The Bothersome, Annoying Truth


Ilan Pappe

A controversy is raging in the Washington, DC, Jewish community involving the local JCC (DCJCC) and its in-house Theater J. While a local tale, it is a distressing encapsulation of Israel’s predicament.

Israel’s rights and justness are grounded in truth. But today truth isn’t worth as much as it used to be. Those who fight for it find themselves routinely maligned as close-minded extremists. Those who trounce it are congratulated for being open-minded and fair.

Last month Theater J announced its Spring 2014 schedule.

The schedule includes a play called The Admission.

Authored by an Israeli named Motti Lerner, the play is a dramatization of what is euphemistically known as the “Tantura Affair.”

In 2000, Maariv published an article describing the Master’s thesis of a student at the University of Haifa named Teddy Katz. Teddy Katz’s thesis purported to document a previously unknown massacre during Israel’s War of Independence. He alleged that in May 1948 the IDF murdered 250 Arab civilians after winning a battle in the town of Tantura.

The article caused an uproar. Veterans of the battle sued Katz for libel. They won. Indeed, in testimony before the district court judge Katz admitted his thesis was a fabrication.

Katz later recanted his admission and appealed the decision to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court upheld the ruling that Katz had libeled the soldiers. The university appointed a panel of scholars to review his research materials. They found Katz had fabricated statements he alleged came from interviews with eyewitnesses.

The university cancelled its acceptance of Katz’s thesis.

Had that been the end of that, the “Tantura Affair” – that is, Katz’s blood libel against the IDF – would have been long forgotten. But Katz’s academic supervisor, then-senior lecturer at Haifa and celebrated anti-Israel propagandist Ilan Pappe, refused to let the truth get in his way.

Pappe rewrote the history of the “Tantura Affair.” In Pappe’s telling, Katz heroically revealed the truth about the evil core of the Jewish state, and was then persecuted for going against Zionist orthodoxy.

Pappe has won international acclaim and prestige by being among the most outspoken, virulent foes of Israel in academia with an Israeli passport. He has openly called for Israel’s destruction.

He is also an admitted liar.

Benny Morris wrote of Pappe that his “contempt for historical truth and factual accuracy is almost boundless.”

As Pappe sees it, truth is only important if it is aligned with his ideological goal. The French newspaper Le Soir quoted him saying, “The struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers.”

For his part, Lerner, who has dramatized Katz’s blood libel, was quoted by TheWashington Post saying that his purpose wasn’t to tell the truth, either. “The play is trying to suggest that these historical memories [of what happened at Tantura] have to be explored and revised continuously in order to create a solid basis for reconciliation between the two people.”

The “revised” – that is, false – memory Lerner seeks to create serves a clear purpose. By portraying the Jews as murderers and as the aggressors in 1948 and the Arabs as their victims, he wishes to convince everyone that it is okay for the Arabs to continue seeking Israel’s destruction, and for the world to keep pressuring the Jewish state for more unilateral concessions. Only if justice is solely on the side of the Arabs is it possible to promote “compromises” in which the Jewish state makes endless concessions to the Arabs, and in return receives terrorism, war and hatred.

The true history of Israel’s War of Independence in which local Arabs, assisted by invading Arab armies attacked the Jews of Israel with the declared purpose of annihilating them, is inconvenient for the likes of Lerner and Pappe. They have no use for the fact that every area conquered by the Arabs was rendered Jew-free, by massacre or expulsion. They certainly don’t want anyone to know about the heroism of Jews who defended themselves and their nascent state, and prevailed, albeit at great cost.

Recognizing the propaganda effort at play with The Admission, a group of localWashington, DC, activists launched a protest. Volunteers with a group called Citizens Opposed to Propaganda Masquerading as Art (COPMA) have demanded that the Jewish Federation of Washington, DC, defund Theater J and the DCJCC for spreading anti-Israel propaganda whose goal is to defame Israel and romanticize its enemies.

This is not COPMA’s first run-in with Theater J. COPMA was formed in 2009 following Theater J’s decision to produce the anti-Semitic diatribe Seven Jewish Children. The work portrays Jewish parents as monsters who train their children to become murderers. In a mere 1,300 words, it criminalizes as mass murderers the entire Jewish population of Israel for crimes that were never committed.

