Every Cloud

Every cloud has a silver lining, or so the saying goes. So what could possibly be the good coming out of the Anat Kamm affair? Well, trust me on this one for a moment or two, but first let’s take a look at what we have so far.

Daniella Peled, a London-based journalist who writes for Ha’aretz, among others, penned an article for the Guardian defending the actions of Anat Kamm and her collaborator, another Ha’aretz journalist, Uri Blau, who is currently hiding from his country’s authorities in London, at his (and her) newspaper’s expense, after leaving Israel in possession of copies of several hundred illegally obtained classified documents. In other words, Ha’aretz – a newspaper owned by the Schocken family together with foreign investors – is aiding and abetting a fugitive from Israeli law in an espionage case and a country which is supposed to be one of Israel’s allies is harbouring him.

Blau’s writing will no doubt be familiar to many readers who will remember his inflammatory articles about the IDF during the second intifada in Kol Ha’Ir (also owned by Schocken) where he worked from 2000 to 2002. Later moving to Ha’aretz, the paper’s infamous far Left slant – even its owner Amos Shocken has described Israel as an apartheid state  – provided a comfortable environment for Blau to continue his polemics, including this article entitled ‘We are the Nazis of our time’. The basis for the article at the centre of this current affair was the 2,000 or so classified files which Blau received from Anat Kamm whilst she was working as a journalist for ‘Walla!’, which at the time was also owned by Ha’aretz.

Kamm served in the IDF from August 2005 until June 2007 and during that time made copies of the aforementioned 2,000 or so files, some 700 of which are classified as ‘secret’ or ‘top secret’. Daniella Peled and others attempt to paint Kamm as a whistleblower heroine, but a real whistleblower would surely have done something about the information she came across both at the time and through the correct channels. Instead, Kamm waited until well over a year after her release from the army and offered the illegally obtained documents first to the Yedioth Aharonot newspaper and subsequently to Blau. Rather than being motivated by high-minded principles, as her lawyers are trying to claim, was Kamm in fact merely an aspiring journalist trying to advance her own career? Around the time that Blau’s original article making use of some of the stolen documents was published, Kamm began studying history and philosophy at Tel Aviv University under the infamous anti-Israeli professor and author of ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’, Shlomo Sands.

One of Kamm’s lawyers in the current case against her is Avigdor Feldman, who not only acted as Mordechai Vanunu’s lawyer but was, together with Michael Sfard, the lawyer acting for Al Haq (an organisation which employs ‘lawfare’ as its main weapon against Israel) and PCATI, who in 2002 brought the issue of targeted assassinations to the Israeli Supreme Court. The ruling in that case supposedly forms the basis of the claims in Blau’s original article on the strength of the documents provided by Kamm.

“At the beginning of 2002, attorneys Avigdor Feldman and Michael Sfard petitioned the High Court of Justice against the policy of targeted assassinations on behalf of the Public Committee against Torture in Israel and the Al-Haq organization. Almost five years later, on December 14, 2006, the president of the Supreme Court at the time, Justice Aharon Barak, issued his decision. Barak, with the concurrence of Justices Dorit Beinisch (now the president of the Supreme Court) and Eliezer Rivlin, rejected the petition and did not rule out the legality of targeted assassinations in the territories.

“We cannot determine that every targeted preemption strike is forbidden under international law, just as we cannot determine that every targeted preemption is permissible under international law,” Barak wrote in the last judgment he published in his 28 years on the Supreme Court.”

Peled, like many others, is waxing lyrical about ‘freedom of the press’ in this case, but of course freedom of the press in a country at war is by necessity very different than in countries with no existential threat on their doorstep. One cannot avoid the conclusion that there is more to this story than meets the eye when a journalist apparently flees the country still in possession of the vast majority of the stolen documents and, to put it mildly, goes out of his way to avoid handing them back to the authorities, particularly when the involvement of the International Crimes Unit may suggest that some attempt had been made to pass the documents abroad.

What did the btl commentators make of Peled’s article? Well, as is to be expected it provided an excuse for a bit of common or garden Israel bashing by people who confuse security with paranoia and victimhood.


8 Apr 2010, 1:28PM

This has been creeping up for ages but people are only just noticing. You can’t spend 40 odd years with your army involved in the occupation of stolen land, repression, and all that that entails, without it infecting the entire body politic.

Paranoia, secrecy, misrepresentations and untruths are all staples that the modern Israeli myth of victimhood depends on. Now it’s starting to go too far but there’s no one who’ll stop it because the lie has become mainstream orthodoxy.

Where will it lead? With nuclear weapons and a bad attitude, disaster.


8 Apr 2010, 3:11PM


Okay – so who are Israel’s enemies on this thread?

TBA, but in a nutshell, anyone they like if it suits Israeli arguments to treat it as such.

