The Tantura massacre of 1948 and the academic character assassination of Teddy Katz

Israel/Palestine
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“All of the men of Tantura [in Israel] were taken to the cemetery of the village, and they put them in lines, and they ordered them to begin digging, and every line that finished digging just was shot and fell down to the holes. Which I guess reminds at least a few of you, something that had to do with Germans, three years after the end of 2nd World War.”  —Teddy Katz, lecture, Olean, NY, April 14th 2005.

The Tantura massacre in May 1948, committed by Haganah forces just days after the declaration of the State of Israel, is not only one of the worst massacres of 1948, but its cover-up is also, in itself, a story, showing us just how effective silence can be in obscuring crimes against humanity.

My article is based on several hours of interview with Teddy Katz, the man whose Masters thesis on the Tantura Massacre (submitted 1998, Haifa University) caused a major furore in Israel following its wide exposure to the Israeli public in a Maariv article in early 2000. I have likewise interviewed other members of his family to get a perspective of the effect that the ideological, political, legal and societal storm has had on Katz. Historian Ilan Pappe, who was a professor at the Haifa University at the time and was very close to Katz and the case, has referred to the story in detail in his 2001 article “The Tantura Case in Israel: The Katz Research and Trial” (in Journal of Palestininian Studies) , which was written whilst a libel case against Katz by Haganah veterans was taking place. I refer to Pappe’s article quite a lot and summarize from it, as well as from other articles, and mirror these facts and references with those things said by Teddy Katz as well as his family. I continue in my coverage beyond the trial until late 2003, when the university, which first awarded Katz with an A+, later failed him on his revised thesis which was even more comprehensive – in an act which was clearly motivated by political concerns, as I will show.

One may ask, why this story would still hold currency for us today?

The answer lies in the fact while there has been an ATTEMPT to silence and close the case, that effort has not succeeded. This is why Katz and Pappe are still working away this very day, to further expose the Tantura massacre and the story of its collective Israeli silencing. They do this because of the greater cause – which is the general collective “memoricide” that Israel, from political top to media, academia and public inflict upon this chapter in Israel’s history – known as the Nakba, the Catastrophe. By denying the truth of the Nakba, Israel is avoiding the most causative chapter in its history, and inflicting a blindness to the violent essence of its subjugation of Palestinians since. Recognition of these causative events is essential to approaching any understanding of the power paradigm and its resolution towards peace.

Whilst there are those who seek to keep the truth of the events buried in the sand, it becomes the mission of those who see its importance, to keep uncovering it. This is my motivation in writing this article.

‘Problematic history’

The issue of what actually happened there in 1948 continues to promote heated debate. Was it essentially a “war of self-defence” forced upon Israel, or an act of deliberate ethnic cleansing? Whilst there may be some possible options in between (as the view of Benny Morris, that there was a ”transfer” but that it was born of war, not design), Israel has been very careful about keeping cases that challenge the “self-defence” narrative hidden.” It goes to the extent of not only prolonging half-century classifications (as here) but even re-classifications of already declassified material which the state had “regretted” the exposure of.

Tantura was a Palestinian village on the Mediterranean coast south of Haifa and inside the area the United Nations had ruled would become a Jewish state. The massacre there was one of the biggest massacres perpetrated in the 1948 war, second to Dawaymeh. The reason these massacres are less known than the Deir Yassin massacre is likely because the leadership was in a very different paradigm than at the time of Deir Yassin in April 1948. Then it was the Irgun and Stern Gang, the terrorist underground organisations, which were informed by the ultra-nationalist Revisionist ideology of Jabotinsky. They were to the right of Ben-Gurion, so he and the more mainstream Labor leadership could thus both profit from the terror and the Palestinian flight that it caused, whilst distancing themselves from it and portraying it as a rogue act. After the declaration of the state in May 1948, Ben-Gurion outlawed these organizations and had their members incorporated into the Israeli Defense Forces. Thus massacres committed after the declaration could no longer be attributed to “others”, and the Israeli leadership had to be more cautious about the portrayal of such events – so as not to resemble a rogue state.

One needs to bear in mind that we are not speaking of a mere handful of massacres. According to historian Ilan Pappe, there were nearly 40 of them.

The massacre of Tantura was first mentioned very scarcely: In about 1950 Nimr al-Khatib published in Damascus under the title Min Athar al-Nakba (Consequences of the Catastrophe) a compendium of writings, including his own memoirs on Haifa and several eyewitness accounts by Palestinian refugees from various parts of the country. Khatib’s work, along with those of two other Arab authors, was translated into Hebrew in 1954 by the Israel Defense Forces, General Staff/History Branch, and published under the title Be’einei Oyev (In Enemy Eyes). Khatib’s references to the Tantura massacre comprise a short account by Iqab al-Yahya, a notable of the village, and a longer and more detailed account by his son Marwan. Khatib also reports cases of Tantura female rape victims being treated in a Nablus hospital. Nonetheless Tantura was not even mentioned as a massacre in Walid Khalidi’s seminal All That Remains.

This relative quiet about the massacre means that these accounts did not manage to make any considerable impression upon the Israeli public or its international sphere of media influence because of the “suspicion and, indeed, delegitimization that is usually applied in Israel to Palestinian oral history (and, indeed, to Palestinian history in general),” as Pappe writes in his essay. One can also glean the nature of this attitude in the very title of that Israeli 1954 article – “In enemy eyes”. The attitude to such oral history is completely different when it comes to Holocaust accounts. As the Israeli historian Omer Bartov wrote about the use of oral history in the reconstruction of the Holocaust :

“The memory of trauma is often murky, unstable, contradictory, untrustworthy. . . What we learn [from memoirs of camp survivors] are not the fine details of camp administration, train schedules, ideological purpose and genocidal organization. These are matters far better left for historians. What we learn is the infinity of pain and suffering that makes the memory of those years into a burden whose weight stretches far beyond the ephemeral human existence, a presence that clings to the mind and inhabits the deep recesses of consciousness long after it should have been cleansed and washed away.”  [“An Infinity of Suffering,” Times Literary Supplement, 15 December 2000, as quoted in Pappe’s essay]

The problem in addition was that Haganah and IDF archives from the time were generally very few, scant, and classified (the headline quote actually only came to light after Katz had submitted his thesis). So one was left with a “narrative” that was solely “Palestinian”, and an Israeli “narrative” that is devoid of any mentioning of problematic issues – the typical “conflict of narratives”.

Yet there were Israeli combatants who had seen what had happened. They were simply not talking. And no-one was asking.

But then came Teddy Katz, and started asking – a lot. And he got these Israeli veterans, as well as Palestinian survivors, to speak, and they spoke for many hours. One should not be mistaken to think, that the Palestinian survivors were easy about talking these matters out with a Jewish Israeli researcher. For example, in one of the testimonies, Mustafa Masri (Abu Jamil) who speaks of “Shimshon […] from Givat Ada”, after also noting that “he had such a whip, and lashed them just for fun”, says at the end:

“But believe me, one should not mention these things. I do not want them to take revenge on us, you are going to cause us trouble. I made a mistake in giving you the name of the person who handed my family over”.

Theodore Katz

Theodore “Teddy” Katz

The reason I will use a big portion of this writing to speak also about Teddy Katz and his academic fate in the wake of his uncovering of the massacre, is because his story shows us just how live and current this “history” is, and just how much it means for Zionist advocates from the state, academia and public, to have this history buried back in the sands of oblivion.

Teddy Katz

Let me tell you about Teddy Katz.  We’re actually from neighbor kibbutzim in the central coastal plain. I studied elementary and middle school with one of his three daughters, he accompanied school trips.

I have spent many hours speaking with Teddy in preparation for this article (as well as speaking with his family). His story is quite exotic, and not what you might expect of a normal “academic”.

Teddy comes from a typical agricultural background. He worked with the goats, he worked in the fields. Already in his 40’s, he decided it was time to do something academic. So he signed up for the University of Haifa. As he was no longer a young student, he took it slowly in the beginning. He wanted to find out whether he could actually manage to “sit in the classroom” once again. The death of his 20-year old daughter Amira in an accident in the late 80’s delayed his study, but he finally managed to submit his master’s thesis in 1998, entitled “The Exodus of the Arabs from Villages at the Foot of Southern Mount Carmel”. The thesis was awarded an outstanding score – A+, about 97%. Pappe regards it “the highest possible grade for a master’s thesis” and Zalman Amit, who translated the final thesis, regards it “the highest rating for a thesis that I have ever heard of”.

Katz interviewed 135 people in all. Forty of those interviewed were directly related to the Tantura massacre – 20 Palestinians and 20 Jews, all taped.

But Katz was not prepared for what he was to discover in the case of Tantura. He told me that he had imagined that it couldn’t be that bad, because these were after all not the Irgun or Stern Gang, but rather the Haganah (the more mainstream militias). But what he discovered was in his own words “living hell”.

