We the Jews, Arab deception, and Belgian ‘anti-Zionists’

As Jews we must be proud of the attention that international political institutions and media pay to us. Seriously, everyone cares about us, talks about us, fights for or against us. We are everyone else’s obsession. Not only are our artists, scientists, and intellectuals always at the forefront but so is our beloved and unique state: Israel. No other state than ours can make the headlines of the international press for a burst water pipe! Let us face it and be thankful.

It happened once in my street in Brussels and I was deprived of water for hours but not a single local newspaper ever bothered mentioning it. Fortunately, when it happens in Israel everyone cares. That is what makes Israel such a unique place. Not only Palestinian Jews but also Palestinian Arabs benefit from that extraordinary media coverage, and not only in the undisputed Israeli land but also in the historical Jewish homeland of Judea and Samaria where our Palestinian-Arab fellows now want to establish their own Authority for the next 3000 years. And we the Jews are going to help them because we see as everybody else how deprived and dangerous the rest of the Arab world has become: sorrow, destruction and death everywhere, be it in the name of religion or in the name of authoritarian nationalism.

The burst of the ‘water apartheid’ pipe

But let us stay focused. Here is the story that made the headlines. On Tuesday the 14th of June 2016, a pipe that supplies water to the Arab villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, and Salfit and to the Jewish village of Tapuach in Samaria (see the map) burst, leaving about 26,000 people without access to drinking water during day time. The Israeli water company Mekorot quickly located the burst pipe and repaired it the same day. A video of the burst pipe and a statement about the repair were published the next day on the Twitter account of the Israeli agency COGAT in charge of civilian and humanitarian activities in Judea and Samaria. Would you say this is news for the international newspapers? Yes, it is because it involves us! . . . And it is called ‘water apartheid’.

Map of the villages affected by the burst pipe
Map of the villages concerned by the burst pipe. (Map data: Google, Mapa GIsrael, ORION-ME)

On Wednesday the 15th of June, the story was first picked out for publication by Al Jazeera, then by The Independent, The International Business Times, Radio New Zealand, the The Times of London, . . . and, in my country, by the Belgian state-run RTBF. Here are some excerpts:

  • ‘Israel has cut off the water supply to large areas of the West Bank, Palestinian authorities have claimed. Tens of thousands of Palestinians have reportedly been left without access to safe drinking water during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, at a time when temperatures can exceed 35°C’. (The Independent – June 15, 2016)
  • ‘Israel is reported to have cut the water supply to the West Bank during Ramadan, in a move often dubbed “water apartheid” by critics of Israel. The state-run Israeli water company, Mekorot, shut the valves of the lines leading to areas in the West Bank, reports have stated on Wednesday 15 June. Israel’s step is likely to leave tens of thousands of Palestinians living in the volatile region without water for safe consumption. Israel has sanctioned water available to Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ever since Israel’s occupation of the areas, which started in 1967’. (The International Business Times – June 15, 2016)
  • ‘The Palestinian Authority accused the Israeli national water company, Mekorot, to have cut large parts of the occupied West Bank water supply. Several Palestinian officials, contacted by the Qatari channel Al Jazeera, the decision has deprived tens of thousands of Palestinians of access to clean water, in the month of Ramadan. The towns of Salfit, Nablus or Jenin city and its 40,000 residents were affected by this decision’. (RTBF – June 15, 2016)

I presume our Arab brothers blew the ‘burst pipe’ story out of all proportion because they were unsure to make the headlines of the international media. In fact, the week has been very heavy in tragic news. But I am afraid they lack of self-confidence on this issue: as long as we the Jews are concerned, lying is not required to make a story that sells well. What is really disturbing is that the international press took for granted the information published by Al Jazeera, which itself received it from anonymous Palestinian officials. It is not the first time Al Jazeera publishes a hoax coming from Palestinian Arab sources. It happened before.

But still, at no point has a journalist bothered to verify the information on the ground or to contact Israeli officials to hear their version of the story. In fact, Al Jazeera did contact Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group, an NGO focusing on water and sanitation issues that, according to its website, has not produced a single report since 2009 and does not seem very active. Ayman Rabi further elaborated on the topic and told Al Jazeera, ‘Some areas had not received any water for more than 40 days. People are relying on purchasing water from water trucks or finding it from alternative sources such as springs and other filling points in their vicinity’. Al Jazeera also contacted the Authorities in the city of Jenin and was told that water supplies had been cut by half. End of the investigation. We the Jews are evil people.

When the pro-Israel watchdogs ukmediawatch.org and honestreporting.com discovered the new ‘water apartheid’ libel in the international media, they immediately contacted the Israeli company Mekorot to hear their version of the story: it was all about the burst water pipe and about the general context of water restrictions equally applied to both Arab and Jewish populations in the context of summer dryness. They took contact with Al Jazeera, The Independent, and The International Business Times and communicated to them the contact details of the Israeli authorities that could provide them in depth explanations about the story. Al Jazeera had the decency to contact the Israeli authorities and edit their report of the story to restore some balance. The Al Jazeera article currently on line (June 16) is this new edited version with the title ‘Israel denies cutting water supplies to West Bank’.

