When Arabs Frame Jews in Israel

There are two recent stories in the news, both of which are concerned with Arab attempts to blame Jews for crimes that those Jews did not commit.

There was the story of Imad Abu Sharikh who came to the hospital all bloodied up claiming that Jewish thugs had attacked him on his way to the mosque, yelling “Arabs out of Israel!”  The police investigated and it turned out that Sharikh was lying.  He did get beaten, but not by Jews, by fellow Arabs.  His inclination to blame his attack on Jews may have something to do with rising tensions within Israel due to the recent Dawabsha family firebombing.

The second story is directly concerned with that firebombing.

Ari Yashar, writing in Arutz Sheva, tells us:

“An announcement has been spreading around influential Palestinian Arab Facebook pages claiming that Yehuda Landsberg of Gilad Farm in Samaria committed the arson that killed an Arab infant and wounded four family members, reports Channel 10 on Monday.

The announcement includes a poster image with Landsberg’s picture, and the word “wanted” in English, Arabic, and Hebrew — with a clear Google Translate-inducted mistake in the Hebrew reading ratziti, meaning “I wanted,” instead of the correct mevukash.

There’s just one problem: Landsberg has been in jail since last December serving a two-and-a-half year sentence, on charges of having committed “Price Tag” vandalism on the Arab village of Far’ata.”

When you read enough stories like the two above, as I have, and if you are aware of the phenomenon of “Pallywood” in which Palestinian-Arabs seek to set Jews up before the cameras for defamation — as a form of cognitive warfare against Jewish Israelis, as a whole — then it becomes exceedingly difficult to trust any information that come from Palestinian-Arab sources when they make claims against Jews.

Dr. Richard Landes of Boston University defines “Pallywood” as follows:

The term “Pallywood” refers to the staging of scenes by Palestinian journalists in order to present the Palestinians as hapless victims of Israeli aggression. They are able to succeed in this endeavor in large part due to the credulity and eagerness of the Western press to present these images, which reinforce the image of the Palestinian David struggling valiantly against the overpowering Israeli Goliath. Pallywood has led to astonishing lapses in Western journalistic standards in which badly staged scenes regularly appear on the news as “real events.” 

The fact that such tactics are used constantly by the Palestinian-Arabs in Israel means that we cannot trust their claims when they denounce Jews.

This raises the question of what to make of the Dawabsha family firebombing? It may very well have been a “price-tag” attack committed by “Jewish extremists” or it might have been something else entirely. It is very possible, perhaps even likely, that this crime was the handiwork of Jews. However, it could also quite easily be a frame job. It might be that the house caught fire for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with malice toward the Dawabsha family or toward Arabs as a group. It might be that after the house burned down and little Ali Dawabsha was killed that someone came long and scrawled “revenge” in Hebrew on the side of the house.

The point is that we do not really know what happened and we certainly do not, at least not yet, know who did it.

What I do not understand is why so many people, including the great majority of Jews, leap to the assumption that this was a Jewish crime on such flimsy evidence?

And now, of course, Israel is subject to even more denunciations in which people actually blame the government of Israel for this crime or they blame Israeli Jewish culture in its entirety.  And we have all these Jews now seemingly involved in soul searching to determine just what the hell is wrong with themselves.

I find it shabby.

Tibetans aside, there are very few peoples on the planet less in need of soul-searching than the Jewish people, despite all the toxic accusations against Israel.  People are using the Dawabsha family firebombing as a club against Jewish-Israelis.  I would hate to see Jewish-Israelis use it as an emotional club against themselves.

About the Author
Mike Lumish is a PhD in American history from the Pennsylvania State University and has taught at PSU, San Francisco State University, and the City College of San Francisco. He regularly publishes on the Arab-Israel conflict at the Times of Israel and at his own blog, Israel Thrives ( He has in recent years given conference papers on American cultural and intellectual history at The International Society for the History of Behavioral and Social Sciences in Dublin, Ireland, as well as at the Western Historical Association in Phoenix, Arizona and the American Cultural Association in New Orleans, Louisiana. Lumish is also the founding editor of the scholarly on-line discussion forum H-1960s. He can be contacted at