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Israeli army spokesperson responds to Mondo criticism

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James North

James North

Earlier today James North posted a piece criticizing Israeli army spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner for a statement to the Financial Times that Israel does not need proof of orders from Hamas to kidnappers in order to retaliate against Hamas for such acts. Not a very persuasive standard for killing people, North said. Adam tweeted the story out to Lerner and he responded.

First the director of social media for the Israeli army said that our piece “was an interesting way of drawing (false) conclusions. Please explain this.” Then:

Lt. Col Peter Lerner of the Israeli Defense Forces

Lt. Col Peter Lerner of the Israeli Defense Forces


James North responded as follows from his account:

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is senior editor of and founded the site in 2005-06.

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43 Responses

  1. a blah chick on July 1, 2014, 11:07 pm

    Love that picture, Pete! The way you stare straight into the camera looking all determined and manly. I can easily visualize you staying up well into the wee hours of the morning, toiling over a hot computer, seeking out and destroying all who would delegitimize and talk smack about your great and glorious country. Some might wonder why you do not concern yourself with those soldiers who post genocidal rankings, but you know that they are not the threat. No, sir, the threat comes from teenage Arab boys and Mondoites who have not gotten the message that as an elite Jewish male you are never to be questioned or doubted.

  2. David Doppler on July 1, 2014, 11:20 pm

    A dialogue between Mondoweiss and the IDF is a very interesting development, but conducting it pursuant to Twitter rules is an unhappy constraint. Similarly, the comparison and contrast between Hamas and IDF policies in dealing with their respective enemies deserves greater and more nuanced analysis than social media permit. It’s what many of us read Mondoweiss, along with Ha’aretz and many other sources in search of, since it isn’t being done by the NYTimes. But a handful of tweets does not a thoughtful analysis make.

  3. Bandolero on July 1, 2014, 11:29 pm

    I’m not very sure that this is truthful, but I think people should know this:

    ‘Islamic State in Jerusalem’ Claims Killings of Israeli Hebron Teenagers

  4. ritzl on July 1, 2014, 11:37 pm

    Well done, James North. This rationalization process happens so often that there’s probably a Latin name for LtC Lerner’s circularity (or is it a discontinuity?).

    Whatever it is it means a lot of innocent people will be killed ever so casually because it doesn’t even have to make sense when you set out to kill a few tens of women and children and old people penned up in a tiny overpopulated enclave. It’s not like LtC Lerner cares. He’s just part of the make-it-happen death machine.

    Diseased thinking, imo, though I’m sure LtC Lerner is just dutifully following orders, diseased or not. Or maybe he’s a true believer. Who knows at this point? Who cares? Dead Palestinians are the objective. Death is the objective.

    So many other ways to solve this.

    Again, thanks JN/PW.

  5. a blah chick on July 1, 2014, 11:43 pm

    ” I said is that #Hamas terrorists need no direct order to abduct Israelis”

    Because they communicate by…mental telepathy!

  6. Blownaway on July 2, 2014, 12:57 am

    Mondoweiss should be so proud. Besides the Israeli army as readers you have MJ Rosenberg and Bradley Burston misquoting you…they are paying attention so you must be doing something right

    • bilal a on July 2, 2014, 1:30 am

      dont see how all this jaw jaw is moderating the rhetoric on either side:

      Max Blumenthal ‏@MaxBlumenthal
      Gaza was punished with Cast Lead for Israel’s humiliation in Lebanon. Once again, Gaza must pay to satiate Israel’s thirst for vengeance.

    • asherpat on July 2, 2014, 7:05 am

      There is something Mondoweiss definitely NOT doing “right”.

      It’s slogan is “The War of Ideas in the Middle East”, is patently incorrect and should be “The Was on Israel in the Middle East”. Wouldn’t you agree?

      • seafoid on July 2, 2014, 10:12 am

        We are waiting for fresh reality compliant hasbara. All the old ideas have been trashed.

      • Blownaway on July 2, 2014, 2:25 pm

        No i would not agree at all. It has nothing to do with Israel, Or Judaism but the perversion of the state and the religion in pursuit of Zionism. It is through that lense that Mondoweiss looks through

      • eljay on July 2, 2014, 2:47 pm

        >> It’s slogan is “The War of Ideas in the Middle East”, is patently incorrect and should be “The Was on Israel in the Middle East”. Wouldn’t you agree?

