A screenshot from the Blood Bucket video
A screenshot from the Blood Bucket video

In September, our letter about the “Blood-bucket challenge” at the University of Ohio was published in the University paper.  Predictably, comments on the article included mendacious, anti-Israel accusations. Our analysts decided not to let these lies slide, and so wrote a response to the talk-backs.  if you’ve ever been stuck in a talk-back debate and wondered how to respond, here is a great example from which to take inspiration!

Sept. 18, 2014

Dear Editor:

Two commenters hiding behind screen/e-mail names have posted unhinged replies to my comments on Student Senate President Megan Marzec’s anti-Israel “blood bucket” stunt and imagined support of Palestinian Arabs. Real names and addresses would have suggested the courage of their convictions. Their fact-free accusations include:

Israel “massacred 2,500 Palestinian non-combatants” in the recent Israeli-Hamas fighting. A CAMERA analysis, “How Hamas Wields Gaza’s Casualties as Propaganda” of statistics from the Palestinian Human Rights Centre posted at the TIME magazine site after three weeks of fighting indicated disproportionately high fatalities among men 17 to 30—prime fighting age—and disproportionately low fatalities among adult women and children. This trend appears to have continued during the rest of the conflict, suggesting the ratio of combatant-to-non-combatant deaths among Palestinians in the Gaza Strip when finalized will be roughly 1:1. Similar figures from U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq have been estimated in the 3:1 to 4:1 range. There was no Israeli massacre of Palestinian non-combatants; Israeli combat casualties might have been “disproportionately high,” given the leaflet, text, phone and other warnings issued before strikes, limiting civilian deaths but depriving Israeli forces of the element of surprise.

Israel imposes “a full blockade of all Gaza’s borders.” That would be difficult, since the Gaza Strip borders Egypt as well as Israel. The Egyptian military government does tightly restrict its Gaza crossing, viewing the Strip’s Hamas rulers as collaborators with Islamic extremists killing Egyptian troops in the Sinai. Israel, even during this summer’s fighting, permits hundreds of truckloads of food, fuel, medicine and other humanitarian aid to enter Gaza. On August 21, for example, while Palestinian terrorists were firing 68 mortars and rockets into Israel—each one a war crime—the Israelis let 178 truckloads into Gaza. How much aid would Athens send Nelsonville if the latter were shelling Baker Center?

Israel has confiscated “99 percent of West Bank land.” Wrong again, wildly. Jewish communities in the West Bank—commonly known as Judea and Samaria until renamed in the 1950s by Jordan during its illegal occupation—comprise much less than 10 percent of the disputed territory. In 2008, for example, then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert proposed a “two-state solution” in which Israel would retain the major West Bank settlement blocks with the large majority of settlers—6.3 percent of the land—in exchange for compensatory land swaps from Israel.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas rejected the proposal, in part because it would have meant recognition of Israel as a Jewish state and agreeing to an end to the conflict.

To read the ravings of “mxm123” and “markd”, one would never know that Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip in 2005 or that since then approximately 15,000 mortars and rockets have been fired from the Strip at Israel (hundreds falling short, some wounding or killing Gazans, not that the commenters seem concerned), or that Hamas had spent billions of dollars, not to construct housing in Gaza but rather tunnels into Israel to facilitate mass kidnappings and murders. One would never know that in 2000 and 2001 the Palestinian leadership rejected Israeli-U.S. offers of a West Bank, Gaza Strip and eastern Jerusalem state in return for peace with Israel and instead launched the bloody second intifada. This included suicide bombers blowing themselves up in college cafeterias and pizza parlors.

For those who hate, no falsehood is too extreme, no crime indefensible. These are not the attributes of members of a community of scholars.

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