The story doing the rounds in the last few days has been that 2 Israeli officers were disciplined for inappropriately firing white phosphorous shells. This information was predictably seized upon by the cognescenti.
But now, it turns out that the officers had fired regular artillary shells, NOT white phosphorous shells. Melanie Phillips in this article explains the confusion – which originated with an Israeli Ha’Aretz writer.
The reprimand was related to “unjustified artillery fire: the use of live ammunition to help rescue a Givati Brigade platoon from a situation in which they were under anti-tank missile fire from Hamas – even though the orders allowed firing only smoke shells. The investigation found that Malka exceeded his authority, but his orders did not cause the death of any innocent civilians.”
Phillips concluding sentences are “The false assertion that the IDF reprimanded its officers over the illegal use of white phosphorus has now gone round the world. Will Ha’aretz come clean about its mistake? Will the BBC, the Times et al broadcast and print that this was in fact untrue? I’m afraid it’s the usual story – that a lie is half-way round the world before the truth even gets its boots on.”
CAMERA also reviews the information. While the Israeli Haaretz writer who first spread the white phosphorous error is thought to have made a genuine mistake/mistinterpretation, it is quite remarkable how much anti-Israel propaganda is fuelled by Israelis.
This episode comes on the heels of more shell-fire post Gaza. Here it is the accusation and counter accusation that the well funded New Israel fund (annual budget $32 million) has been a major sponsor of Israeli NGO’s that have denigrated Israel through, according to this Jerusalem Post article “nonstop allegations of “war crimes,” “collective punishment” and intentional murder of civilians.” The Post article lampoons the New Israel Fund (NIF) for its “thin-skinned offensive against an Israeli student group – Im Tirtzu – that criticized them.” Is this the NIF and its supported NGO’s as the Mimophant?
The controversy has led to the cancellation of a planned speaking and fundraising trip to Australia by Naomi Chazan, head of NIF, as detailed here on J-Wire. The report noted that “The Zionist Council of Victoria had been invited to co-share a function with Chazan in Melbourne but president Dr Danny Lamm withdrew when he learned of the Im Tirtzu report. He told J-Wire: “Contrary to newspaper reports, I did not cancel her visit. But why does anyone have to give a voice to those who criticise Israel? Let them find their own audience.”
Speaking of shells, the “Norman” quiz on Sydney radio earlier this week, revealed that Conchology is the study of mollusc shells. . like me, the quiz participant linked the word “conch” to its role in the bleak but always relevant “Lord of the Flies” by William Golding.