The Electronic Intifada’s Latest Twisted Libel

In the wake of the sentence of Yosef Ben-David for the despicable murder of palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Ali “Abumination” Abuminah‘s Electronic Intifada has tweeted the following:

The implication is clear: Electronic Intifada is accusing the Prime Minister of Israel Binyamin Netanyahu of inciting the murder!

As usual, one has to take everything the Electronic Intifada accuses Israel of with a grain of salt. Because they have been caught lying time and again. And they do so to further their agenda – the destruction of Israel.

Am I saying the Prime Minister did not tweet this? No, I am not. He most certainly did.

The quote is even on the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.


Why would the Israeli Prime Minister be stupid enough to broadcast a message of incitement to murder for all to see?

Well, it is not a message of incitement to murder. It is, in fact, the exact opposite.

Bibi was quoting Chaim Nachman Bialik’s poem about the Kishniev massacre. A reader of the Washington Post explained it well almost two years ago:

The Aug. 19 news article “Suspect allegedly hunted for an Arab to kill” quoted a famous Hebrew poem out of context. The effect was to suggest that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu contributed to the atmosphere in which an Arab youth was killed by calling for revenge after the murders of three Jewish teenagers. In fact, by citing the poem, the prime minister was warning against retaliation.

The Post reported that Netanyahu said on his Twitter account, “Vengeance for the blood of a small child, Satan has not yet created. Neither has the vengeance for the blood of 3 pure youths who were on their way home to their parents.” It did not tell readers that the first sentence paraphrases a line from Chaim Nahman Bialik’s poem “In the City of Slaughter,” a powerful lamentation of the 1903 Kishinev pogrom in which 49 Russian Jews were massacred and more than 500 wounded.

The relevant stanza reads in part: “And cursed be the man who says: Avenge! No such revenge — revenge for the blood of a little child — has yet been devised by Satan. Let the blood pierce through the abyss! Let the blood seep down into the depths of darkness . . . and breach all the rotting foundations of the earth.”

Bialik was crying out for divine, not human, retribution. In paraphrasing Bialik in what the paper noted “was an emotionally charged moment in Israel,” Netanyahu was cautioning against anyone presuming to take the law into his or her hands.

There is no doubt in my mind Electronic Intifada knew this when they tweeted what they did. In fact, the detestable Max Blumenthal dealt with it when he wrote about Bibi’s statements back then. But in typical Blumenthal style, distorted the poem’s true message.

Netanyahu’s comments perplexed outsiders, but for those embedded inside the tight confines of Jewish Israeli life, they carried a familiar resonance.

From Kishinev to Jerusalem

Netanyahu’s statement alludes to the final stanza of a poem by the Hebrew writer Chaim Bialik titled “On The Slaughter”:

Cursed be he who says: “Avenge!”
Vengeance such as this, vengeance for the blood of a small boy,
Satan himself has not devised-
Let that blood pierce the abyss!
Let that blood pierce the depths of darkness,
Let it eat away the darkness and there undermine
All the rotted foundations of the earth.

In Bialik’s verse, a searing lament anchored in Biblical language, the poet dramatized a brutal 1903 pogrom incited by the Russian Tsar that left scores of Jews dead in the town of Kishinev.

Bialik followed his first account of Kishinev with “The City of Slaughter,” an incendiary work admonishing the victims of the pogrom for their supposed passivity in the face of armed marauders. (Reports of ferocious resistance by the locals was conveniently overlooked.) The poem helped radicalize thousands of young Jews across Eastern Europe, inspiring the formation of self-defense committees and winning waves of adherents to the militant philosophy of Zionism. Among those most influenced by Bialik was Vladimir Jabotinsky, the right-wing Zionist activist who would later become a political benefactor to Netanyahu’s father, Benzion.

In his crude appropriation of Bialik’s verse, Benjamin Netanyahu recast the Russian pogromist as a Palestinian militant, drawing a seamless line between the Jewish nightmare of pre-war Europe and the present-day Israeli experience. In Netanyahu’s view, the “human animals” of Palestine had inherited the genocidal spirit of the Tsar’s mobs and would repeat their crimes unless Jews were prepared to fight.

Of course, Israeli Jews are the exact opposite of turn-of-the-century shtetl dwellers girding themselves against pogroms and ethnic cleansing. Unlike the persecuted outclass of Eastern Europe, Israeli Jews comprise a nuclearized, high-powered military that lord over an outcasted, largely defenseless Palestinian population with full support from the world’s lone superpower.

For his part, Netanyahu shares more in common with the Russian Tsar who incited against religious minorities to deflect from his political problems than he does with Bialik, the itinerant scribe who channeled the pain of his society’s weakest members.

That’s a hell of a stretch. But then again, it comes from serial liar Blumenthal, who just yesterday tweeted this about the man arrested plotting to bomb a Florida synagogue:

Even Israel hater Richard Silverstein did not interpret the poem in that way, when he covered it here:

dickie poem

How utterly twisted of Electronic Intifada to take the sentence of the murderer – a sign that the Israeli justice system does not tolerate Jewish terrorists – and somehow twist that very event into yet another opportunity to bash Israel.

Twisted, but typical of those who see palestinian terrorists as heroes, and Muslim terrorists as FBI plants.


David Lange

A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media

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