The First AFSI Apate Award for 2012

To Peter Beinart

In 2011 AFSI Instituted the Apate Award for the most egregious “Calumnists against Israel.”

Calumny is defined as a false and malicious statement designed to injure the reputation of someone or something. Its synonyms are slander, defamation, libel, misrepresentation, vituperation, smear.

With that in mind we call the professors, reporters, columnists and commentators who have vilified, libeled and slandered Israel “The Calumnists” and AFSI awards the worst of them. We have named the award the “Apate” after the goddess of calumny, guile and deception in Greek mythology.

Despite facing stiff competition, Peter Beinart receives the highest Platinum Apate for exemplifying calumny, guile and deception in his hatred for Israel.



Outpost Editor: Rael Jean Isaac Editorial Board:  Ruth King and Rita Kramer Outpost is distributed free to Members of Americans For a Safe Israel Annual membership: $50. Americans For a Safe Israel 1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.) New York, NY 10128 tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717 E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org



The ruins of the homes they were forced to abandon 30 years ago still lie stacked up in the desert near the Keren Shalom crossing into Gaza, withered memorials to “an idyllic dreamland of turquoise waters and white dunes, marching to its own tranquil rhythm,” as one observer put it, snuffed out in the April 1982 finale to Israel’s handover of the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt.

They tell an unforgettable story, these bits and pieces of Yamit, the pearl in the diadem of 16 Jewish communities that once extended from northeast to central Sinai and their pioneering populace. First and foremost, it is a story of the missed opportunity for lasting regional security, cum hegemony, that began knocking on Israel’s door after June 1967. When in reply, 12 years later, it exchanged the territorial base on which that opportunity rested for a promissory note from the very nation that had twice employed it as a springboard for Israel’s intended annihilation, the Jewish State’s certainty that no regional power or combination of powers could ever again threaten its existence vanished. That act of self-imposed jeopardy became the template for an unbroken string of retreats stretching from south Lebanon to the Gaza Strip, with pit stops at Hebron, Bethlehem, Amona and Migron.

Yamit’s remnants also relate a signature Israeli morality tale, repeated all too often, of broken promises, broken hearts, broken homes and the lasting depression evoked by a sense of betrayal. Some of the most embittered of the young idealists sent off to the Sinai with the encouragement of three governments left Israel never to return after witnessing their investment in Zionism wiped off the books with a stroke of Menachem Begin’s pen at Camp David. Some soldiered on only to wind up as two-time losers when Ariel Sharon put the torch to their homes in Gush Katif 23 years later.



Mocking the Flytilla

It’s not often that Israel reacts well in response to those who hate her, so it was especially welcome when the Israeli government undercut an attempted publicity stunt by anti-Israel activists efficiently and, more surprising, wittily.

Israel compiled a list of 1500 European activists who were likely to board flights to Israel for scheduled anti-Israel demonstrations. It gave the list to airlines, warning that if allowed to board they would be put back on the flights on which they arrived and sent back at the airlines’ expense. Given this prospect, the airlines cancelled the reservations of most would-be participants, but 40 managed to slip through. These were detained at Ben Gurion airport and sent back with a note including the following jabs at their hypocrisy: “Dear Activists, We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices. You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives. You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and its support of terrorism throughout the world.” The letter concludes with suggesting these human rights enthusiasts “solve the real problems of the region first and then come back and share your experiences with us. Have a nice flight.”

“We Have Gone Mad”

Unfortunately within days of this demonstration of feistiness, Israel was back in its all-too-customary mode of self-flagellation. The Israeli press repeated endlessly a brief video in which Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner pushed the magazine of his gun against the face of Andreas Ayas, a Danish anarchist from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Ayas was attempting to close a road, along with a coterie of fellow, get this, “cyclists”, as the media described them. The legal analyst for the Israel Broadcasting Authority went on air to say the matter was “exceedingly grave” and Eisner should be put on criminal trial. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz joined the chorus of indignation as did Prime Minister Netanyahu, who declared such conduct had “no place in the IDF and the State of Israel.” Eisner, a hero of the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, was promptly suspended from the IDF. Never mind that these same peaceful “cyclists” had (in a segment not filmed by ISM or shown by the media) beaten him with sticks, broken his finger and damaged his wrist.