        No, I don’t think the slogan should be “The Was on Israel in the Middle East”, or even “The War on Israel in the Middle East”.

        No war is being waged against a secular and democratic Israel – a state of and for all its Israeli citizens, immigrants, ex-pats and refugees, equally; a state that respects and honours its obligations under international law.

        Such an Israel is not the problem. Such an Israel, unfortunately, does not exist.

        The problem is the Israel that does exist; the oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State” in Palestine; the state:
        – born of terrorism and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands;
        – that remains engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
        – that refuses to honour its obligations under international law;
        – that refuses to be held accountable for its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes; and
        – that refuses to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        The ideas behind the creation, maintenance, expansion and justification of “Jewish State” conflict with:
        – ideas about justice, equality, morality and accountability; and
        – Israel’s idea of itself as a “moral beacon” to the world.

      • asherpat on July 2, 2014, 6:36 pm

        To all the responses to my comment, do you agree or disagree? How many “ideas of the Middle East” other than those related to the wished-for demise of Israel as we all know it are being entertained by Mondoweiss?

        Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon are all in the Middle East and all have some kind of “war of ideas” going-on. But Mondoweiss covers only those “ideas” that relate to Israel. I therefore think that Mondoweiss should correct its moto.

        If you disagree with me, please show me examples when Mondoweiss covers these other “wars of ideas”.

      • DaBakr on July 2, 2014, 7:05 pm

        whats your point? its PW’s blog. He can call it whatever he likes. Zionists are pretty much ‘tolerated’ but unwelcome guests here. like it or leave it.

      • asherpat on July 3, 2014, 3:49 am

        @DaBakr – indeed, he can call it whatever he likes, but at least, “he” should be sincere, or is sincerity takes back seat to the main cause in this case?

      • eljay on July 3, 2014, 10:34 am

        >> How many “ideas of the Middle East” …

        The war of ideas in the Middle East, not of the Middle East.

        The ideas – and the realities – of Zio-supremacism are in the Middle East, and they are at war with the ideas of justice, equality, morality and accountability.

        There’s nothing wrong with the slogan.

      • asherpat on July 3, 2014, 11:05 am

        eljay – so the “Zio-supremacism” is THE problem of the Middle East?

      • eljay on July 3, 2014, 11:32 am

        >> eljay – so the “Zio-supremacism” is THE problem of the Middle East?

        Who said it’s “THE problem”? It is a problem and it is being discussed on this site.

        If a site with the same slogan (“The War of Ideas in the Middle East”) existed, but the site was created by a Muslim person and focused on “Islamofascism” in the Middle East, would you be upset enough to insist that the site also focus on Zio-supremacism and Israel?

        I didn’t think so.

    • Ellen on July 2, 2014, 7:26 am

      Not only….yesterday an opinion piece in Haaretz (apologies as no link on this tablet) cited Mondoweiss as the irrational extreme left, and quoted (or misquoted?) some visitor posts as evidence for the smear of the publishers of the site.

      Irony is, questionable, even nutty reader posts, can be found on all media outlets, and one can pick posts off Mondoweiss reflecting the spectrum of opinion and facts.

      So point is: Mondoweiss is in the shooting scope of MSM. This means the site is doing a great job.

      • ckg on July 2, 2014, 9:26 am

        @Ellen– Here is the quote from Bradley Burston Haaretz blog

        When the bodies were discovered, even before there was time to notify the families, activists on both extremes took it upon themselves to do what they have done so often and so well over the last 18 days:

        Kidnap Denial.

        Pick an extreme. On the extreme that despises Israel to death, the primary form which kidnap denial takes, is literal. “The bodies of three missing Israeli teens – Gil-Ad Shaer,16, Naftali Fraenkel, 16, and Eyal Yifrah, 19 – were found today in a West Bank field near the village of Halhul, not far from where they went missing on June 12,” wrote Adam Horowitz, co-editor of the avowedly anti-Israel, in a tone passive enough to cast or reinforce doubt – much in evidence in some pro-Palestinian circles – as to whether a crime had been committed at all.

        The next form – a litmus test for a certain form of racism on the hard left – is the idea that the three murder victims had it coming to them.

        When one Mondoweiss reader asked “Can’t we be sympathetic to three mothers who lost their children without trampling on their graves?” a second reader was quick to respond:

        “No. When have the Zionist Jews been sympathetic to the mothers of dead Palestinians??? When they begin, then the feeling should be reciprocated. Until then it simply plays into the bigoted Zionist narrative.

