Halpern: The most unlikely blood libel


I'm thinking

by Micah D. Halpern

Issue of March 5, 2010/ 20 Adar, 5770
It is a modern day blood libel.

In continuing to dredge up more and more connections that link Israel to the January assassination of Hamas terrorist leader Mahmoud Mabhouh, Dubai is perpetrating a blood libel against Israel.

In medieval times, blood libels were used to discredit and berate Jews. They were used as a tool for fomenting hatred as a way to prove to the Christian world that Jews were preying on their host communities.

The first blood libel was probably the story of William of Norwich in 1144. Young William went missing and it was said that the Jews had stolen him and exacted his blood for the baking of matzo. The story resonated with the Muslim community and the second blood libel, the most famous of all known blood libels, took place in a Muslim country. In the latter half of the 19th century a priest disappeared in Damascus, Syria. Jews were blamed for his disappearance and a terrible pogrom ensued. In the end, it was a local merchant who had quarreled with the clergyman who was responsible for the disappearance.

A simple run through of Arabic editorial cartoons over the past 40 years yields caricature after caricature of Israelis and Jews in the most vile of medieval forms, often depicted taking blood for food and drink. Dubai is feeding off of that Muslim sensationalist belief in the myth of the blood sucking Jew. Dubai is also stoking the flames of anti-Semitism in Europe where deep anti-Israel and anti-Jewish feelings have been percolating.

The entire Dubai report is borderline ridiculous. The release of more and more names and photos and bios of operatives alleged to be part of the assassination team demonstrates how what might have been real information has disintegrated into fictional sensationalism. The Dubai Chief of Police, General Tamim, actually described how two Mossad agents escaped Dubai by boat to Iran, and he did it with a straight face. Israeli agents seeking refuge in Iran after assassinating a Hamas leader in Dubai — not even Hollywood would buy that one.

The special Mossad unit responsible for monitoring the enemies of Israel and for assassinating those enemies when necessary is called the Kidon Unit. Kidon means bayonet. The Kidon Unit exists within an elite section of the Mossad called Caesarea and is composed of no more than 35 or 40 people. It is highly unlikely that this very special unit would activate the vast majority of its highly trained members to engage in a single foreign operation, no matter who the target was.

It makes no sense — unless you are Dubai and you are intent on discrediting Israel for embarrassing you, for perpetrating a crime on your soil, for allowing the world to see the weakness of your own security apparatus. Unless you are perpetrating a modern day blood libel. And so, when Dubai claims to have this item of DNA and that piece of evidence, the European community and the Arabic press jump and cry for justice and demand Israel’s head on a political and judicial platter.

Alan Dershowitz, in an analysis of the Goldstone Report, writes that Goldstone condemns Israel for targeting Hamas leaders from the air when there will inevitably be innocent casualties. The better method, Goldstone wrote, would be to identify a threat and assassinate that person, eliminate that threat, without endangering any local innocent residents of Gaza. Well, that is exactly what happened - but it happened in Dubai, not in Gaza. Mabhouh was a threat to the lives of Israelis. He was identified and he was assassinated in order to defend Israel and to protect civilian innocent lives.

Israel, if it was Israel, was following the advice of the Goldstone Report. And now Israel is suffering a blood libel. The world can’t have it both ways.

Micah D. Halpern is a columnist and a social and political commentator. Read his latest book THUGS. He maintains The Micah Report at www.micahhalpern.com.