The Independent also edited its article, but only by adding the following obscure statement: ‘A spokesperson for the Israeli government told The Independent there is “no truth” in the claims, and said the shortages were down to faulty water lines. They said: “Several hours ago, COGAT’s Civil Administration team have repaired a burst pipe line, which disrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit and Tapuach. The water flow has been regulated and is currently up and running. Any effort to connect the disruptions with terror is mistaken and misleading. Given the failure to develop infrastructures as a result of the unwillingness on behalf of the Palestinians to convene the Joint Water Committee (JWC), there are problems in the water supply” ’.

The International Business Times did not bother editing the ‘water apartheid’ story at all.

Real water management issues and slander

Let us put aside the incident that interrupted the water supply to the villages of Marda, Biddya, Jamma’in, Salfit, and Tapuach during some hours on June 14 and ignited the media outrage: there was no ‘water apartheid’ whatsoever, just a burst pipe. Does it mean that there is never water shortage in Samaria? Does it mean that disputes between Israel and the Palestinian Authority have no consequence on the ground? Of course not! Therefore let us not automatically dismiss the other accusations made against the Israeli water management in Samaria on the grounds that the ‘burst pipe water apartheid’ story is obviously a hoax. Here are some of these claims:

  • Claim 1: Other areas of Samaria experienced water shortage, especially Nablus and Jenin (RTBF – June 15, 2016).
  • Claim 2: Some areas had not received any water for more than 40 days (Ayman Rabi on Al Jazeera – June 16, 2016).
  • Claim 3: Water shortage was organised to humiliate Muslims during the month of Ramadan (all media).
  • Claim 4: ‘Israel has sanctioned water available to Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip ever since Israel’s occupation of the areas, which started in 1967’ (The International Business Times – June 15, 2016); ‘Since 1967, Israel has limited the water available to Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip since its forces occupied the territories’ (Al Jazeera – June 15, 2016); ‘Since 1967, Israel has restricted access to water for Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. According to an Amnesty report, 200,000 Palestinians from the West Bank have no access to running water and must obtain permission in order to collect the water themselves’ (RTBF – June 15, 2016).
  • Claim 5:During February, the publication of a report by the French National Assembly denounced “a new apartheid of water” in the occupied Palestinian territories had angered the Israeli authorities. French MP Jean Glavany had then stressed to Le Monde that “the 450,000 Israeli settlers in the West Bank use more water than 2.3 million Palestinians”. Remember, settlers live in the Palestinian territories in contradiction with international law’ (RTBF – June 15, 2016).

Water management and sharing between Israel, Gaza, Judea, and Samaria is a complex topic that I will summarise and explain in a separate and dedicated article. For the time being, I refer the reader to the documentation of honestreporting.com. I especially encourage any journalist who writes on the Arab-Israeli dispute to take some time and read this well documented resource.

Israel does not organise water shortage, quite the reverse

Let us consider claim 4 first. In 1967, only 10 % of the homes in Judea and Samaria were connected to a water supply. This number has since then risen to 95 %. This means that 200,000 Palestinian Arabs (the 5 remaining percent of the population) are still to be connected to the public water network. Do you listen Amnesty and RTBF? This is how evil we the Jews are. Furthermore, the way to manage the available water resources, extract fresh water and distribute it between Arabs and Jews has been jointly decided by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in a series of legally binding agreements: the Oslo Agreements of 1993, the Cairo Agreement of 1994, and the Oslo 2 Water Agreement of 1995. Although designed to be temporary agreements (thus perfectible), they recognise the ‘water rights’ of Palestinian Arabs and provide qualitative and quantitative means to honour them.

As a result, the average fresh water consumption of an Arab living in Judea and Samaria rose from 85.7 m³ per capita per year in 1967 to 100 m³ per capita per year in 2006, while the average fresh water consumption of an Israeli was reduced from 508 m³ per capita per year to 170 m³ per capita per year over the same period. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, the average consumption of water in Judea and Samaria (‘West Bank’) in 2015 was 18.3 m³ per household per month (see table below), that is 219.6 m³ per household per year, of which more than 90 % comes from the public water network. Although these average values do not prevent water shortage from time to time, in a place or another, due to particular circumstances, clearly the innuendo behind claim 4 has no root in reality and is plain defamation.

