A story that even ‘hasbara’ cannot explain

There has been a lot of “bad news” coming out of Israel for the last few years for apologists and pro-Israeli organizations to “explain”– hasbara is of course Hebrew for “explaining”– and then there is this story: Israel “coaxed,” or forced, birth control injections on Ethiopian women in transit camps to depress the Ethiopian birth rate. From the LA Times:

[Israeli] investigative journalist Gal Gabbay… reported that Jewish Ethiopian women awaiting emigration to Israel in transit camps in Ethiopia were coaxed into the treatment with little medical explanation and led to understand this was a condition for moving to Israel.

On how many levels will this confuse your average American who has been “educated” to believe that our support for Israel is based on “shared values”? Is it even conceivable that a different one of our “shared values” allies would be doing something like this in the 21st century? One can expect that the Anti-Defamation League and their ilk will be completely mum about this story because, as good as they are, there just isn’t any way to spin this story.

How truly devastating this is for the American Jewish liberal, hanging on to the contradictory ideas of a Jewish and a democratic state.

About Yakov Hirsch

Yakov Hirsch is a writer and poker player who lives in New York
Posted in Israel/Palestine

{ 41 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Taxi says:

    Occupation, colonialism, Apartheid, practice of torture, narcissism, human organ trading, sex trading, warmongering – and now eugenics. Bravo israel, you cute l’il “light upon all nations”.

    If only all countries could be as utopian and enlightened as you – especially those backward Aghab countries eh!

  2. This is off topic. But I am trying to locate some historical events. Where is the comment about the pressure and threat posed to nascent Indian government by Israeli /Zionist leaders throuigh threatening anonymous phone call in around 1948 ? How can I get to that site here at Mondoweiss? Thanks

    • Mike_Konrad says:

      Harry Truman was furious that certain agents went behind his back to change the UN vote.

      The pro-Israel group called for an adjurement because they knew they would lose the vote. They then had people call up critical swing goverments.

      A few days later, after the sneaky tactics, the vote was held.

      Truman was furious. He was pro-Zionist; but he did not want this chicanery wrecking the UN.

      link to trumanlibrary.org
      link to trumanlibrary.org

      [114] (Section #114)

      There were a number of Jewish Zionists at the U.N., like Robert Nathan, Bernard Baruch, and various other people, who were calling up the chiefs of other states and saying, “Unless you vote for this partition program, the United States will not build a road in your country; will not help you in aid or will not do something else.” They were pretending they had the authority of the President of the United States to determine policy, when they were just one individual operating on their own. They had no authority, no official position, but they were using the importance of the United States as a threat against these countries.

      [116]

      I read with a lot of interest your memorandum on the 10th in regards to the Philippine situation. [That's the one I've just described.] It seems to me that if our delegation to the United Nations is to be interfered with by members of the United States Senate and by pressure groups in this country, we will be helping the United Nations down the road to failure. The conversation between the President of the Philippines and our Ambassador is most interesting. I have a report from Haiti in which it is stated that our consul in Haiti approached the President of that country and suggested to him that for his own good, he should order the vote of his country changed, claiming that he had instructions from me to make such a statement to the President of Haiti. As you very well know, I refused to make statements to any country on the subject of his vote in the United Nations. It is perfectly apparent that pressure groups will succeed in putting the United Nations out of business if this sort of thing is continued and I am very anxious that it be stopped. Harry S. Truman

      Truman was furious

      link to trumanlibrary.org
      link to trumanlibrary.org

      Read sections [115], [116], [117], etc. to get the whole story.

      Better yet, if you can, download the page or make a mirror from your cache.

      These embarrassing documents have a way of disappearing once they become well known.

      CITE THAT SOURCE TO THE LETTER.

      If anyone flubs or screws up one comma, they will be trashed and called dishonest for the gaffe, even if the rest of the citation is 99% right.

      Both sides in this debate play fast and loose with facts. The Arabs are even worse, far worse.

      THAT BEING SAID:

      A) I am not in favor of a Palestinian state

      B) I am not in favor of the right of return for Palestinians outside Israel

      C) I am not in favor of diving Jerusalem.

