Tuesday 13 December 2011

Faking it

Hi everyone. Due to other pressures, I’ve been out of circulation but something I read on Facebook propelled me back into the blogosphere. This was it:

Ariel Sharon: “We, the Jewish People, Control America, and The Americans Know it”!

There are some fake quotes you can spot a mile away, and this is one of them. The fabricated quote originated with the pro-Hamas American group Islamic Association for Palestine in a press release dated 13 October 2001, which claimed its source as Israeli radio Kol Yisrael:

According [to] the Israeli Hebrew radio, Col ...[sic] Yisrael Wednesday, Peres warned Sharon that refusing to heed incessant American requests for a cease-fire with the Palestinians would endanger Israeli interests and turn the US against us. At this point, a furious Sharon reportedly turned toward Peres, saying ‘ . . . I want to tell you something clear, don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, we the Jewish people control America, and the Americans know it.’

Elsewhere in the press release, the quote was repeated, albeit slightly altered to: ‘we control America.’

Kol Yisrael political correspondent Yoni Ben-Menachem, who reports on Knesset meetings, states that there was no such broadcast and that Ariel Sharon never made such a statement.

The misquote also appears on many anti-Israel and hate sites.

Fake quotes are part of the stock in trade of anti-Zionists. For example, in Israeli Apartheid: A Beginners Guide, anti-Zionist Ben White says:

Ze’ev Jabotinski was one of the foremost Zionist leaders and theoreticians, a man who has more streets in Israel named in his honour than any other historical figure. In perhaps his most famous essay written in 1923, Jabotinsky was clear about one thing: “Zionist colonization, even the most restricted, must either be terminated or carried out in defiance of the will of the native population.”

White cites as his source for the quote Nur Masalha’s Expulsion of the Palestinians. But why do that when Jabotinsky’s original document is freely available as a PDF file on the web. The document nowhere has that quote but what Jabotinsky says one the first page is this:

I am reputed to be an enemy of the Arabs, who wants to have them ejected from Palestine, and so forth. It is not true.

Emotionally, my attitude to the Arabs is the same as to all other nations – polite indifference. Politically, my attitude is determined by two principles. First of all, I consider it utterly impossible to eject the Arabs from Palestine. There will always be two nations in Palestine – which is good enough for me, provided the Jews become the majority. And secondly, I belong to the group that once drew up the Helsingfors Programme, the programme of national rights for all nationalities living in the same State. In drawing up that programme, we had in mind not only the Jews , but all nations everywhere, and its basis is equality of rights.

I am prepared to take an oath binding ourselves and our descendants that we shall never do anything contrary to the principle of equal rights, and that we shall never try to eject anyone. This seems to me a fairly peaceful credo.

At the 16:55 minute mark of the film With God On Our Side, there is a fake quote attributed to David Ben Gurion: ‘The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment to make it happen, such as war.’

The source of the quote we used was The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by the notorious postmodern historian Ilan Pappe. All credit to Porter Speakman Jr, the producer of With God On Our Side, he has acknowledged that quote cannot be found in Ben Gurion’s diary, which Pappe falsely claimed was his source.

According to Speakman, ‘In an effort to be transparent and accurate, the producers have decided to take the extra step of removing [the pseudo quote] from future printings of “With God On Our Side.” We apologize for this change.’

Note, though, that Speakman apologises only for having to make the change, not for using a false quote. On 7 November, I emailed Porter Speakman:

Dear Mr Speakman,

Three questions:

Why is your acknowledgement for the quote falsely attributed to David Ben Gurion (http://www.christiannewswire.com/news/3026318192.html) not on the official With God on our Side website?

Why do you apologise only for ‘removing it from future printings of “With God On Our Side.”‘ and not for using the quote which was known to be false?

Why did you rely on a fundamentally dishonest source for the quote? I reviewed Ilan Pappe’s The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine in 2009 and was shocked by his evidently tendentious method of doing history: http://www.e-n.org.uk/4679-The-ethnic-cleansing-of-Palestine.htm.

Porter Speakman has not replied. If he does, you'll be the first to know...


  1. Why hasn't Ben-Menachem gone on the record with that alleged statement? Why doesn't "Camera" provide a dated quote from Ben-Menachem? Without it..the claim is just that. "Camera says"...

  2. 1. Its David Ben Gurion- no Ben-Menachem anywhere...
    2. He died in 1973, a a bit hard for him to go on record about a fake quote 33 years after he died...