The ease with which they lie

Israeli officials are wonderful at lying, telling the world that black is white or that “there is no humanitarian crisis” in Gaza.

This kind of deception has an infamous pedigree.

The lobby group, Australian Committee for Truth in the Middle East, has just published its latest missive and included the following necessary history lesson:

Let us travel back to a well documented case, Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. In his 1983 book The Fateful Triangle: The United States, Israel and the Palestinians (Pluto Press), ex-kibbutzim Noam Chomsky devotes two pages (pp224-5) to Israel’s systematic destruction of hospitals in Beirut. He begins:

Beirut: Precision Bombardment

“Repeatedly, Israel blocked international relief efforts and prevented food and medical supplies from reaching victims. [* Chomsky’s note: The International Red Cross, World Vision International, UNICEF and other relief agencies report long delays in supply of food and medicines caused by Israeli interference. This is confirmed by Israeli officials responsible for relief ”¦ .] Israeli military forces appear to have gone out of their way to destroy medical facilities – at least, if one wants to believe Israeli government claims about “pinpoint accuracy” in bombardment. “International agencies agree that the civilian death toll would have been considerably higher had it not been for the medical facilities that the Palestinian Liberation Organization provides for its own people [David Lamb, Los Angeles Times, 18 June 1982] – and, in fact, for many poor Lebanese – so it is not surprising that these were a particular target of attack.”

Chomsky goes on to detail lethal attacks on 14 named hospitals or medical institutions, several of them suffering multiple attacks, and further attacks on unnamed hospitals. He continues:

“Most of this was before the bombing escalated to new levels of violence in August [1982]. By 4 August 8 of the 9 Homes for Orphans in Beirut had been destroyed, attacked by phosphorus and cluster bombs. The last was hit by phosphorus and other rockets, though clearly marked by a red cross on the roof, after assurances by the International Red Cross that it would be spared. On August 4, the American University Hospital was hit by shrapnel and mortar fire ”¦ The director reported: “It’s a carnage. There is nothing military anywhere near this hospital.” [Boston Globe, 5 August 1982]. The hospital was the only one in Beirut to escape direct shelling, and even there, sanitary conditions had deteriorated to the point where half the intensive-care patients were lost and with 99% of the cases being trauma victims, there was no room for ordinary illnesses. “Drive down any street and you will almost always see a man or a woman with a missing limb.” [Los Angeles Times, 19 August]

“The Red Cross reported that by August 6, “there were 130 beds available in west Beirut out of a total of about 1,400.” The American University Hospital was admitting only “those who look salvageable” ”¦ At the Hotel Bristol, hit by an Israeli phosphorus shell, the Red Cross had set up an underground hospital. ”¦ “Even the Red Cross delegation has been shelled twice.” ”¦The Berbir hospital was already seriously damaged by mid-July ”¦ the mortuary full of corpses until the remaining doctors were able to leave the building to bury the unidentified bodies in a communal grave when the shelling and air attacks temporarily stopped.” (New York Times, 12 August, Robert Fisk, London Times, 13 July 1982)

“The Norwegians (a doctor and a social worker, later arrested and taken to Israel, where “[u]nder Israeli captivity they were forced to sit, hands tied, for 36 hours without permission to move ”¦ they were given ”˜preferential treatment’”. Arab prisoners were subjected to constant brutality and degradation) said they had seen at least 10 people beaten to death, including an old man who was crazed by lack of water and intense heat as the prisoners were forced to sit for hours in the sun; he was beaten by four or five soldiers who then tied him with his wrists to his ankles and let him lie in the sun until he died. (testimony to a Congressional House Committee). Another demonstration of courage and purity of arms.

“Little of this was reported in the mainstream media, but [the] testimony obviously did impress Congress, as we can see from its decision, shortly after, to improve the terms of Reagan’s proposed increase of military and economic aid to Israel.”

We could continue, Chomsky does for another 90 pages in that chapter alone, but you should have the picture by now: the wanton destruction, the wilful killing, the sadism and the lying – none of this is new in Gaza and the only point in listening to people like Mark Regev is to find out what the Israeli government wants us to believe, not what is happening.

It has all been done before and, we suggest, it will continue to be done – until our journalists and politicians summon up sufficient intestinal fortitude to probe for the truth. Or are they closet anti-Semites?

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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