The Lies of Jenin, Jenin

A ban on a documentary film about Israel’s military incursion into the Jenin refugee camp has recently been lifted by the Israeli Supreme Court, uplifitng the right of free speech in Israel (how’s that for a progressive Middle Eastern democracy), at the risk of disseminating false information about what by no means can be considered anything less than a tragedy, but that, in conventional terms, was in no way the massacre it is proclaimed to have been.

After the invasion of Jenin in March 2002, the Palestinian Authority stated that 500 Palestinians had been indiscriminately slaughtered by the Israeli military and buried in mass graves. But a UN investigation concluded that no more than 52 Palestinians had been killed which led many to dismiss the PA’s statement as no more than propaganda. Critics claim that a truly thorough investigation by the UN has never taken place because of Israel’s severe distrust of the UN. But British officials have concluded from their own independent investigation, that while Israel is not exactly innocent, no massacre transpired either.

The film Jenin, Jenin upholds the massacre myth, however, relying solely on the biased reports of Palestinian nationals and glaring factual distortions to support its conclusions. Despite this fact, the film received the award for Best Film at the Carthage International Film Festival in 2002, and is gaining immense popularity among Leftists who are coming out in droves to attend private screenings of the film sponsored by Pro-Palestinian activist groups. Obviously, the Israeli Right, is not enthusiastic about the lifting of the ban.

Israeli doctor David Zangen, a senior pediatrician at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem, who served in Jenin, saw the film last year and, in horror, offered these “Seven Lies About Jenin.” If you’re going to be “fair & balanced,” at least hear what he has to say before you fully accept (or dismiss) the conclusions of the film.

12 thoughts on “The Lies of Jenin, Jenin

  1. I’d like to make a few points on the topics of Jenin, and Israeli Freedom of the Press
    1) While I congratulate the Israeli Supreme Court for standing up for free speech, the fact that the film was banned in the first place is a very dark sign
    2) If Palestinians drove bulldozers over an Israeli town and killed 52, would you deny it was a massacre? The infamous Hebron Massacre of 1929 killed 67 Jews. Why is 52 not a massacre, but 67 is ? Is there a certain minimum number of deaths that defines a massacre?
    3) Have you ever read the piece from Yediot Aharanot called “I made them a stadium in the middle of the camp” which is by one of the drivers of the Israeli bulldozers ?
    “For three days, I just destroyed and destroyed. The whole area. Any house that they fired from came down. And to knock it down, I tore down some more. They were warned by loudspeaker to get out of the house before I come, but I gave no one a chance. I didn’t wait. I didn’t give one blow, and wait for them to come out. I would just ram the house with full power, to bring it down as fast as possible. I wanted to get to the other houses. To get as many as possible. Others may have restrained themselves, or so they say. Who are they kidding?”http://www.gush-shalom.org/archives/kurdi_eng.html
    4) The focus on proving whether or not the term ‘massacre’ as appropriate, while ignoring the fact that what happened was a collective punishment on the people of Jenin is basically word games IMO
    5) Free presses do not have to go through military censors before publishing things
    6) The Israeli Broadcast Authority has attempted to censor the use of the terms ‘settlements’ and ‘settlers’ in the Israeli Press
    7) The Israeli Broadcast Authority has currently censors commercials about the Geneva Accords from Israeli TV
    To me, a free press means a press that publishes whatever it wants without restrictions, without having to appeal to the Supreme Court to hope they see fit to overturn arbitrary bans on material that clearly poses no threat to National Security

  2. as i stated, the incident “by no means can be considered anything less than a tragedy, but […] in conventional terms, was in no way [a] massacre.”
    the debate is not whether 52 or 67 constitutes a massacre. it is based on the fact that the palestinian authority attempted to exaggerate the situation in jenin in order to declare a human rights crisis and internationalize the conflict.
    the reason? u.n. peace keeping forces could not stop terrorists, but they could certain keep israel from responding to terrorism.
    i’m not diminishing the fact that several palestinians were brutally killed in a wretched military attack that, in my opinion, should never have happened. i will contest that 500 people were killed, however, and i will contest the popularization of that myth by heavily patronized propaganda films.

  3. If the applicability of the term ‘massacre’ is not part of the debate, why did you write:
    “But British officials have concluded from their own independent investigation, that while Israel is not exactly innocent, no massacre transpired either.”
    “The film Jenin, Jenin upholds the massacre myth
    52 is not several. 3, 4, 5 – those numbers are ‘several’
    The infamous Saint Valentine’s Day massacre in Chicago only resulted in 7 dead.

  4. When the WTC first crumbled, it was reported that tens of thousands had probably been killed
    In time it turned out that the truth was: it was less than 3 thousand
    Does that mean that the original statements were “nothing more than propaganda” ? Or could it simply be that it’s hard to know how many dead people may be buried under rubble that usually contains many people until one actually combs through it?

  5. To my mind, there is a difference between deaths occurring in a combat situation between two armed forces (e.g. Jenin Refugee Camp) and the slaughter of unarmed people (e.g. Hebron and WTC). While technically both may be referred to as massacres, it seems to lack a qualitative difference. I am concerned by the distortion this causes. The other day I saw a protester wearing a shirt that said “Remember Jenin”. I will remember it as an opportunity that the Palestinians and their supports tried to create by distorting and lying about what occurred.

  6. To my mind, there is a difference between deaths occurring in a combat situation between two armed forces (e.g. Jenin Refugee Camp) and the slaughter of unarmed people (e.g. Hebron and WTC).
    mobius – did you read the article from Yediot ? the man driving the bulldozer said he wanted to destroy as much as possible, and that he did so indiscriminately, with no warnings and with total disregard as to who was in the houses
    While there may have also been a battle between combatants going on at the time, bulldozing so many houses did not serve any purpose other than collective punishment.
    To play devil’s advocate, there were combatants in the WTC. There were CIA offices in the WTC complex. The CIA has paramilitary divisions. So by your reasoning, the rest of the victims could be considered “merely collateral damage”

  7. Oh shit – I’m really sorry for mis-attributing that to you! I mis-read, and somehow thought that was you posting when I now see that in fact it was a mysterious nameless person.

  8. well, honestly babylonian, i see your point. but i’m still content to disagree. perhaps myth is too harsh a choice in words, but for certain, overstatement and/or exaggeration are accurate modifiers.
    the p.a. did not presume 500 dead after the incursion; before it had even really begun they were pronouncing death toll figures to the foreign media. the goal, as i said, was to create public outcry for internationalization, and again, the reason is, if the u.n. goes in, they can’t stop suicide bombers from sneaking through underground tunnels into israel proper, but they can stop israel from bulldozing the houses where the tunnels are.

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