Countering Bias and Misinformation mainly about the Arab-Israel conflict

DEIR YASSIN - startling evidence

DEIR YASSIN - startling evidence
About Maurice Ostroff

Hazem Nusseibeh, editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service's in 1948, tells the BBC how a press report was compiled, falsely claiming that atrocities had occurred at Deir Yassin. Click here for the BBC video


 By Maurice Ostroff


If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it".


Tragically, the well-known quotation by Hitler's chief propagandist, Joseph Goebbels has proven to be valid time and again. Goebbels was probably the most influential expert in using lies and deceit to motivate an entire nation initially towards hubris, and eventually to abject destruction


His advice on effective propaganda techniques has also been successfully adopted. He wrote “The most brilliant propagandist technique will yield no success unless one fundamental principle is borne in mind constantly - it must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over." Anyone familiar with the Arab-Israel conflict will recognize how this lesson has been successfully applied. Raise any problem and the answer is "the occupation".  Mention terror and the immediate solution offered is "end the occupation", ignoring the indisputable fact that terror against Jews was commonplace long before the occupation.


The universality of Goebbels' BIG LIE rule is evident from the straight line that can be drawn from the Protocols of Zion to Dreyfus, Mein Kampf, Deir Yassin, Jenin and Al Dura. Let's take a closer look at Deir Yassin and Al Dura.


Deir Yassin

The false story of atrocities in the battle for Deir Yassin in1948 is a typical example of a BIG LIE demonizing Israel, based on fabricated evidence. On April 12, 1948 Dana Schmidt wrote a "special to the New York Times" story about a massacre and rapes committed by Jews at Deir Yassin. The story, attributed to Dr. Hussein Khalidi, secretary of the Palestine Arab Higher Committee at the time, was taken at face value and spread like wildfire around the world. Even the Jewish Agency believed it and expressed horror and disgust.


But, and this is a big BUT, startling indisputable evidence came to light in 1998 revealing that the story of a massacre and rapes was a complete fabrication. Unlike the immediate spread of the accusation, this refutation was and remains completely ignored, pointing to the dangerous penchant, even among some respectable mainstream media, academics and influential politicians, to ignore readily available, credible evidence that conflicts with their biased preconceived opinions.


The evidence of fabrication is indisputable because it originates from none other than the person who prepared the original story, Hazem Nusseibeh, who was an editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service in 1948.


The video clip that can be viewed by clicking on the link at the top of this page is an extract from a a 1998  interview with Nusseibeh in a  BBC series “Israel and the Arabs: the 50 year Conflict”.


While explaining the flight of Arabs and their failure in the 1948 war to the BBC, Nusseibeh indiscreetly admitted that on the direct instructions of Hussein Khalidi, he had fabricated the allegations of a massacre and rapes. He told that Khalidi said to him: "We must make the most of this" and that they therefore embroidered the press release with fictional allegations that the children of Deir Yassin were murdered and pregnant women were raped, though neither ever happened. Their intention was to encourage the Arab countries to join in the battles soon to begin. He added that these atrocity stories were "our biggest mistake," because Palestinians fled in terror and left the country in huge numbers after hearing them.  This statement adds a new facet to research about the reasons so many Arabs fled in 1948. See also


According to Nusseibeh, Khalidi said to him: "We must make the most of this" and the story was created in collusion with survivors of Deir Yassin and Khalidi. The press release stated that the children of Deir Yassin were murdered and pregnant women were raped, though neither ever happened.


In the same TV program, a former resident of Deir Yassin confirmed there were no rapes but that Khalidi convinced them they had to say there were. "We said, there was no rape." But Khalidi said, "We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews".


Although this evidence has been available in publicly available archives since 1998, it has been almost universally ignored. For example On November 28, 2001 in an article “The Sharon files” The Guardian, repeated the fabrication in referring to “the Palestinian village where 254 villagers were massacred in April 1948, in the most spectacular single attack in the conquest of Palestine”.


Ignoring the readily available contrary evidence, Deir Yassin continues to be a symbol of Jewish barbarity and it is regularly quoted by anti-Israel boycott activists. The myth is kept alive by an organization called “Deir Yassin Remembered", dedicated to perpetuating the fiction of a massacre


It is relevant to recall that this occurred in April 1948, before the state of Israel was declared.  Many have been led to believe that Deir Yassin was a quiet village just outside Jerusalem, whereas in fact it was a heavily armed Arab village harboring some foreign militants who together with the villagers were attacking nearby Jewish neighborhoods and traffic on the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.


