‘NYT’ praises Israelis for restraint in attacks aimed at Arafat that killed 100s of innocents

US Politics
on 46 Comments

If you are seeking a foothold in US political discourse, it doesn’t hurt to be Israeli. Over the weekend, the New York Times Magazine published Israeli journalist Ronen Bergman’s article about Israeli efforts to assassinate Yasser Arafat in the 1980s, from his forthcoming book titled, “Rise and Kill First: The Secret History of Israel’s Targeted Assassinations” (Random House). Bergman is getting quite a rollout. Tomorrow night he will talk about “Inside the Mossad” at the 92d Street Y, in conversation with David Sanger of the New York Times.

The Times is surely satisfying its older Jewish readers who love Israelis-with-big-guns porn. Bergman’s long article is melodramatic and Israel-centric. There is a glancing reference to the hundreds of civilians that Israel killed as it was trying to blow up Arafat in one building after another around Lebanon in 1982. Those are details. The bombings must not distract the reader from the thrust of the piece: the keen minds of Israel’s military elite forsook many a chancy opportunity to bomb Arafat, because they would hurt too many innocents; and reached moral judgments, sometimes in defiance of their own superiors, not to blow up civilian airplanes on the chance of getting Arafat.

The article nowhere states that Israel actually downed a civilian aircraft in 1973 over the Sinai, killing 74. Front page of the Times back then. And there is no impression in the article of the real possibility that these Israelis are a bunch of bunglers.

Here is As’ad Abu Khalil dispatching the article– based on his own experience of living through those bombings, which he says killed 1000s:

The story in the New York Times  is a typical Mossad planted story in US media.  Notice that there is an attempt to show that humanitarian consideration went into planning to kill Arafat. The most fervent effort by Israel to kill Arafat was in the summer of 1982 during the savage siege of Beirut.  As I lived those times, I remember how whole apartment buildings would be bombed by concussion bombs from the air ON THE SUSPICION that Arafat was in the building.   I remember that there were hundreds of people who were incinerated by Israeli fighter jets merely because they lived in apartments where Arafat was suspected by dumb Mossad agents of being there.  There massive sites of bombing that people visited and knew that this was due to wrong Israeli intelligence.

The story says in passing that “hundred of people were killed” by [Israel’s “Front for the Liberation of Lebanon From Foreigners”]. But this is what they don’t tell you: this front specialized in car bombs in crowded neighborhoods.  They would plant car bombs in West Beirut for purposes of sheer terror.  I would estimate that the number of innocent victims killed by this group was in the thousands and not the hundreds.  This is the record of Israel which many Lebanese and non-Lebanese Arabs won’t forget. These are part of the war crimes for which Arabs hold Israel responsible, in addition to the illegal occupation of Palestine–all of Palestine.

As’ad Abu Khalil

Suffice it to say, you will never read a long article in the Times by As’ad Abu Khalil or interviewing As’ad Abu Khalil, though his perspective is surely more valid than Ronen Bergman’s– inasmuch as it reflects widely-held Arab public opinion, which we really ought to know about, let alone the perspective of victims of massive bombing.

As for Bergman’s melodrama, his lead case is a 1982 incident in which an Israeli general does not bow to enormous bureaucratic pressure to approve the destruction of a civilian aircraft leaving Athens for Cairo with a man believed to be Arafat on it. Of course it turns out to be Arafat’s brother, and General David Ivry, head of the Air Force, is merely heroic.

To Ivry, though, something seemed off. “I didn’t get this whole story,” he told me years later, sitting in his executive suite overlooking Tel Aviv, where he works now as the president of Boeing Israel. “It wasn’t clear to me why Arafat would be flying to Cairo. According to intelligence, he had nothing to look for there at the time. And if he was going there, why in that kind of transport plane? Not at all dignified enough for a man of his status. I asked the Mossad to verify that he was the man.”…

The two Caesarea operatives once again insisted that it was Arafat. “The objective has grown a longer beard to mislead,” they reported. Mossad reconfirmed the positive identification….

As the jets closed in, Ivry still harbored doubts.

The whole article is a form of apologetics. Bergman has researched “a dilemma that has confronted many Israeli authorities over the course of the nation’s brief history — the violent and sometimes irreconcilable clash between the fundamental principles of democracy and a nation’s instinct to defend itself.”