      D) I actually think Israel has a right to Judea and Samaria.

      The only thing I have an issue with is that Israel should begin the process of enfranchising the Arabs of Judea and Samaria and award building permits fairly.

      I recognize the Arabs are under an abysmal martial law; but then again, many of them want to destroy Israel. What do you expect the Israelis to do?

      Likewise, Israel wants to erase “Palestine.” Resistance is to be expected.

      This is a tragedy in slow motion.

      But cite all sources correctly AND TO THE COMMA, or you will be trashed.

      I gave you the link and the sections to look for.

      Compared to most here, I am very Zionist.

      If this is your schtick, mirror the page. Once it becomes famous, be assured, it will be removed.

      • American says:

        Mike_Konrad

        “THAT BEING SAID:”……

        You seem somewhat odd in your purpose for a zionist…what is your purpose exactly..I’m confused .
        The Truman links have been posted here a number of times over the years.
        They are also stored at other sites like if americansknew. So I doubt they will disappear, they’ve been referenced by Lobby watchers for decades and are still in Truman’s library.

      • eljay says:

        >> Compared to most here, I am very Zionist.

        The hatefulness and immorality is evident.

      • pjdude says:

        A) I am not in favor of a Palestinian state

        B) I am not in favor of the right of return for Palestinians outside Israel

        C) I am not in favor of diving Jerusalem.

        D) I actually think Israel has a right to Judea and Samaria. what a surprise your a zionist against the palestinains legal rights and international law

  3. Les says:

    Just name one supporter of Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians who you would say is not a racist.

  4. Cliff says:

    There’s always hasbara.

    They will say they are protecting the national character of the Jewish State (Jewish majority).

    They will frame it as ‘destruction of Israel’.

    They will say the RoR is a myth, created by Arab leaders to destroy Israel (conspiracy). And that the Palestinians don’t really exist or that suicide terrorism is the reason why there’s no peace or that rockets on S’Derot is all ‘they’ got after the disengagement (and redeployment).

    If you want to have a conversation with a Zionist, you’ve already dug yourself into a hole.

    You can’t discuss any issue with people you have nothing in common with (virtues, like honesty/pursuit of justice).

    Their justice/truth is within a nationalistic framework.

    So if you bring up the Law of Return vs. the RoR – they will say the RoR is wrong because it negates the Jewish majority. Except they frame it as, ‘Israel is a sovereign state so it decides it’s own immigration policy.’

    Dishonest. Lies. Nationalism.

    Waste. Of. Time.

    • Krauss says:

      I sort of never understood why white supremacists disliked Israel. It’s basically doing what they’d want to do for majority-white countries. Place government-sanctioned eugenics programs on “undesired” populations(a.k.a ‘racial hygiene’), strictly limit immigration on all those who are not of the majority population(in Israel’s case, a Jews-only immigration policy while for America, Canada etc it’d be white Gentile-only immigration).

      Add to that, have a bunch of measures, like being a world-leader in IVF treatment and subsidize it heavily, in order to boost the native birth rate as much as possible.

      And third, create a media complex by the help of far-right bigots to attack all those who intermarry in the media, so they pay a price socially and culturally and constantly paint all (‘sadly’, remaining) minorities as ‘fifth columns’.

      And fourth, and finally, create an apartheid state within the state and segregate all the undesired racial groups into their own enclaves as to not “contaminate” the main ethnic group. (See ‘arab towns’ in Israel for this).

      Then do all of the above and hope that A) the undesired groups do not replicate and B) will move away as they are facing an increasingly racist and hostile society and C) prevent any of the other ethnic groups to immigrate.

      My guess why the white supremacists dislike Israel, despite the fact that it’s a state that is carrying out the blueprints that they’d like, is probably due to the Jewish nature of the state. So it’s Jewish supremacism, not white supremacism. Other than that, there is little to no difference.

      • Cliff says:

        There was a movie that came out more than 10 years ago, called ‘The Believer’.

