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Friday, November 19, 2010

Blood libel of the day

From Ha'aretz:
Dutch media this month published articles accusing Ariel Sharon of murdering Palestinian children in Lebanon. Former officials who worked with Sharon said the publications were false. The Israeli foreign ministry called the claim "a modern blood libel."

The claim first appeared in the Volkskrant, the third largest paper in the Netherlands, in an interview with the well-known Dutch-Jewish director George Sluizer. According to Sluizer, 78, he witnessed Sharon killing two Palestinian toddlers with a pistol in 1982 near the refugee camp Sabra-Shatilla while filming a documentary there.

“I met Sharon and saw him kill two children before my eyes,” said Sluizer, who lives in Amsterdam.

Sluizer repeated the accusation in an interview for Vrij Nederland, an intellectual magazine, published on November 13 ahead of a screening of his film at the prestigious International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam. “Sharon shot two children like you shoot rabbits, in front of my eyes,” he said.

The children, according to Sluizer, “were toddlers, two or three years old. He shot them from a distance of 10 meters with a pistol that he carried. I was very close to him.” Sluizer added he thought this happened in November, when Sharon was Israel’s minister of defense, but he was not sure of the month.

His account was published in a special Volkskrant supplement for the film festival, which opened on Wednesday. The festival featured Sluizer’s fourth and most recent film about Israel, in which he is filmed telling a Sharon effigy that he wished Sharon would have died at Auschwitz.
Ariel Sharon, of course, was born in what is now central Israel, not Europe. He is more Palestinian than Yasir Arafat or Ezzedeen Al-Qassam were.

Now, imagine a prominent film director coming forward in, say, 1965, saying that they witnessed Adolf Hitler personally shoot two Jewish toddlers at point blank range in public.

That claim would have met with a lot more skepticism than this one was by the Dutch press.

Luckily, Ha'aretz actually spent the time to show he is a liar:
Sharon’s successor as defense minister, Moshe Arens, said Sluizer’s account was “a lie.” According to Arens, “Sharon would never shoot a child and he was not in Lebanon in November of 1982. Thirdly, protocol prohibits ministers from wearing weapons. As civilians they are not allowed to carry firearms.”

In an interview for Haaretz, Sluizer said his cameraman Fred van Kuyk, who died a few years ago, also witnessed the shooting. Sluizer also said he had personally filed two complaints against Sharon in 1983, with the International Court of Justice in the Hague and the European Court of Human Right in Strasbourg.

Mr. Andrey Poskakukhin, head of the ICJ’s information department, said the court had no registration of a complaint by Sluizer. An administrator for the court in Strasbourg said his institution had no record of such a complaint either.

By the time my complaints arrived at their destination and should have been processed, minister of defense Sharon had become prime minister and therefore he was free of prosecution,” Sluizer said. Sharon became prime minister in 2001, 18 years after Sluizer said he filed his complaints.

He added he began thinking more about the shooting after surviving a near-fatal aneurysm in 2007.
The most charitable explanation is that his hatred for Sharon caused him to create a false memory, or that his aneurysm messed up his brain. More likely - he is just a liar.

(h/t Elder of Lobby and Joel)