Dura –– One of the most pernicious of current Blood Libels was perpetrated by an organ of the news media: The Martyrdom of Little Saint Muhammad of Gaza.

On 20 September 2000, one Charles Enderlin of France 2 Television broadcast to the world some video-film just taken by his cameraman Talal Abu-Rahmeh in Gaza City. At the time, PLO gunmen were firing at a nearby IDF guardpost, and the soldiers were firing back at the gunmen. Enderlin's narration concentrated on a clip of a man and a boy crouching behind a small concrete barrier, followed by one showing the boy in a collapsed position. Enderlin announced to the world that twelve-year-old Muhammad al-Dura was dead. Israeli soldiers, it was said, had been shooting at the father and the son for forty-five minutes before they managed to wound the father and kill the son.

Enderlin generously provided rival news media with gift copies of his pictures. He would not, however. show the part of the film recording the child's death-throes to spare the viewers unbearable anguish.

The pictures were flashed around the world for days and weeks, as illustration of how the Jews deliberately murder Arab children. France 2 aired a special program "The Death of Little Muhammad," that blamed Israel for killing the child.

Muhammad al-Dura became the quintessential victim of Zionist evil.

The PLO invoked his name to justify as an orgy of terrorism against Israelis. It used a child actor to impersonate Muhammad in broadcasts aimed at inviting Arab children to follow him to martyrdom by killing Jews.

The terrorists who abducted and beheaded Wall Street Journal Daniel Pearl invoked the name of Little Saint Muhammad.

Osama bin-Laden invoked his name as one of the causes of his attacks on America.

Before long, experts made rigidly thorough and scientific analysis of the film, calculated lines-of-sight and trajectories, studied reports of witnesses on both sides, and concluded that the IDF soldiers in their guardpost could not even have seen the al-Duras, much less have fired at them and hit them. The alternative, it was supposed at the time, was that they could only have been hit by the nearby PLO gunmen.

This inconvenient truth was ignored.

This Blood Libel, and the incalculable harm it caused, lived on for several years, impervious to facts that disproved it. Then French media critic Philippe Karsenty went beyond the argument that the IDF did not, even inadvertently, shoot the boy. He charged that the entire story was a hoax, a Pallywood production.

This too might have been little reported or given attention had not Charles Enderlin brought a libel suit against Karsenty in a French court. The first judge to hear the case did not consider any evidence but summarily pronounced Karsenty guilty and imposed damages.

The doughty Karsenty appealed the verdict and the case has now been heard a second time. Enderlin, on orders from a judge, brought to court some of the film from which the clips of Muhammad al-Dura had been taken. This tape showed play-acting and hi-jinx among the Gazans on the scene, but it did not include the picture of the boy's "death" that he had so long suppressed as too unendurable to view. Nor did it include a scene that reportedly shows the boy looking up and moving about after Enderlin had pronounced him dead.

Enough has come out at this trial to convince all but the intractably prejudiced that the Blood Libel on the IDF was a hoax, and that the murders of innocent people to avenge the martyr were propelled by a hoax.

L'Affaire Al-Dura raises questions: Why did it take so long for the truth to come out? How is it that no other journalists noticed the many falsities in the story? Why was the world so eager to embrace just this story, when it is so imperviously indifferent to the many deliberate and calculated murder of Israeli babies and children by Arab terrorists?

[Comment: As of this writing, the French court has not yet rendered its verdict, and the outcome is unpredictable. French courts wrongly convicted Alfred Dreyfus not once but twice.]

THE BLOOD LIBEL HAS OFFSPRING IN LIBELS THAT DO NOT OPENLY use –– but may slyly hint at –– the medieval caricature of the literally blood-shedding, blood-drinking Jew. Rather, it is transmuted into political libels that, if they serve their intended purpose, vilify both Israel and American Jewry and instigate an anti-Israel foreign policy.

Among purveyors of the new model Blood Libels –– other than those just naturally plain old-fashioned Jew-haters –– are

-- those with financial interests in the Muslim world, including but not limited to oil companies. These groups often overlap with the ones who sub rosa impede projects to make the United States and other Western countries free of dependence on Arab oil imports and thereby free of the suppliers' political dictates. That would simply cut into their own revenues.

-- scholars, writers, analysts, commentators, and creative-type persons who follow the fad of going against the stream –– which is in fact going with the stream –– to prove how superior they are to common people who do not share their views.

