antisemitism,  Media


Indymedia started out as a very interesting project whereby ‘alternative’ groups could publish news and press releases that would most likely be ignored by the mainstream media. By alternative groups, of course, I mean a variety of human rights groups, environmentalists, community organisations and that sort of thing. The idea was that it was “unmediated” by corporate interests and commercial concerns, and it was open-access.

Well, if there is any evidence that utopia is perpetually beyond our grasp, this is it. First came the the lunatic animal rights brigade (as distinct from the perfectly reasonable animal rights brigade). Then came the far-left cultural relativists and apologists for oppressive, misogynist and homophobic supposedly anti-imperialist regimes. Then came the conspiracy theorist, ‘troofers’ and tinfoil hatters, and now, as night follows day, the Jew-haters. Indymedia has descended into a quagmire of antisemitism. Irredeemably so.

Well, I shan’t waste your time with endless examples – there are usually a dozen a week, so take you pick – but I want to highlight just one that caught my attention this morning and moved me to blog this.

I’ll reprint it in full:

Israeli Occupation Soldier Shoots Blindfolded, Handcuffed Palestinian Detainee | 31.08.2009 20:29 | Anti-militarism | Anti-racism | Palestine | World

The Israel Defense Forces officer accused of ordering a soldier under his command to shoot a bound and blindfolded Palestinian detainee failed his second polygraph test on Monday, after having passed the first test in a private institute last week. The results of Monday’s lie-detector test, held under the auspices of the military police, prove that Lieutenant colonel Omri Fruberg, commanding officer of IDF regiment 71, lied in his testimony, and suggest he did in fact give order to open fire at the Palestinian detainee.

I, of course,  have my bullshit detector cranked up to 11 when I visit Indymedia but I wondered what conclusions a less jaded reader might reasonably draw from the above.

Clearly what is being described here is a scene in which an Israelis soldier – much like a merciless Gestapo officer – summarily executes a Palestinian prisoner while that prisoner was handcuffed and in custody. If this is how disgracefully Israeli officers behave, then they shouldn’t be surprised if people start invoking Nazi imagery.

But wait.

The Indymedia story is only a portion of a longer story captioning a video of the incident on another blog. Though posted word-for-word, it neglects to print a very salient detail:

Abu-Rahama [the victim] sustained light wounds to his foot in the incident.

Yes folks, the prisoner was not executed at all. He was not even badly hurt.

Now, I will say quite clearly at the outset that there are very few circumstances where I could conceivably condone shooting at a prisoner, even in this manner. I therefore hope that the officer responsible will be appropriately disciplined.

But, let’s look at the language used both on Indymedia and in the original post. “Opened fire” suggests a burst of fire from an automatic weapon or a volley of shots. It is not a term often used to describe a single shot. When someone tells you a soldier ‘shot’ a bound prisoner without further elucidation, you imagine an execution – a shot deliberate shot to the head or chest –  not a shot in the proximity of his feet.

The reason I say “in the proximity of his feet” is because a live round from an automatic rifle at close range aimed directly at a person’s foot would probably take off their lower leg. If the victim sustained – according to this hostile report – only ” light wounds to his foot”, it suggests strongly that either live ammunition was not used or his foot was merely grazed since the intention was not to hit it.

I reiterate, neither of these actions do I condone, but it’s a far, far cry from the impression – willfully created – that an Israeli soldier executed a Palestinian detainee while he was tied up.

On the other hand, Indymedia was all over the recent ‘body parts’ blood libel, so I suppose this criticism is merely picking round the edges of a scab to a wound that threatens to erupt with puss and gore. Let’s hope it isn’t too infectious.

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