Maariv’s Dror Yemini, that rare bird, a patriotic leftist, wrote a column under the above headline, lamenting “Dear readers–we have gone mad. We have simply gone mad.” He noted “Israel is apparently the only country in the world that grants freedom of action to those who openly seek to destroy it.”

Lee Kaplan went underground for eight years (posing as a volunteer) to report the inner workings of the ISM. In training sessions, he was told the ISM coordinates with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), who were constantly apprised of their location in Arab villages. Talk of nonviolent resistance was solely for media consumption, says Kaplan, since the ISM promotes armed revolutionary ‘resistance’ against Israel by serving as human shields for terrorists. Kaplan reports that in the two hours leading up to the edited video showing Eisner striking Ayas (who, by the way suffered no more than a cut lip), the ISM “used their bicycles, bodies, and even physical assaults to obstruct the IDF in a closed military zone and prevent anti-terror operations.”

Kaplan notes that in their training, ISM activists are told not to fear IDF soldiers because they are under orders not to hurt them or arrest them, and if ordered to disperse, should refuse. Writes Kaplan: “This elaborate tutelage has essentially turned interference with the IDF into a titillating game for college anarchists in America and Europe who are recruited for “‘summer vacations in Palestine’ to mess with IDF soldiers….Andreas Ayas wannabes are recruited every week on US and UK campuses, and Colonel Eisner was merely another pawn–and victim–in the ISM’s game plan.”

Nor are ISM’s activities limited to harassment of Israel’s security forces. Kaplan reports they are behind boycotts of Israel, allied with neo-Nazis in the U.S., with Arab fronts for terrorists, especially Hamas, in the U.S., and with Iranian interests. The ISM’s purpose “is to destroy Israel’s sovereignty as a nation ‘by any means necessary.'”

Col. Eisner deserves a medal. The shame belongs to the Israeli government, from the Prime Minister on down, which has allowed the ISM free rein out of cowardly fear of “international criticism.” The shame belongs to the Israeli media herd, which puts a patriotic officer who had come under attack, rather than the ISM, in the dock.

The Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem that has been a Jewish cemetery for over three thousand years. Yet the Israel government is doing nothing to stop its desecration and physical attacks on those who visit it. In Frontpage, David Hornick writes that The Jerusalem Post has taken note of this scandal in a recent editorial. Last month a young bridegroom, who wanted to say a prayer at his mother’s tomb, was driven up by his friend Dror Klein. As they grew near to the tomb, 30 to 40 young Arabs crashed a bucket of white paint into the front windshield, hurled large rocks and cement blocks at the vehicle and dragged the bridegroom from the car, smashed his head with a boulder and beat him to the cry of Alahu Akhbar. Somehow Klein managed to drive the car at the attackers who momentarily fled and he and the bridegroom, who were convinced they were threatened with death, got away by the skin of their teeth. (As far as the police were concerned, they had only “light injuries.”) The editorial noted that the incident was not unusual. An Arab boy’s school is along the road leading to the cemetery and the majority of incidents originate there, with the attacked preparing ambushes well in advance.

It seems to occur to no one, including The Jerusalem Post, that school authorities should be put on notice that either they keep their students under control or, at the very next “incident,” the school will have to relocate.

The cemetery itself is attacked daily. Headstones are hammered, graves daubed with paint and tar, smeared with feces, covered in garbage and defaced with hate inscriptions. The Jerusalem Post asks angrily why a police station promised by the government has not been set up on the Mount. The real problem is that Israel allows attacks on her people and institutions to become a game (as in the case of the ISM) without serious penalty.

