BBC admits Gaza airstrike photos are fabricated (& Swastikas by the Western Wall)

July 08, 2014


* In an extremely rare move, two Palestinians from a village near Hebron paid a visit to the home of the grieving Fraenkel family, who are in the midst of the traditional seven-day mourning period

* Many hundreds of Jews visit the Abu Khdeir family mourning tent in east Jerusalem to express their condolences

* Pro-Israel demonstrators severely beaten in Toronto, Malmo, Hamburg


A reader (Anne Herzberg) writes, concerning the priorities of the mainstream media:

“Over 4th of July weekend, there were 82 people shot and 16 killed in Chicago. Yet the lead story right now on is about Great White Sharks; yesterday, at least 4 of the boxes on the NBC home page were about the Abu Khdeir family in Jerusalem -- you had to scroll down a bit to see anything about Chicago.”

Two of those shot dead in Chicago were young teenage boys, aged 14 and 16 - both shot by the police - but the media has barely mentioned it.


* You can see these and other items that are not in these dispatches if you “like” this page:


Update, July 8: Thank you to those who have quoted from or linked to this dispatch, for example here at Breitbart UK.


* Update: There are other dispatches this week on the ongoing Hamas-Israel conflict which can be read here.



1. BBC admits photos of supposed Israeli airstrikes have been fabricated
2. A long history of duping the Western media with staged photos
3. Israeli Jews pay condolence calls to family of murdered Arab teenager
4. Netanyahu, Peres speak with father of Muhammad Abu Khdeir
5. Dozens of swastikas painted near the Western Wall
6. Palestinians try to burn down Joseph’s Tomb
7. Pro-Israel demonstrators beaten up in Toronto, Malmo, Hamburg
8. Debris from Hamas rocket lands by a cruise ship
9. Memorial to London bomb victims defaced
10. “Soccer thugs burned a Palestinian boy alive in Jerusalem” (By Liel Leibovitz, Tablet Magazine, July 7, 2014)


[All notes below by Tom Gross]

A surprising thing happened yesterday. One small part of the vast network of TV, radio and online channels that comprises the BBC, admitted that pictures of alleged Israeli airstrikes on Gaza were inaccurate.

The “BBC Trending” part of the website published the following:

#BBCtrending: Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?
By BBC Trending

7 July 2014 Last updated at 16:24 GMT

Graphic images are being shared on social media to show how people have been affected by the renewed tensions between Israel and the Palestinians.

Over the past week the hashtag #GazaUnderAttack has been used hundreds of thousands of times, often to distribute pictures claiming to show the effects of Israeli airstrikes on Gaza.

A #BBCtrending investigation has found that many of these images are not from the latest conflict and not even from Gaza. Some date as far back as 2009 and others are from conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

Produced by Neil Meads

You can follow BBC Trending on Twitter @BBCtrending


Tom Gross adds:: what the BBC item doesn’t point out is that some of the most senior BBC correspondents in the Middle East, such as Jon Donnison have been responsible for sending out these inaccurate photos on their BBC twitter feeds!



Of course, none of this is new. For years the Palestinian Fatah and Hamas organizations, and Lebanon’s Hizbullah, have fabricated photos and information, often duping leading western news outlets, for example, into believing photos from Syria were from Gaza.

I have written about this in articles several times. For example, here.

But here is a video on the subject from two years ago, that I haven’t included in these dispatches before, presented by a subscriber to this list, Shraga Simmons, author of the important book “David and Goliath”.



Not only have Israeli politicians from both left and right strongly condemned the horrific murder of 16-year-old Muhammed Abu Khdeir, but many individual Israelis have gone to his parents’ mourning tent to express their condolences.

The Abu Khdeir family set up a large mourning tent in east Jerusalem to host family members and well-wishers.

So many Jews are coming that one Israeli organization, Tag Meir, has even arranged buses from the International Convention Center in west Jerusalem to transport people to the mourning tent in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Shuafat.


Among those offering his condolences in a phone call on Sunday to Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of the Palestinian teen, was Yishai Fraenkel, the uncle of one of the murdered Israeli teenagers.