If Deir Yassin was in fact a quiet village, it would have enjoyed the same fortune as other quiet villages such as the nearby village of Abu Ghosh, which remained neutral in 1948. In an article in the Jerusalem Post in 1997, Sam Orbaum quoted Mohammed Abu Ghosh as saying, "What we did, we did for Abu Ghosh, for nobody else. Others who lost their land, hated us then, but now all over the Arab world, many people see we were right. If everyone did what we did, there'd be no refugee problem . . . And if we were traitors? Look where we are, look where they are."


Deir Yassin was probably one of the earliest examples of the effectiveness of the well- funded Arab propaganda machine and the ineptness of Israel's PR response. It was certainly an example of Israel's mea culpa syndrome, admitting guilt where none exists,  that continues to this day. The fabricated story was so convincing that even the Zionist Leaders accepted it.


Frequent reference is made in to a statement by then agriculture, minister Aharon Cizling, in support of the claim that atrocities did take place. In a cabinet meeting, Cizling said, "Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being is shaken". His  outburst should be seen, not as an admission of guilt, but as a manifestation of Israeli sensitivity to allegations, albeit false, of Jewish atrocities. He was so deeply moved by the fabricated reports of the kind of behavior that is not tolerated in the IDF doctrine, that he used the exaggerated and offensive Nazi comparison.


Al Dura

There have been several successful emulations of  the Deir Yassin BIG LIE over the years. Notable among these was the Muhammed al Durah affair in which the 12 year old boy became the symbol of the intifada when he was caught with his father in the crossfire between IDF soldiers and Palestinians at Netzarim Junction. In pictures filmed by a Palestinian cameraman and broadcast by French television, he is allegedly seen shot and killed.


Israeli physicist, Nahum Shahaf, examined the evidence and claimed it was a hoax. Among those whom Shahaf convinced, was Professor Richard Landes of Boston University who saw the original unedited footage of the scene and produced a three-part documentary about the event, first Pallywood, a study of systemic staging of “news” by “the street” acting for Palestinian cameramen, (see:, then a detailed analysis of the evidence in Al Durah, Birth of an Icon ( ), and finally a study of the hoax’s disastrous impact on global culture, Icon of Hatred ( )


Meanwhile, Philippe Karsenty, head of a French media watchdog group, accused France2 and their Middle East correspondent, Charles Enderlin, of broadcasting staged footage. France2 sued Karsenty for defamation, and won the initial round. Professor Landes' thorough work played a significant role in the eventual reversal of the judgment on appeal in French court, ruling that Karsenty was not guilty of defaming Enderlin and France2. Al Dura nevertheless remains an international icon of Israel's supposed cruelty confirming Goebbels contention that  If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it




What Hazem Nusseibeh told the BBC

about Deir Yassin


The video focuses on an interview with Hazem Nusseibeh, a member of one of Jerusalem's most prominent Arab families.  In 1948 he was an editor of the Palestine Broadcasting Service's Arabic news.


In this interview with the BBC he admits that in 1948 he was instructed by Hussein Khalidi, a prominent Palestinian Arab leader, to fabricate claims of atrocities at Deir Yassin in order to encourage Arab regimes to invade the expected Jewish state.  He made this damming admission in explaining why the Arabs failed in the 1948 war.  He said "this was our biggest mistake", because Palestinians fled in terror and left the country in huge numbers after hearing the atrocity claims.


Nusseibeh describes an encounter at the Jaffa Gate of Jerusalem's Old City with Deir Yassin survivors and Palestinian leaders, including Hussein Khalidi... 'I asked Dr. Khalidi how we should cover the story,'. He said, "We must make the most of this. So we wrote a press release stating that at Deir Yassin children were murdered, pregnant women were raped, all sorts of atrocities 


In the video clip Abu Mahmud, who was a Dir Yassin resident in 1948, told the BBC that the villagers protested against the atrocity claims: We said, "There was no rape. But Khalidi said, We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews."


This false press statement was released to New York Times correspondent, Dana Schmidt leading to an article in the New York Times on April 12, 1948, claiming that a massacre took place at Deir Yassin that was reprinted worldwide and cited even in Israel as proof of Israeli atrocities


Dr. Hazem Nusseibeh was a representative of Jordan at the Mixed Armistice Commission and he was Minister of Foreign Affairs.He was also the Permanent Ambassador of Jordan to the UN and has authored several books, including The Ideas of Arab Nationalism, Palestine and the United Nations and A History of Modern Jordan.