-- those too cautious to offend those who do not tolerate offense. It not being their nature to be offensive, the Jews are a safer butt. [The director of a British cartoonists union explained why the members' specialized in anti-Israel cartoons: "Jews don't issue fatwas."]

Most shameful of all are Jews and even Israelis who join the lynch mob ––

This perversion, like the Blood Libel itself, reaches back into the Middle Ages. It may be driven by
-- resentment of having been born into a persecuted people,
-- a delusory hope of exemption from persecution by currying favor with the persecutors,
-- a longing to be accepted into some elite group, even if it is Judeophobic.

Whether or not this conduct is any use to them, it is of use to the active enemies of the Jews, who can mask their own Judeophobia by citing and quoting their Jewish claque.

[Comment: In February 2007, a potpourri of Britons who call themselves "Independent Jewish Voices," put their names to an anti-Israel public manifesto. Some of them might have spared themselves the trouble of dissociating themselves from the Jews, because they were so far removed from their ancestral identity that they were not known to be Jewish.]

The Neo-Blood Libels are often perpetrated and propagated under respectable credentials:

[1] Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter, Professors Shmearheimer and Wilt –– a/k/a Mearheimer and Walt –– and their ilk congratulate themselves on their courage in defying a conspiracy to silence all criticism of Israel and its friends. When factual flaws in their work are pointed out, they cite that as proof of the conspiracy against them. If their arguments are disputed or rebutted, they wail that they are being censored and vilified, even while making public appearances and giving interviews and lectures and depositing the royalty checks on their best-selling screeds.

In the Groves of Academe [see further Issue No. 27, "Scenes From Academe"], hatred of Israel rages like a fever. At American universities, professors teach it, students major in it, and administrators try not to notice as they count the cash contributions from Saudi Arabia. Some Jewish students fall in with it to be in fashion, but others staunchly stand against it.

At Great Britain's venerable Oxford Union debates, a recent topic was not what Israel ought to do or not do, but whether Israel should or should not exist.

As the state of the world becomes more parlous and its future uncertain, there is an international revival of the Judeophobic Blood Libel, as a comfortable explanation of intractable troubles, or diversion of concern about them, or simply to placate the arch-perpetrators.

"Looking for scapegoat, world again turns to Jews: Anti-Semitism Never Dies," by Victor Davis Hanson. National Review Online, 13 September 2007:

"Who recently said: 'These Jews started 19 Crusades. The 19th was World War (1). Why? Only to build Israel.' Some holdover Nazi? Hardly. It was former Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan of Turkey, a NATO ally. He went on to claim that the Jews –– whom he refers to as 'bacteria' –– controlled China, India and Japan, and ran the United States.

"Who alleged: 'The Arabs who were involved in 9/11 cooperated with the Zionists, actually. It was a cooperation. They gave them the perfect excuse to denounce all Arabs.' A conspiracy nut? Actually, it was former Democratic U.S. Sen. James Abourezk of South Dakota. He denounced Israel on a Hezbollah-owned television station, adding: 'I marveled at the Hezbollah resistance to Israel . . . . It was a marvel of organization, of courage and bravery.'

"And finally, who claimed at a United Nations-sponsored conference that democratic Israel was 'much worse' than the former apartheid South Africa, and that it 'undermines the international community's reaction to global warming'? A radical environmentalist wacko? Again, no. It was Clare Short, a member of the British parliament. She was a secretary for international development under Prime Minister Tony Blair.

"A new virulent strain of the old anti-Semitism is spreading worldwide. This hate –– of a magnitude not seen in over 70 years –– is not just espoused by Iran's loony president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, or radical jihadists. The latest anti-Semitism is also now mouthed by world leaders and sophisticated politicians and academics. Their loathing often masquerades as 'anti-Zionism' or 'legitimate' criticism of Israel. But the venom exclusively reserved for the Jewish state betrays their existential hatred.

"Israel is always lambasted for entering homes in the West Bank to look for Hamas terrorists and using too much force. But last week the world snoozed when the Lebanese army bombarded and then crushed the Nahr al-Bared refugee camp, which harbored Islamic terrorists.

"The world has long objected to Jewish settlers buying up land in the West Bank. Yet Hezbollah, flush with Iranian money, is now purchasing large tracts in southern Lebanon for military purposes and purging them of non-Shiites.