        The plot concerns the religious transformation of an Orthodox Jew (I believe) into an atheist, neo-Nazi/skinhead. I think the opening scene shows the youth, played by Ryan Gosling (great performance), beating up another religious Jew around his age.

        Throughout the film, Daniel (I think that’s his name), is confronted with skepticism about his views (naturally) from members of the Jewish community (such as his sister, former childhood friends and rivals), a reporter for the NYT (I think, again memory is hazy), and ‘his’ fellow skin-head/neo-Nazi peers.

        He apparently hates Judaism because of a particular religious story he found to be completely illogical. As the movie progresses he relents partially. There’s a part where the neo-Nazis vandalize a synagoge and tear up the Jewish scriptures there. Daniel respectfully takes them when the other vandals aren’t looking and bring them home. He repairs them as best as he can.

        Earlier in the movie Daniel and the neo-Nazi thugs assault a Jewish bakery owner and his brother, while eating at the restaurant. It begins with an insulting remark/’criticism’ made by Daniel towards the baker about the kosher food. The thugs chime in (idiotically; because they are not as intelligent as Daniel and cling to him since he is both physically strong AND intellectually ‘strong’ to make the attacks on Jewishness that they can only dream of making).

        Daniel becomes a rising star in the local resurgent neo-Nazi/skinhead movement. He is asked by the leader to speak to audiences (who meet underground). These audiences consist of the ‘usual suspects’ apparently (Arabs, white supremacists, black Muslims/Nation of Islam types, etc.).

        In a pivotal scene where Daniel gets into a fight with a former rival from his youth – he mentions that while he is an atheist and perhaps a Nazi (he doesn’t deny it but he doesn’t completely lay it on as well, since he was asked by a friend to go to a synagoge), his former rival and detractors worship the State of Israel. He says ‘Sharon and his bullyboys’ in the territories and blames Israel for Sabra and Shatila.

        It doesn’t come of as a caricature either, he seems reasonable in the scene and the religious Jews (casual and orthodox alike) seem fanatical. One such religious Jew, an elderly woman, is shown saying ‘because we are the Chosen people’ in response to what I think was a statement about why the Holocaust happened or something.

        Anyways, long story short, the movie is about his realization that Nazism is bullshit and that he is a sincere/faithful religious Jew. He has some issues with his father and the community (perhaps it’s the community that he has always disliked, and the flashback scenes to his days at religious school as a young boy show his subversive revolt.

        I thought it was a good movie. It’s never really mentioned anymore, and I dont see any movies like it. Ryan Gosling is a very popular actor now so I would think that this would be noteworthy enough to mention in interviews or something.

        One thing that bugged me as I became more aware of the Israel-Palestine conflict was, why didn’t Daniel just become a raving Jewish nationalist? He could be ‘strong’ and masculine (these are the attributes that he values the most and which he contrasts with his weak religious Jewish counterparts) and pick on ‘The Other’ (Palestinians).

        Instead, he becomes a neo-Nazi/skinhead and picks on Jews. That works too but it seemed to be irrelevant and out of place with the current political culture.

        In fact it’s supposed to be based partially on a true story (that took place in the 50s or 60s?).

        So to that end, it’s literally anachronistic. The movie takes place in the late 90s I assume. It came out in 2000 or 2001.

        It’s worth a watch. Interesting coming of age story/Taxi Driveresque transformation. The ending is also very interesting. Daniel says that it is in Jew’s very nature to ‘pull at the thread until there’s nothing left’/nothing but nothingness (referencing, Freud/Marx/Einstein and blaming them for ‘infant sexuality/communism/the atom bomb’).

        I thought that last statement of his was amusing beyond belief. It was probably the most outlandish thing in the movie, ironically.

        Marx wasn’t responsible for communism. Einstein was shattered by the atom bomb and I think he even said he wished he’d been born a plumber. And Freud is one of the most important thinkers (of all time). All of them are.

        It’s like the movie just wanted to say something controversial just for controversy’s sake and it certainly achieved that.

  5. frankier says:

    “[support for Israel is based on "shared values"]”

    … but this is a shared value…
    link to uvm.edu

    • frank, how does a data base of the US history w/ eugenics represent a shared value in the 21st century?

