Ben Caspit, from his twitter feed
Jonathan Ofir, Mondoweiss, December 26, 2017
Prominent Israeli journalist Ben Caspit caused international furor last week, when he wrote in his Maariv article that “in the case of the girls, we should exact a price at some other opportunity, in the dark, without witnesses and cameras”.
Caspit has certainly felt the heat in response to his insidious suggestions, and probably began fearing not only for his reputation, but possibly for his job, which besides Maariv also includes the respected Al-Monitor. Israeli activist Ofer Neiman tweeted: “He can’t have it both ways – writing for a liberal peace-oriented outlet and inciting rape/murder/violence.”
Caspit’s article was in Hebrew, but now he is trying to backpedal and ‘clarify’ in English – in a Jerusalem Post article from yesterday.
Caspit titles his piece “Fighting a shaming campaign with the truth”, framing himself as a victim who has simply been misunderstood. He describes his ‘ordeal’:
“Within hours you discover that you’ve turned into Public Enemy No. 1, a modern day pariah; a man who calls for the rape of young girls and destruction of families; a contemporary Nazi. A rare combination of circumstances, a phrase taken out of context, an inaccurate translation and a great deal of evil intention have planted in your keyboard things you never said, and in your brain, things you never thought. All that is left it to chase after the eternal wind in the cyber willows.”
I am proud to say I am one of those who have publicly and critically referred to his first article, though not the first. The critical and most egregious sentence mentioned above had appeared in mainstream media a day later – for example AP and CBS. The translation was accurate and furthermore, in my article, I provided a greater context than was available otherwise, precisely in order to relate to Caspit’s greater message of incitement, and how that phrase played into it.
The other quote, which Caspit does not refer to at all in his ‘clarification’, is this, as I had written:
“There is no stomach which does not turn when witnessing this clip”, Caspit says, referring to Zionist stomachs, that is. “I, for example, if I were to encounter that situation, I would have long ago been in detention until end of procedures”. In other words, Caspit is saying he would run amok on the girls to a degree that would get him arrested. That’s what he’s indirectly suggesting would be ‘normal’, because he would do it…
You see, Caspit’s unspecified suggestion for a “price” to be “exacted”, is conditioned by his incitement mentioned here. We don’t know the details of the actions which Caspit imagines would get him arrested. And do we even want to know them? If Caspit suggests he would do those unspeakable actions in the daytime, even if there were cameras filming – what are we to think of the things he, or the others influenced by his suggestions, might do in the dark?
Caspit seeks to portray himself as a ‘man of peace’, who couldn’t possibly suggest that such insidious things be done to Palestinian girls:
“No one bothers to ask him/herself whether or not you’ve devoted your entire career to the peace cause, supported and continue to support the peace agreements and proposals, support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, see the settlements an enterprise that has caused more harm than good and is considered in Netanyahu’s office as one of the right’s greatest media enemies”, he bemoans.
In other words, Caspit is trying to point out that all these “leftist” points should count, and that if they were counted, they would ostensibly outweigh any ‘misunderstanding’ of his text. Yet as I have pointed out earlier this month, an Israeli ‘leftist’ general, interviewed extensively on the same Maariv, was calling for ‘tearing the Palestinians apart’ and ‘tossing them across the Jordan’. Being an Israeli leftist proves nothing of the kind that Caspit seeks to prove.
Caspit reduces the whole filmed episode of the soldiers occupying the Tamimi lawn to a “meeting”:
“What’s this all about?”, he asks. “A meeting between two IDF soldiers and the Tamimi family from the village of Nabi Saleh that was leaked to the Israeli media last Monday”, he answers himself.