Yishai Fraenkel was featured in this dispatch:

Israeli Intel exec pioneers hi-tech with Palestinians. His nephew is abducted (& Mohammed was 13)


Also on Sunday, in an extremely rare move, two Palestinians from a village near Hebron paid a visit to the home of the grieving Fraenkel family, who are in the midst of the traditional seven-day mourning period. The Palestinians were accompanied by a local rabbi whom they know.



Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with Hussein Abu Khdeir, the father of Muhammad Abu Khdeir who was murdered last week.

Netanyahu said: “I would like to express my outrage and that of the citizens of Israel over the reprehensible murder of your son. We acted immediately to apprehend the murderers. We will bring them to trial and they will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law. We denounce all brutal behavior; the murder of your son is abhorrent and cannot be countenanced by any human being.”

A few hours later, Israeli President Shimon President Peres also called Muhammad Abu Khdeir.

Peres said: “I know what you and your family are going through. I am full of shame and share in your grief. He was murdered by criminals. I am ashamed on behalf of my nation and grieve with you. The only thing left for all of us to do is to ensure that no more children are murdered, and no more tears are shed are by mothers.

“Justice will be done and we will not compromise on that. We all reject murderers and like you I want justice, true justice. There is nothing that saddens us more than the tears of a mother and the grief of a father. Sadly there is no comfort for a grieving mother but there will be no compassion for the murderers. The murderers must be punished and the murder uprooted from its source. We must replace the mourner’s tent with a tabernacle of peace.”

In a statement, Hussein Abu Khdeir thanked both Netanyahu and Peres for their condolence calls.



Dozens of swastikas have been spray-painted alongside the road to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. The wall stands alongside the Temple Mount, Judaism’s most holy site.

In addition to the swastikas, there was graffiti calling for “Death to the Jews”.



Palestinians rioters tried to burn down the Jewish holy site of Joseph’s Tomb in the West Bank city of Nablus on Sunday night, Palestinian media reported.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas deployed his security forces to prevent the site being destroyed. They used tear gas and other measures to disperse the rioters. The site, a central one for Judaism, is also considered sacred by Christians and Muslims.

Meanwhile Palestinian rioters continue to throw firebombs and rocks at Israeli vehicles and even at a school bus, in towns in both northern and southern Israel.



A man was beaten up for hanging an Israeli flag outside his window in the Swedish city of Malmo, police said.

Several unidentified men assaulted the 38-year-old man with metal bars after they hurled a stone at his window on Sunday evening, the Svenska Dagbladet daily reported yesterday.

They shouted “Jews die” and other anti-Semitic slogans.

The victim is being treated in hospital, and the police say they will not release his name for his own safety.

There has been a wave of anti-Semitic attacks in the Swedish city of Malmo in recent years, as I have documented several times on this email list.


Pro-Israel demonstrators were also beaten up in Toronto, Canada.

News report here.


Last month, an 83-year-old man, believed to be a Holocaust survivor, was assaulted by pro-Palestinian counter-demonstrators in Hamburg, Germany during a rally held in solidarity for the three Israeli teenagers who had been kidnapped. The man’s daughter was also assaulted when she tried to protect her father. The man had to be treated in hospital for head wounds. German politicians condemned the attack.



The German tabloid “Bild,” citing Germany’s ARD TV, reports that a German cruise ship carrying 2700 tourists and crew near the Israeli port city of Ashkelon, was hit by falling debris from a Hamas rocket.

The missile had been shot down by Israel’s Iron Dome system before it reached Ashkelon, hence only minor debris fell near the ship.

Story and photo here.



Just hours before survivors and bereaved families gathered to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the July 7, 2005 London train and bus bombings yesterday, the memorial to the victims was defaced.

The stainless steel columns of the memorial in Hyde Park, in central London, were daubed with red and black slogans with the messages “4Innocent Muslims” and “J7 Truth”.

These “truthers” are the British equivalent of the 9/11 conspiracy theorists in the U.S.