At first, these people confided in Katz quite a lot – apparently because they believed that Katz was “one of theirs”, that he would be “loyal to the tribe” and either cover the case up, at least not expose it widely. But when the work of Katz became openly addressed in the Israeli media (in an article in Maariv on 21st January 2000 by Amir Gilat), Katz experienced a storm of outrage and a court case for libel by veterans of the Alexandroni brigade.

One of those who had provided Katz with a four-hour testimony, wherein he repeatedly compared the horrors to the acts of Nazis and suggested the Alexandroni Brigade acted worse inasmuch as they killed prisoners of war, was a veteran IDF General, Shlomo Ambar. In conjunction with the court case, Ambar signed an affidavit stating that he did not recall anything he said to Katz.

I will return to Katz, the court case and what became of his thesis and research career later. It is first important to get an overview of what actually happened in Tantura.

What happened in Tantura

“We have tended to the mass grave, and everything is in order” (IDF file .IDF Files 57/4663/1949, Alexandroni to HQ, 9 June 1948)

“After eight days, I came back to the place where we buried them, near the railway. There was a big mound for the bodies had inflated”; “I am telling you these [Alexandroni] people, they massacred”. (Mordechai Sokoler, Yosef Graf – both guides from Zichron Yaakov accompanying the Haganah Alexandroni units – Teddy Katz, Master’s Thesis).

 “[Shimshon Mashvitz] agreed [to stop] after he had killed eighty-five people [alone]…He killed them [with a Sten gun]. They stood next to the wall, facing the wall, he came from the back and killed them all, shooting them in the head…Every group twenty or thirty people. Twice or three times he changed magazines.” (Salih ‘Abd al-Rahman (Abu Mashayiff), from Tantura – Teddy Katz, Master’s Thesis).

 “The person who was with me knew Hebrew. He overheard them saying that after they [the diggers] finish the first mass grave, let them dig another one and kill them and put them in it…their military announcement said they had killed two hundred and fifty. It is a war military announcement, it was broadcast.”  (Ali ‘Abd al-Rahman Dekansh (Abu Fihmi), from Tantura– Teddy Katz, Master’s Thesis).

Tantura was a Palestinian town located on the Mediterranean coast about 35 kilometers south of Haifa. It is one of the 64 Palestinian coastal villages on the road between Tel Aviv and Haifa, of which only two remain today: Furaydis and Jisr Al-Zarka. The rest were ethnically cleansed (together with hundreds of other villages, towns and cities elsewhere). Pappe writes that Furaydis and Jisr Al-Zarka were spared because men from these villages had traditionally worked in the nearby Jewish settlements, which pressed to have them spared so they could continue to benefit from the cheap labor. At the time of the attack, there were roughly 1,500 people in Tantura. The town was overtaken by the Jewish kibbutz Nachsholim, which used many of the original houses of Tantura, several of which still exist today.

The sum of the testimonies from the attack, although they inevitably present different views from different angles, forms a rather clear picture of what occurred on the night of the 22nd-23rd May 1948, when the 33rd Battalion of the Alexandroni Brigade of the Haganah, the militia under Ben Gurion’s auspices, attacked Tantura.

The regular form of attack, or “cleansing” of a village (and this is actually terminology applied in Haganah documents) was to close off a village from three directions, and cause most of the population to flee in the desired direction. If it was a northern town, it would be towards Lebanon or Syria; if eastern, towards Jordan etc. In Tantura, for some reason, the town was closed off from land in all directions, and at sea was a blockade of a Haganah navy force, so the town was closed off from all directions and no-one could escape. After a short skirmish where several village guards were killed, the town surrendered. Apparently there was some rogue sniper fire from the village after the surrender. The number of Haganah casualties at this stage of the attack varies in different accounts – from 1 to 8 killed. But at that point the Haganah soldiers went on a rampage, killing close to 100 Palestinians. This was the first wave of killings.

The town’s population was then rounded up on the beach. Women and children were separated from male children and young men aged roughly 13-30. Here there seemed to have ensued several forms of killing. There was a systematic killing by the deputy company commander Shimshon Mashvitz, who had soldiers take groups of young men, line them up against a wall and shoot them in the head. About 85 were killed in this manner. There was the participation of members of intelligence and logistical units, who took with them people who were suspected of hiding weapons in the houses. As Katz puts it, the weapons came back, the people did not. This was in addition to other killings. The town was thus filled with bodies of hundreds of massacred Palestinians, and the burial process required considerable manpower and took several days (Sokoler was personally responsible for burial, together with helpers from nearby Furaydis).

It can be summarized, that about 200 unarmed villagers, mostly young men, were massacred following Tantura’s surrender. Let it be noted here, Katz did not mention once the word “massacre” in his thesis. He told me that he sought to avoid this word deliberately, as it was a contentious issue, and he would rather have the research followed up by further research which could define the proper title for what had happened.

The term “massacre” was actually first brought up in the media coverage by Maariv, where Katz’s findings were supported by none other than the highest military-ethical authority in Israel: professor of philosophy Asa Kasher of Tel Aviv University, author of the IDF ethical code, who called what had happened in Tantura a “war crime”. The work was further supported by authoritative Israeli historian Meir Pail, as well as historian Ilan Pappe, who at the time was a professor at Haifa University, who defended Katz throughout the storms that would come later.

The court case

As the issue became widely public due to the Maariv article in 2000, the Haganah Alexandroni veterans were facing a possible tarnishing of their heroic status, and they decided to sue Katz for libel. As Katz puts it, at this point they were rolling back to the “official” Haganah version: “It was a rather small battle, some 20 Arabs killed, and the Israeli soldiers wrapped it up and even had time to bathe on the beach.” The degree of denial amongst the Alexandroni veterans went as far as a main witness, IDF veteran General Shlomo Ambar (more on him below) signing an affidavit stating that he and his mates recall nothing of what they told Katz. The name of the game was to find faults in the thesis which could thus discredit the whole work and Katz’s credibility.

The Alexandroni veterans were assiduous in obtaining the tapes covering many hours of testimony, employing professional translators for the Arabic, writing out transcripts of the recordings. Eventually, they found some small discrepancies: six issues, in 230 transcripts. A typical example was that Katz wrote down the word “Nazis” instead of “Germans” in the testimony of Shlomo Ambar, who fought in the British army’s Jewish Legion in World War 2 and is now a veteran General and was then a young officer in the IDF. So that one may fully understand the context of this discrepancy, here’s the section of Ambar’s testimony:

“I associate [what had happened in Tantura] only with this: I went to fight against the Germans who were our worst enemy. But when we fought we obeyed the laws of the war dictated to us by international norms. They [the Germans] did not kill prisoners of war. They killed Slavs, but not British POWs, not even Jewish POWs— all those from the British army who were in German captivity survived.”

Now, it is probably very clear to most, that the usage of “Nazis” instead of “Germans” is a semantic discrepancy, whilst the general tenor of the statement is one of quite profound meaning, in that Ambar is making a moral comparison, in fact, to the Nazis.

Among the other five discrepancies: Katz interpreted a word too freely, for example “saw” instead of “heard”; paraphrased too casually (Pappe notes that Katz “summarized the testimony of a Tantura survivor, Abu Fihmi, as describing a killing, where the witness did not say this directly (though in fact, this is clearly what he meant)”; or inserted a note from his written side notes, which was not audible in the taped testimony. Katz also notes to me that many of the recordings were done in Arabic in noisy surroundings, and he had to get helpers in Umm El Fahm to work out what was said, which was sometimes hardly audible.

These are surely mistakes, but seen in the light of the magnitude of the collection of testimonies and the fact that the remaining 224 references were uncontested, this seemed to be a mere triviality, which in no way contested the overall picture that appeared concerning the event. It is important to add here what Pappe writes following the trial:

As a faculty member of Haifa University, I posted on the university’s internal Website some of the more important transcripts of the more than sixty hours of Katz’s tapes, most of which had not been referred to in court. They include horrific descriptions of execution, of the killing of fathers in front of children, of rape and torture. They come from both the Jewish and the Palestinian witnesses.   As a result of these transcripts, a number of people, even if they had reservations about the quality of Katz’s research, no longer had any doubts about what happened in Tantura.

Professor Asa Kasher and Meir Pail had reiterated their support for Katz’s research as well. Following the trial, on Feb. 2, 2001, at a meeting of respected academics from Tel Aviv University and Hebrew University during an organized day of study on the relationship between the legal system and academia, Kasher and Pail specifically stated the inaccuracies uncovered by the prosecution did not significantly undermine the quality of Katz’s  thesis. 

But all this was not important for the Alexandroni veterans. What was important was to discredit Katz.