Amount of Consumed Water in the Household Sector in Palestine (thousand cubic meter) and Household Monthly Average Consumption of Water (cubic meter) by Region, 2015 (source: Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics)
Amount of Consumed Water in the Household Sector in Palestine (thousand cubic meter) and Household Monthly Average Consumption of Water (cubic meter) by Region, 2015. (source: Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics)

Glavany’s report and ‘water apartheid’

But what about claim 5 then? Where does that come from? Let me first stress that Jean Glavany is a French Communist MP who absolutely loves us, supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement, and propagates the ‘apartheid’ slur against Israel whenever he has an opportunity. He is a very controversial and biased person to listen when it comes to the Arab-Israeli dispute. One of his biggest ‘political coup’ was the introduction of the ‘water apartheid’ libel and other niceties against Israel in an official French report on global Geopolitics of water presented to the French parliament in 2012. Here is what the former Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor explained to Haaretz about Glavany’s report in 2012:

Glavany had inserted extreme terms into the report on his own, at the last minute, without consulting other members of the report’s working group. These unacceptable remarks surprised his colleagues in the working group, who were shocked to find them in the final version after it was published, after Israeli diplomats called their attention to them. The report was loaded with the language of vicious propaganda, far removed from any professional criticism with which one could argue intelligently. Moreover, the report’s author omitted numerous facts and acted with blatant tendentiousness. After embassy staffers pointed out the exceptional seriousness of the wording . . . all the working group members disassociated themselves from [the report], including the chairman, who sent an official letter to the ambassador renouncing responsibility for the report’s anti-Israel expressions.

But still, this is the reliable source of information that the Belgian state-run media RTBF decided to cite in its June 15, 2016 article (still there after edition and revision on June 18) about the ‘burst pipe’ affair . . . to explain the context. Let us consider the facts themselves. In 2012, about 2,500,000 Palestinian Arabs and about 450,000 Palestinian Jews were living in Judea and Samaria. Taking the fresh water consumption of 2006 (170 m³ per capita per year for an average Israeli and 100 m³ per capita per year for an average Palestinian Arab), there is no way Palestinian Jews could consume more water than Palestinian Arabs, even if one makes the unrealistic assumption that Jews are ‘water wizards’ and able to recycle 100 % of the available fresh water (i.e. using the same water 2 times) and Arabs 0 %. Do the maths, please. And even if the Israelis were such wizards (and they partly are because Israel is one of the world leader in water sanitation and recycling), why would it be bad for them to increase their own water resources at no cost for their Arab brothers and Nature?

In Judea and Samaria, the only way for the 2,500,000 Arabs to get less water than the 450,000 Jews is the following. It can only happen if the former are incompetent water greenhorns who not only do not recycle but also somehow loose large parts of the water they receive from Mekorot. And guess what? This is exactly what happens. The water network of the Palestinian Authority suffer from underinvestment and deleterious policies from the Arab side. In Bethlehem for instance, the water public network is so old and flawed that the leakage rate is as high as 40 %! Yes, I know, we the Jews are evil people.

Water cuts are real

Despite the very decent average amount of fresh water brought to Arab and Jewish settlements alike, water shortage does happen during summer time due to environmental conditions, especially when intense heat waves occur and water consumption rises dramatically. The journal Haaretz reported on June 21, ‘In the Salfit region of the West Bank and in three villages east of Nablus, homes have had no running water for more than two weeks. Factories there have been shut down, gardens and plant nurseries have been ruined and animals have died of thirst or been sold to farmers outside the affected areas. People have been improvising by drawing water from agricultural wells, or by buying mineral water or paying for water brought in large tankers for household use and to water their livestock. But purchasing water that way is extremely expensive’. Contacted by Al Jazeera, the authorities of the city of Jenin also explained that their ‘water supplies had been cut by half’. Thus claim 1 is absolutely correct, but not claim 2 by Ayman Rabi from the NGO Palestinian Hydrology Group who exaggerated the duration of the water cut by a factor of 2 when he spoke to Al Jazeera. (Inflating the numbers is not required to reach out to the international press when it comes to us the Jews. Telling the truth is more than enough.) The fact that Salfit, Nablus and Jenin are located in the north of Samaria (see the map below) indicates that the current shortage of water is real, severe, but local.

Map of northern Samaria indicating the villages that have been reported experiencing partial or total water cuts due to the heat wave and dryness.
Map of northern Samaria indicating the towns that have been reported experiencing partial or total water cuts due to the heat wave and dryness. (Map data: Google, Mapa GIsrael, ORION-ME)

While Palestinian Authority officials said to Haaretz that ‘the water cuts were made to meet the area settlements demand for water, which is rising in the hot weather,’ Uri Schor, the Israeli Water Authority spokesman, reminded Haaretz that ‘the quantities of water Israel sells to the Palestinians throughout the West Bank, including in the Salfit area, has gone up over the years’. He explained, ‘A localised water shortage has developed for Israelis and Palestinians alike in northern Samaria and it stems from the especially high consumption because of the region’s intense heat’. Another unnamed Israeli source told Haaretz that Jewish ‘settlements are also complaining about water shortages’. The technical reason of the water shortage is a point of disagreement. According to the Uri Schor,

The shortage developed because the Palestinian Water Authority is refusing to approve additional water infrastructure in the West Bank through the Joint Water Committee [Edit: the Joint Water Committee is a council set up by the Oslo agreements in which Israel and the Palestinian Authority jointly manage all water related issues], which has led to the old and limited pipes being unable to transfer all the water needed in the region.

