There is much to object to in Robert Fisk’s latest op-ed at the Independent suggesting a moral equivalence between the intentional murder of innocent Israeli teens by terrorists and Palestinian teens unintentionally killed during the course of anti-terror operations, but there’s also a blatant fabrication – one which he employed previously in a 2001 op-ed titled ‘Telling the truth about Israel‘.
Here’s the quote by Fisk in ‘Israeli teenagers’ funeral: It is obscene when either side kills children – not only Palestinians‘, July 1.
But the obscene theatre of the Israeli-Palestinian war follows a script as scandalous as it is lethal. This week, the Israeli Prime Minister called the Palestinians who killed three Israelis “beasts”. So what? Didn’t Menachem Begin call Palestinians “two-legged animals” in 1982?
However, what Begin said – per a superb expose by CAMERA in 2004 (addressing Fisk’s first use of the false quote) was that those who come to kill Jewish children are “two-legged animals”.
In fact, if you Google the quote you’ll see that the source generally given is an article by a radical French-Israeli journalist, Amnon Kapeliouk, titled “Begin and the Beasts,” which appeared in the New Statesman, June 25, 1982.
Here’s Kapeliouk’s claim:
For this reason the government has gone to extraordinary lengths to dehumanise the Palestinians. Begin described them in a speech in the Knesset as “beasts walking on two legs“.
However, the actual speech upon which Kapeliouk based his quote gives it a completely different meaning. Begin was talking, not about “the Palestinians” but about terrorists who target children within Israel, during a June 8, 1982 speech he gave in the Knesset in response to a no-confidence motion over Israel’s invasion of Lebanon.
In the context of talking about defending the children of Israel from terror attacks, he said the following:
The children of Israel will happily go to school and joyfully return home, just like the children in Washington, in Moscow, and in Peking, in Paris and in Rome, in Oslo, in Stockholm and in Copenhagen. The fate of… Jewish children has been different from all the children of the world throughout the generations. No more. We will defend our children. If the hand of any two-footed animal is raised against them, that hand will be cut off, and our children will grow up in joy in the homes of their parents.
But, here there are Katyushas, missiles and artillery shells day and night, with the sole intention of murdering our women and children. There are military targets in the Galilee. What a characteristic phenomenon, they are protected, completely immune to these terrorists. Only at the civilian population, only to shed our blood, just to kill our children, our wives, our sisters, our elderly.
He clearly wasn’t characterizing ‘Palestinians’ as two-legged/footed beasts/animals, only those who would murder innocent children.
There is of course a profound difference between referring to Palestinians who murder Israeli children in cold blood as “two-footed animals”, and using such demonizing language to characterize all Palestinians.
The Independent’s “award-winning” Middle East correspondent should be ashamed of himself for peddling such falsehoods.