I attach one article below.

-- Tom Gross



Soccer Thugs Burned a Palestinian Boy Alive in Jerusalem
A close-knit gang of Beitar Jerusalem fans known as ‘La Familia’ ignites the Middle East
By Liel Leibovitz
Tablet magazine
July 7, 2014

If you’ve been tuned in to global reporting out of Israel recently, you know that a Palestinian youth was burned alive after three young Israeli yeshiva students were murdered, as the demons of nationalism and violence have plunged the bearded zealots on both sides into a grim whirl of death and bereavement that will only end when decent people on both sides join together and affirm their commitment to peaceful co-existence.

It was an inherently dramatic story, helped along by breast-beating disavowals and stern condemnations by Israelis from across the political spectrum, from Shimon Peres to Benjamin Netanyahu to the extremist settler Rabbi Eliyakim Levenon of Elon Moreh, who issued a “religious ruling” that the perpetrators should be put to death. It was easy for everyone to be horrified by the crime, in part because there is no actual constituency – on any side – for burning children alive. Left-wingers used the story to denounce the inherent violence of the settlement enterprise. Right-wingers used it to display their moral superiority over their neighbors, who give out candy when Jews are slaughtered.

But like so many of the narratives beamed out of the Middle East by pale Western journalists who know so painfully little about the region and its inhabitants, this story, too, is utterly false. If you want to understand the gruesome murder of 16-year-old Muhammed Abu-Khudair in the hands of six young Israelis last week, don’t turn to Bibi or the Bible or Hamas or Abbas: turn to Beitar Jerusalem, the favorite soccer team of Israel’s undivided capital.

All six suspects are fanatical Beitar fans. According to an Israeli police officer familiar with the investigation, who spoke to Buzzfeed on condition of anonymity, members of the murderous cabal are all affiliated with La Familia, a small group of several thousand Beitar fans known for their anti-Arab opinions and a more general penchant for thuggery. The six met at a soccer-related rally, the cop said, and decided to expand the scope of their hooliganism as far as they could, resulting in the murder of Abu-Khudair a short while later.

To American readers, across the ideological spectrum, very little about the soccer thug scenario is likely to make sense. Violence, it’s much easier to believe, is cyclical and systemic, the product of lunatic rabbis, the evil terror-plotters and bomb-makers of Hamas, and politicians on both sides who fan the flames ever-higher in order to maintain their grip on power. To think for one moment that violence might stem from soccer is about as comprehensible to most Americans as the incessant flopping and complaining in the World Cup quarterfinals.

Yet if you understand soccer, and if you know Beitar, you realize that an act of extreme Clockwork Orange-style violence is an entirely possible, even predictable, outcome of the team’s fringe culture. I speak from experience: I am a lifelong, dedicated fan of Beitar Jerusalem, and during my years attending its games I’ve witnessed my share of appalling brutalities, in times of crisis and times of peace, almost always without any racial or nationalistic impetus. As far as I could tell, the aim was simply the pure, visceral, sickening thrill of violence. Sometimes, it appropriates the language of politics, attaching itself to a party or an ideology or an ethnic group. But it’s always first and foremost about soccer, about the ritualized violence that gives young and hopeless men meaning and comfort.

I should also admit that I often found these sprinklings of violence tolerable, even constructive. In a society turned flightless by the rigid demands of civility – the same principle that insists that all kids share their toys at the playground, even though there is no moral or practical reason to allow a pushy stranger access to your personal property – a little bit of raw, primordial roaring, I thought, was necessary to restore balance. That, at least, is what I told myself as I sat at Teddy, Beitar’s stadium, named after Jerusalem’s legendary mayor Teddy Kollek, watching fans slap, kick, and knee each other, hard, in-between ribald chants. I enjoyed the dark Yin of this mild thuggery, which balanced out the Yang of sensitivity training and fad diets.