Dir Yassin
Excerpted from The Revolt by Menachem Begin pages163/4

Reproduced with permission from Jock Falkson's blog "Israel Defender"

One would have thought, rightly, that an episode such as the 1948 battle for Deir Yassin would have been forgotten by now. You’d be wrong. It is still being used to besmirch Israel in the world’s media and especially on the internet.

Sixty two years after this so called atrocity Google offers 44,200 Deir Yassin references the year 2,009 – to be compared with 42,400 for 2009 for the Hiroshima atom bomb. Isn’t it a disgrace on the part of Israel’s enemies who apparently think it not unreasonable to compare these two events as if they were in any way similar?

Here in Mr. Begin’s own words is what actually happened – excerpted from his book The Revolt published in 1951.

“Apart from the military aspect, there is a moral aspect to the story of Dir Yassin. At that village, whose name was publicized throughout the world, both sides suffered heavy casualties. We had four killed and nearly forty wounded. The number of casualties was nearly forty per cent of the total number of attackers. The Arab troops suffered casualties three time as heavy. The fighting was thus very severe. (Emphasis added.) Yet the hostile propaganda, disseminated throughout the world, deliberately ignored the fact that the civilian population was actually given warning before the battle began. One of our tenders carrying a loud speaker was stationed at the entrance to the village and it exhorted in Arabic all women, children and aged to leave their houses to take shelter on the slope of the hill. By giving this humane warning our fighters threw away the element of complete surprise, and thus increased their own risk in the ensuing battle. A substantial number of the inhabitants obeyed the warning and they were unhurt. A few did not leave their stone houses – perhaps because of the confusion. The fire of the enemy was murderous – to which the number of our casualties bears eloquent testimony. Our men were compelled to fight every house; to overcome the enemy they used large numbers of hand-grenades. And the civilians who had disregarded our warnings suffered inevitable casualties.

“The education which we gave to our soldiers throughout the years of revolt was based on the traditional laws of war. We never broke them unless the enemy first did so and thus forced us, in the accepted custom of war to apply reprisals. I am convinced, too, that our officers and men wished to avoid a single unnecessary casualty in the Dir Yassin battle. But those who throw stones of denunciation at the conquerors of Dir Yassin would do well not to don the cloak of hypocrisy.

“In connection with the capture of Dir Yassin the Jewish Agency found it necessary to send a letter of apology to Abdullah, who Mr. Ben Gurion, at a moment of great political emotion called ‘the wise ruler who seeks the good of his people and his country.’ The ‘wise ruler’ whose mercenary forces demolished Gush Etzion and flung the bodies of its heroic defenders to the birds of prey replied with feudal superciliousness. He rejected the apology and replied that the Jews were all to blame and that he did no believe in the existence of ‘dissidents’. Throughout the Arab world and the world at large a wave of lying propaganda was let loose about ‘Jewish atrocities’.

“The enemy propaganda was designed to besmirch our name. In the result it helped us. Panic overwhelmed the Arabs of Eretz Israel. Kolonia village, which had previously repulsed every attack of the Haganah, was evacuated overnight and fell without further fighting. Beit-Iksa was also evacuated. These two places overlooked the main road; and their fall, together with the capture of Kastel by the Haganah, made it possible to keep the road open to Jerusalem. In the rest of the country too, the Arabs began to flee in terror, even before they clashed with Jewish forces.”


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lying about Deir Yassin

By: Steven Plaut

This week is the anniversary of the events that took place in the Arab village of Deir Yassin in 1948. In recent years, Deir Yassin has been converted into a bludgeon by the Far Left, the Neonazi Right, and Israel-bashers in general.

Deir Yassin is the ultimate "Man Bites Dog" news story supposedly based on the inversion of players. It is recited endlessly by the very same people who have nothing to say against a century of countless massacres of Jewish civilians by Arabs. The church in St. John's Wood in London is just one of many examples of outfits "commemorating" the "victims" of Deir Yassin this week.

Deir Yassin was a not-at-all innocent Arab village sitting near the only road into Jerusalem in 1948. In the previous December, the UN had voted to partition what was left of Madatory Palestine into two states, one a Jewish state and the other an Arab state to be named Palestine, of approximately equal sizes. The Jews of Israel accepted the plan, while the Arab states and the Palestinian Arab leadership rejected it. Had they accepted it, a Palestinian state would have arisen peacefully in 1948.

In response to the UN resolution, Arabs launched attacks against Jews everywhere in the country and in particular placed the city of Jerusalem under siege. The Jewish population of Jerusalem was quite literally starving. The only road into the city passed through the area of Deir Yassin, and the Arab militiamen in the town were stopping all convoys from passing through.