The apology:

In my reporting, I found that since World War II, Israel has used assassination and targeted-killing more than any other country in the West, in many cases endangering the lives of civilians. But I also discovered a long history of profound — and often rancorous — internal debates over how the state should be preserved. Can a nation use the methods of terrorism? Can it harm innocent civilians in the process? What are the costs? Where is the line?…

 Time and again, the desire to kill Arafat placed Israel at the center of the ongoing debate about what a nation can and cannot do to survive….

Had enough? There’s a lot more where that came from.

Thanks to Scott Roth and Donald Johnson for tips and insights I fleshed out.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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46 Responses

  1. eljay
    January 29, 2018, 10:25 am

    In my reporting, I found that since World War II, Israel has used assassination and targeted-killing more than any other country in the West, in many cases endangering the lives of civilians. But I also discovered a long history of profound — and often rancorous — internal debates over how the state should be preserved. Can a nation use the methods of terrorism? Can it harm innocent civilians in the process? What are the costs? Where is the line?…

    Time and again, the desire to kill Arafat placed Israel at the center of the ongoing debate about what a nation can and cannot do to survive….

    It must be tough to be so moral that every time you shoot – and you do have to shoot an awful lot in order to establish and maintain an oppressive, colonialist, (war) criminal and religion-supremacist state – you cry.

    • CigarGod
      January 30, 2018, 10:01 am

      There are a number of youtubes about how to determine if you are getting FAKE news.
      NYT is used as an example of solid and reliable journalism.
      They simply declare it to be so.

  2. Annie Robbins
    January 29, 2018, 11:19 am

    gag me with a spoon!

  3. David Samel
    January 29, 2018, 1:13 pm

    Israel has many nukes and could exterminate millions of Palestinians on a moment’s notice. They deserve praise for restraint every single day they don’t use their nukes. Where’s the mainstream media on this?

    • festus
      January 29, 2018, 1:50 pm

      Well, unless they can move the Palestinians far away, any nuking of the Palestinians by Israel would also kill Israelis.

      For you to call that “restraint” boggles the mind.

      • David Samel
        January 29, 2018, 2:00 pm

        festus, I did think of hanging a sarcasm alert on my comment but thought it wasn’t necessary this time. Oh well…

      • Annie Robbins
        January 29, 2018, 2:27 pm

        i was a perfect comment david!

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2018, 2:56 pm

        “i was a perfect comment david!”

        Well, it did lack a “:)” or “;)”, to be sure..

      • festus
        January 29, 2018, 3:51 pm

        The reason I did not pick up on the sarcasm is that I have seen several apologists for Israel actually make that exact argument.

      • Mooser
        January 29, 2018, 4:48 pm

        “apologists for Israel actually make that exact argument.”

        “festus”, that’s true. The comment threw me, too . I had to check.

    • Mooser
      January 29, 2018, 2:11 pm

      “Where’s the mainstream media on this?”

      Well, it’s dark down here deep in the irony mine, but I think I know.

      Israel can’t brag about their restraint because they aren’t supposed to have nuclear weapons at all!

      I always thought Israel should have signed the NPT, so they could have all the legal nuclear weapons they need. And they could brag about their restraint, too.

      • David Samel
        January 29, 2018, 8:44 pm

        festus, I don’t blame you. Sarcasm is always risky on line. This has happened before but I never learn my lesson

      • eljay
        February 10, 2018, 8:40 am

        || David Samel: … Sarcasm is always risky on line. This has happened before but I never learn my lesson ||

        FWIW, your comment immediately struck me as a nice bit of sarcasm. (Given your track record her on MW, I honestly don’t see how it could be misconstrued as anything but.)

    • umrayya
      January 31, 2018, 2:04 pm

      David Samel,

      Right! It takes tremendous restraint to avoid taking out millions of Palestinians by dropping nukes in the West Bank and Gaza. I’m sure there is a way to drop nukes in a refined, targeted way so as to avoid killing hundreds of thousands of one’a own citizens living illegally in the West Bank, and no doubt Israel has developed a way to prevent any fallout from a nuclear attack a few kilometers away from affecting it’s citizens living legally in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities.

      And of course, why not turn the entire West Bank into an uninhabitable burnt-to-a-crisp, radioactive wasteland. After all, it is obvious that Israelis have no interest in ever claiming that land for Israel.

      Brilliant thinking there, David! Congratulations. You have actually convinced me to admire Israel’s restraint.

      • umrayya
        January 31, 2018, 2:06 pm

        OK, I just read your comment stating you were engaging in sarcasm. Sorry for not seeing that in the beginning. :)

        Unfortunately, there ARE people who actually reason that way.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 31, 2018, 2:36 pm

        sarcasm, what sarcasm? are you implying israel is not the beacon of restraint?

        anti semite alert!