The Palestinian officials contested this but did not give any more explanation. Instead they commented on the situation in Judea: there, according to them,

The pipes do not need to be upgraded. USAID, for example, just finished the new pipeline in Deir Sha’ar to serve the population in Hebron and Bethlehem. Israel needs to increase the pumping rate from the Deir Sha’ar pumping station and more than half a million Palestinian would receive their equitable share. Israel, however, submitted a project to increase the size of the pipe serving Israeli settlements in the Tekoa area, and the Israel Water Authority is blackmailing the Palestinian Authority to approve the Israeli project in exchange for increasing the water from the Deir Sha’ar booster station.

As can be seen from this example, Arab and Jewish authorities in Judea and Samaria never stop talking to each other, but the dialogue is tense. By showing January-May data over the past four years, Uri Schor explaned to Haaretz that there has been an increase in the quantities of water supplied to the Salfit and Nablus districts, from 2.7 million m³ of water in 2013 to 3.48 million m³ this year. The Palestinian Authority officials did not contest this, but noted that in some places shortage nevertheless occurred. According to their records, this year there was a cut in the water supplied to the town of Bidya, from 50,470 m³ in March to 43,440 m³ in May. In May of last year, Bidya received 45,000 m³. However, in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan in Samaria consumption was higher in May than it was in March (17,000 m³ compared to 15,000 m³), but last May the consumption reached 20,000 m³, and Palestinian Authority officials cannot figure out how that can happen, if not through a drop in supply. Really?

Has this anything to do with the Ramadan?

Let us finally talk about claim 3, which is the most widely spread by the media and is in my opinion the most horrendous slur of all because it suggests that Israeli Authorities cut water to their Arab fellows without other good reason than humiliating them during the Ramadan. Why would they do so if not by flat racism? Oh yes, the world must know how evil we the Jews are . . . Is there anybody out there who wants to hear that summer is a very hot and dry season in the Middle East? that the Palestinian-Arab water infrastructure is not in a very good state (for many reasons on which I will not elaborate here)? that water shortage and interruptions concern Arabs and Jews alike, as Uri Schor the Israeli Water Authority spokesman explained to Haaretz and was confirmed to Haaretz by another Israeli source? This last bit of information was also confirmed directly by the water company Mekorot to the pro-Israeli watchdog ukmediawatch.org as soon as June 16. UKmediawatch explains on its website: ‘We sent an email to Mekorot, who then confirmed to us the increased demand during the summer months has resulted in shortages in the West Bank “to Israeli settlements and Palestinian areas”. A resident in an Israeli community in Samaria who we spoke to confirmed that the shortages have indeed affected Jewish communities’.

But there is more! UKmediawatch has been in touch with the Israeli agency COGAT, in charge of civilian and humanitarian activities in Judea and Samaria. They were informed by COGAT that, to accommodate Muslim Palestinian Arabs during Ramadan (when Muslims cannot drink water during day time), ‘the water supply has been increased during night time in order to meet the needs of the residents’ and that, beginning at the start of Ramadan, on June 6-7, ‘the water supply to Hebron and Bethlehem [was] expanded [by] 5,000 m³ per day in order to meet the needs of the residents’. That is how evil we the Jews are. Impressive, is it not?

Smearing the Jews is never a bad political tactic

Have you ever wondered why so many hoaxes about Israel reach (and get published in) the mainstream media? We know why they get published: because the standards of fact checking are very low nowadays. Israelis are seen as bad guys, Palestinian Arabs are seen as good guys. Therefore almost any news corroborating this pattern is given a free ride in the press. That is why they get published. But how is it that they reach the press in the first place? Often these hoaxes are forged and offered to the press by the Palestinian Authority officials themselves, sometimes anonymously as in the ‘burst pipe’ case, sometimes openly.There is a huge political gain in depicting the Israelis as the most evil people on Earth. Words such as ‘apartheid’ and ‘genocide’ are not used in vain. There is quite some thinking behind the gimmick. The more malevolent and nefarious the Israelis are pictured, the more virtuous and blameless the Palestinian Arabs look, despite continuous terrorism (knife terror attacks in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, rockets from Gaza, automatic-gun assault in Tel Aviv, . . .), despite the teaching of Jew hatred in schools and documented incitement for Jews killing by the Palestinian Authority, despite the corruption of the Palestinian Authority and the ineffectiveness of its administration. Victimisation always works remarkably well.

