Michael Kinsley Repeats, and Embellishes, the Lydda Libel

Feb. 25 2015

Michael Kinsley, the founding editor of Slate, is incensed by what he has read in Ari Shavit’s My Promised Land about a 1948 massacre, allegedly committed by the Palmah, in the Palestinian town of Lydda. As Martin Kramer has demonstrated, there is no evidence that such a massacre occurred—and yet Kinsley not only repeats Shavit’s claim but goes beyond it, accusing Jews of rewriting Israel’s past and adding ludicrous comparisons to the Rwandan genocide. Kramer writes:

[T]ake this point of supposed similarity between Lydda and Rwanda: “Crowding ‎people into a church (or, in this case, a mosque) and then blowing it up or setting it on fire.” ‎This originates in Shavit’s claim that Israeli troops detained Palestinian Arabs in a small ‎mosque, and then fired an anti-armor rocket into it as an act of revenge, killing 70 ‎persons.

Trouble is, to borrow Kinsley’s phrase, “all this is not even close to being true.” ‎Kinsley, far from showing himself a careful sifter of history, clearly has been seduced by ‎Shavit’s dramatic opera, mistaking it for history. And Kinsley then amplifies Shavit’s biases ‎still further, for reasons known only to him, producing a grotesque defamation of Israel that ‎goes even beyond Shavit’s account.‎ . . . To insinuate a parallel between the battle in Lydda and the most ‎heinous crimes against humanity, committed as part of a genocide, is simply obscene.‎

And it suggests that Kinsley didn’t even read Shavit carefully, for Shavit concludes his ‎account with this admission: “The small-mosque massacre could have been a ‎misunderstanding brought about by a tragic chain of accidental events.” But for Kinsley, ‎there are no accidents. He attributes a murderous intent to Israeli troops not because he can ‎be sure of it, but because it suits his forced narrative of Israeli sin.‎

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Read more at Sandbox

More about: Anti-Zionism, Ari Shavit, History & Ideas, Israel, Israeli War of Independence, Lydda

Why Is Iran Acquiring Property in Venezuela?

In June Tehran and Caracas concluded a major twenty-year cooperation treaty. One of its many provisions—kept secret until recently—was the transfer of 4,000 square miles of Venezuelan land to Iranian control. Although the territory is ostensibly for agricultural use, Lawrence Franklin suspects the Islamic Republic might have other plans:

Hizballah already runs paramilitary training centers in restricted sections of Venezuela’s Margarita Island, a tourist area northeast of the country’s mainland. The terrorist group has considerable support from some of Venezuela’s prominent Lebanese clans such as the Nasr al-Din family, who reportedly facilitated Iran’s penetration of Margarita Island. . . . The Maduro regime has apparently been so welcoming to Iranian intelligence agents that some of Hizballah’s long-established Latin American network at the tri-border nexus of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay has been overtaken by Hizballah activities on Venezuela’s Margarita Island.

Iran’s alliance with Venezuela most importantly provides Tehran with opportunities to target U.S. interests in Latin America and potentially the southern United States. Iran, along with the Chinese Communist Party, is in the process of strengthening Venezuela’s military against the U.S., for instance by deliveries of military drones, which are also considered a threat by Colombia.

While air and seaborne arms deliveries are high-profile evidence of Iran’s ties with Venezuela, Tehran’s cooperation with Venezuelan intelligence agencies, although less visible, is also intense. The Islamic Republic’s support for Hizballah terrorist operations is pervasive throughout Latin America. Hizballah recruits from Venezuela’s ten-million-strong Lebanese diaspora. Iran and Hizballah cooperate in training of intelligence agents and in developing sources who reside in Venezuela and Colombia, as well as in the tri-border region of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina.

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Read more at Gatestone

More about: Iran, Latin America, Venezuela