Israel’s rights and justness are grounded in truth. But today truth isn’t worth as much as it used to be. Those who fight for it find themselves routinely maligned as close-minded extremists.
A controversy is raging in the Washington, DC, Jewish community involving the local JCC (DCJCC) and its in-house Theater J. While a local tale, it is a distressing encapsulation of Israel’s predicament.
Israel’s rights and justness are grounded in truth. But today truth isn’t worth as much as it used to be. Those who fight for it find themselves routinely maligned as close-minded extremists. Those who trounce it are congratulated for being open-minded and fair.
Last month Theater J announced its Spring 2014 schedule.
The schedule includes a play called The Admission.
Authored by an Israeli named Motti Lerner, the play is a dramatization of what is euphemistically known as the “Tantura Affair.”
In 2000, Maariv published an article describing the Master’s thesis of a student at the University of Haifa named Teddy Katz. Teddy Katz’s thesis purported to document a previously unknown massacre during Israel’s War of Independence. He alleged that in May 1948 the IDF murdered 250 Arab civilians after winning a battle in the town of Tantura.
The article caused an uproar. Veterans of the battle sued Katz for libel. They won. Indeed, in testimony before the district court judge Katz admitted his thesis was a fabrication.
Katz later recanted his admission and appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling that Katz had libeled the soldiers. The university appointed a panel of scholars to review his research materials. They found Katz had fabricated statements he alleged came from interviews with eyewitnesses.
The university cancelled its acceptance of Katz’s thesis.
Had that been the end of that, the “Tantura Affair” – that is, Katz’s blood libel against the IDF – would have been long forgotten. But Katz’s academic supervisor, then-senior lecturer at Haifa and celebrated anti-Israel propagandist Ilan Pappe, refused to let the truth get in his way.
Pappe rewrote the history of the “Tantura Affair.” In Pappe’s telling, Katz heroically revealed the truth about the evil core of the Jewish state, and was then persecuted for going against Zionist orthodoxy.
Pappe has won international acclaim and prestige by being among the most outspoken, virulent foes of Israel in academia with an Israeli passport. He has openly called for Israel’s destruction.
He is also an admitted liar.
Benny Morris wrote of Pappe that his “contempt for historical truth and factual accuracy is almost boundless.”
Caroline B. Glick is the senior Middle East fellow at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C., and the deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post, where this article first appeared.
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