Barely nine days after the ‘burst pipe’ hoax, the President of the Palestinian Authority addressed the European parliament. During his speech, Mahmoud Abbas did not hesitate to slander the Israelis in front of the entire parliament by reporting that some rabbis asked the Israeli government to poison Palestinian-Arab water. This story was a hoax too, a hoax that appeared on the website of an office of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (the National Bureau to Defend the Land and Resist Settlements) on June 16. Three days later, on June 19, the Palestinian Authority decided to unleash the beast. It was accepted for publication in The Gulf News, a daily newspaper in Dubai and in Anadolu, the Turkish state-run news agency. Well done. Here is how Anadolu reports the story:

The Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) has denounced a Jewish rabbi’s permission for settlers to poison water sources in Palestinian areas in the occupied West Bank as ‘an order to kill’.Rabbi Shlomo Mlma, chairman of the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements, has issued an advisory opinion in which he allowed Jewish settlers to poison water in Palestinian villages and cities in the West Bank. According to Israeli anti-occupation organisation Breaking the Silence, the call for poisoning Palestinian water aim to push the Palestinians to leave their villages and pave the way for settlers to take over their lands. ‘This is an incitement and a call for killing the Palestinians,’ Wasil Abu Youssef, a member of the PLO Executive Committee, told Anadolu Agency on Sunday. He said such opinions by Jewish rabbis ‘prove that Israel is not a real peace partner’.

The false news was immediately echoed by the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website to give it full credit and add some more drama (‘crime against humanity’) to the story:

While Israel continues to pose multiple restrictions on Palestinians who try to dig water wells, this call by Rabbi Mlmad is considered a crime against humanity because it targets humans, animals, crops and all forms of life in the occupied Palestinian territory. The ministry held the Israeli government full responsibility of the consequences of such calls. It demanded the arrest of the Rabbi for inciting murder and the enforcement of necessary procedures to protect Palestinians from individuals who might attempt to poison water sources. ‘What is the international community waiting for to interfere; the death of thousands of Palestinians of thirst? To meet such incident with silence and ignore the war Israel is waging against Palestinians is a cause of shame for the international community,’ [the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said].

Dr. Bassem Naim, the former Health Minister of the Hamas government in Gaza from 2007 to 2009, also to throw his whole weight into getting the story as much credit as possible by even showing the world the face of the vicious Rabbi Shlomo Mlma(d) – which turns out to be Yisrael Eichler, an Israeli MP affiliated to Yahadut HaTora HaMeuhedet, a small ultra-orthodox party, who has nothing to do with the hoax. On June 20, the news was on the official Palestinian Authority TV and on Al-Manar, the News TV channel of Hezbollah. When it comes to spreading Jew hatred, you can count on a smooth cooperation between the PLO, Hamas, and Hezbollah.

The hoax was promptly spotted by the pro-Israel watchdog Palestinian Media Watch that published, as soon as the 21st of June, a remarkable debunking of the story: not only it was proven that Rabbi Shlomo Mlma(d) does not exist, but the organisation he allegedly belongs to (the Council of Rabbis in the West Bank settlements) does not exist either. The hoax was entirely based on a statement by Yehuda Shaul, a leader of the far-left anti-Israel NGO Breaking the Silence, who told foreigners in a private lecture that ‘settlers’ had ‘poisoned’ the water of a Palestinian-Arab town a number of years ago causing its inhabitants to leave. After the NGO Breaking the Silence was spotlighted to be at the origin of the ‘poisoned well’ libel of the PLO, its spokesman assured the Jerusalem Post that ‘he did not know of any testimony about poisoning water’.

Mahmoud Abbas at the European Parliament receiving a standing ovation after his speech. (Credit: Frédérick Moulin – EU2016 – European Parliament, source)

But this debunking did not prevent Mahmoud Abbas to boldly repeat the libel in front of the European parliament two days later, on June 23. And honestly, he was right not to dither about this issue because no one shivered hearing an allegation sounding exactly like the famous anti-Semitic libels that led to mass killings of European Jews in medieval times. In their report on his European speech, both The New York Times and Reuters denounced Mahmoud Abbas for repeating a debunked slander forged by his own organisation. The New York Times also put forward that ‘Rumours that Jews had poisoned wells and other sources of water arose in the 14th century as the bubonic plague raged across much of Europe. The rumours led to the destruction of scores of Jewish communities. In Basel, Switzerland, and Strasbourg, France, hundreds of Jews were burned alive’ – see here the story of Basel Jews. But in the European parliament, slandering Jewish rabbis and Israel as a state (the ‘poisoned wells’ libel was not the only lie of Mahmoud Abbas’ speech) brought him a standing ovation from the EU lawmakers, including from the most prominent European leaders: Martin Schulz, Federica Mogherini, and Guy Verhofstadt.