        “And more specifically, I don’t have pity for these parents, I hold them in contempt. If they were not willing participants in the theft and occupation of Palestine, their kids would not be dead. But they loved their demonic ideology more than they loved their children.”

        When the first reader suggested “I think the appropriate response at a time like this is a simple, ‘I’m sorry for your loss,’ the second reader replied that “since this people have never treated the Palestinians with basic human decency, I say to hell with them.”

        The Haaretz article alludes to this MW discussion and ignores Annie’s thoughtful replies.

      • a blah chick on July 2, 2014, 9:45 am

        What’s he saying about the latest lynching?

      • DaBakr on July 3, 2014, 11:36 am

        i would agree that MW has succeeded in garnering enough attention as to enter the radar of msm. if one likes to argue ones point-particularly on topics involving Israel (not so much the Arab world) in the ME this is one of the better blogs. I believe (but have no proof) that others, like IE is better funded by the billion dollar Palestinian PR machine while PW takes some funding from wealthy anti-Zionists (but that is really no problem afaic) but really keeps this site streamlined and free from adverts and commentary moderation is generous though not completely free from pique)
        I would say as I regular reader here that what really stands out to the msm is not the ‘nut jobs’ which will ALWAYS be cherry picked by either side as so-called ‘examples’ of what this (or other) sites promote or tolerate. Thats kind of par-for-the-course in the Big Top. But what stands out about MW is the level of passion and commitment to this one cause that many Zionists and Israelis either claim to not ‘understand’ , choose to ignore or decide to (sometimes rightfully and sometimes wrongfully) vilify. PW has been successful in edging the conversation forward to the point where this ‘passion’ and commitment from [mostly]- the left-leaning Anglo/Euro/US camps is something Israelis and Zionists are going to have to deal with, confront and accept are parts of the conversation as much as we/they may want and wish for them to go away. That much is clear. Nobody is ‘going away’.

        People now have so many causes in so many areas of the world that nedd help and commitment. How to pick and choose? Its like a micro-smorgasboard of causes that ALL require deep levels of commitment and passion to stay focused (and I can’t believe I am arguing for why folks at MW are so single-mindedly focused on Israel excluding the other far worse purveyors of totalitarianism.) But honestly-they almost have to let their cause get lost in the stew. So while I still feel this ‘aboutism’ is a dumb term and rhetorical gimmick and it tries to deflect the topic of hypocrisy I can sympathize with the argument that folks here have picked the cause of the Palestinians -or-anti-Zionism-or both and exclude drawing constant parallels to other nations that behave far worse because its what they believe in most strongly. If I am honest-I should admit that I too have a single minded purpose in focusing on promoting what I believe is one of the greatest success stories of the past 2 centuries. [and yes, of course open wounds and unsettled issues need to be resolved]
        So-I guess some type of congrats are in order. I am guessing, but PW must have taken a lot of flak from friends and family devoting his energy to keeping this site relevant and angry. I can not imagine it has been easy. I am not saying I admire his views either. But its hard not to admire tenacity and commitment-while facing cultural disapproval. And while I have read some outrageous Palestinian PR pieces here, fantastical and bigoted ‘conspiracies’ that never panned out and much shrill nonsense-I have also read much thoughtful and provocative pieces with many links to source material helping to confirm or reject the premise.
        So-for one such as myself-unrepentant and committed pro-Israeli- I find this site educational, thought provoking and very irritating in the extreme. But I appreciate that it exists as i’m not all that keen on living in a world filled with the likes of myself. I write and talk too much in the first place.
        *note* something you MW fokks may find interesting -or not. But since I have decided to devote my commentary space to MW I find that on the rare ocassions when I decide to comment on some pro-Israel blogs that what I think is even-keeled sensible commentary is now being attacked. And I am not even talking about pro-Palestinian comments. Just anti-extremist comments. So-evidently extremism is now being touted as a ‘pro-Zionist’ value on some of these sites. [And-I should add-its not the owners of the blogs who remain very committed to compassion and rationalism but tolerate wide ranging povs and ‘nutters’ as well.]

        It must be interesting to start a blog and see where the tone of your supporters go and to what extremes they are willing to promote in comments. And of course comments are cheap. Action isn’t. Neither is blood.

  7. seafoid on July 2, 2014, 5:37 am

    I guess the Israeli army spokesman is a slow Lerner.