Hollywood Haters

It used to be that they were outliers–people like Vanessa Redgrave who have attacked Israel for decades. Now they are mainstream. Giulio Meotti reports that seven time Oscar nominee Mike Leigh and two time Oscar winner Emma Thompson are among three dozen actors and directors who signed a letter calling for the boycott of Israel’s national theater, Habima, which has been included in a Shakespeare festival in England. More than 150 American Hollywood filmmakers signed a letter in support of the boycott of Ariel’s culture center in Samaria. A number of prominent actors boycotted the Toronto International Film Festival to protest a week of screening of Israeli films. Oscar winner Jean-Luc Godard has called Israel “a cancer on the map of the Middle East.”

But the award for lowest of the low goes to “The Death of Klinghoffer” by composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman (and the English National Opera and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, both of which staged the opera). Meotti notes that the opera romanticizes the murderers of Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound Jewish passenger, shot in cold blood in the forehead and chest, and then dumped into the sea. Klinghoffer’s daughters, who attended anonymously, provided this understatement: “It’s a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.”



Professor Yale Kramer is a psychoanalyst, former Clinical Professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and author of Talking Back to Liberal Power.

1942 was one of the grimmest years of the war for America and its Allies. Only weeks before, this country had lost much of its naval power at Pearl Harbor and lost the Philippines as well as control of the western Pacific. Europe was dominated by the Nazi military machine–the most powerful army and air force existing at the time. Virtually all of the land mass from the Atlantic to the Volga was occupied by the Wehrmacht and had submitted to Nazi regulations governing the treatment of Jews and other targets of the Nazi culture.

At that time, as grim as the outlook was for the Allies, the Germans were at the zenith of their morale. It seemed to them they couldn’t lose. It was the moment of the greatest belief in the future of the Thousand Year Reich for Hitler and his followers.

It was in this context of military success and confidence that Reinhard Heydrich conveyed, in January 1942, his plans for the extermination of Europe’s Jews to a group of fourteen highly intelligent, conscientious officials of the Third Reich. Minutes of the meeting were kept by Heydrich’s assistant, SS Obersturmbannfuhrer Adolf Eichmann and copies were sent by Eichmann to all the participants after the meeting with the warning that they were to be destroyed after reading. And indeed they were. All but one copy, which was discovered in 1947 by Robert Kempner, prosecutor before the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg.

The official meeting at Wannsee took less than two hours, after which the finest cognac and cigars were served by Heydrich and Eichmann and the conversation about Jews and extermination became more joke-ridden and less stilted and euphemistic.

A few months later, Auschwitz-Birkenau became operational as one of five extermination camps–including Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, and Treblinka– of which it was the largest and most efficient. There between one and two million people were murdered over a two-year period from the summer of 1942 until November of 1944.

At the beginning of this period, on June 30, 1942, a seventeen-year-old Czech Jew named Rudolf Vrba arrived at Auschwitz. He had been arrested while trying to escape from Czechoslovakia to join the Free Czech Army in England and wound up instead at Auschwitz as a slave laborer.



Sarah Honig is an Israeli journalist. This appeared on SarahHonig.com on April 12.

In 1903 Shalom Aleichem, the giant of Yiddish literature, wrote a letter to Leo Tolstoy, the giant of Russian literature. It was shortly after the gruesome Kishinev pogrom. Shalom Aleichem planned to publish a modest compilation about the atrocity, to which he asked Tolstoy to contribute a short message to “Russia’s millions of distraught and disoriented Jews, who more than anything need a word of comfort.” Tolstoy never so much as bothered to reply.

The famed novelist, feted as the conscience of Russia, received dozens such letters urging him to speak out against the slaughters – then a seminal trauma in Jewish annals. The Holocaust was decades away. Nobody 109 years ago could imagine anything more bloodcurdling than the horrors of Kishinev.

But not everyone was moved – not even a renowned humanitarian like Tolstoy.

Not only did he not speak out, but he resented the entreaties.