The RTBF, The Independent, and The International Business Times simply omitted to report about Abbas’ speech. But Al Jazeera did.

Facing the international uproar made by his libellous comments in Brussels, Mahoud Abbas was forced to retract them two days later, as reported by the Associated Press, Reuters and Al Jazeera. But it cannot hurt his prestige. Is he not the leader of the most oppressed people on Earth, facing the most demoniac creatures on Earth, we the Jews? As you probably know, a lie never totally fades, and is even granted everlasting life if it is about us the Jews. So Mahmoud Abbas’ ‘poisoned wells’ libel has immediately made its way to far-left, far-right, Islamic, conspiracy-theory and anti-Semitic websites (e.g. the French Halalbook.fr, Oumma.com, Fdebranche.com, . . . ). Notice that these publications only came out after Mahmoud Abbas’ speech.

Growing in politics by hating Israelis: it works!

The defamation of Israel and the Jew hatred spread in the international arena by the Palestinian-Arab leaders and the political gain they acquire from that conduct must inspire West-European politicians who wish to give some impetus to their career. I ironically mean it. We the Jews are self-confident people, we do not suffer from others’ hatred and have now a state that is strong enough to defend our lives in the (likely) case all that defamation lights the fire of a murderous extermination war against us, once again. We are prepared. It may not be clear to a non-European reader how exactly other people than the leaders of PLO or Hamas could possibly benefit from telling lies about Israel. Let me quickly explain.

In Belgium we have quite a large Muslim population (7 %), mostly from Morocco and Turkey, with large Muslim population centres in Brussels (31 %), Antwerpen (18.8 %), Liège (17.7 %), and Charleroi (16.3 %). In some municipalities of Brussels, Muslim population peaks at very high values: Molenbeek (41.2 %), Saint-Josse (45 %). In recent years, this Muslim population has become increasingly religious and radical under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood (which put down strong roots in Belgium) and Saudi-style Salafism. Of course many Muslims are very nice people, but still the proportions are becoming alarming. As studies in Europe have shown, anti-Semitic attitudes are particularly strong among believing and practising Muslims and correlate well with authoritarian, fundamentalist interpretations of Islam. In particular within Muslims of Moroccan and Turkish decent, it was found that Islamic fundamentalism is widespread: ‘Two-thirds of the Muslims interviewed said that religious rules are more important to them than the laws of the country in which they live. Three quarters said that there is only one legitimate interpretation of the Koran. Almost 60 percent of the Muslim respondents reject homosexuals as friends; 45 percent think that Jews cannot be trusted; and an equally large group believes that the West is out to destroy Islam’. The same pattern was also found in a study on Belgian youth, corroborating the fact that many young Muslims have strongly negative views on Jews and homosexuals.

No need to elaborate much further to understand that hatred of Israel is even more widespread than global anti-Semitism and Islamic radicalism. In this context, any politician who relies on Muslim votes – be it for his own career or the success of his party – better displays offensively anti-Israel feelings. That is the playbook. Morals and politics are two very different things; you do not need to explain that to the most evil people on Earth, we the Jews get the message. We understand it very well and are not offended. Are we?

When the ‘burst pipe’ slur came out, I have been very much impressed by the tactical cleverness of one young and promising socialist MP named Gwenaëlle Grovonius. She is only 38 years old and so high-spirited. Only one day after the ‘burst pipe’ story appeared for the first time on the Al Jazeera website, she was already standing in the Belgian parliament, accusing Israel of ‘water apartheid’ in front of all the Belgian MPs. ‘Water,’ she said, ‘is monopolised by the Israeli authorities’ and called Belgium for action. Her question to the Foreign Minister has been widely advertised on social media by herself and by the Socialist Party of Belgium (PS), see the screenshots below.

MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius advertises her anti-Israel slander on social media. Left: on her Facebook webpage. Right: on her blog
MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius advertises her anti-Israel slander on social media. Left: on her Facebook webpage. Right: on her blog.

On social media, she added that ‘Israel violates the international law,’ but omitted to make public the answer of the Foreign Minister Didier Reynders to her allegations because he immediately denied there was any proof of deliberate water cutting by Israel. Didier Reynders said:

The international press confirms a decrease in pressure and quantity of water supplied to some villages, where the climate is such that it causes very serious problems in these circumstances. However, until now there was no formal statement from the Palestinian authorities. So it is very difficult to confirm that what you mention corresponds to a deliberate act of cutting the access to water. The contacts were made between the Israeli and Palestinian supply services.

How an accidental burst pipe violates international law is a problem that has yet to be solved, but our brightest jurists are working on it.

The Belgian Socialist Party advertises the anti-Israel slander of MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius on Facebook (left) and Twitter (right).
The Belgian Socialist Party advertises the anti-Israel slander of MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius on Facebook (left) and Twitter (right).