Pressure from the court case in 2000 came from all directions and had a very bad effect on Katz. Already nearly 60, Katz’s health was not good; and he suffered a stroke in the weeks before the first meeting in court. Both Katz and his family attribute the stroke to pressure from the case. Economic issues were also a big problem. As a kibbutznik Katz had little wealth, and the case was gobbling up his funds. Ideologically, he was facing off a wide majority of the Israeli public and there were very few who supported his fight.

As the trial formally began on the 13th of December 2000, Katz sought to persuade the court to dismiss the case, arguing that the matter was essentially a scholarly debate which should be taken up under university, not legal, auspices. As Pappe notes, the University did not support Katz in this contention, and the case ensued. After two days of trial (13th-14th December 2000), where the prosecution had laid down its case consisting of the six mentioned discrepancies. The next step was to be the defense, making its case and calling in the veterans to testify, which they refused to do, but could potentially be forced to do by law. At this point Katz suffered a serious breakdown.

The two sides in the case held a meeting at the office of Katz’s cousin, a lawyer named Amazia Atzmon, who had assisted his case, but without Katz’s chief attorney Avigdor Feldman. Katz was under strong family pressure to drop the case (out if concern for his health – they were literally concerned for his life), and the Haifa university lawyer also pressed him to stop. “Tell him to sign [a recantation document prepared by the plaintiff] and just continue his studies for his doctorate”, the university lawyer told Katz’s wife Shushu. Katz notes today that Amazia Atzmon was also an IDF General, and that Atzmon had a strong interest in ending the case. If “refugees from Tantura would be testifying in a Tel Aviv court,” Katz says, that would effectively put the State of Israel on trial for the Nakba on a wide public stage.

After a six-hour meeting, nearing midnight that night, Katz succumbed to the pressure and agreed to sign the recantation, which was prepared in advance for him by the plaintiff. This was a big and complicated document, titled “An Apology.” Pappe says that it was “so sweeping as to bear an uncomfortable resemblance to a police ‘confession’ extracted under dubious conditions.” The crux of it was the following statement:

“I wish to clarify that, after checking and re-checking the evidence, it is clear to me now, beyond any doubt, that there is no basis whatsoever for the allegation that the Alexandroni Brigade, or any other fighting unit of the Jewish forces, committed killings of people in Tantura after the village surrendered. Furthermore, I wish to say that the things I have written must have been misunderstood [by the press] as I had never intended to tell a tale of a massacre in Tantura… I accept as truth [only] the testimonies of those among the Alexandroni people who denied categorically the massacre, and I disassociate myself from any conclusion which can be derived from my thesis that could point to the occurrence of a massacre or the killing of defenseless or unarmed people.”

This was not only a categorical denial of the thrust of the work but of the very words of the veterans were actually telling. And the recantation repeatedly repudiated the term “massacre” when the word “massacre” was not even mentioned once in the thesis. This reveals the aim of the plaintiff: to cleanse the official Israeli name from any association with war crimes, and protect the ethos of “self-defence”.

Katz says he was beside himself when he signed. Many were relieved, including his closest family. But it did not take many minutes for Katz to awaken to the realization, which would be proven true later, that he had just fallen into a big trap – and signed the warrant of his own academic execution and character assassination.

 

After signing the ‘apology’

It was not many minutes after the meeting, whilst driving home in a taxi at midnight, that Katz called his cousin-lawyer Atzmon, saying he regretted having signed the document. Atzmon suggested he sleep on it. Katz tells me he didn’t sleep that night.

The following day at court, the judge, Drora Pilpel, announced that the case was closed due to an out-of-court settlement signed and examined by the court. Katz’s attorney Feldman asked to allow Katz to make a statement, and Katz explained that he had signed the settlement in a moment of weakness that he already deeply regretted, that the decision did not represent what he really felt about his work.

This was to no avail. After some hours of deliberations, the judge upheld the decision to close the case, and stated that her decision was based on her conviction that a contract between parties must be respected. She emphasized that her decision did not relate in any way to the content, accuracy or veracity of the libel suit.  

Katz appealed to the Supreme Court, which in turn upheld the decision of the lower court for the same reasons mentioned.

Immediately after the signing, the prosecution demanded that the “apology” be made public and posted as a letter on mainstream media, and demanded Katz do so and pay. He refused, the plaintiff put out the letter itself, and made Katz pay for it.

Now the party was really beginning. The Israeli mainstream media could celebrate another victory against anyone who threatened to undermine Israel’s legitimacy– even if they are a Zionist Meretz voter, as Katz was. Katz got mentioned on the front pages of the biggest papers, where the story was his retraction. Naturally, his request to rescind the retraction was barely mentioned. He was widely tarnished in newspapers, television and radio, as well as in opinion pieces, as a fabricator inventing a non-event for ideological-political purposes. Pappe notes that no-one in the mainstream media defended Katz, and that his own letters in defense of Katz’s work, sent to Haaretz, were never published.

Now the University could really kick in.

Haifa University joins the political battle

Katz tells me that then Minister of Education Limor Livnat (Likud) personally told him that she had ordered the university to strip his research from all shelves, and that failure to do so would result in a complete cancellation of state funding.

Furthermore, there seems to have been an ideological battle, according to both Pappe and Katz, between the school leadership with its inherently Zionist and state-affiliated ideology, including supporting staff from the “Eretz Israel Studies” circle, against the department which Katz was part of, the Department of Middle Eastern History. The university was urged by the plaintiff to strip Katz of his Master’s degree. Rather than waiting to see how the Supreme Court would rule in a few months’ time, the university leadership acted immediately, as if Katz’s retraction was a fait accompli. It revealed its political bias, and in fact shameless acting on behalf of the litigants, taking an unfinished court case as a qualified academic demand for scrutiny.

The actual stripping of Katz’s title was halted at the last moment due to protest from the Middle East History department. Yet the university proceeded with the work of two committees it had set up: one to check the quotations in the thesis against the tapes, and another to check if there had been fault in the supervision process. As Zalman Amit notes, “the university has never explained by what procedural rules it was able to re-open consideration of the status of a thesis that had already been approved and awarded a rating of 97%”. The committee eventually found some faults, and mentioned that the work “failed at the stage of presenting the raw material for the reader’s judgment, both in terms of its organization according to strict criteria of classification and criticism, and in terms of the apparent instances of disregard for the interviewees’ testimony.” (Zalman Amit at Counterpunch, 2005) 

Thus Katz’s degree was suspended on the basis of these “findings”. The school made him an offer to submit a revised thesis. His thesis was ordered by the University to be removed from all libraries.

Katz took the challenge up, and in order to bolster the credibility of the thesis, interviewed more people and added in more verbatim interview sections, as well as restructuring the work. Over 1-1/2 years later, Katz submitted the revised thesis, which was now considerably larger than the original (now filling 600 pages in Hebrew and 800 in the English translation). The work included a more substantial bulk of testimony material, which made the case of massacre even more bulletproof– so much so, that Katz now used the word “massacre” in the thesis.

The university then proceeded to appoint a five-examiner committee to judge Katz’s revised work.

Here something very interesting occurred:

Two of the examiners gave Katz passing scores, 85 and 83. Another gave a 74, which in this context was a failing mark. But the most interesting thing was the highly irregular scores from two of the examiners: 40 and 50. The identities of the examiners were supposed to be secret, but they leaked. As Benny Morris notes in The Jerusalem Report (9th February 2004), the last two graders were Dr. Avraham Sela (Hebrew University) and Dr. Arnon Golan (Haifa University). Morris wrote:

Three years ago, together with Hebrew U. professor Alon Kadish, those two scholars [Sela and Golan] authored “The Conquest of Lydda, July 1948”, published by the Israeli Defense Military Press. The slim volume, apologetic in focus and intent, argued that the Israeli army had carried out only a “partial expulsion” of the populations of the Arab towns of Lydda and Ramlah and dismissed the charge that the troops had massacre Lydda townspeople, some of them inside a mosque, on July 12 1948. In fact, according to IDF records from 1948, in the IDF archive, what was ordered and carried out was a full-scale expulsion; and Yiftah brigade troops killed some 250 townspeople. Oral testimony of Yiftah veterans, deposited in the Yigal Allon archive in kibbutz Ginossar, posits that the troops fired one or more Bazooka rounds into the mosque compound, where dozens of Arab POWs were being held. The authors even failed to mention the expulsion order signed by Lt. Col. “Yitzhak R.” (Rabin), the operations officer, which ordered the Yiftah Brigade to expel “the inhabitants of Lydda”.

In other words, the Haifa University got at least two examiners who themselves were involved in the distortion of Israeli history.

The trick worked. The university now summed up the scores and made an average: 66.4.

Katz was thus stripped of the Master’s degree which could allow him to continue on to PhD. In an act of “magnanimity” the university nonetheless offered him a “2nd class” Masters, a “non-research Masters”.

Israel could once again breathe with ease. The academic future and credibility of Teddy Katz was ruined, and a major challenge to the classical Zionist narrative was once again foiled.