  8. Kay24 on July 2, 2014, 7:28 am

    The tit for tat continues, now a young Palestinian kid seems to have been kidnapped, killed and burned. It should be noted that when it come to Israelis being suspected of murder, it is referred to as “revenge” killing, and such a possibility is not mentioned, when it came to the deaths of these 3 Israeli kids. After all it could be possible that they were killed as revenge to the brutal gunning down of 2 kids by the IDF during the Nakba anniversary. Perhaps now the Palestinians should start arresting, trashing homes, breaking toilets, killing Israelis, in their search for these killers. Maybe they can burn some illegal settler homes too, call them terrorist homes, like the Israelis reacted. Revenge is not an Israeli entitled only.

    “Police found a body in a forest west of Jerusalem, early on Wednesday morning, in what appears to have been a revenge kidnapping and murder carried out by right-wing Israeli extremists. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has ordered a swift investigation into the incident and has warned vigilantes “not to take the law into their own hands.”

    Jerusalem police received a report earlier in the night that that a man was forced onto a vehicle near the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina. A missing persons report was also filed. The link between the incidents has not yet been corroborated but the father of the missing child was taken by the police to identify the body.

    The police are blocking the entrances to Beit Hanina and stopped the light rail to that part of the city. Hundreds assembled by the home of the missing Palestinian teenager. The family of the Palestinian teen is vehemently denying the rumors that he was kidnapped by Palestinians due to a feud between families, claiming that they aren’t involved in a feud.

    Palestinian claims that the man was killed by Israelis are uncorroborated as of yet. Still mobs of Israeli extremists protested in Jerusalem on Tuesday calling for revenge for the murder of the Israeli teens. Five Palestinians were attacked, and two of them needed medical treatment. The extremists were engaged in violent confrontations with police in the capital’s center for several hours. 50 people suspected of involvement in the incidents were arrested.” Haaretz

    • Bumblebye on July 2, 2014, 8:51 am

      What I’ve heard on the radio is that the lad left the house to go to early morning prayers and was promptly grabbed and bundled into a waiting Israeli car – and all caught on the family’s security cameras. I guess they’ll be stolen or smashed within days, and no-one arrested for his murder. The report did emphasize that Bibi called the attack “despicable”.

      • just on July 2, 2014, 8:57 am

        “At the home of Khdair, relatives showed the Guardian shaky footage purportedly showing the teenager talking to the men who abducted him. The footage was taken from a CCTV camera in front of his uncle’s shop around 4am on Wednesday. Local residents said Israeli police had later taken away the originals of the footage.”

        At the link you can find some tweets by Sheera Frankel that are seriously disturbing. If you scroll down you’ll see the video of the alleged kidnappers…

      • Bumblebye on July 2, 2014, 11:23 am

        Steve Bell’s cartoon at the bottom of the page portrays the reality. The scales of justice balanced over a chickenwire fence, three Israeli flag draped coffins on one scale, sunk to the ground, while the other scale, over the fence, is piled high with Palestinian flag draped coffins high in the air.

      • a blah chick on July 2, 2014, 9:24 am

        “The report did emphasize that Bibi called the attack ‘despicable’.”

        Yeah, right after he whips every Jew into a frenzy of blood lust. Now it’s all let’s be calm and patient.

        He’s despicable.

      • Kay24 on July 2, 2014, 9:56 am

        Gee, I wonder why he did not call the horrible killings during the Nakba anniversary “despicable” too, when 2 young kids who were simply walking, were gunned down by IDF killers. No arrests in that case either.
        Meanwhile 3 police dispatchers who failed to act upon receiving a call from one of the Israeli kids, have been DISMISSED. Again, the huge discrepancy in the way Israel treats Jewish lives versus Arab lives.
        Israel is despicable in the way it commits crimes and pretends no one has noticed.

      • DaBakr on July 2, 2014, 7:13 pm

        I doubt it will be ‘disappeared’. Netanyahu has already issued ‘condemnation’ which is code for-it happened. I find it disgusting and any Jews who feel vengeance was justified are weak. What happened to this boy is equal in every way to what happened to the 3 boys. I sometimes wonder if Palestinians or Israelis don’t read about the ancient blood feuds that continue in places like Albania. Is this how we want to live?
        Anyway- you will never quote me claiming anybody is ‘morally superior’ and in this case-whoever killed that boy proved they are even worse then the kidnappers before them. While they were most likely looking for criminal and social profit for them or their tribe the murderers of this Arab boy was based solely on revenge. Nothing can excuse this fact.