He replied to one Jewish correspondent only, Emanuel Grigorievich Linietzky, to whom he caustically complained about being pestered. Tolstoy then blamed the Czar’s government, absolving the masses who bashed the skulls of babies, gouged children’s eyes, raped their mothers and sisters, eviscerated them, beheaded men and boys, quartered and mutilated them and looted all they could carry.

We hear much the same throughout Europe at each memorial to the Holocaust.

The upgraded, systemized, gargantuan-scale German sequel to Kishinev was by all accounts committed by unidentified extraterrestrials called Nazis. All the others, Germans included, were their victims.

But Tolstoy foreshadowed an even more sinister inclination that would fully and hideously burst upon our scene a century and more after the Kishinev devastation. The great author and icon of compassion exhorted Russia’s shaken Jews to behave better.

The implication was that the Jews were somehow guilty, needed to improve themselves and achieve higher virtue in order to merit better treatment.

And so Tolstoy wrote to Emanuel Grigorievich: “The Jews must, for their own good, conduct themselves by the universal principle of ‘do onto others as you would have them do to you.’ They must resist the government nonviolently…by living lives of grace, which precludes not only violence against others, but also the partaking in acts of violence.”



(Editor’s note: There has long been a segment of anti-Israel evangelical Christians, for example those centered around the “progressive” journal Sojourners. This article suggests such views are dangerously gaining in strength in the broader evangelical community.)

Lee Smith is a fellow at the Hudson Institute and author of The Strong Horse. This article appeared on tabletmag.com on April 18.

For most American Jews and Israelis, evangelical Christians are synonymous with zealous, biblically inspired support of the Jewish state—so zealous, in fact, that it makes some Jews uneasy. But the days when Israel could count on unconditional support from evangelicals may be coming to an end.



Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) is often quoted by Israel’s protagonists for his descriptions of Israel published in 1867 in Innocents Abroad.

His comments expose the faux history of Arab Palestine as the land of milk and halal:

“….. A desolate country whose soil is rich enough, but is given over wholly to weeds… a silent mournful expanse…. a desolation…. we never saw a human being on the whole route…. hardly a tree or shrub anywhere. Even the olive tree and the cactus, those fast friends of a worthless soil, had almost deserted the country.”

Less has been written about Twain’s affection and admiration for the Jewish people and the trajectory that took him from the stereotypical anti-Semitism of his early years to become an eloquent and impassioned defender of Jews.

It is hard to pinpoint the moment or event that changed his thinking. Twain was in Paris on Saturday, January 5, 1895, when Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish Army officer who had been falsely convicted of treason, was surrounded by 5,000 troops as his buttons were torn, his military tunic cut, the stripes of his trousers and the insignia on his cap and his sleeve removed, and his sword broken in two. He was marched off amid calls for his death and death to all Jews. Theodor Herzl, an Austrian journalist, watched the horrifying spectacle, and the rest is history.

Twain was stirred by the display of anti-Semitism and outraged that in spite of evidence pointing elsewhere, a Jew could not be absolved, because Jews were deemed evil and incapable of loyalty. Dreyfus’ most famous champion, the author of “J’Accuse,” French novelist Emile Zola only escaped arrest (for allegedly defaming the judges who had found Esterhazy, the real culprit, not guilty) by fleeing to England. The Dreyfus scandal heightened Twain’s esteem for Jews and he wrote letters and published columns on Zola and Dreyfus and his lingering disdain for the French.

In 1899, he wrote in “My First Lie and How I Got out of It”: “From the beginning of the Dreyfus case to the end of it all France, except a dozen moral paladins, lay under the smother of the silent assertion-lie that no wrong was being done to a persecuted and unoffending man.”


Editor: Rael Jean Isaac
Editorial Board: Herbert Zweibon, Ruth King

Outpost is distributed free to
Members of Americans For a Safe Israel
Annual membership: $50.

Americans For a Safe Israel
1751 Second Ave. (at 91st St.)
New York, NY 10128
tel (212) 828-2424 / fax (212) 828-1717
E-mail: afsi @rcn.com web site: http://www.afsi.org

April 2012
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