Epilogue

This case appears to end in 2003, after Katz had submitted his revised thesis in late 2002, which got a failing score from the examiner committee.
But for Katz, as well as for many others, this case was in no way closed. Teddy Katz is today a very active man in regards to Tantura. He is constantly speaking with journalists, researchers, doing guided trips to Tantura etc. He is doing this despite the fact, that following his first stroke, he had 4 subsequent strokes. The fifth stroke, some 8 years ago, which occurred on the 20th annual memorial day of his daughter Amira’s death, left him partially paralyzed in one side of the body, and caused him considerable limitations in relation to managing other languages than Hebrew.
Neither was this case closed in any way for Ilan Pappe, who mentions the Tantura case in some detail in his seminal book The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine (2006). Pappe continues to be in contact with Katz and they continue to work on the uncovering of the issue of the Tantura massacre.
Neither is this in any way a closed matter for those many Palestinians who have either had their family members massacred, raped, tortured or dispossessed. Their fate as refugees of the Nakba has been an ongoing catastrophe since.
When I researched and wrote about the Dawaymeh massacre, I was once again awakened to the astonishing disparity between these grave crimes against humanity, and the general Israeli neglect, belittling or outright denial of this history. This is not the inevitable result of time: the presence of the Holocaust in Israeli minds is as strong as ever, and the Holocaust was an earlier event. The wish to “forget”, or even deny the 1948 Nakba, is a decision, which is encapsulated in the term “memoricide”. It is a deliberate burying of crucial history, facilitating denial of accountability, thereby making it morally easier to avoid its repair, which entails the return of 1948 refugees, as well as a review of the moral justice of Israeli practices since.
The machinery that works to silence those who refer to this history, as we have seen here, is strong and involves all levels of Israeli society. Thus Tantura continues to be a struggle against the forces that seek to close the cases and close the discussion, in hope that one day the whole thing will just die out.
But history buried in sand has a way of getting regurgitated. The bones have a way of reappearing from the mass graves. If historical Palestine is to experience peace once again, I believe that the truth must finally be laid bare. Until that happens, I will continue to dig into it, to the great dismay of those who want it buried. And all this is happening today.

 

80 Responses

  1. Boomer
    March 3, 2016, 3:45 pm

    re: “The Tantura massacre in May 1948, committed by Haganah forces just days after the declaration of the State of Israel, is not only one of the worst massacres of 1948, but its cover-up is also, in itself, a story, showing us just how effective silence can be in obscuring crimes against humanity.”

    Silence can indeed be effective, even when so many know the truth. I had never heard or read any of this. Of course, many people at this site know far more than I do about this topic. My lack of knowledge is representative of most of the American public on this matter. Thanks for this report.

    • Philemon
      March 3, 2016, 10:10 pm

      “It is a deliberate burying of crucial history, facilitating denial of accountability, thereby making it morally easier to avoid its repair, which entails the return of 1948 refugees…”

      But the Israelis can’t afford it! Seriously, the state is up to the hock in debt, despite generous subsidies and “loan guarantees,” Israel ain’t an economic power house. The bottom line is that to acknowledge the reparations owed would be to recognize a debt which it is unable to repay (except through U.S. taxpayers, ahem! Yeah, that’s a winning campaign line: “Let’s all pull together to bail out Israel!”)

      • Boomer
        March 4, 2016, 10:54 am

        There should be a Nakba museum in DC, on or near the Mall. In light of the way U.S. support for Israel has enabled the ongoing dispossession and oppression of the Palestinians, it seems only right. Of course, other museums might be needed too, but the Nakba would be a good place to start.

      • Philemon
        March 6, 2016, 8:58 pm

        The problem is that the U.S. taxpayers had no idea they were on the line for this. If the fat wallets of those responsible were the ones being hit, I’d be with you, Boomer, baby, all the way!

  2. Stephen Shenfield
    March 3, 2016, 6:09 pm

    On Tantura see also my interview with Hala Gabriel, whose family were survivors of the massacre:

    link to mondoweiss.net

    The interview is accompanied by a video of Hala’s interviews with survivors, part of her project for a documentary on the massacre, “Road to Tantura.”

    Marwan Yahya, whose memoir Jonathan Ofir mentions, is Hala’s father.

  3. pabelmont
    March 3, 2016, 8:27 pm

    Blessings on those who restore memories. Seven levels of Hell for those who bury them.

  4. Tchoupitoulas
    March 3, 2016, 10:39 pm

    Jesus Christ. That is a harrowing tale. Teddy Katz is a real mensch to stand by his guns.

    Calling rugal_b: did you read this? You really ought to.

    I thought of The Goldstone Report, while I read this, and all the hideous pressure on him to recant, which he succumbed to also. And I thought of that book, The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold. The truth will out. It’s just a matter of time.

  5. justice48
    March 4, 2016, 4:34 am

    This reveals the long kept secret policy: Massacres as a weapon of ethnic cleansing.
    Tantura massacre was first revealed in 1951 by Mohamed Nimr al Khatib in his book “ Nakbet Filastine” in Arabic in which he interviewed Marwan Yahya, Hala’s father. Zionist propaganda silenced this story and may others for decades. The new historians of the 1980’s gained prominence because they confirmed what Palestinians were saying all along and were silenced.
    The Nazi practice of forcing Jews to dig graves for themselves before killing them is described in Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners and compared to Tantura in link to plands.org
    Similarly the Israeli run concentration and forced labor camps for captured Palestinian civilians in 1948 is described in the well downloaded paper based on ICRC archives:
    link to academia.edu

    • Philemon
      March 6, 2016, 9:17 pm

      Forcing prisoners to dig graves for themselves? Give credit were credit is due. The Bolsheviks were doing it way before the Germans got the idea.

      And it wasn’t as though Kitchener’s camps were health resorts to begin with.

  6. sehsane
    March 5, 2016, 5:08 am

    Th story of the Tantura massacre as told by a brave Jew is a chapter of the Nakba that the Israeli establishment, political, legal and academic conspired to bury. It encapsulates the true face of Israel, a nation born out of sin.

  7. lobewyper
    March 5, 2016, 12:33 pm

    This is a story about profiles in courage in 1) recognizing that truth is fundamentally sacred and 2) resisting the most powerful social pressures that it is humanly possible to level against an individual. Katz and his fellow truth-tellers have earned my deepest gratitude.

  8. Brewer
    March 5, 2016, 3:57 pm

    I’ve been waiting for this.
    Awareness of the massacres and mayhem upon which the State was built remain, in my view, the most significant factor forcing a change in the tide of opinion in today’s World. I have watched the Zionist narrative disintegrate as the facts of the forties have emerged and I have witnessed the shock with which former Zionist supporters (steeped in the myths) recant their former faith in the light of such facts. It is now possible to reference these horror stories in most comment pages with barely a whimper of dissent and that, only from obvious trolls.
    The establishment was very effective in sabotaging Katz and Pappe and I was afraid that this one was lost. Many thanks to Jonathon Ofir and please continue to research and publicize Tantura for it is particularly potent in that it cannot be explained away as unofficial or rogue activity. It points to the very heart of Zionism and the “most moral Army”.
    In recent times, the defense has been reduced to a version of Morris’ ” Without the uprooting of the Palestinians, a Jewish state would not have arisen here”.
    read more: link to haaretz.com
    It will be interesting to see if Morris, who admitted rape at Tantura, is going to admit the massacre.

    • diasp0ra
      March 5, 2016, 4:07 pm

      @Brewer

      I agree completely.

      It’s really a shame though that we’ve been saying this for over 60 years and nobody believed us, and only when Israeli new historians confirmed our narrative did it receive any traction.

      Because to the west the Arab is biased and unable to present history without slanting it, but Israelis are seen as more “civilized” like them. So when they say it, they have more credibility. The colonial mindset is still intact today.

      • Brewer
        March 5, 2016, 5:13 pm

        I am reading Phil’s interview with Ilan Pappe and am immediately struck by this:
        “I think I became aware of this paradox once I was aware of how significant the shift in civil society or in public opinion was. In other words, the moment you understand that the new attitude toward Israel is not marginal or esoteric you suddenly encounter it everywhere– among people who are in the know, among people who have only partial information, and– it sounds simplistic– but almost any decent person you meet in the west has a clear view of Israel/Palestine with varying degrees of knowledge or commitment. There is a sense of a significant shift, and you would expect that this shift would manifest itself in mainstream media or politics, if not for genuine reasons, then for political reasons, because it is an important issue for your voters.

        To my great surprise, and even after the three horrific attacks on Gaza, 2008-2009, 2012, and culminating with the attack in the summer, the cumulative effect has still left the mainstream politics in the same place they were in 20 years ago. I find that bewildering to say the least.”
        – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net

        – a point I inadequately sought to reference above.
        I share his bewilderment and cannot help but think that the vast gap between public and political opinion contributes to the bizarre primaries we are witnessing. Sanders and Trump represent the “no more lobby” vote and a significant portion of online discussion is aimed at the sway held by the Israel Lobby over Clinton, Rubio and Cruz. Despite the obvious hazard of a lunatic (Trump) in the White House*, I am seeing this as positive. If Clinton is defeated, the shackles imposed by lobbies and funders may be broken for a time.

