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Thursday, January 31, 2013 

UK writer defends Israel against smear tactic

Alan Johnson at the UK Telegraph's come in Israel's defense against a defamatory claim made that Israel supposedly gave Ethiopian immigrants birth control without their knowing and this allegedly led to lower birthrates:
For three days now my Facebook feed has been aflutter with the story that “Israel has admitted” giving Ethiopian immigrants birth control injections without their consent. The story is false, and the ways in which it is false deserve scrutiny and attention as they form part of a worrying pattern.

First, the facts of the story. Tens of thousands of Ethiopian Jews have immigrated to Israel in the last 30 years, most in two large airlifts in 1984 and 1991. Their adjustment to Israeli life has not been perfect by any means, though many have excelled in the army and two Ethiopians are among the MPs in the centrist Yesh Atid party, which overperformed in last week’s election. An investigative Israeli television news show made a splash a few months ago with a report that sought to determine why the fertility rate among Ethiopian women had dropped 20 percent in the last decade. On the surface, this doesn’t seem to be a terribly mysterious phenomenon. Every immigrant group from Africa or Asia that arrives in a developed country sees its fertility rate drop rapidly as standards of living change and, especially, as reigning notions of women’s social roles change too. This happened in Israel with Yemenite immigrants and North African immigrants; it has happened with Arabs living in Israel as well.

What the Israeli television investigation uncovered was 35 Ethiopian women who told of being pressured to take Depo Provera shots — a contraceptive that is active for three months. Women recalled being brusquely told that it was unhealthy to have too many births and some believed that they might not be allowed into Israel unless they had the injection.

It’s not hard to imagine the stress and confusion at an immigrant transit camp and the cultural gaps between the Israeli doctors, who, among other things, were probably administering inoculations as well, and the poor Ethiopian women at one of the most traumatic periods in their lives. Such gaps can only be made worse by the lack of a common language and the very intimate subject matter of reproductive health. This is why, coming on the heels of the broadcast of this report and following its own internal investigation of the matter, the Israeli Ministry of Health issued an unequivocal directive this week not to reissue Depo Provera prescriptions without a very strict standard of informed consent.

This was the first action of official Israel on the matter, the first thing that the state itself actually did regarding this issue, yet that is not how the story has played out. The Independent ran a provocative story about Israel “admitting” that it had forced birth control on Ethiopians, and the ensuing echo is now cited as the background for a Cif piece on forced sterilisation that, implausibly, puts the Israeli “programme” in the context of Israel’s efforts to maintain a Jewish majority as against its growing Arab minority.

There is a very disturbing pattern here. A certain kind of “story” keeps appearing. There was an Israeli investigation of old unregulated practices from the 1990s at the Abu Kabir Pathological Institute in Tel Aviv that found that corneas were harvested from dead IDF soldiers and others without consent, which was twisted in a Guardian article as “Israel admits harvesting Palestinian organs”; the Guardian eventually ran a correction calling the headline a “serious editing error.” A year later, a Lib Dem baroness demanded there be an investigation into organ harvesting by Israeli soldiers conducting a large rescue operation after the Haiti earthquake of January 2010. And now this story.

At this point we can safely say that there is a pattern, and since I don’t believe there is a conspiracy guiding these calumnies, I think we can conclude that the credulity with which these lies are met and the alacrity with which they are spread and retweeted in some quarters in Britain reveal more about attitudes and beliefs here than anything they might tell us about Israel or the Israelis.
Read the rest. So here's another conspiracy cook-up that began with a news report locally, and now some of the worst UK news outlets like the Guardian are milking it for all it's worth. It's a pattern alright, and a very filthy one at that. Always trying to warm up conspiracy theories about Israel, a practice that's also been used against the USA by Chomskyites. But do these creeps ever care when a jihadist attacks a black Jew? Not one bit, and they don't care if Muslims in Britain are terrorizing blacks living there either.

I'm glad to see that someone in the UK has the sense to debunk a smear tactic that was built off of the sad misfortunes of a few. If only there were more like Johnson in Britain, it might be a better place.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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