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Senior Israeli Journalist Presents 'The Lie Industry'

Ben-Dror Yemini dissects how a badly translated article was distorted, from 'settler bonfire' to 'torching of orchard,' on to 'pogrom.'
By Uzi Baruch, Ari Yashar
First Publish: 5/23/2014, 11:54 AM

Lag Ba'omer bonfire
Lag Ba'omer bonfire
Flash 90

Senior Israeli journalist Ben-Dror Yemini on Friday outlined in Yedioth Aharonoth how extreme-leftist groups in Israel and the US distort events to incite against Israel.

"If we wanted to know how the industry of lies works, we got another example this week," wrote Yemini. "A Jewish friend from America contacted me to express his shock over a pogrom committed this week by Jews against Palestinians. A pogrom? He had decisive proof."

What was the proof? Yemini explained, saying "Peter Beinart, one of the Jewish leftist leaders in the US, published on his Twitter the words: 'Lag Ba'omer pogrom,' with a link to an article in the English edition of the paper Haaretz. The title of the article: 'settlers torched a Palestinian orchard.'"

Yemini noted a serious flaw in Beinart's post about the incident in the Judean city of Hevron.

"Torching an orchard is a serious matter, but how exactly did Beinart arrive at a pogrom? The site 'Perspective," which investigated the issue, found that the source appears in the Hebrew edition of the same paper. However, there it was written that 'settlers lit a bonfire in an olive grove," stated Yemini.

Analyzing the events, Yemini explained "it happened in three stages. It started with a Hebrew article about a bonfire in an olive grove. Not even a single tree was torched. There are bonfires like this throughout the country" on Lag Ba'omer, when the event occurred.

"It continued with a distorted translation to English, about the torching of an orchard. And it progressed to a pogrom, nothing less, at the hands of the 'Admor' (head of a hassidic dynasty) of the Jewish left in the US," commented Yemini.

"Following the petition of 'Perspective,' the paper published a small correction. Beinart, up to the moment of this column being written, hasn't corrected himself," concluded the journalist.

Reports over the Haaretz story being "fabricated"

Arutz Sheva received testimony from blogger and Canadian indigenous rights activist Ryan Bellerosea participant in the bonfire, contradicting what he called the "fabricated" Haaretz version of events, in which "settlers" were accused not only of "torching" but also of "assaulting" cameraman Emil Salman.

Moreover, Bellerose reported the event did not take place in an olive orchard, but rather in a park close to a Jewish-owned house, and officials including police and firemen were present throughout the celebration.

Salman responded to the reports that the story was fabricated, insisting that he was attacked. Hevron resident and the community's youth coordinator Anat Cohen, who arranged the Lag Baomer event, challenged his version of events

Cohen argued that if Salman was indeed assaulted he should have told the police, given the massive police presence at the event. She added that Arab activists had tried to provoke the bonfire participants by surrounding and filming them.

"There were about five video cameras. ...If he got hit there would surely be footage," she retorted, and added that the police "didn't even let them go down from the hill" they were filming from.

Like Bellerose, Cohen noted that the bonfire was not in a "Palestinian orchard," but rather at the same site used for the past 25 years without complaint until this year when, just a day beforehand, Arab and left-wing activists "complained that the area is private land, and [demanded we] remove the wood from there."