        *Not unprecedented, Reagan was terminally confused for much of his latter term and no-one seemed to notice.

    • Sibiriak
      March 5, 2016, 10:11 pm

      Brewer: It will be interesting to see if Morris, who admitted rape at Tantura, is going to admit the massacre.

      ———————————

      In his 2008 book, “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War”, Morris backtracks and categorically denies a massacre occurred:

      In the 1990s Arab journalists charged that the Israeli troops had carried out a large-scale massacre of disarmed militiamen and villagers in the hours after Tantura fell, a charge expanded in a master’s thesis by an Israeli student, who, on the basis of Arab oral testimony (and the distortion of testimony by Alexandroni veterans), argued that up to 250 villagers had been systematically murdered.

      Although some Alexandroni veterans hinted at dark deeds, most flatly denied the massacre charge. Documentary evidence indicates that the Alexandroni troops murdered a handful of POWs–and expelled the inhabitants–but provides no grounds for believing that a large-scale massacre occurred. [emphasis added]

      ————————

      Morris is a liar. He completely distorts the facts.

      Katz recorded testimony from 20 Arab and 20 Jewish witnesses. Not only does Morris completely dismisses the testimony of the Arab witnesses(why?, because they are Arab?), he presents no evidence of any significant distortion of the Alexandroni veterans’ testimony.

      Illan Pappe describes the “discrepancies” that were revealed in Katz trial:

      The crux of the prosecution’s case [against Katz] rested on six references—out of 230—in which Katz either misquoted or interpreted too freely what the witnesses said. In Ambar’s testimony, Katz substituted the word “Germans” for “Nazis.” In another, he summarized the testimony of a Tantura survivor, Abu Fihmi, as describing a killing, where the witness did not say this directly (though in fact, this is clearly what he meant).

      In four other instances, Katz wrote something that does not appear in the tapes but only in his written summaries of the conversations. No discrepancies were found in any of the remaining 224 references concerning Tantura [emphasis added]

      link to ore.exeter.ac.uk
      ————————

      On the basis of nothing more than those six minor, inconsequential “discrepancies”, Morris dismisses the entire body of recorded testimony that reveals a horrific massacre did indeed take place.

      That’s blatant and malicious dishonesty.

      • Brewer
        March 6, 2016, 1:57 am

        Yes. Morris’ vicious Zionism was once balanced by a true Historian’s dedication to the accuracy of his craft but no more I fear. Coincident with the time references to his History began to appear in the mainstream and unraveling the official fantasy, he began attacking Pappe on spurious grounds and offering opinions in place of facts. It is as if he had thought the whole deal done and dusted, that no harm would come from relating the History. Many did not understand that the whole edifice would crumble if the truth were known, that every truth added credibility to the Palestinian narrative (see diaspora’s comment above). When he realized the potential damage the truth of the past could inflict on the present he began backtracking. A complex and, in my view, a rather nasty little man but I am thankful for his early work and even his current opinions can be put to good use in exposing the vicious nature of the ideology. The image of a loose cannon on the deck of the Zionist flagship fits him rather well.

      • just
        March 6, 2016, 4:49 am

        Thank you again, Brewer.

  9. bintbiba
    March 5, 2016, 4:53 pm

    I second your declaration , lobewyper !
    Included in our thanks and great respect is Jonathan Ofir,

    • Annie Robbins
      March 5, 2016, 6:56 pm

      jonathan did an amazing amount of work on this article. it can’t be easy condensing so much information in one article, highlighting the most salient parts. really top notch.

      • bintbiba
        March 5, 2016, 7:07 pm

        Hi annie ,
        Jonathan Ofir is a very welcome presence on Mondoweiss. He seems to have become a regular . I certainly look forward to his articles .

      • Annie Robbins
        March 5, 2016, 7:23 pm

        yes, he is terrifically prolific! it took a bit of time to edit this one tho (a few days as i recall), it didn’t just fall off the page. one gets the feeling sometimes reading his original drafts he could write a whole book on many topics — like this one ;)

      • just
        March 5, 2016, 7:58 pm

        Thank you bintbiba, Annie, Brewer, diasp0ra, and Mr . Ofir.

  10. BillHaywood96
    March 5, 2016, 5:26 pm

    Has there been any attempt to dig up the ground? What is there now?

    • Brewer
      March 5, 2016, 8:25 pm

      Good point Bill but I fear wielding a shovel in the vicinity of any of these (minimum) 25 massacre sites would be seen as “terrorism” and very hazardous!!

  11. JLewisDickerson
    March 5, 2016, 7:58 pm

    RE: “The Tantura massacre of 1948 and the academic character assassination of Teddy Katz”

    ALDOUS HUXLEY:

    “Maybe this world is another planet’s Hell.” ~ As quoted in Peter’s Quotations: Ideas for Our Time (1979) by Laurence J. Peter, p. 239.

    • All war propaganda consists, in the last resort, in substituting diabolical abstractions for human beings. Similarly, those who defend war have invented a pleasant sounding vocabulary of abstractions in which to describe the process of mass murder.
    “Pacifism and Philosophy” (1936).

    • “At least two thirds of our miseries spring from human stupidity, human malice, and those great motivators and justifiers of malice and stupidity, idealism, dogmatism and proselytizing zeal on behalf of religious or political idols.” ~ Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow(1952).

    • “One Folk, One Realm, One Leader. Union with the unity of an insect swarm. Knowledgeless understanding of nonsense and diabolism. And then the newsreel camera had cut back to the serried ranks, the swastikas, the brass bands, the yelling hypnotist on the rostrum. And here once again, in the glare of his inner light, was the brown insectlike column, marching endlessly to the tunes of this rococo horror-music. Onward Nazi soldiers, onward Christian soldiers, onward Marxists and Muslims, onward every chosen People, every Crusader and Holy War-maker. Onward into misery, into all wickedness, into death!” ~ Island (1962).

    • “Jehovah, Allah, the Trinity, Jesus, Buddha, are names for a great variety of human virtues, human mystical experiences, human remorses, human compensatory fantasies, human terrors, human cruelties. If all men were alike, all the world would worship the same God.” ~ Do What You Will (1928) “One and Many,” p. 3.

    P.S. J.G. BALLARD:

    Aldous Huxley was uncannily prophetic, a more astute guide to the future than any other 20th- century novelist. Even his casual asides have a surprising relevance to our own times. During the first world war, after America’s entry, he warned: “I dread the inevitable acceleration of American world domination which will be the result of it all…Europe will no longer be Europe.” His sentiment is widely echoed today, though too late for us to do anything about it. The worst fate for a prophet is for his predictions to come true, when everyone resents him for being so clear-eyed. ~ J. G. Ballard, Prophet of Our Present. Review of Aldous Huxley: An English Intellectual, by Nicholas Murray. The Guardian, 13th April 2002.

  12. Ossinev
    March 6, 2016, 6:30 am

    @Brewer
    Ref the “new” Benny Morris: “A complex and, in my view, a rather nasty little man”

    You can get a true flavour of his new persona by watching
    link to youtube.com

    Smirking , giggling throughout. I would substitute shitty for nasty.

  13. Ossinev
    March 6, 2016, 7:24 am

    Massacres and mass forced expulsions are no longer Zionist options so the bright young things in Israeli politics are coming up with exciting new ideas on how to get rid of the Palestinian Arabs in the Stolen Territories.
    link to israelnationalnews.com

    • John O
      March 6, 2016, 10:43 am

      $100, 000 a time to move to “the country of their choice”. That should improve Israel’s relations with the international community splendidly.

    • echinococcus
      March 6, 2016, 11:13 am

      Massacres and mass forced expulsions are no longer Zionist options

      Wow, good news! I mean, wait a sec. Who decreed that? Obama? Do we have like a UN resolution promising to say “tssk tssk, naughty” when they are done with the genocide?

      • MHughes976
        March 6, 2016, 1:10 pm

        The real Zionist purpose, population transfer in all its horror, is steadily coming into the open. I am not at all sure that very violent means are off the agenda, though I agree that there will have to be inducements as well as compulsions. (I might have said sticks and carrots, language which compares human beings to donkeys and reveals something of the horror in the idea,.) There is a total necessity about not looking like the Nazis. In any event, the whole programme is as yet prohibitively expensive, so the only ones who speak of it openly are figures who can be made to seem marginal.

  14. Ossinev
    March 6, 2016, 12:33 pm

    @echinococcus
    “Massacres and mass forced expulsions are no longer Zionist options

    Wow, good news! I mean, wait a sec. Who decreed that? Obama? Do we have like a UN resolution promising to say “tssk tssk, naughty” when they are done with the genocide?”

