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Putting a "Blood Libel" to Rest By: Steven Plaut
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, September 20, 2004

If you have been following the crackpot press these past couple of years, and by that I mean the assorted neo-Nazi web sites, white supremacy magazines, and the “anarchist” and anti-globalization “alternative” commie press, you will know that they have been filled with nutty conspiracy theories about how Israelis were somehow involved in 9/11.

Naturally, the Islamofascist crowd adopted these “theories.” Their “proof” was that a handful of Israelis working as moving men got themselves arrested under what the police at first thought were suspicious circumstances. This, asserted the lobotomy candidates, proved that the Mossad or other Jewish cabals were really behind 9/11 and not those 19 Arabs who actually carried out the atrocities. The standards of proofs and methodologies of evidence behind these “theories” might have made Barry Chamish proud.

Now, the four Israelis at the center of the incident are taking action to put these scurrilous rumors to rest.

In a statement dated September 14, the Israelis announced they have filed a law suit against the Department of Justice in the United States District Court in New York, alleging that law enforcement officers and officials of the Bureau of Prisons unlawfully incarcerated them for an extended period of time and violated their civil rights during their more than two month imprisonment in the Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) in 2001. The four plaintiffs claim that they were held incommunicado without access to attorneys or family, subjected to rough interrogations, physically assaulted, deprived of sleep and subjected to racists taunting by guards. The law suit seeks millions of dollars in compensation.

The Israelis say they were working for a New Jersey moving company when their truck was stopped by police near the George WashingtonBridge. When it was discovered that they possessed foreign drivers licenses, the nervous officers placed them under arrest as suspects in the 9/11 terrorist attacks. They were than handed over to federal agents for weeks of interrogation.

It was this arrest that got the conspiracy theorists in the Arab and Islamic world going, spreading reports that was behind the terrorist atrocities. Islamic and neo-Nazi groups pointed to the arrests of the Israelis as “proof” that the Mossad and Israel had perpetrated the attack on the World Trade Center. Hate groups around the world posted hundreds of stories centering on the arrests of the Israelis and their alleged role in the 9/11 attacks.

Eventually, the US Department of Justice came out of the closet and put an end to all the fruitcake anti-Semitic conspiracy nonsense But the fact that the four were eventually cleared of all suspicions and released did not put the libels to rest, and stories about the Israelis are still regularly appearing on the internet.

American human rights groups have also charged that the Bureau of Prisons violated the civil liberties of those detained by the United States following 9/11. And following an internal investigation the Department of Justice released a report in June, 2003, which, in part, found: “the evidence indicates a pattern of physical and verbal abuse by some correctional officers at the MDC against some September 11 detainees, particularly during the first months after the attack.”

But perhaps the last word should go to the plaintiffs’ Israeli counsel, Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, who goes to the heart of the law suit’s greater meaning. According to Leitner: “The infamous arrest of these young Israelis on 9/11 has been used by anti-Semites worldwide as ‘proof’ of Israel’s involvement in the World Trade Center attack. Our clients are seeking compensation for the harm they suffered in the MDC by prison officials. In addition, the law suit will serve as an important forum to debunk the lie that Israel or the Mossad was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It will show that there was no Jewish conspiracy as the Arab world continues to claim and put an end to this racist blood libel.”

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 www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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