In the mean time, the notoriety of the young Belgian MP grew fast. Her video in the Belgian parliament was shared more than 400,000 times on Youtube! Success! What a slap in the face of Israel, really! Well done! The Jew-hating community was absolutely delighted. And we the Jews as well because we are always pleased when people talk about us, are we not? The next picture shows some examples of cheerful messages left by Ms Grovonius’ followers on her Facebook page.

Comments left by followers on MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius' Facebook page.
Comments left by followers on MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius’ Facebook page.

Here are some transcripts:

  • ‘She should made a plenary quenelle.’ (In reference to the inverted Nazi salute called ‘quenelle’, popularised by the French anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné and previously executed by the far-right MP Laurent Louis in the Belgian parliament.)
  • ‘How brave! One of the few to oppose the barbaric Zionist government.’
  • ‘Do you seriously think that the Zionists will listen??? It’s like this since 60 years . . . They threaten, assassinate . . . The cancer of the world!!!’
  • ‘Bravo, it is good to denounce, but when a global coalition to fight the Zionists? Large Arab monarchies, where are you?’
  • ‘Unfortunately Madam, our dear Prime Minister does not give a damn about the plight of Palestinians. He already does not care about the fate of the inhabitants of “his” own country. They all dance with the devil and are the stars of a world-scale puppet show. This masquerade lasts for years, Israhell the untouchable, Israhell the spoiled child. What Israhell wants, Israhell takes it. After that, our leaders are surprised that people have hatred towards them. They are accomplices of an executioner suffering from the Stockholm syndrome. Hitler has some concurrency.’
  • ‘Israel is the most racist state in the world.’
  • ‘Only the Israhellian Zionists dare turning off the water to Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan. Can you imagine that the Masonic West presents this wicked entity as a humanist democracy that enlightens the world with its blessings and its light . . . How do they dare to say such nonsense without reddening and be overcome by shame.’
  • ‘She is not afraid of the devil.’
  • ‘ — It’s easy, they [Edit: the politicians] are afraid of the devil. — They rather fear the Jewish government that seems to have a great influence in the world . . . ’
  • ‘The Palestinian people has the right to live in its land as a citizen but the Israeli government is doing everything to destroy their lives by bombardments, kidnapping of children, blockade, waters cut. It is not fair in 2016. Kudos to you for your courage. You will be Prime Minister soon.’
  • This stance can be dangerous as we all know, respect your courage.’
  • ‘How brave! We must stop the exploitation of diamonds by Zionists Outre-Quievrain.’ (In this context, Outre-Quievrain means ‘in Belgium’. The city of Antwerpen is know for its diamond industry of which the Jewish community of Antwerpen historically controlled a large part, even though it is now mostly controlled by Indians.)
  • ‘Congratulations and thank you for having denounced that many men are not able to do. The goal of Israel is clear. This country, supposedly the best ‘democracy’ in the world, wants to exterminate Palestinians by all means. Garbage settlers!!!
  • ‘I am sad for my Palestinian brothers and angry. Not only are they deprived of their land . . . and now this. Hitler has not served as a showcase, far from it.

These very amiable comments – and many others – decorated Ms Grovonius’ Facebook page for more than four days until a complaint was produced by the Coordinating Committee of the Jewish Organisations of Belgium (CCOJB) and it took another two days (June 21) to the Socialist Party to remove MP Grovonius’ lies in the parliament from all its official communication media, including the MP’s Facebook page. The Socialist Party then published the following statement:

Following the outpouring of hateful, racist and anti-Semitic speech, we decided to remove all references on our site to the current issue of water cuts the West Bank. This does not affect our condemnation of colonisation and policies in the occupied territories by the Israeli Government, which does not respect international law. The PS Group advocates the solution to two mutually recognised states and strongly condemns all acts of violence. The issue of access to water in the West Bank is a critical issue, which, to reiterate, is at the centre of international concerns. In order to calmly examine it, away from hatred, racism and anti-Semitism, and on the basis of cross-referenced information, we have decided to remove all references to the topical issue of water cuts in the West Bank.

Statement by the Socialist Party of Belgium after the Grovonius scandal. (Original in French)
Screenshot of the statement (in French) by the Socialist Party of Belgium after the Grovonius scandal as it appeared on the webpage of the Socialist group in the Parliament.