    Not sure where you are coming from on this and would appreciate clarification.

    Reading your post at face value you appear to be saying that “massacres and mass forced expulsions are Zionist options”.

    BTW my observation/opinions have SFA to do with what Obama thinks , does or has /hasn`t done or will do or what the UN thinks ,does or has/hasn`t done or will do . It has more to do with the reality of global information technology and my reading of the “only victims in history” mentality which Zionists depend upon to get through each day.

    • echinococcus
      March 8, 2016, 7:24 am

      Sorry, Ossinev, can’t follow you.
      Just name exactly the forces that would stand in the way of the Zionists if they want to only accelerate a bit what they’re doing. We spent the last 70 years repeating: “Oh no, they can’t go that far”.

  15. oldgeezer
    March 6, 2016, 8:14 pm

    Yeah well… well…. cherry tomato.

    Scum then. Scum now.

  16. Jackdaw
    March 7, 2016, 5:35 am

    “There is no unequivocal proof of a large-scale massacre at Tantura, but war crimes were perpetrated there”.–historian Benny Morris.

    link to jewishjournal.com

    Yawn.

    • Mooser
      March 7, 2016, 2:26 pm

      “Yawn”

      Yeah, “Jackdaw” I know how you feel. There are some really boring (“Yawn”) places in Poland and Eastern Germany I’ve heard about. Looked too boring, just another war crime.

      • Jackdaw
        March 8, 2016, 12:17 am

        Are you agreeing with me that war crimes were committed at Tantura, but not a massacre?

      • Mooser
        March 8, 2016, 12:21 pm

        “Are you agreeing with me that war crimes were committed at Tantura, but not a massacre?”

        Would you like to explain the distinction between “war crimes” and “a massacre” to me, “Jackdaw”?

      • Jackdaw
        March 9, 2016, 2:11 pm

        “ould you like to explain the distinction between “war crimes” and “a massacre” to me, “Jackdaw”? ”

        Rape is war crime. Killing a surrendered combatant is a war crime. Summary executions are war crimes, as is looting,

        “We did not see them killing after we raised our hands”– Tantura villager interviewee.
        link to ee.bgu.ac.il

        Is your dunce cap screwed on too tight tonight?

      • Annie Robbins
        March 9, 2016, 4:49 pm

        jack, what is the point of that article? first off, it falsely claims in the 4th paragraph the officers who committed the massacre proved that did not occur. they did no such thing. after about 8 hrs they pressured katz into recanting. that’s not proof.

        second, the same article w/that quote has other quotes i could just as easily use , like “went thru the village slaughtered whoever they saw..at least 140 – 150 people killed”. one villager saying they didn’t see anything is not proof of anything.

      • talknic
        March 9, 2016, 5:44 pm

        @ jackdaw

        “Rape is war crime. Killing a surrendered combatant is a war crime. Summary executions are war crimes..”

        As are extrajudicial assassinations. So too is collective punishment, the acquisition of territory by war and; the Laws of War, Art. 25. tells us … “the attack or bombardment, by whatever means, of towns, villages, dwellings, or buildings which are undefended is prohibited”

        Can you tell me what protection the Palestinians have against Israeli warships miles off the Gaza coast, Israel drones, Israeli missiles, Israeli fighter bombers, helicopters, artillery fired from out of sight?

        Perhaps you can supply a list of how many Israeli warships the Palestinians have sunk, how many Israeli missiles they’ve intercepted, how many Israeli military aircraft they’ve managed to destroy, how many artillery installations they’ve managed to take out.

      • Mooser
        March 9, 2016, 5:48 pm

        “Is your dunce cap screwed on too tight tonight?”

        Yup, you just go ahead and fight it out on those lines “Jackdaw”. You’ll get real far.

        “Jack” baby, you really need to talk to a Rabbi, or intelligent Zionist, so you can present the Zionist case without, well, shooting yourself in the foot every time you open your mouth. Shooting yourself in the foot and then stepping in the steaming pile, unhygienic, to say the least.

      • Jackdaw
        March 10, 2016, 12:37 am

        @ Annie

        You see. You are as guilty of falsifying the record as Theo Katz.
        You wrote about Katz that, ” after about 8 hrs they pressured katz into recanting”.
        You make it sound like Katz was in jail or something. Katz was actually being cross-examined by a lawyer in a civil court when he recanted and signed an apology.

        Historian Morris makes the point that Jewish or Arab memories can be faulty, and that contemporaneous written documents, ie reports, diary entries or notes, make for more reliable evidence. Unlike other claimed massacres, Tantura has no paper trail and that’s what concerns Morris.

        The point isn’t that an Arab villager said he didn’t see anything. The point is that Katz failed to report whatt the Arab said, this, after Katz recorded him in an interview and used other parts of the Arabs testimony.

    • diasp0ra
      March 7, 2016, 2:31 pm

      @Jackdaw

      So let’s say for arguments sake that Benny Morris is correct (others disagree with this statement), he still said that war crimes were committed.

      Does that deserve a yawn from you? How desensitized have you become to human suffering for your ideology?

      • Froggy
        March 7, 2016, 3:31 pm

        diasp0ra :: ‘So let’s say for arguments sake that Benny Morris is correct (others disagree with this statement), he still said that war crimes were committed.

        Does that deserve a yawn from you? How desensitized have you become to human suffering for your ideology?

        It’s not the holocaust so he doesn’t care.

      • Jackdaw
        March 8, 2016, 12:20 am

        Every war has war crimes.
        So why is Israel’s 1948 War of Independence exceptional? Because you say it was?

      • Annie Robbins
        March 8, 2016, 1:28 am

        So why is Israel’s 1948 War of Independence exceptional? Because you say it was?

        he didn’t say it was exceptional. in some regards i think it is exceptional tho. maybe it isn’t. maybe it’s normal for people who’ve just survived a genocide to go slaughter other innocent people for some kind of bloodlust or revenge. i think history will determine how it’s exceptional. it won’t be for you to say, that’s for sure.

      • YoniFalic
        March 8, 2016, 2:00 am

        In the 47-8 genocide of Palestinians, the participation of the few illegally arriving European DPs was minor. They had little idea what was happening, generally could not understand orders, and were used in battles to catch bullets. In contrast, the Zionist invaders of the new Yishuv had been living and breathing genocide since the 1880s.

        We must discuss the genocidal intent of the racist E. European invaders honestly as Judis does in Genesis: Truman, American Jews, and the Origins of the Arab/Israeli Conflict.

        We must not mince words, and anyone denying that the racist E. European invaders intended genocide from the start must be considered completely incapable of rational discussion.

      • Jackdaw
        March 8, 2016, 2:22 am

        “maybe it’s normal for people who’ve just survived a genocide to go slaughter other innocent people for some kind of bloodlust or revenge ”

        Or maybe you don’t know what your talking about. The Jews and the Arabs in Palestine were killing each other before the Holocaust.
        In the end, 6,600 Jews were killed during the War of Independence and about 10,000 Arabs were killed. This is out of 600,000 Jews and 1,000,000 Arabs.

        These numbers of fatalities do not suggest that any slaughter took place. The slaughter is in your head, and in your head only.

      • Jackdaw
        March 8, 2016, 2:28 am

        @Froggy

        I’ve actually been to Tantura, which is more than you can say.

        “It’s not the holocaust so he doesn’t care ”

        There was a REAL massacre at Sarafand in 1918. Australian and New Zealander troops slaughtered one hundred unarmed Arab men and boys.
        Jonathan Ofir doesn’t care about a real massacre in Palestine because he can’t point his finger at Jews.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Sibiriak
        March 8, 2016, 2:34 am

        Annie Robbins: he didn’t say it was exceptional.

        ——————-

        True. And the Israeli war crimes were not exceptional in another sense: they were not incidental actions unconnected to any general strategy; they were not simply individual cases of soldiers “losing it” in the chaos of war.

        Just the opposite. The massacres and terror were part of a systematic, goal-oriented policy designed and approved at the highest political level: Plan Dalet.

        They were in fact a direct consequence of Zionist ideology.

        Zionism required a Jewish super-majority; a Jewish super-majority required ethnic cleansing; ethnic cleansing required massacres and terror.

      • diasp0ra
        March 8, 2016, 5:33 am

        @Jackdaw

        Your humanity is truly touching.

      • talknic
        March 8, 2016, 6:55 am

        @ Jackdaw “Every war has war crimes”

        Indeed. Starting a war is a war crime. Israel started all its wars, without which there’d have been no war crimes in this conflict

        “So why is Israel’s 1948 War of Independence exceptional? ?”

        Uh? The only person here referring to it as exceptional is YOU!