Since Israel had yet to be formally proclaimed, the only Jews doing the fighting were members of three poorly-armed militias. The main one was the Hagana, commanded by David Ben Gurion and the socialist Zionist party. There were two smaller ones operating independently under the command of the dissident "revisionist Zionist" movement, the Etsel and the Lehi.

Poorly-trained irregulars of the two latter militias were ordered to attack Deir Yassin to relieve the siege. They did so in ferocious hand-to-hand fighting, in which some Deir Yassin villagers were killed. The Bash-Israel lobby has always maintained that the villagers were "massacred" in cold blood, despite a distinct lack of evidence.

Those who participated in the battle claim the villagers were killed when the Jewish militiamen fired into homes from which fire was directed at them. The village was successfully taken and the siege of Jerusalem was lifted. Large numbers of Jewish militiamen had been killed in the house-to-house battle for the village. Approximately 100 Arabs in the village died, a number that was later greatly inflated by anti-Jewish propagandists to 250.

Part of the problem was that the mainstream socialist Zionist parties themselves magnified the supposed misbehavior of the two opposition militias in order to discredit them in the coming political contest for control of the emerging Jewish state. This trend has been echoed in recent years, and Deir Yassin has become the "massacre of choice" for anti-Semites trying to prove the Jews are bloodthirsty barbarians. In part these have based their claims on a document by a Hagana officer, one Meir Peil, who was not actually present at the battle but surveyed the village AFTER the fighting was finished. Peil claimed he thought there had been looting and intentional killing of some villagers.

The problem is that Peil is also a left wing radical and not exactly a neutral source. Other less politicized sources tell a different tale. Even some Arab sources confirm that no massacre took place in Deir Yassin.

Meanwhile, a few years back the ZOA issued a new study, Deir Yassin History of a Lie, a 32-page analysis (with 156 footnotes) by ZOA National President Morton A. Klein.

Among other things, the ZOA study shows that the original claim of 254 dead was not based on any actual body count. The number was invented by Mordechai Ra'anan, leader of the Jewish soldiers who fought in Deir Yassin.

He later admitted that the figure was a deliberate exaggeration in order to undermine the morale of the Arab forces, which had launched a war against the Jews in Mandatory Palestine to prevent the establishment of Israel. Other eyewitnesses to the battle estimated that about 100 Arabs had died.

Despite Ra'anan's admission, the figure 254 was circulated by Palestinian Arab leader Hussein Khalidi. His claims about Deir Yassin were the basis for an article in the New York Times claiming a massacre took place--an article that has been widely reprinted and cited as "proof" of the massacre throughout the past 57 years.

Meanwhile, there have been numerous exposes of the lies that have been invented surrounding the battle for Deir Yassin and these have largely discredited the Peil "eyewitness" report.

A massacre did take indeed take place, following the events in Deir Yassin, which had occurred on Friday morning April 9, 1948. On Monday morning, April 13, 1948, an Arab mob, chanting "Deir Yassin", massacred a bus convoy of Jewish doctors and nurses who were headed to Hadassah hospital on Mount Scopus in Jerusalem.

Seventy-eight members of Hadassah's medical staff were murdered in cold blood. Only recently was it revealed that some of the Hadassah nurses had found refuge in the nearby compound of the British consul, only to be turned over to Arabs by the Brits, and the Arabs proceeded to slaughter them in "revenge" for what they thought had occurred at Deir Yassin.

Both sides used the symbol of "Remember Deir Yassin" in 1948 during the war. There were Jews who intimidated Arabs with the slogan and there were Arab commanders who rallied their populace with the same adage. Meanwhile, what has fanned the flames of Deir Yassin has been the United Nations decision to confine more than three million Palestinian Arabs to refugee camps, promising them the "right of return" to Arab villages that no longer exist.

In recent years a group of pro-Arab propagandists in the US have stared holding annual "memorials" for the "victims" of the "massacre" in Deir Yassin. The late Edward Said had been a member and the group includes such people as anti-Semite Norman Finkelstein, Saudi-financed ex-congressman Paul Findlay, and PLO propagandist Hanan Ashwari.

These are people who have never denounced Arab massacres of Jewish children, which were committed not by poorly trained irregulars in the heat of a crucial battle, but by Islamofascist terrorists awash in money and under the direct personal command of the PLO.
Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at
Steven Plaut's blogspot



Please enter your comments here. Thank you
Full name:
Email address: