Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Use of Character Defamation as a Political Tool

A Case Study:

By Nahida the exiled Palestinian

On the 14 December I received this email from Sam S. one of the founders of our local group of "Jews for Peace and Justice".

I am sharing his email with my readership to give people the opportunity to see an example of the dishonourable methods of ad hominem attacks and character assassination, used (in this case against me) to stifle the debate. Pursuing their objectives, they stop at nothing; in this incident, they even try to exploit my personal pain and sorrow for the loss of my late beloved husband as a way to intimidate me into silence. All I can say is that I find their tricks nauseating and sick to the core.

Please read my comment following Sam S. email (Emphasis mine):


From: Sam S.
Date: 14 December 2011 01:20
Subject: Unchallenged Lies
To: Nahida

Dear Nahida,

You will be aware that over the last couple of years I have not been directly involved with the various issues that have lead to an emerging schism between you and certain members of ...... Friends of Palestine. However the review by Gilad Atzmon of David Landy’s book “Jewish Identity & Palestinian Rights – Diaspora Jewish Opposition to Israel”, which appears on “Uprooted Palestinians” leaves me no choice but to speak out.

I refer to the third and fourth sentences of the eighth paragraph, which are as follows:

Admired Palestinian poet and writer Nahida Izatt was also cleansed. This time it was no Israeli or a ‘Zionist’ who barred her from her local Palestinian solidarity group …...

The assertion that you were “cleansed” and “barred” from ...... Friends of Palestine is a blatant lie as you well know. Your consort may have not been allowed to record a meeting which you were unable to attend or certain articles from the Group’s website, to which people have objected, may have been removed while the matter is being investigated. However to twist this into being “cleansed” and “barred” is a total misrepresentation of what happened.

Yet you allow this rubbish on “Uprooted Palestinians”. What in the world has happened to you? Where is the Nahida who for years we all loved and respected as a sincere, sensitive and most levelheaded person? You tell people that Gaza changed you but I find it hard to believe that Gaza has caused you to sink to the depths where you can countenance the appearance of such lies as in the Atzmon review.

I might be tempted to follow your line of reasoning, which claims that Judaism is responsible for the settlers ethnically cleansing the Palestinians, and claim that Islam is responsible for your accepting that which you know to be untrue. But having known “the old Nahida” and Khalid I know this clearly is not the case.

I can only wonder what Khalid would make of all this and wish that he were here to resurrect the Nahida I once knew.


S... S...


Nahida’s comment:

After more than two years of evasion, shunning and ostracism, and after the failure of the defamation and smear campaign used by his consorts, Sam S. pops up on the scene. Not to wish me well or to ask about my health after a major surgery, and not to apologize and show remorse for being heavily involved in causing harm to my family two years ago, but to cause even more hurt and rub more salt on the wound.

With a sinister heartless move, using carefully chosen words and employing emotional manipulation, psychological pressure, and dishonourable use of the memory of my beloved husband Khaled, while knowing fair well the immeasurable amount of pain and hurt that such highly charged, extremely insensitive words would cause, Sam S. ends his letter with: "I can only wonder what Khalid would make of all this and wish that he were here to resurrect the Nahida I once knew".

Being familiar with my private life through my open nature, Sam S. misuses this entrusted knowledge of my deep love and admiration of my late husband Khaled, to psychologically manipulate and pressurize me in order to influence my political views and quieten my voice. By doing so he aims to suppress information which I deem crucial to the success and advancement of our Palestinian cause.

Here is only one example of the appalling consequences of Sam S. and associates' effort to defame and smear my character; hence discredit my research, evident in the blog of his friend and comrade Tony Greenstein:

In Liverpool a Palestinian activist, Nahida, who was once the mainstay of the group, changed almost overnight when she married a sinister Dutchman. Jewish conspiracies took over her life and it was with difficulty that the branch reclaimed its website, which had posted links to her anti-Semitic website (‘Spiders Web’).”

Sam S. uses offensive expressions like: “sink to the depths” and “What in the world has happened to you? Where is the Nahida who for years we all loved and respected as a sincere, sensitive and most levelheaded person?” to try to humiliate, demean, put down and cast shadows over my “current” character. Evading addressing the issues and facts I investigate for two years in my articles, Sam S. chooses to direct his attention and attack to the alleged “change” in my “current” character.

Furthermore, in this loaded paragraph he says: “I might be tempted to follow your line of reasoning, which claims that Judaism is responsible for the settlers ethnically cleansing the Palestinians, and claim that Islam is responsible for your accepting that which you know to be untrue. But having known the old Nahidaand Khalid I know this clearly is not the case.”

What a twisted ploy! Sam S. openly equates my exposure of real racism and supremacy thriving amongst Jewish settlers, with ignorant, racist, hate-filled Islamophobes, and by doing so hopes to subdue me and persuade me to stop exposing such wicked ideology.

The above paragraph represents a clear exposure of the agenda behind their effort; i.e what Sam S. and his circle (including Greg D.) are trying to conceal, namely the link between the atrocious behaviour of the Jewish settlers in Palestine and the supremacist ideology that animates them. In essence, preventing activists from investigating and understanding the deeper motives behind the Zionists crimes.

Moreover, Sam S. omits to mention that his ignominious email is not an innocent and spontaneous response to some thing that he accidentally came across as he wants me to believe, but rather collusion between himself and other members, who following a meeting on 7th December had decided to write a letter to Nahida about “unchallenged lies”.

It has become exceedingly clear to me and many others in the movement that the agenda of those who try to silence me has nothing to do with facts and truths, but rather with a precise agenda that aims to:

1) Conceal the ideology of Jewish-Zionist Supremacists and their highly influential global networks;

2) Suppress the fact that this ideology and networking directly affect Palestine and the Palestinians;

3) Muzzle and discredit people who expose such information;

4) Sideline and alienate individuals who promote the FULL Liberation of Palestine, those who put the welfare of the suffering Palestinian before that of their oppressors, those who endorse the FULL and unconditional reinstatement of Palestinian rights.

For the record:

With regards to that sentence pulled up by Sam S. and his crowd from Gilad Atzmon’s article, and then used as a pretext to write his odious email, by dubbing it “Unchallenged lies”, a bit of clarification is needed:

1) The article in question to is NOT my article. I am not responsible for other people’s writing.

2) Uprooted Palestinians is NOT my website, I am only a contributor there. My personal blog is "Poetry for Palestine".

3) As I understand, Gilad Atzmon wrote that sentence because of his own interpretation of my writing; he thought that I was actively barred from LFoP.

4) As soon as I read Gilad Atzmon's article I contacted him immediately to let him know that his information was not correct, I had not explicitly been barred. Then some time later I sent him an email explaining exactly what happened. A copy of my email to Atzmon is at the end of this letter.

5) When I spoke to Gilad Atzmon, he apologized and told me that this was his misunderstanding.

6) However, while I was indeed not explicitly "barred" from the group, I have been pushed out implicitly, and that is irrefutable and glaring.

To make things worse, being the only Palestinian in this group, I am entitled to consider this eviction as a hypocrites’ version of ethnic cleansing.

I don't think that any person with the slightest sense of dignity and self respect would accept to be part of an organization that has amongst its members people whose tactics include such dishonest, disloyal and dishonourable methods of filtering, defamation of dissenting members, lies, insults, accusations, ad hominem attacks, meddling in private affairs of members, and spread rumours and slander far and wide etc etc. This does not constitute debate, democratic discussion, rebuttal of opinion, open communications, or any of the normal internal dynamics of a group, association or political group. I do not know why would people want to remain part of a group where certain members resort to such methods to impose their position on others to achieve their own dubious agenda, and to make things worse without ever being sanctioned or expelled.

7) In addition, it must be said that the alienation from the group started two years ago. Up until now I refrained from talking about it publicly. Suffice it to say that some members, including Sam S. , subjected my family to high level of psychological manipulation that has caused grave harm and excruciating pain to me and my children, putting an unimaginable strain on my private life.

About four months ago, the alienation was exacerbated when members of the local Jews for Peace and Justice (JPJ) - of which Sam S. is a founding member, tried to coerce me to stop writing about the supremacist ideology that thrives amongst some Jewish Hasidic groups. Instead of contacting me directly to discuss the issue, they cowardly went behind my back to contact a Palestinian Friend, asking him to “have a word” with me to invite me to stop writing about these issues. It appears that I overstepped JPJ’s boundaries of what is “allowed” in their carefully crafted, narrowly defined margin of political discourse. Apparently I have entered an area of truth too uncomfortable to them. Because they project themselves as “anti-racists”, I naively thought I was doing them a favour by bringing this information to their attention, that they would appreciate my efforts to expose such racist ideology.

One month later, the alienation reached its peak with the libellous letter signed Greg D. and Tom B. The subsequent defamatory activities culminated in what practically equated to a “trial” during the 5th October monthly meeting, which was conducted in absentia, where even the most elementary legal right of the accused to defend herself was crudely avoided. My article was removed from the website, and I noticed that even my own blog "Poetry for Palestine" had been simultaneously flagged, causing a WARNING sign to pop up next to my blog's link stating that "The Link to this Website have been removed from some pro-Palestinian Websites, because the content of this Website is highly “controversial”, my advise to all ..."

8) By failing to address any of the facts and solid information that I present in my writing, and using someone else’s misinterpretation as a pretext,
Sam S. and his clique continue their fervent attempts to cover up truths and stifle debate. McCarthyism revisited?This leaves me perplexed as to why they are so desperate to conceal the ideology of Jewish settlers in Palestine. Could it be that one/some of them have some close relatives who are ideological settlers whom they are keen to protect? I wonder!

9) In an attempt to demoralize me by destroying my reputation,
Sam S. spreads rumours about a “change” of my character, hence to debase me and to discredit my views and my writing as coming from an "unstable" character. Instead of acknowledging the truth and addressing the real political and intellectual issues that I raise, Sam S. continues to hide behind the myth he created (the "lost old Nahida", “who for years we all loved and respected as a sincere, sensitive and most levelheaded person?").Sam S. fails to see that the change is a change in my political views, clarified by FACTS not myths, due to the discovery of a whole set of new information along with aggravated circumstances in Palestine. The elucidation and strengthened analysis, reflected in my writing, manifest itself as a more confident, more vigilant, more outspoken, more assertive and more resolute Nahida. These qualities are fully compatible with sincerity, sensitivity and being level-headed.

10) Some of the facts and information that were instrumental in refining my political position were:

  • Having witnessed the atrocities in Gaza, 2009;
  • Observing the intensifying of the murderous actions of the occupiers;
  • Confronted with the incessant creation of facts on the ground, rapid change of the face of Palestine, ever-increasing lies and ever-escalating crimes of the Jewish state;
  • Confronted with the double talk of many "anti-Zionist" groups, it became obvious to me that their aims have nothing to do with Liberation of Palestine, but rather the future security and prosperity of the Jewish state. The main reason of their criticism of “Israel” is out of “love” and loyalty to this criminal entity, they criticise it primarily to protect and help it thrive and survive.
  • Watching with utter horror a displayed exhibition by the local Jews for Peace and Justice group –ironically, during a BDS event- titled Another Israel: Celebrating Israeli voices for peace”, in which a list of Israeli “Peace” groups along with stories of their courage, “great” achievements and impeccable morality were hyped and glorified, giving the impression that most of the “Israeli” society is a humanistic, civilised and moral society... “but too bad it’s run by a corrupt government.”

In conclusion:
Neither “dormant racism”, nor “concealed anti-Semitism”, nor alleged “change of character”, nor the influence of a sinister Dutchman and not even a Flying Dutchman for that matter have anything to do with their malicious claims. It is rather the above facts that have lead to profound transformation in my political views, my assertiveness, my confidence and my vision for the future of Palestine.