Ari Roth has served as the artistic director of Theater J for the past 17 years. He decided to produce Seven Jewish Children, and another libelous anti-Israel play written by a Palestinian terrorist in 2011. And he decided to produce The Admission.

From Roth’s statements since COPMA raised the current outcry, it is apparent that he holds truth in the same contempt as Pappe and Lerner. Roth wrote on Theater J’s website, “At least three Israeli historians wrote different versions of the conquest of Tantura: from the right, Yoav Gelber; from the center, Benny Morris, and from the left, Ilan Pappe.”

As COPMA pointed out, however, Pappe admits to prizing the cause of Israel’s destruction above truth, and Morris and Gelber have stated unequivocally that there was no massacre at Tantura.

Roth’s statement then is the equivalent of a person saying that since a dozen professors have written about the tooth fairy, she must exist, (even though they wrote that there is no tooth fairy).

Rather than weigh COPMA’s truthful claims against Roth’s obscene distortions and block the production of the play or fire Roth, the DCJCC’s leadership and the Federation have circled the wagons around Roth and Theater J.

Speaking to The Washington Post, DCJCC’s chief executive Carole R. Zawatsky defended Roth and attacked COPMA.

“COPMA,” she said, “would love to see us close down the conversation, and our intention is to open up a conversation.”

In other words, a blood libel depicting Israeli soldiers – and the society that supports them – as mass murderers, is not beyond the pale. It is the beginning of an important conversation regarding whether or not Israel is a criminal state born in war crimes.

From the perspective of those who place ideology over facts, this is the best of all possible outcomes. Supporters of Israel – and of truth – are forced to spend hours gathering evidence to prove that a lie is false. Meanwhile those who propagate it are free to play the victim of a McCarthyite attempt to silence them. And then, they can have a debate that places on Israel the burden of proving that the lie you just watched on stage is untrue and maliciously so.

The saga of The Admission is the saga of Israel in our upside down world today. Here we are, we truthtellers, maligned for our attachment to facts by those who in the service of their goal to destroy what is most important, have convinced themselves and their followers that truth is nothing special. Indeed, that it is bothersome and annoying.

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  • David Hollander

    It is strange to think that these “academics” really believe they would not be killed by the very people they purport to represent because of a short play or fake thesis should Israel fall. Truly insane!

    • Fred R.

      The history is irrefutable: Romans destroyed Jerusalem and the second Jewish temple in 70 C.E. Although Jews were banished from Jerusalem, they remained in Judea and Sumeria up until the present.

      The Jews in Palestine were oppressed by the Eastern Roman church. In 351 and 614 these Jews revolted against their colonial Byzantine oppressors.

      Then came the Muslim colonization of Palestine which started under Caliph Umar ibn al-Khattab in 638. Caliph Umar instituted the formalized oppression of Palestinian Jews under the laws of dhimmitude.

      Following the Arab Muslim colonization of Palestine, the Muslim Seljuk and Ottoman Turks oppressed the Jews of Palestine. The Latin Christians oppressed the Jews of Palestine during the Crusades. In short, everyone oppressed the Jews in both Muslim and Christian lands.

      In 1948, Jews finally got their land back. It’s simply a matter of justice. Arab states comprise 6,145,389 square miles while Israel is only 8,453 square miles. It’s a matter of justice. There are 57 Muslim nations and only one Jewish nation. It’s a matter of justice. Millions have died in internecine Muslim violence whereas less than 40,000 have died in all of Israel’s wars with her neighbors including the Palestinians. It’s a matter of justice.

      • zoomie

        Justice ? Not a good tactic when dealing muslimes. Power is required, anything else is a fools errand.

        • Leland64

          Muslims understand combat power. More than that they understand and fear the political will to apply overwhelming combat power should the need arise.

        • defcon 4

          Especially considering islamic concepts of “justice” aren’t justice at all.