      Yakov Hirsch :

      Is it even conceivable that a different one of our “shared values” allies would be doing something like this in the 21st century?

      • frankier says:

        Annie, I was being a little sarcastic and referring to the eugenics programs that were run in the US up to the early ’70s. The introduction to the article in the link covers summarily the eugenics programs in the US. The sterilization of the Ethiopians seemed like eugenics to me.

        I should have put a smiley face next to my statement, but I felt the topic was too serious for that.

    • ToivoS says:

      Frankier is out with the hasbara very quickly. Let us hope this one spreads. Israel cannot be condemned for practicing eugenics because the US did it in the early 20th century. Of course he does not mention that US laws became the template for similar laws in Nazi Germany passed in the early 30s. These are laws that were universally rejected after WWII and were repealed in the late 20s in the US (to be correct, not entirely, but they were well on their way out by then). Let the true Israeli patriots try to sell that one today. This is almost as good as justifying stealing Palestinian land because the US stole land from Native Americans in the 19th century.

      • frankier says:

        ToivoS – You misread my comment… I am not providing any hasbara. I was not justifying Israel policy (or the US one). Quite the opposite. I was just pointing out that the US had a similar shameful program.

        The principles behind eugenics should not be a value in any society.

    • American says:

      … but this is a shared value…
      link to uvm.edu………..frankier>>>

      I don’t now that that value was shared ‘by the population’ so much as by a profession— but if it was, it’s one that we are definitely *ashamed of* now.

  6. You’re right that the story seems unspinnable, but believe me they will try.

    My guess is that they’ll go for the ‘Israel is a democracy and our institutions are working’ line. They’ll stress the fact that the Health Ministry has instructed the agencies to stop administering the contraceptive, and cite this as evidence of how, unlike in the Arab world, Israel is subject to the rule of law and everyone is overseen by the appropriate organisations and so on and so forth.

    It’ll be filed under ‘mistakes were made’ in the hope that most people will just leave it be. As if.

  7. talknic says:

    If Israel shared values with the US, it would surely have ratified the 1933 Convention on the rights and duties of states ….. link to cfr.org no?

  8. A COMMENT MADE TO THE L.A. TIMES ARTICLE:

    balolalo at 11:52 PM January 28, 2013
    Shame on the LA Times for white-washing this story. In case you forgot:
    Genocide is defined as:
    …any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

    (a) Killing members of the group;
    (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
    (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
    (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group;
    (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

    SOURCE – link to discussions.latimes.com

  9. RE: “There has been a lot of ‘bad new’ coming out of Israel for the last few years . . . there is this story: Israel ‘coaxed’, or forced, birth control injections on Ethiopian women in transit camps to depress the Ethiopian birth rate.” ~ Yakov Hirsch

    MY COMMENT: This should not surprise anyone. Right-wing authoritarian regimes have long indulged such practices.

    ~ ~ ~ A LITTLE BACKGROUND ON ISRAEL’S RIGHT-WING, AUTHORITARIAN GOVERNMENT ~ ~ ~

    ● FROM WIKIPEDIA [Betar]:

    (EXCERPT) The Betar Movement (בית”ר, also spelled Beitar) is a Revisionist Zionist youth movement founded in 1923 in Riga, Latvia, by Vladimir (Ze’ev) Jabotinsky. Betar has been traditionally linked to the original Herut and then Likud political parties of Israel, and was closely affiliated with the pre-Israel Revisionist Zionist splinter group Irgun Zevai Leumi. It was one of many right-wing movements and youth groups arising at that time out of a worldwide emergence of fascism.[1] Some of the most prominent politicians of Israel were Betarim in their youth, most notably Prime Ministers Yitzhak Shamir and Menachem Begin, the latter of whom idolized Jabotinsky.[2]. . .
    . . . The group initially praised Mussolini for his anti-communism and fascist principles, leading it to adopt the black uniform shirt of Italian fascism for a short period. Mussolini’s invasion of Abyssinia, however, was seen as “cowardly” by Betar and led them to break with him shortly after.[8]. . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    ● ALSO SEE: “The Hidden History of Zionism”, Chapter 6, by Ralph Schoenman

    [EXCERPT] . . . Mussolini set up squadrons of the Revisionist Zionist youth movement, Betar, in black shirts in emulation of his own Fascist bands.
    When Menachem Begin became chief of Betar, he preferred the brown shirts of the Hitler gangs, a uniform Begin and Betar members wore to all meetings and rallies – at which they greeted each other and opened and closed meetings with the fascist salute. . .