I can no longer allow myself be trapped inside the narrow framework drawn by people who do not have the interest of Palestinian people 100% at heart, people who use dishonourable methods to muzzle the debate, people who lack the intellectual integrity to tackle the subjects of concern and shy away from exploring and challenging the serious topics that I investigate, and choose instead smear and character assassination as methods of “intellectual engagement".

In this day and age, racism is finally understood by decent human-beings to be a thing of the past. It is viewed with revulsion and contempt, but when a majority of a society (by their own admission) becomes infected with such ills, then it's up to the decent people of world to rise up and put an end to the twisted ideology that gives rise to such abomination.

When some alleged supporters of Palestine systematically, and by all means possible, insist to deprive us from exposing that rampant racism and supremacy amongst the Israeli-settler-society, they stab Palestine and the Palestinians in the back. For this could be one of our most powerful weapons that would expose and finally bring to an end the horrendous crimes committed by that colonial criminal entity.

All things considered, it appears that these people joined the Palestine Solidarity Movement for an agenda that does not truly correspond to, or entirely represents the hopes and aspirations of Palestinians.

For the sake of the Palestinian people at the brink of annihilation, the sake of a Holy Land almost fully destroyed by sociopathic foreign occupiers, it is not longer acceptable that boundaries of permissible political debate are defined and confined by people whose main concern is to minimise the damage of the occupier by tightening the bolts of debate and by evicting whomever keeps the clear and unalienable vision of Liberation and Justice as the irremediable way to Peace.

Stifling the debate and keeping the gates and minds shut, rather than engaging in honest exploration of FACTS, is a method ultimately beneficial to the Zionist project, and not to Palestine, not to Palestinians, and certainly not to the larger Peace in the Middle-East, since the promoters and fomenters of these endless wars are mainly to be found amidst Jewish-Zionist networks.

A solution involving rewarding criminals for their crimes, perpetuated for almost a century, can no longer be seen as a fair solution.

When the aim is noble, when the intention is honest and when goal is the pursuit of truth and justice; no amount of pressure, intimidation, manipulation or harm; psychological or otherwise will yield any fruit.

What is at stake is Palestine, and for Palestine no effort is too small and no sacrifice is too great.



This is the email that was sent to Gilad atzmon:

From nahida

to Gilad Atzmon

date 14 October 2011 19:21

I must clarify that I haven't been kicked out from .FoP or PSC, but my article have been taken down from LFoP website.

Two years ago, I stopped participating in the activities (but I stayed a member) because some group members engaged in gossip, accusation and rumours against a member of my family ( who had innocently sent an article by Gilad Atzmon to a member of the local Jews for Peace and Justice -not knowing that Gilad was boycotted by .FoP since 2006)

The fact that I was accused of "racism" against the Jews, and those who accused me used lies and glaring misrepresentation of my views, and that .FoP agreed to take down my article, relying on those accusation, I could no longer be part of such organization.

A Second Addendum:

A striking confession comes from no other than the Former Director of National Affairs for the American Jewish Committee, one of the largest and most powerful Jewish organization in America Stephen Steinlight

"I'll confess it, at least: like thousands of other typical Jewish kids of my generation, I was reared as a Jewish nationalist, even a quasi-separatist. Every summer for two months for 10 formative years during my childhood and adolescence I attended Jewish summer camp.

There, each morning, I saluted a foreign flag, dressed in a uniform reflecting its colors, sang a foreign national anthem, learned a foreign language, learned foreign folk songs and dances, and was taught that Israel was the true homeland.

Emigration to Israel was considered the highest virtue, and, like many other Jewish teens of my generation, I spent two summers working in Israel on a collective farm while I contemplated that possibility.
More tacitly and subconsciously, I was taught the superiority of my people to the gentiles who had oppressed us. We were taught to view non-Jews as untrustworthy outsiders, people from whom sudden gusts of hatred might be anticipated, people less sensitive, intelligent, and moral than ourselves. We were also taught that the lesson of our dark history is that we could rely on no one


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