And then there were horrible moments of reckoning. One such moment came in the late 1990s, when Beitar lost a crucial do-or-die match to Maccabi Tel Aviv. Maccabi plays in Ramat Gan Stadium, which is right next door to the Ramat Gan mall, one of the nation’s first and largest institutions of its kind. By the time the referee blew the final whistle, most of the Beitar fans seated next to me had come up with an instructive chant: “Burn down the mall,” it went, “burn down the mall, burn down the mall.”

Which is what they tried to do: Someone produced a few rags, someone else had a match, and before too long a horde of a few dozen fans, paintless Bravehearts in jeans and T-shirts, advanced on Ramat Gan mall’s nearest gate with destructive glee. Policemen arrived on horseback. The fans started punching the horses. Policemen dismounted to protect their beasts. The fans tried to climb into the saddle and enlist the animals in their attack. If I remember the scene correctly, and I was too terrified to pay very close attention, one of them succeeded in his quest. If you’ve seen the poster for the new Planet of the Apes film, you have a pretty good idea of what the scene looked like.

Unfortunately, moments like this have grown more and more common in recent years. La Familia – which, according to some reports is 5,500 fans strong – had moved from low-level barbarism to rabid mass attacks. Sometimes, these attacks took on a racial spin, such as when a group of 300 fans, elated after a Beitar victory, walked in to a shopping center in 2012, shouted “Muhammad is dead,” and attempted to beat up every Arab Israeli they could spot. There were the endless verbal assaults on the team’s two unfortunate Chechen Muslim players.

Yet to see La Familia as the racist brown shirts of Israeli nationalism would be to ignore the vast majority of their crimes, which show that they are devoutly egalitarian devotees of violence for the hell of it, whether they were robbing fans of opposing teams at knife point or burning down their own clubhouse – destroying equipment and precious memorabilia – to express displeasure with the team’s management. After that incident, one Beitar coach warned that if La Familia was “burning buildings now” they might “burn people next.”

It should also be noted that Beitar’s management, along with most of its fan base, was revolted by La Familia’s terrorism and did whatever it could to curb it. The Israeli police followed suit, doing everything from issuing restraining orders barring La Familia’s leadership from Teddy to arresting anyone suspected of partaking in any act of violence of vandalism. This tough stance was welcomed by most Israeli politicians; “I am glad that that the team heads and its tens of thousands of fans have come to realize the despicable fanclub has done the team more harm than good with its racist and violent displays,” Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat said after the clubhouse was torched, echoing the sentiments of many Israelis.

There are those who will compare the speed at which the Israeli police were able to locate the murderers of Muhammed Abu-Khudair with the Palestinian Authority’s continuing inability to bring the murderers of Naftali Fraenkel, Gilad Shaar, and Eyal Yifrach to justice. Yet one reason why the police in Jerusalem may have apprehended their suspects so quickly is that they have devoted considerable resources over the past decade to keeping tabs on the city’s violent soccer hooligans, just like police do in Munich, and Warsaw, and Brussels, and London, and Madrid. Abu-Kudair died of the same dark force, so closely intertwined with the game I love, that killed Tony Deogan, a young Swedish supporter of IFK Göteborg who was pummeled to death by fans of the rival team AIK in August of 2002; that claimed 24-year-old Mariusz B., stabbed in the back in 2003 after Polish hooligans, armed with knives and cleavers and clubs and stones, congregated in a street near the Wroclaw soccer stadium and went at it; that ended the life of Aitor Zabaleta in 1998 because he fancied Real Sociedad and his attacker preferred Atlético Madrid; that guided fans of Al-Masry to rip into their brothers who rooted for Al-Ahly in the Stadium in Port Said, Egypt, in 2012, leaving 79 dead and more than a thousand fans injured.

The truth is that Benjamin Netanyahu, the Palestinian Authority, settler rabbis and Hamas all have nothing to do with the terrible events that unfurled after six lowlifes forced a sweet-faced kid into their car and burned him alive. Soccer does. So please, enough with the ancient hatreds and the cycle of violence. The death of Muhammed Abu-Khudair is a terrible tragedy, but it’s not one unique to Israel. Anyone who watches soccer more frequently than a few matches every four years understands that intuitively.

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.