    SOURCE – link to marxists.de

  10. Dagon says:

    The reality is that We do share most values.Thats why zionoism has no trouble selling it’s hasbara to americans.birds of a feather,you know.

    • The reality is that We do share most values

      the reality is, in most basic aspects of life/human nature..we all share most values. beginning with: we love our children

      • seafoid says:

        Apartheid will be impossible for Israel to sell

        link to guardian.co.uk

        “Forty winters ago, during England’s Test match at Port Elizabeth – Ian’s first tour – some black South Africans who had attempted to watch the cricket were beaten up by police. Ian’s telephone line went down, so the Mail copytakers in London contacted him through the phone in the committee-room. He had written his piece; now he had to read it at the top of his voice in the presence of about 30 members of the republic’s ruling Broederband. He could have altered his intro. Instead, he took a deep breath and dictated: “The wretchedly evil face of apartheid was displayed here today when …” Yes, he would say years later, “I was fairly proud of myself at that moment.”"

        • thanks for the link seafoid. knowing the impact on sports on SA’s apartheid gives us another opportunity to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

        • seafoid says:

          annie

          I think it all depends for how long the US political elite provides cover.

          link to forward.com

          “Reporter: And do you think the U.S. position is balanced by calling the kidnapping of the [Israeli] soldier a terrorist act while refraining from commenting on the [inaudible] civilian deaths [inaudible]?

          Ambassador Bolton: There is no moral equivalency to, on the one hand, deliberate attacking of civilians, taking lives, taking hostages, versus the inadvertent and highly unfortunate civilian deaths that occur when a country exercises its right to self-defense. Those are not the same act, they are not motivated for the same reasons, they do not carry the same moral weight.”

          I think gay marriage in the US is inspiring. How the mood shifts with the changing of the generational guard.

        • seafoid says:

          Another angle is Franz Fanon on the irrationality of white racism

          Zionism is also irrational

          link to books.google.ch

    • American says:

      Dagon says:

      The reality is that We do share most values”…..

      LOL…If we do then Israelis are in a shit pot of trouble…it means we will throw them to the wolves when push comes to shove just like they would do to us…since we would value ourselves and our own desires above all others lives.

  11. ritzl says:

    How would Scarfe cartoon this, I wonder?

    And maybe this immunizes (no pun intended) the Congressional Black Caucus from claims of antisemitism, should one or many of them choose to distance themselves, however incrementally, from the I-Lobby.

    Deeply disturbing.

  12. Blank State says:

    This says as much about the United States as it does about Israel. Every despicable act, policy, and agenda that the Israelis embark upon is subsidized with our money. Do we think these scumbags in DC are ignorant of Israeli policies when they vote to send more money? Or when they applaud the racist P.O.S. Netanyahu? Or when they hand out kneepads to DC political newcomers???

    Truth is, if Israel is practicing eugenics, and obviously it is, it is doing so with our tacit approval. The check is in the mail, no matter what Israel does.

  13. Qualtrough says:

    The Hasbara will spin it as an aberration, and say that the fact that this is coming out is proof the system works. That will be followed by a less than gentle reminder that more than a few US states and some European countries practiced involuntary sterilization up until the 1980s, therefore making this not so much of a sin. The latter tactic is from the same play book they use when they bring up the dismal treatment of native Americans by the US to justify their treatment of Palestinians. There is nothing they cannot or will not spin. Think Saddam’s spokesman in the closing days of the US invasion, the guy who was denying things that were happening right behind his shoulder on TV screens. As a true believer that didn’t faze him, just as similar events won’t faze the Hasbara.