        BTW Israel’s war of independence was over at precisely 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) link to trumanlibrary.org at which time Israel was independent and thru the preemptive Plan Dalet in military control of (AKA occupying) territories the Israeli Government itself said on May 22nd 1948 were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

      • Mooser
        March 8, 2016, 12:22 pm

        ‘Every war has war crimes. So why is the Holocaust exceptional? Because you say it was?’

      • Mooser
        March 8, 2016, 1:23 pm

        “In the end, 6,600 Jews were killed during the War of Independence and about 10,000 Arabs were killed. This is out of 600,000 Jews and 1,000,000 Arabs.
        These numbers of fatalities do not suggest that any slaughter took place. The slaughter is in your head, and in your head only.”

        That’s one I can link to a cuckoo-clock going off!

        “Jackdaw”, “Jackdaw” I beg you, simply as somebody with a small tattered remanent of ethno-religious pride, (available at $12.99 a sq. yd., this Saturday only at the warehouse where the Drapes of Roth are stored) please, please, ask a Rabbi or upper-level Zionist: “Are my comments helping, or hindering?”

  17. Jon66
    March 8, 2016, 7:58 am

    Talknic,

    Can you explain how Israel “started” the Yom Kippur War? A cease-fire had been in place along the fronts after 1967.

    • oldgeezer
      March 8, 2016, 9:25 am

      @jon66

      In what way do you consider the yom kippur war to be a new war? Given that there was only a ceasefire in place it was merely a resumption of hostilities. The lack of a peace agreement is the reason most/many zionists use as an argument for continuing to hold onto the Golan Heights despite there having been no hostilities for over 40 years.

      I’m sure Talknic has a more correct analysis and I have no trouble with considering yom kippur as a separate war really. I am curious how you square retaining stolen land while pretending the 67 war had somehow ended.

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 10:43 am

        OG,

        I’m confused as to whether you consider 1973 a continuation of the 1947-1948 war or a new war. If it’s a continuation, the Talknics statement that Israel started “wars” is inaccurate. If it’s a new war then I don’t see how Israel started it.

      • oldgeezer
        March 8, 2016, 11:55 am

        @jon 66

        Why didn’t you answer the question?

        I’ll show a bit more respect than you do, even though I know it’s not desrved, and answer your question.

        I consider each of those wars as separate wars. It is some Israeli zionists who use the pretext of a continuation of hostilities to retain possession of lands in contravention of international law.

        Even more damning it is Israel and it’s zionist apologists who support the illegal colonization of this land in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

        It cannot be disputed that Israel started the wars in 48 and 67. One may argue whether they had cause or not (they didn’t) but they were the aggressors.

        They were also the aggressors in 57 against Egypt and 66 against Jordan.

        I’m willing to agree that they didn’t start the war in 73 provided you’ll agree that Israel retained and colonized land illegally acquired in preceeding wars.

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 12:04 pm

        OG,

        I don’t think one set of facts is dependent upon the other.

        The 1967 war ended with a cease -fire. The occupation of conquered territory should end with the agreement of a peace treaty. Thats how Egypt regained the Sinai. Terms were reached and then occupation was ended.

      • Mooser
        March 8, 2016, 7:18 pm

        “The occupation of conquered territory should end with the agreement of a peace treaty. Thats how Egypt regained the Sinai. Terms were reached and then occupation was ended.”

        ROTFLMSJAO! So if Israel is incapable of doing what Egypt did, so Israel’s occupation is legal? A righteous occupation! So all Israel has to do is refuse to make peace and the occupation can be extended forever?

        But of course, who can deny that being the brutal overseers of Palestine is the highest destiny the Jews can reach for? The rest of the world and its people’s can only look on in admiration, and will acknowledge us as superior beings to the end of time! Mother’s will draw their children into their skirts, curtsy and say: “Quiet children! Here comes the destroyers of the Palestinians! We owe them so much!”

    • amigo
      March 8, 2016, 9:58 am

      Jon 66 , you seem to treat reply buttons the same as Israel treats the borders of it,s surrounding neighbours–ignore them .

      Israel started the war on the “Syrian Heights ” .Read Dayan,s statements on who started it.Israel lies as a way of life .It is part of the zionist psyche.Israel attacks whether or not there is a ceasfire and if you are so concerned with the ceasfire lines of 67 , get Israel to go back behind them instead of stealing more land every day since.

      Cut the bs , it,s monotonous zionist propaganda.

      link to nytimes.com

      Btw , did you have a comment on the subject matter here —which is , in case you forgot–The massacre of innocent civilians by your so called “most moral army”.

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 10:47 am

        Amigo,

        Your link references 1967. It does not explain why ,”Israel started all its wars…” Is accurate.

        – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net
        The reference you cited does not say that Israel started the 1973 war.

        My comment asked for a clarification of Talknic’s position.

      • amigo
        March 8, 2016, 12:40 pm

        My link proves that Israel lies as a way of life .Israel claims that the Syrians attacked Israel first.The link proves that Israel started that war first.Why should we believe one word from the occupation nation or that of an apologist for the rogue entity.I will leave Talknic to deconstruct your assertion that Israel never started any wars.

        I am also awaiting your comments on the subject matter at hand.The slaughter of innocent civilians by your so called “most moral army”.

        Thread jacking again Jon 66.

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 1:03 pm

        Amigo,

        I don’t think there is any real controversy about the surprise attack in 1973. That’s why I asked Talknic for his clarification. i don’t see how your theories about 1967 add to explaining why Israel was the aggressor in 1973.

      • echinococcus
        March 8, 2016, 3:40 pm

        Looks like Jon66 cannot even figure out that having started a war of annihilation against a given population is not the same thing as starting aggressive wars against different governments of diverse other people.

      • amigo
        March 8, 2016, 4:26 pm

        jon 66 , you still have not commented on the article.Is it intentional.

        Just to vacate your clogged zionist cranial area , you should note that a ceasefire does not mean that one side –Israel in this case can keep stealing someone else,s land ad infinitum and expect the other side to sit back and adhere to a fake ceasefire. Get real.

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 5:13 pm

        Amigo,

        I don’t have a particular comment about the article, but rather about the comments about the article. Have you ever commented about other comments without a focus on the article?

        Talknic stated that ALL of the wars Israel engaged in were started by Israel. I’m open to the idea, but it runs counter to the universal consensus concerning 1973. If he means that they are all an extension of the War of Independence then I understand. If he views them conventionally as distinct ‘wars’ then I wanted to understand why he thinks Israel was the aggressor. Is it possible to have a conversation without the vitriol?

      • amigo
        March 8, 2016, 7:01 pm

        Jon 66 , why do you keep insisting that I make Talknics case for him. I did not defend or oppose Talknics statement .I did not mention the 73 war.I already told you that he can do so himself. I am simply pointing out to you that Israeli claims that they never started any wars are lies and my link proves it.As to having a conversation without vitriol —how about a conversation without lies and propaganda.

        Do I take it from your lack of comment on the article in question , that you agree , Israel murdered innocent civilians and made unarmed Palestinians dig their own graves before shooting them.

        I can see why you choose to avoid making any comments.

      • Mooser
        March 8, 2016, 7:15 pm

        “I don’t have a particular comment about the article, but rather about the comments about the article.”

        If you have complaints about Moderation, send an e-mail to the Editor.
        If you feel that Mondoweiss is predicated on false premises, rife with journalistic corruption and a font of antisemioticism, open a blog and tell the world about it!
        I realize this goes against the Zionist way of thinking, but usually, being willing to use a space and being given space, is usually reciprocated by some respect for the space you are given. Capiche?

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 7:20 pm

        Amigo,

        My original question was directed to Talknic. You decided to jump in. You built a straw man about Israel and then rebutted it with a link that doesn’t address the question I asked. I have read his posts in the past about 1948 and 1967, but don’t understand the logic in reference to 1973.

      • talknic
        March 8, 2016, 8:04 pm

        @ Jon66 March 8, 2016, 7:58 am …

        “Can you explain how Israel “started” the Yom Kippur War? “

        Sure, even tho propagandists like yourself aren’t the least bit interested. Truth, facts and above all honesty are quite understandably not in your brief.

        However you offer yet another opportunity to inform genuinely interested folk

        ” A cease-fire had been in place along the fronts after 1967″

        DOCUMENT A/L.519 19 June 1967

        Noting that Israel, in gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the universally accepted principles of international law, has committed a premeditated and previously prepared aggression against the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, and has occupied parts of their territory and inflicted great material damage upon them,

        Noting that, in contravention of Security Council resolutions 233 (1967), 234 (1967) and 235 (1967) of 6, 7 and 9 June 1967, on the immediate cessation of all hostilities and a cease-fire, Israel continued to conduct offensive military operations against the above-mentioned States and seized additional territory,

        Noting further that, although military activities have now ceased, Israel continues its occupation of the territory of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, thus failing to halt its aggression and defying the United Nations and all peace-loving States,

        Regarding as unacceptable and unlawful Israel’s territorial claims on the Arab States, which prevent the restoration of peace in the area,

        1. Vigorously condemns Israel’s aggressive activities and the continuing occupation by Israel of part of the territory of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, which constitutes an act of recognized aggression;

        2. Demands that Israel should immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its forces from the territory of those States to positions behind the armistice demarcation lines, as stipulated in the General Armistice Agreements, and should respect the status of the demilitarized zones, as prescribed in the Armistice Agreements;

        3. Demands also that Israel should make good in full and within the shortest possible period of time all the damage inflicted by its aggression on the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan and on their nationals, and should return to them all seized property and other material assets;

        As Israel had ignored its legal obligation and broken the ceasefire, under the UN Charter Chapter VI, the other Regional Powers had and still have the right to attempt to expel Israeli forces from non-Israeli territories in order to “restore” their sovereignty.