    • Cazador
      February 8, 2018, 12:53 pm

      David Samel,

      Even if your comment was to be sarcastic, for the good of us all here are a few notions about nuclear bombs.

      So, about «NUKES», if you have never done research I strongly suggest that you do, and particularly the way the deadly nuclear radiation spreads in the water, in the air, in the clouds, and then add the rain from those clouds, Black Rain the Japanese called it, and, if you’re lucky you’ll die within seconds when one nuke will explode in your area. If you’re not lucky, you’ll be burned and suffer a lot before radiation kills you in a more or less long process, depending on the level of radiation. The weaker the radiation, the longer its radiation. Plutonium’s very powerful radiation (the bomb type) lasts a few years (7 to 10 roughly). By comparison, the radiation of the depleted uranium the United States of Aggression totally illegally uses in foreign lands (Iraq among others) to make ordnance like bombs, shells, bullets can last many thousands of years.

      I suggest you search «depleted uranium Iraqi victims», and while at it search for «deformed Vietnamese babies from Agent Orange», Monsanto’s Agent Orange… The same Monsanto whose Vice-President has been named as a FDA VP (if I’m not wrong about the title) by Obama. It tells you the power of the illegal poison maker$$$…

    • oldgeezer
      February 9, 2018, 9:49 pm

      @Samel

      Well… I confess I had the benefit of everyone’s response and also took the time to look through your posts.

      My opinion plus 2 bucks will get you a crappy cuppa coffee. Except at Tim Hortons where it will get you a really good medium coffee!

      I do believe you were being sarcastic. Probably not the best sarcasm in the world, considering the topic, so keep your day job!

  4. Boomer
    January 29, 2018, 1:25 pm

    re “NYT praises Israelis”

    Thanks for reading it so we don’t have to. Gives “fake news” fresh meaning. Ditto “failing NYT”

    Thanks for setting the record straight.

  5. Ossinev
    January 29, 2018, 1:41 pm

    “The article nowhere states that Israel actually downed a civilian aircraft in 1973”
    Don`t tell me they mistook it for a hostile Egyptian cattle plane.

    • Misterioso
      January 30, 2018, 11:11 am

      @Ossinev

      Also:

      On 12 December 1954, “Israeli warplanes forced a Syrian Airways Dakota passenger craft carrying four passengers and five crewmen to land at Lydda airport inside Israel. (New York Times, 13 December 1954 – cited by Donald Neff, “Fifty Years of Israel,” American Educational Trust, Washington, D.C., 1998, p. 117) The passengers were interrogated for two days before international protests, including strong complaints from Washington finally convinced Israel to release the plane and its passengers.” (Associated Press, New York Times, 15 December 1954 – cited by Donald Neff, “Fifty Years of Israel,” American Educational Trust, Washington, D.C., 1998, p. 117) Israel thus carried out the first skyjacking in history.

      As he revealed in his diary, Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett was appalled: “I have no reason to doubt the truth of the factual affirmation of the U.S. State Department that our action was without precedent in the history of international practice. What shocks and worries me is the narrow-mindedness and the short-sightedness of our military leaders. They seem to presume that the state of Israel may – or even must – behave in the realm of international relations according to the laws of the jungle.”

      According to Sharett, the reason Israel’s air force carried out the unprecedented skyjacking was Chief of Staff Moshe Dayan’s desire “to get hostages in order to obtain the release of our prisoners in Damascus. (Noam Chomsky, Pirates and Emperors: International Terrorism in the Real World, Brattleboro, VT, Amana Books, 1986, p. 84, quoted by Donald Neff, ibid) Sharett was referring to the fact that four days earlier (December 8), five Israeli soldiers had been captured while retrieving tapping devices attached to Syrian telephone lines on the Golan Heights. Despite Israel’s expression of outrage, Syria refused to release them. (Neff, Fifty Years of Israel, p. 117) The four Israelis had been captured on Syrian soil and were in fact legitimate prisoners of war.