  14. just says:

    Yakov, one does not need to be an “American Jewish liberal” to be distressed. This is terrible, yet important, news for all humans who actually give a damn about each other.

    Thank you for your efforts– I very much appreciate you and Mondoweiss.

  15. chinese box says:

    Predictably, they are already trying to spin in on some other “liberal” forums. It was just a few isolated incidents, the government didn’t actually approve it, depo only lasts for three months, ad nauseum

  16. sardelapasti says:

    We start getting the spin on the unspinnable:
    link to commondreams.org

    “Forced Contraception of Jewish Ethopian Women Is Tip of Global Iceberg
    A report claims Israel pressured women to reduce its poor black population. Reproductive rights need defending across the world”

    Nifty, no? Spread the guilt across the world.

    • Bumblebye says:

      I watched a documentary on the net (but now cannot find the link) about the treatment of Moroccan Jewish children when they arrived in Israel. They were sent to camps and there treated for ringworm with massive overdoses of radiation. The documentary spoke of the terrible health consequences that had subsequently afflicted many of the kids, their own families (or failed attempts to start a family), and so forth. The radiation treatments had been hundreds of times over any safe limits.The Israeli government, of course, refused to accept any responsibility for their health problems.

      It seems Israeli racism simply transfers to each new set of immigrants, and plays out with a new set of medical tools. Not forgetting of course, that the Palestinians are at all times the original target, the one that never seems to go away.

  17. Walid says:

    More on Israel’s eugenics program from yesterday’s al-Akhbar:

    Israelis use lethal chemical weapons: 17 miscarriages, animals killed
    Published Wednesday, January 30, 2013

    There were 17 miscarriages in December 2012 as a result of unidentified Israeli gas fired, in separate instances, at Palestinians in the village of Urif in the West Bank, the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) said Tuesday.

    Villagers reported the gas’s effect on animals along with people.

    Eight sheep had died after exposure. New born puppies were also said to have been killed and one cow experienced a miscarriage, dying shortly thereafter, according to the report.

    The high incidence of miscarriages end of last year occurred amidst incessant attacks on the Palestinian residents of the small village, numbering no more than 3,000, by the Israeli army and illegal Israeli settlers.

    “After the gas entered my home, my wife started to have a discharge of blood. We went to the hospital for an ultrasound scan and we saw there was no longer a heartbeart,” a local doctor told ISM.

    Although the village has been attacked regularly in the past, Israeli occupying forces conducted a concerted effort over the past two months to disrupt the lives of the local population using increased violence and intensified psychological warfare.

    Two months earlier, an outpost atop a hill in Urif by the Israeli settlers of Yizhar . The Yizhar settlement is currently known as the most violent settlement in the West Bank according to The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHO).

    The video below, largely a sound recording, displays one way the Israeli soldiers have been depriving the villagers of sleep.

    Minute 4:30 shows quiet at around 1am before air-raid sirens sound. Then a plane breaking the sound barrier is heard, followed by a man shouting at the villagers: “Good morning Urif! Everyone in the village, get up! Everyone in the village get up!”

    The army has also been using tear gas, rubber-coated steel bullets, stun grenades and live ammunition on the residents.

    link to english.al-akhbar.com

  18. Chu says:

    The reality of being a Jewish controlled state is the looming threat that in the future the Jewish majority of Israel, the so-called democracy, may come under threat from other ethnic groups. This birth control is one more of the tricks inside Israel’s portfolio of preserving the Jewish state.
    Whether headed for failure or fascism, it’s a tough call. Certainly the dirty secrets can no longer be preserved with information technology today.

    • sardelapasti says:

      ” This birth control is one more of the tricks inside Israel’s portfolio of preserving the Jewish state.”

      Oh. no. it is way worse! The women we are talking about, as well as the Moroccan children, were Jewish immigrants.

      Meaning that the racial supremacist state imports cheap cannon fodder but refuses to let the non-Ashkenazi to reproduce. Racial sumremacist dictatorship within another racial supremacist dictatorship, sort of.