        Contrary to the Israeli propaganda citing Schwebel’s deviously worded Right of Conquest Schwebel/Lautherpacht/Herzog actually tell us that States may “restore” their sovereignty over territories illegally ‘acquired by war’ by another party. Israel has never had any sovereign territory taken from it to be restored. The Arab states have! link to wp.me

        BTW once started, a state of war exists until an agreement formalizing surrender of one party or; both sign a Peace Treaty. A Peace Treaty such as that between Egypt and Israel required Israel to withdraw from Egyptian territory. It’s not the weasel worded ‘land for peace’, it’s withdrawal for peace

        To your question: Prior to Israel’s Declaration of Statehood and subsequent proclamation of its borders in order to gain International recognition , Plan Dalet saw Jewish forces in territories not slated for the Jewish state and outside of Israel’s proclaimed borders at the moment those borders were proclaimed effective, that was the start of all of Israel’s wars. The other regional Powers had and still have every right to attempt to expel Israeli forces from territories acquired by war by Israel since 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time)

        @ Jon66 March 8, 2016, 5:13 pm

        ” If he means that they are all an extension of the War of Independence”

        Israel’s War of Independence ended the moment Israel proclaimed itself independent. With what became Israeli forces in non-Israeli territory it immediately became a war by the State of Israel against whatever remained of Palestine and Palestinian allies.

        There has never been a Peace Treaty with Palestine and Israel has never fully withdrawn from any Palestinian territories it has occupied since 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time)

      • talknic
        March 8, 2016, 8:39 pm

        @ Jon66 March 8, 2016, 5:13 pm

        “Talknic stated that ALL of the wars Israel engaged in were started by Israel. I’m open to the idea, but it runs counter to the universal consensus concerning 1973. If he means that they are all an extension of the War of Independence then I understand”

        We can only talk about Israel’s wars from the moment Israel claimed it came into existence as a State.

        Meanwhile, the continual Zionist Colonization of Palestine hasn’t stopped since 1897, it can’t afford to because it’s a pyramid scheme that depends on more and more land to sell to naive and not so naive Jews

        “… I wanted to understand why he thinks Israel was the aggressor”

        Oh bullsh*t! It’s not in a propagandists brief to understand. If it was, you’d have admitted the obvious long ago. Israel has been operating outside its borders since the moment they were proclaimed

        ” Is it possible to have a conversation without the vitriol?”

        Why? You deserve all the vitriol that can be mustered and thrown your way, it’s nothing compared to the death and destruction the Zionist Federation has delivered, supported by the likes of yourself, on millions of innocent people.

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 9:20 pm

        Talknic,

        “We can only talk about Israel’s wars from the moment Israel claimed it came into existence as a State.”

        – See more at: link to mondoweiss.net.

        Then we can only talk about Israel’s ‘war crimes’ from the monument it came into existence as well?

      • talknic
        March 9, 2016, 1:56 am

        @ Jon66 March 8, 2016, 9:20 pm

        “Then we can only talk about Israel’s ‘war crimes’ from the monument it came into existence as well?”

        You’d have to be really quite thick to ask. Thanks for the demo

    • talknic
      March 8, 2016, 7:54 pm

      Ooooops sorry about the thread jump

      @ Jon66 March 8, 2016, 7:58 am

      “Can you explain how Israel “started” the Yom Kippur War? “

      Sure, even tho propagandists like yourself aren’t the least bit interested. Truth, facts and above all honesty are quite understandably not in your brief.

      However you offer yet another opportunity to inform genuinely interested folk

      ” A cease-fire had been in place along the fronts after 1967″

      DOCUMENT A/L.519 19 June 1967

      Noting that Israel, in gross violation of the Charter of the United Nations and the universally accepted principles of international law, has committed a premeditated and previously prepared aggression against the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, and has occupied parts of their territory and inflicted great material damage upon them,

      Noting that, in contravention of Security Council resolutions 233 (1967), 234 (1967) and 235 (1967) of 6, 7 and 9 June 1967, on the immediate cessation of all hostilities and a cease-fire, Israel continued to conduct offensive military operations against the above-mentioned States and seized additional territory,

      Noting further that, although military activities have now ceased, Israel continues its occupation of the territory of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, thus failing to halt its aggression and defying the United Nations and all peace-loving States,

      Regarding as unacceptable and unlawful Israel’s territorial claims on the Arab States, which prevent the restoration of peace in the area,

      1. Vigorously condemns Israel’s aggressive activities and the continuing occupation by Israel of part of the territory of the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan, which constitutes an act of recognized aggression;

      2. Demands that Israel should immediately and unconditionally withdraw all its forces from the territory of those States to positions behind the armistice demarcation lines, as stipulated in the General Armistice Agreements, and should respect the status of the demilitarized zones, as prescribed in the Armistice Agreements;

      3. Demands also that Israel should make good in full and within the shortest possible period of time all the damage inflicted by its aggression on the United Arab Republic, Syria and Jordan and on their nationals, and should return to them all seized property and other material assets;

      As Israel had ignored its legal obligation and broken the ceasefire, under the UN Charter Chapter VI, the other Regional Powers had and still have the right to attempt to expel Israeli forces from non-Israeli territories in order to “restore” their sovereignty.

      Contrary to the Israeli propaganda citing Schwebel’s deviously worded Right of Conquest Schwebel/Lautherpacht/Herzog actually tell us that States may “restore” their sovereignty over territories illegally ‘acquired by war’ by another party. Israel has never had any sovereign territory taken from it to be restored. The Arab states have! link to wp.me

      BTW once started, a state of war exists until an agreement formalizing surrender of one party or; both sign a Peace Treaty. A Peace Treaty such as that between Egypt and Israel required Israel to withdraw from Egyptian territory. It’s not the weasel worded ‘land for peace’, it’s withdrawal for peace

      To your question: Prior to Israel’s Declaration of Statehood and subsequent proclamation of its borders in order to gain International recognition , Plan Dalet saw Jewish forces in territories not slated for the Jewish state and outside of Israel’s proclaimed borders at the moment those borders were proclaimed effective, that was the start of all of Israel’s wars. The other regional Powers had and still have every right to attempt to expel Israeli forces from territories acquired by war by Israel since 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time)

      @ Jon66 March 8, 2016, 5:13 pm

      ” If he means that they are all an extension of the War of Independence”

      Israel’s War of Independence ended the moment Israel proclaimed itself independent. With what became Israeli forces in non-Israeli territory it immediately became a war by the State of Israel against whatever remained of Palestine and Palestinian allies.

      There has never been a Peace Treaty with Palestine and Israel has never fully withdrawn from any Palestinian territories it has occupied since 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time)

      • talknic
        March 8, 2016, 8:40 pm

        ooops damn ooops

      • Jon66
        March 8, 2016, 9:12 pm

        Talknic,

        Thanks for answer. I understand that there was not a peace treaty only a cease fire. But Israeli forces did not cross the cease fire lines to attack Egyptian and Syrian forces. How was this particular war an aggressive move by Israel when it was not initiated by Israel, but rather by a surprise attack?

      • talknic
        March 9, 2016, 2:22 am

        Jon66 March 8, 2016, 9:12 pm

        “But Israeli forces did not cross the cease fire lines to attack Egyptian and Syrian forces”

        In 1966 Israel breached the Armistice Agreements link to unispal.un.org

        In 1967 Israel illegally acquired by war non-Israeli territories. It failed to have “respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty , territorial integrity and political independence of every State in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force;”

        Since 00:01 May 15th 1948 (ME time) Israel has remained the aggressor.

        For the Ziostupid: if some arrogant, moronic, big headed, crap babbling, rrrrrrsol takes over parts of your home and refuses to leave, they are the aggressor, even if they are Jewish

        Try something else, you’re losing. You can never justify the unjustifiable

      • oldgeezer
        March 9, 2016, 6:06 pm

        @talknic

        Israels military action against Jordan in 66 was not only a violation of agreements but also in law both as an act of aggression and as it was a military attack against two civilian towns.

        The most moral army seems to always make civilians their priority target. Cowards.

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