      • David Hollander

        I agree completely! what has always confused me are the type of people who are accurately labeled as “self hating”, as the leftist ideologues pointed out in this article have proven themselves to be. What I was trying to say was that should Israel be over run during a war, they really are deluded enough to believe that telling an advancing enemy army “Wait, I wrote a short play supporting you!” will save them! This is insane! Especially coming from the major centers of learning in Haifa and Jerusalem.

  • Bert

    Too many Jews suffer from a fatal weakness that empowers our enemies. Most Jews are rather timid and reluctant to use the truth to go on the offensive. Instead we wait passively for the enemy to lie and then we must prove we are not monsters. The enemy has the advantage because they can invent unlimited lies far faster than we can tell the truth. Our telling three truths would be a start.

    1. Cite the Arabs who became Muslims 1,400 years ago and then went on a rampage to force conversion of other peoples and steal millions of square miles of their territory. Cite that the Arabs first invaded the land of Israel in the year 638, 1,600 years AFTER King David ruled in Jerusalem.
    2. Cite the evils of all Jewish rebels from biblical times until today. Korah and his gang tried to get rid of Moses. German Jewish elites in 1933 protected Hitler from a global economic boycott that could have toppled him when he was still weak. Communist Jews volunteered to be Stalin’s storm troopers in Russia to stamp out Judaism. These Jewish rebels are still active today.
    3. The bible and the prophets cite the evils of Jewish rebels and condemn them.

    Modern day Jewish rebels should be identified as part of the same evil that has existed among Jews from the start and who rebelled against G-d and the moral teachings of Judaism itself. Our timidity has allowed these evil Jewish leftists to have too much free rein to spread their poison.

    • James Keir Baughman

      Exactly! Well said, Bert. Also why I support David Horowitz and his staffers who love this great Nation as I do.

  • Allen

    I’ve never understood how Jewish organizations, which you would think would be supportive of Israel, can support this kind of garbage. Are we *trying* to kill ourselves? We’ve become our own worst enemy.

    • James Keir Baughman

      Not all, ams. Not al! Thank God.

  • Kathy

    That not all Jews appreciate their own amazing history, and thereby denigrate it, is one of the saddest most disheartening things imaginable. It must mightily grieve the one true God, maker of heaven and earth – and Israel’s founder. It sure does puzzle a lot of Christians – me among them.

    • James Keir Baughman

      Amen, Kathy!

  • TheOrdinaryMan

    Good for Caroline Glick. It’s about time that someone exposed the anti-Israel fake Jews at the DCJCC, and held them up to the world to see, for what they are: traitors–to their religion, to their culture, and to their history. Pappe should be kicked out of Israel, and banned from ever entering again.

  • James Keir Baughman

    Bothersome and annoying, Carolyn? It is far, far more dishonest and disastrous than that.

  • RatedBestComment

    He must be the fake Jew they always talk about. The Synagogue of Satan or something, they say.

    • objectivefactsmatter

      “He must be the fake Jew they always talk about. The Synagogue of Satan or something, they say.”

      That phrase originated from the Bible to discuss those who reject the Messiah even after hearing the prophecies. It was also used in politics in nominally Christian societies to justify attacks on Jews, implying that “all Jews” are part of this “synagogue,” which is not what the text is saying.

      It might still be used that way, I’m not sure. It’s mostly taboo these days to discuss Satan outside of one’s own group of believers and so therefore most of the discourse containing that phrase is political rather than theological.

      And synagogues are not necessarily comprised of Jews.

  • jewdog

    After 2000 years of powerlessness and abuse, many Jews developed appeasement as a survival strategy; a few even took it to an extreme and became anti-Semites. I know it’s hard to fathom, and often embarrassing to admit, but I think it’s useful if one wants to understand see things as they are. I’m afraid Jews like Pappe and Roth are excellent examples of this pathology.

    • Father Dacius

      It is an odd fact of the human psyche that long term oppression and abuse will often lead the oppressed to defend their oppressors. Awareness of this fact is perhaps the only defense.


      It’s known today as Stockholm Syndrome.

  • antioli

    So they proudly proclaim they are lying to us.

  • Isracampus

    For more information on traitors and kapos like Pappe, go to

  • krowbro

    It is more than bothersome and annoying … these are how the seeds of our destruction are being planted.