If the aim of this statement was to appease Belgian Jews, I am afraid the Socialist Party missed the point. One cannot deplore ‘hateful, racist and anti-Semitic speech’ in one sentence and use deleterious language such as ‘colonisation’, ‘occupied territories’, and  ‘does not respect international law’ in the next one. It looks like an oxymoron. But this is not that important and we the Jews cannot care less about purposely misleading words, can we? No, the most remarkable thing in this statement is that it does not condemn the obsessive anti-Israel attitude of MP Grovonius . . . and actually ostensibly backs it by pretending that water cuts in Judea-Samaria is a ‘topical issue’ for them and even an issue ‘at the centre of international concerns’. We the Jews are delighted to hear that minor water management problems in Samaria (as painful they can be to Arab and Jewish inhabitants alike) are as central and topical to Socialist Party as the endless war in Syria, the refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, the war in Ukraine, the Russian menace, the political purges in Turkey, nuclear Iran, or even the rise of the far-right in Europe and the more and more likely collapse of the EU project. And what about the permanent violation of basic human rights in Eritrea? We are their favourites and we cherish that.

We do understand why Israel is so topical and central: the popularity of MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius’ Facebook page grew by 56.2 % in a single week . . . thanks to us the Jews. We are so happy for you Ms Grovonius! And we are also very grateful to the Socialist Party of Belgium for keeping its severe but ‘impartial’ gaze on us the Jews to prevent us from acting in our usual evil ways towards our Arab brothers in Judea and Samaria. Several members of the Socialist Party are key players in the galaxy of organisations demonising the Jews in Palestine to the profit of the Arabs in Palestine, not only Gwenaëlle Grovonius who wears a keffiyeh at any occasion (even when she campaigns against the free-trade deal with the USA – another very evil people – or when she debates about the future of Belgian rail services), calls for the nomination of the arch-terrorist Marwan Barghouti for the Peace Nobel Prize, supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement, and makes hideous comparisons between the Sabra and Shatila massacre (762 to 3,500 Muslim civilians killed by Christian Phalanges in the aftermaths of Israel’s intervention in the Lebanese Civil War in 1982) and the Jewish Holocaust (see the pictures below)! She is clearly not alone. We must feel indebted to the Socialist Party of Belgium and its leaders for its long history of anti-Israel incitement and tolerance to Jew hatred. That is the price to pay for them to win elections and for us to make the headlines at any occasion. Is that not a win-win situation?

Wearing the keffiyeh has become a way to import the Arab-Israeli dispute into every segment of political activity.
Wearing the keffiyeh has become a way to import the Arab-Israeli dispute into every segment of political activity.
Gwenaëlle Grovonius supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement that spreads lies about Israel and call for worldwide undiscriminated boycott of all Israeli citizens.
Gwenaëlle Grovonius supports the anti-Semitic BDS movement that spreads lies about Israel and call for worldwide undiscriminate boycott of all Israeli citizens. (Credit: M. De Ly, Pour la Palestine)
MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius comparing the Sabra and Shatila massacre to the Jewish Holocaust.
MP Gwenaëlle Grovonius posting a picture comparing the Sabra and Shatila massacre to the Jewish Holocaust.

If you permit some causticity, I would certainly oppose that the Socialist Party punishes Gwenaëlle Grovonius for her continuous racist bigotry or denounces her misbehaviour. I hope they understand that fighting anti-Semitism in their lines, as the British Labour was forced to do since Jeremy Corbyn took office, will only harm them and weaker their public support. Who can believe that excluding brave party members that rightly pick up on us the Jews can help winning elections or being popular? Who could think that carrying on a internal inquiry into anti-Semitism will not alienate a large number of supporters? Look again to what the British Labour did. They launched such an inquiry, headed by veteran human-rights activist Shami Chakrabarti. It was high time to do so after the suspension of a series of high-profile members of Labour over anti-Israel and anti-Jewish comments. Among the suspended members were former London mayor Ken Livingstone, who said that Hitler supported Zionism, and MP Naz Shah, who called for a relocation of Israel to the US in a Facebook post and tweeted a link to a blog claiming that Zionism was used to ‘groom’ Jews to ‘exert political influence at the highest levels of public office’. Do you think that helped? Of course not! The Labour is now on the verge of disintegration. Surely, they could try to blame the Jews for the fate of their party and claim that these evil Jews conspired against the Labour with the help of the media, but do no think that this is going to help them very much.

Let us face the ugly truth. If the Socialist Party of Belgium sacks Gwenaëlle Grovonius and all the other ‘anti-Zionist’ fellows (Jamal Ikazban, Pierre Galand, André Flahaut, Karine Lalieux, etc.) they are only going to hurt yourselves and no good will come out of that. Therefore, I beseech the Socialist Party not to engage on that path: do not place ethics before political strategy. Put your political gain first! Otherwise you would be acting as honest people do and your siblings will blame you for that. You would be tagged as ‘Zionists’ and, . . . well . . . look at the State of Israel, look how much it is hated.

About the Author
Edouard Brainis is a Belgian citizen. He is also a Jew. Not any Jew, but one born in Ukraine at the time it was still part of the Soviet Union. It certainly means something. Science and politics are two of his passions. A third one is Israel. This blog is about Zionism, Israel advocacy and modern anti-Semitism.
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