Their enemies are everywhere. Over there! Look! Under there! In that barrel! Over the hill and far, far away…

Just as a terrorist is anyone shot by an IDF bullet, Israel’s enemies on this thread are anyone who raises their head above the security fence.

Here we see that the Jenin myth is alive and well:


8 Apr 2010, 4:05PM

This is the story of a young woman who gave a newspaper evidence that the government of Israel had been murdering persons, said to be opposed to the occupation of their land.

What is at issue is the crime of murder being carried out, surreptitiously, by agents of the state.

If our hasbarista comrades cannot see that murder is wrong and that publicising state complicity in murders is proper behaviour, I would not be at all surprised.

Having forced the world to swallow Jenin, Gaza and half a million settlers they undoubtedly feel, with that confidence which inevitably precedes a fall, that there is nothing with which an apathetic, idiotic public opinion will not put up.

As may be anticipated, Kamm and Blau join the Guardianistas’ hall of fame.


8 Apr 2010, 1:59PM

Well done to Anat Kam, well done to the folk at Wikileak – and well done to all whistleblowers and their direct supporters and facilitators. This is the so-called 21st century, and we NEED to know exactly what is going on in our world.


9 Apr 2010, 11:22AM

We have been discussing legal matters, the actions of A. Kam and Israeli law, international law, the legality of targeted killings and so on.

In this context we should notice that actually Israel’s dealings with the Palestinians has always been characterized by lawlessness. Law is just a cover for the real treatment of the Palestinians by Israel. Benny Morris tells in his book Righteous Victims how the killing of Palestinians was punished at most with symbolic punishments like social work for a few weeks. But if you read the news in the last weeks you’ll also read about the killing or brutal beating of Palestinians which have no consequences for the Israeli who might be involved in such cases. So, the tradition is a long one.

At some levels the Israeli law discriminates against Palestinians in different ways as specialists tell. When a sentence is favourable for Palestinians, this may be simply circumvented or ignored, there are mechanisms for this. When the law seems surprisingly to cause inconvenients like international law, they try to rewrite it, according to some denoucements.

What results from this is brutality against the Palestinians and claims and expectations of impunity by Israeli who act against Palestinians. The worst that Israeli politics fear is the attention of public opinion in the West which constrains them. Most of the Israeli behave passively, although they elect the governments that promote such politics. The few ones who denounce such episodes are real dissidents in Israel. Their names are known, Avnery, Gideon Levy, Akiva Eldar, Amira Hass, Jeff Helper, Ilan Pappe, Breaking the Silence and others. They have to fear the way they are seen, many have been villified, others have had to leave the country. Vanunu was sent to prison, Pappe had to leave Israel.

we have now two new courageous names, Anat Kam and Uri Blau.

The Middle East’s only democracy is compared to Iran:


8 Apr 2010, 3:02PM

This is silly. The usual suspects are declaring that it’s wrong to ignore the law and lead military information, but they’re strangely silent when the IDF ignore the law when it comes to killing Palestinians.

The only reasonable conclusion to be drawn is that they are strongly supportive of the killing of Palestinians in contravention of Israeli law.

What’s also amusing is that all the usual suspects are ignoring how closed off and censored Israel must be – being able to imprison someone under house arrest for months, and forbid the publication of that fact? Sounds like Iran, with the same tolerance for others and respect for human life that the Iranian regime has.


8 Apr 2010, 3:03PM


Here it has led to malice and the most negative possible interpretation of the facts of the case.

Realism is not malice, and just because you don’t like reality doesn’t make it so, just as one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter whether you like his cause or not.


8 Apr 2010, 3:04PM

“in most country in the world she would have been shot or mysteriously disappeared for ever”

All hail the munificent occupier!

Israeli regularly kills Palestinian journalists and unarmed protesters.

‘So where’s the silver lining she promised?’ I hear you say. Well, one of the main promoters of the Kamm/Blau story has been he of scary sweater fame; loonblogger, Richard Silverstein. According to him, the Guardian would not have got onto the story at all without his help, and he is rather peeved at not having been given the credit he sees as due. So much so that he even claims that he might not write for the Guardian ever again. And he’s taking his ball home too.

“I might not normally do what I’m about to do now, but given the circumstances I feel I must. The Guardian story above indicates it has broken an agreement I had with one of their reporters that he would write the story and link to my blog; and that Comment is Free would commission me to write about it. I should’ve realized when the reporter stopped replying to my e-mails that the deal was off. You’ll note that unlike the other articles about this story, which either wrongly credit JTA with breaking the story or credit “Jewish blogs,” the Guardian credits no one as if the story had no mother or father. Sad to say that agreements aren’t worth much in the field of journalism. This is yet another example of why you haven’t seen my writing in CIF in a long time and may not see it there again.”

That’s not just any old silver lining; that’s a Silverstein silver lining!

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