  9. just on July 2, 2014, 7:51 am

    “…Consequently, the PA has appealed to the international community to rein in Israel and, in particular, to prevent an Israeli military operation.

    Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas convened the PA leadership in emergency session on Tuesday evening, following the discovery of the bodies of the kidnapped teenagers and Israel’s threats of reprisal.

    In talks with senior American and European officials, Arab diplomats, mainly from Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and the secretary general of the Arab League over the past two days, Abbas has appealed for intervention.

    At the United Nations, Palestinian observer Riyad Mansour called on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the president of the Security Council to intervene in what he called “Israeli aggression and the collective punishment” of the Palestinians.

    Mansour said that “escalation and aggression will lead to increased tension and instability; a renewed spiral of violence will endanger the entire region.” Seven Palestinians have been killed and 570 arrested amid serious breaches of human rights, Mansour said. ”

  10. just on July 2, 2014, 9:21 am

    “Israeli soldiers have taken to Facebook to post messages and photos demanding revenge for the killing of the three Israeli teenagers, notes human rights activists Elizabeth Tsurkov.

    In a blogpost she picks out photos posted by soldiers on a Facebook group entitled “The People of Israel Demand Revenge”.

    She notes:

    Expressing political opinion and taking photos inside army bases is strictly prohibited under IDF rules, which it the reason most of the soldiers covered or didn’t show their faces.”

    Does Israel have laws about incitement?

    • a blah chick on July 2, 2014, 9:25 am

      “Does Israel have laws about incitement?”

      Yes, but they only apply to Arabs.

      • DaBakr on July 2, 2014, 7:14 pm

        43 Israeli protester were arrested today for ‘incitement to violence’.

    • Penfold on July 2, 2014, 6:20 pm

      “Israeli soldiers have taken to Facebook to post messages and photos demanding revenge for the killing of the three Israeli teenagers, notes human rights activists Elizabeth Tsurkov.

      In a blogpost she picks out photos posted by soldiers on a Facebook group entitled “The People of Israel Demand Revenge”.

      In the normal/ civilised world those “soldiers” would be tracked down and at the very least booted from the army for misconduct at the worst charged with racial incitement and jailed.

      How does Israel pass itself off as a modern, civilised or even democratic society when it allows this level of indiscipline within its armed forces.

    • Djinn on July 2, 2014, 9:15 pm

      DaBakr says:
      July 2, 2014 at 7:14 pm
      43 Israeli protester were arrested today for ‘incitement to violence’.

      Were their homes and those of their families trashed or blown up? Will any of them be held for months or years without charge let alone conviction? How many of their neighbours were arrested in the swoop? Was anyone killed whilst Israeli authorities carried out the arrests?

      • DaBakr on July 3, 2014, 12:00 pm

        isn’t that ‘whataboutyism’ and deflection?
        of course you know your answer is no. no. and no. but the comment was ‘Israel has laws against incitement that only apply to Arabs’ and I proved that this is a lie-or untrue at the the least. there was no need to conduct any searches as nobody was searching for anyone. there was no cause for shooting because nobody was attacking with molotovs, boulders, stones and slings . and since they were merely ‘inciting’ they are not likely to be held for very long.

  11. jenin on July 2, 2014, 9:30 am

    Slightly OT, but just saw the times’ story about a possible retaliation kidnapping of a Palestinian teenager:
    The Israeli issues ask Palestinians to show restraint and not jump to any conclusions before the facts are clear. The hypocrisy would almost be laughable if it weren’t actually costing Palestinian lives right and left

    • seafoid on July 2, 2014, 10:09 am

      The israeli spin that the murder was feud related/an honour killing is despicable. Jews wouldn’t do lynching, would they? They wouldn’t do revenge. The Palestinians are the animals. Add the 2 killed on Nakba Day who per Oren never died. Americans can’t be told the truth about the reality of a jewish state in the holy land.

      • just on July 2, 2014, 10:21 am

        Still no word on how this happened, or maybe I missed it.

        “RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — A young Palestinian man was found hanged late Wednesday in a field on the outskirts of Beit Surik, south of Ramallah, police said.

        Muhammad Khalid Khalil Mansour, 23, disappeared nine days ago from the neighboring village of Biddu. Residents of Beit Surik discovered his body hanging from a tree.”

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