  6. David Samel
    January 29, 2018, 2:18 pm

    A couple of more serious points. First, with Israel having caused so much wanton slaughter in Lebanon, not just in 1982 but also in 1978, 1993, 1996 and 2006, it is absurd that Hezbollah or anyone else in Lebanon is blamed for arming themselves with missiles to deter yet another attack. Yet that is exactly what we read in the NYTimes – http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/world/middleeast/07hezbollah.html?scp=2&sq=hezbollah&st=cse – or the Atlantic –
    https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/09/hezbollah-israel-lebanon-isis-syria-iran/540105/ . In essence, these articles claim that their acquisition of missiles in defense of Israeli attack actually constitutes a reason for Israel to attack in the first place.

    Second, can anyone imagine an article in the Times or any other mainstream publication about a robust debate among Hamas or Hezbollah leadership about the circumstances in which attacks on civilians can be justified? Israel has killed civilians on countless occasions, sometimes deliberately, sometimes as a knowing by-product of a “targeted execution” against an individual who has been deemed guilty of some act or another by government and/or military officials who answer to no one. Their death toll is many times higher than that suffered by Israeli civilians. Yet their angst is a proper subject for exploration, especially in contrast to Palestinians, who are automatically viewed as hate-filled and nihilistic rather than people struggling to survive and opposing horrible oppression by a foreign military.

  7. Keith
    January 29, 2018, 2:47 pm

    ” The story says in passing that “hundred of people were killed” by them. But this is what they don’t tell you: this front specialized in car bombs in crowded neighborhoods. They would plant car bombs in West Beirut for purposes of sheer terror. I would estimate that the number of innocent victims killed by this group was in the thousands and not the hundreds.”

    This is the history which the Zionists hide. Zionism has used terrorism right from the get-go, yet Zionists complain about later Palestinian suicide bombers while denying the long history of Zionist terrorism, not to mention the full blown mass murder of their military operations.

  8. Brewer
    January 29, 2018, 3:49 pm

    “Rise and Kill First”
    Now there’s a slogan to die for.

  9. Kay24
    January 29, 2018, 6:58 pm

    To justify the occupation, land grabs, and the mowing of the lawn, Israel has managed to make the gullible in the US think that all Palestinians are “terrorists”. Israel seems to be the only side that “has the right to defend itself”, not the occupied people, who are killed by the thousands.
    The Palestinians also don’t have the right to resist.

    The New York Times has failed to be an honest reporter of this conflict, just like many others in the zionist media (well earned title).

  10. hellsbells
    January 30, 2018, 5:57 am

    I was hoping a leak from Mossad would ‘bring them down’. This ‘leak’ is like sewage passed through a filter with the resulting liquid overly sweetened with saccharin. Best drunk by Zionists!

  11. James Michie
    January 30, 2018, 9:07 am

    Hey Phil: An interesting and much needed piece critical of the New York Times, a major publication that spends a great deal of effort in defending indefensible Zionist Israel in addition to blacking out news of any of the countless daily human/civil rights violations perpetrated and executed by Zionist Israel and its military forces in Palestine and Zionist Israel against Palestinians.

    My question: does Mondoweiss forward these type pieces deservedly critical of Zionist Israel to the New York Times publisher, executive editor, foreign desk and the Times bureau chief in Jerusalem and, if not, why not? Looking forward to your response.

  12. Elizabeth Block
    January 30, 2018, 10:19 am

    I have often thought it’s ironic that Israel does not have – officially, legally, judicially – the death penalty.

  13. jon s
    February 7, 2018, 4:47 pm

    When I’m asked whether we have the death penalty in Israel, I answer “yes and no”.

    In 1954 the Knesset abolished the death penalty for murder, instituting, instead , a mandatory life sentence for first degree murder. Even before the abolition, since 1948, noone had been executed, with the exception of the unfortunate Meir Toviansky who had been executed for espionage by an illegal tribunal during the War of Independence. He was an innocent man ,as it turned out , and his case was one of the reasons for abolishing the death penalty.

    However….the crime of treason during wartime still carries the death penalty though no such case has ever been tried. And, of course , there’s the death penalty for Nazi war criminals, which enabled the execution of Eichmann, the only legal execution ever carried out in Israel.
    Also, military tribunals can hand down death sentences, so potentially, terrorists could be executed. However, as a matter of long standing policy , all Defense Ministers, from Ben Gurion to Lieberman, have instructed military prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.

    • Mooser
      February 7, 2018, 8:11 pm

      “When I’m asked….”

      Nobody is asking.

    • echinococcus
      February 8, 2018, 3:53 am

      John S

      I answer “yes and no”

      As he answers everything, as a good Liberal Genocidaire.

