York University Paper Justifies Jerusalem Terror Attack

March 20, 2008
URL: http://www.solomonia.com/blog/archive/2008/03/york-university-paper-justifies-jerusale/index.shtml" target=

Solomon, on his blog Solomonia, provides a good analysis:
Honest Reporting Canada reports on a vile op-ed that appeared in the student paper at York University, justifying the massacre at Mercaz Harav: Excalibur Writer Justifies Seminary Terror Attack. Author Lama Aggad says it was no surprise as, after all, the institution was both Jewish and Zionist. Imagine. Its students would also grow up to serve in the IDF which, says Aggad, is committing a "Holocaust," and desires an Israel from "the Euphrates to the Nile" -- typical Middle-Eastern conspiracy theorizing.

College papers are no strangers to printing outrageous pieces calculated for effect, though they do usually have some scruples (one would think a Canadian paper especially so) against printing blatantly anti-Semitic applause for child murder.

I did think it worth swatting one fake in Aggad's piece, a supposed quote from Menachem Begin:
...Let's not forget the famous quote from the former Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin in his speech to the Knesset on June 25, 1982: "[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs."

This is typical stuff -- fabricating a statement from an Israeli leader in order to justify murder. I had never heard this one before -- there are so many of these fake quotes floating around it's hard to keep up -- so I went looking. Fortunately, CAMERA illuminated the reality of Begin's statement years ago (while debunking Robert Fisk's use of the same "quote") ...

Internet hate sites, as well as Fisk, attribute this derogation of Palestnians as "two-legged beasts" to former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin. The source generally given is:
Menachem Begin, as quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the Beasts," New Statesman, June 25, 1982
Indeed, the radical French-Israeli journalist, Amnon Kapeliouk, did attribute such a quote to Begin in his New Statesman article criticizing Israel's invasion of Lebanon. The author posited:
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, further investigation by CAMERA reveals that the actual speech upon which Kapeliouk based his quote, as well as news reports at the time demonstrate that the journalist distorted the quote, giving it a completely different tone and meaning. Begin was talking, not about "the Palestinians" but about terrorists who target children within Israel.
On June 8, 1982, Begin addressed the Knesset in response to a no-confidence motion over Israel's invasion of Lebanon. He talked about defending the children of Israel, and according to a June 9, 1982 AP report, "his voice quaver[ed] with anger and sadness." According to the minutes of the session, Begin stated:
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.
Kapeliouk neither recanted nor apologized for his deception.


If you have a sense of reality, a quotation such as that attributed to Begin should sound warning bells that there's a problem -- either it's a complete fabrication or so stripped of context as to be meaningless. In this case, it's a bit of both. Of course, since Lama Aggad clearly supports terrorists, I'm not surprised he would feel personally affronted by Begin's purported statement and take it as accurate.

Update: HonestReporting Canada reports the following:

We condemned the publication of a column endorsing the murder of innocent children, and asked the paper to issue a formal apology in the next edition. Our members from across Canada responded to our alert, sending hundreds of letters voicing their concerns over several inaccuracies contained in the op-ed contributor Lama Aggad.

Today, the Excalibur printed this apology and removed the op-ed from their website.

HonestReporting Canada would like to commend the Excalibur for publishing this necessary apology and thank our members, including students and community leaders, for their support and prompt action.

We would also like to acknowledge those organizations that received our alert and mobilized their members to follow up with the Excalibur. They include: Hasbara Fellowships, Betar Tagar, Media Action Group, B'nai Brith Canada, and Hillel (click here to read Hillel's excellent letter to the editor published in today's Excalibur).