"Here at home, "neoconservative" has become synonymous with a supposed Jewish cabal of Washington insiders who hijacked U.S. policy to take us to war for Israel's interest. That our state department is at the mercy of a Jewish lobby is the theme of a recent high-profile book by professors at Harvard University and the University of Chicago.

"Yet when the United States bombed European and Christian Serbia to help Balkan Muslims, few critics alleged that American Muslims had unduly swayed President Clinton. And such charges of improper ethnic influence are rarely leveled to explain the billions in American aid given to non-democratic Egypt, Jordan or the Palestinians –– or the Saudi oil money that pours into American universities.

"The world likewise displays such a double standard. It seems to care little about the principle of so-called occupied land –– whether in Cyprus or Tibet –– unless Israel is the accused. Mass murdering in Cambodia, the Congo, Rwanda and Darfur has earned far fewer United Nations' resolutions of condemnation than supposed atrocities committed by Israel. A number of British academics are sponsoring a boycott of Israeli scholars but leave alone those from autocratic Iran, China and Cuba.

"There are various explanations for the new anti-Semitism. For many abroad, attacking Jews and Israel is an indirect way of damning its main ally, the United States –– by implying that Americans are not entirely evil, just hoodwinked by those sneaky and far more evil Jews.

"At home, there are obvious pragmatic considerations. Some Americans may find it makes more sense to damn a few million Israelis without oil than it does to offend Israel's adversaries in the Middle East, who number in the hundreds of millions and control nearly half the world's petroleum reserves.

"Cowardice explains a lot. Libeling Israel won't earn someone a fatwa or a death sentence in the manner comparable criticism of Islam might. There are no Jewish suicide bombers in London, Madrid or Bali.

"This new face of anti-Semitism is so insidious because it is so well disguised, advanced by self-proclaimed diplomats and academics –– and now embraced by the supposedly sophisticated left on university campuses.

"When national, collective or personal aspirations are not met, it is far easier to blame someone or something rather than to look within for the source of the failure and frustration. More recently, someone must be blamed for getting terrorists (with oil and its profits behind them) mad at us.

"That someone is –– no surprise –– once again Jews."


AT THE MOMENT, THE CHARGE BEING BLARED AGAINST ISRAEL IS THE USE OF "DISPROPORTIONATE FORCE" against those who are bombarding it with missiles and rockets and murdering and injuring its people and keeping them living in constant trauma.

The newly-invented Doctrine of Proportionality means: "Israel has a right to defend itself when attacked –– provided that it does not do so effectively." To take action that would prevent the aggressors/terrorists from repeating their attacks is "disproportionate" to the attacks and therefore intolerable. This doctrine insures that aggressors/terrorists will retain the capacity to continue or renew the aggression/terrorism and thus perpetuates the war against Israel.

[Comment: Had the Doctrine of Proportionality been promulgated at the time of the attack on Pearl Harbor, then the United States would have had to limit its response to bombing one Japanese port and sinking a precisely balanced number of ships, and then call it quits.]

"Civil Fights: The canard of 'disproportionate force,'" by Evelyn Gordon, The Jerusalem Post, 5 March 2008:

"International denunciations of Israel came thick and fast this week. The EU's rotating president, Slovenia, condemned the 'disproportionate use of force by the Israeli Defense Forces against the Palestinian population in Gaza.' UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon slammed Israel's 'excessive and disproportionate' response to Palestinian rocket attacks. Even the US State Department urged Israel to 'exercise caution to avoid the loss of innocent life,' which is merely a milder version of the same premise: that Israel is to blame for all Palestinian civilian casualties, either because it uses 'disproportionate force' or because it exercises insufficient 'caution.' Yet media reports on the fighting in Gaza reveal that in fact, the blame frequently lies with Palestinian behavior.

"Take, for example, an Israeli air strike that killed two Palestinian teenagers last Wednesday. According to The New York Times, 'witnesses in Gaza told the Palestinian news media that the civilians were hit while standing at a launching site watching Hamas militants firing rockets.' There can be no more justified military activity than targeting terrorists in the very act of firing rockets at civilians. If that is 'disproportionate,' all military activity is. Moreover, since Hamas eschews uniforms, the IDF has no way to distinguish rocket crews from civilians who are cheering them on. Thus any civilian who rubbernecks at a rocket launch is clearly and deliberately putting himself in danger –– which in itself should absolve Israel of responsibility.