      Anyway, he forgets the Death Penalty by Manual Chair (for the crime of looking dark) as administered in occupied Biressaba

      And the other approximately 50,000 murders by the Zionists since 1947…. looks like it’s not enough for a Yes.

      Yay.

    • Talkback
      February 8, 2018, 8:26 am

      jon s: “Also, military tribunals can hand down death sentences, so potentially, terrorists could be executed. However, as a matter of long standing policy , all Defense Ministers, from Ben Gurion to Lieberman, have instructed military prosecutors not to seek the death penalty.”

      Of course not. The death PENALTY demands a trial. Israel kills without trials. It’s called “targeted assassination” and is blatant state terrorism.

      • jon s
        February 9, 2018, 4:35 am

        Let’s have some proportions.
        How many people were killed by US forces in “targeted assassinations” carried out under the Bush and Obama administrations?
        Under President Obama, was Osama Bin Laden arrested and brought to trial or executed on the spot?

      • eljay
        February 9, 2018, 10:10 am

        || jon s: Let’s have some proportions.
        How many people were killed by US forces in “targeted assassinations” carried out under the Bush and Obama administrations? … ||

        But Israel is a “moral beacon” and a “light unto the nations” state. In your opinion, how many women is “decent and honest man” and “model citizen” allowed to rape?

      • Keith
        February 9, 2018, 10:22 am

        JON S- “How many people were killed by US forces in “targeted assassinations” carried out under the Bush and Obama administrations?”

        And the answer is? And yes, the empire is no slouch when it comes to assassinations and other forms of illegal and reprehensible behavior including support for Israel.

      • Mooser
        February 9, 2018, 11:09 am

        “Let’s have some proportions.”

        Good idea, “jon s”! So let’s put the historical suffering of “the Jews” (not that we know who that is) in proportion.
        And having done so, we can easily see they don’t amount to much, in proportion.

      • Mooser
        February 10, 2018, 1:04 pm

        “And yes, the empire is no slouch when it comes to assassinations and other forms of illegal and reprehensible behavior including support for Israel.”

        Every notice how “Jon s” assumes that Israel is entitled to every atrocious thing the US does? Maybe Israel is not big enough or powerful enough to get away with some of the things the US does. Or absorb the costs and consequences.

  14. jon s
    February 9, 2018, 4:39 pm

    eljay,
    These days Israel is hardly a “light unto the nations” or a moral beacon. I wish it was…
    I don’t understand your question . A decent person doesn’t rape. Period. And if he does , he’s not decent, much less a model citizen. You’re not making sense.

    Keith, I asked the first question because I really don’t know. Hundreds? If anyone can come with some statistics I would like to see them. The second question was rhetorical, of course.

    • eljay
      February 9, 2018, 6:03 pm

      || jon s: eljay,
      These days Israel is hardly a “light unto the nations” or a moral beacon. … ||

      And yet it continues to be praised as such.

      || … I don’t understand your question . A decent person doesn’t rape. Period. And if he does , he’s not decent, much less a model citizen. You’re not making sense. … ||

      You do understand the question. So I’ll ask again: Since you seem to think that deliberate murder by Israel should be excused by virtue of “some proportions”, how many rapes of women by a “decent person” should be excused by “some proportions”?

      It’s amazing how quickly you Zionists go from smug to stupid when your immoral assertions get challenged.

  15. jon s
    February 12, 2018, 4:01 pm

    eljay, I never justified targeted assassinations. I did call attention to the matter of proportions. As yet noone has answered my question. How many?

    • eljay
      February 12, 2018, 4:37 pm

      || jon s: eljay, I never justified targeted assassinations. I did call attention to the matter of proportions. … ||

      Right: You didn’t justify Israel’s targeted assassinations, you tried to put them in perspective by asking for “some proportions”. So I asked you how many rapes should a decent person be permitted based on “some proportions”?

      || … As yet noone has answered my question. How many? ||

      And you haven’t answered mine. So: How many?

      • Annie Robbins
        February 12, 2018, 11:48 pm

        jon is feigning ignorance. “I don’t understand your question… You’re not making sense.” he’s pretending he doesn’t understand the rape analogy.

      • jon s
        February 14, 2018, 3:48 am

        Eljay,
        I did answer your question, just scroll up. A decent person does not rape, period.

      • eljay
        February 14, 2018, 8:35 am

        || jon s: Eljay,
        I did answer your question, just scroll up. A decent person does not rape, period. ||

        And a decent state does not engage even in “some proportions” of targeted assassinations, period. I didn’t know you felt that Israel was not a decent state.

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