"But more importantly, for that very reason, most forces do not allow civilians in firing zones. The IDF, for instance, generally declares active combat areas 'closed military zones' from which Israeli civilians are legally barred, and it enforces such orders . . . .

"But Hamas needs civilian casualties to fuel Palestinian and international anger at Israel. So rather than barring civilians from its launch zones, it welcomes them. And if they do not volunteer for the victim's role, it co-opts them –– as happened last weekend: 'Palestinian gunmen took up positions in homes while the civilians were still inside,' Haaretz reported.

"Firing back at people who are shooting at you is also clearly legitimate military activity; no law of war obligates soldiers to let themselves be mown down without a fight just because there are civilians nearby. Moreover, soldiers have no way of knowing whether the civilians have fled or are still inside a house; all they can be certain of is the presence of gunmen.

"Under such circumstances, civilian casualties are inevitable. But those casualties are not caused by 'disproportionate force' or insufficient 'caution'; they are the direct result of Hamas's decision to use civilian homes, with the people still inside, as bases for targeting Israeli soldiers.

"Moreover, civilians are not always innocent. Those whose homes were invaded by Hamas were presumably unwilling hostages. But some Palestinians voluntarily serve as 'human shields' for terrorists –– and by actively aiding and abetting terror, they turn themselves into combatants.

"In one widely publicized case in November 2006, for instance, the IDF, seeking to avoid civilian casualties, announced two planned air strikes 30 minutes in advance to enable civilians to leave. Instead, Hamas used the loudspeakers of local mosques to urge civilians to flood the area and serve as human shields. Hundreds did so, and the IDF –– precisely because Israel tries to avoid civilian casualties –– consequently aborted the strikes. Yet these civilians were hardly 'innocent.' They deliberately intervened in conflict on the terrorists' behalf.

"What is most noteworthy about such incidents, however, is what they say about the Palestinian claim –– mindlessly parroted by the international community –– that the IDF fires indiscriminately, without regard for civilians. In fact, Hamas summoned civilian reinforcements precisely because it knew a civilian presence would prevent the air strikes. And the civilians came for the same reason –– not because they sought death, but because they knew the IDF would not shoot them.

"In another incident that same month, hundreds of Palestinian women purposely entered a combat zone to shield gunmen besieged by IDF soldiers. Again, they were deliberately abetting combatants. And again, they knew they could do so safely, because the IDF would not shoot them. And indeed, the soldiers held their fire as the wanted men escaped by mingling with the crowd.

"In July 2006, The New York Times described another Gaza battle as follows: '[Israeli] soldiers fired at groups of Palestinians [with weapons] who fought in the streets, sometimes surrounded by curious and excited children.' Why any parent would let his children outside during a gunfight is a mystery. But unless these parents were deliberately sacrificing their children for propaganda purposes, such behavior demonstrates a truly extraordinary faith in the IDF's efforts to avoid harming civilians.

"Contrast this with Palestinians' behavior when the combatants are not Israelis. During last May's Hamas-Fatah infighting, for instance, the Times reported: 'The streets of Gaza City were empty except for the gunmen, with shops shuttered and residents remaining indoors, usually in interior rooms farthest from the windows.' No 'curious and excited' children surrounding the gunmen in these battles: Gazan parents who trusted the IDF with their children's lives evidently placed no similar reliance on Palestinian forces. [. . . . ]

"In short, Palestinian civilian casualties usually result not from 'disproportionate force' or 'insufficient caution' by the IDF, but from Palestinian behavior, on the part of both civilians and terrorists." [. . . . ]


ONCE A TELEVISION NEWS REPORTER STOOD AT THE ISRAELI SIDE of the Allenby Bridge, the main crossing point over the Jordan River. He gave his audience a translation of a sign posted there in Hebrew and Arabic: "Arabs Line Up Here."

A viewer who understood the original languages informed the producer of the news program that the sign in fact reads: "Welcome to the Allenby Bridge."

The producer explained the deliberately derogatory mis-information: "We made it more robust."

Patricia Berlyn is a writer and editor who is a native of New York, N.Y. and now resides in Israel.

This article is archived in Vol. VIII:1 (No. 70) of TIME TO SPEAK, March 2008 -- I-II Adar 5768

"A Time To Speak" appears once a month, and each issue is on a theme that relates to Israel and the Middle East past and present, including history, background, current events, analysis and comment. All issues appear on its website: A complimentary subscription to the e-mail edition is available by request to:


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