B’Tselem Sticking by Staffer Accused of Holocaust Denial

Gonzo journalist challenges Israeli NGO to sue for libel

September 8, 2014

Left-wing Israeli activist group B’Tselem is standing by a staffer who allegedly called the Holocaust a "lie" while taking a journalist on a tour of the West Bank, claiming the comments were taken out of context.

However, the reporter who filmed the remarks said the footage clearly shows the staffer denying the Holocaust—and challenged B’Tselem to sue him if they want to dispute it.

B’Tselem researcher Atef Abu-Alrub reportedly told undercover gonzo reporter Tuvia Tenenbom that the Holocaust "is a lie. I don’t believe it," during a visit to the Bedouin village Khirbet Al-Makhul.

At the time, Tenenbom was posing as a left-wing German reporter named "Tobi" for his book Catch the Jew, which was released last week in Israel.

B’Tselem, an Israeli NGO, often takes journalists on tours of the West Bank to show them alleged human rights violations committed by the Israelis against Palestinians.

While the remarks about the Holocaust were captured on video, which has been aired in part by Israel’s Channel 2, a spokesperson for B’Tselem said the group "addressed the matter with Atef, who categorically denies the accusations and states that it is a falsehood and a misrepresentation of the interaction, designed to damage B'Tselem."

"Atef stated that he was translating a conversation between the Palestinian resident and the author, and B'Tselem should be given the full footage from the entire interview, which will prove the claims against him are lies," said spokesperson Sarit Michaeli.

"B'Tselem asked Channel 2 for the full footage and was refused. The release of only a short fragment of a long interview, and the refusal to make the rest of the footage available, raises deep suspicions and places the onus of proof on Channel 2 and the author."

Tenenbom, whose new book and upcoming documentary skewers and mocks human rights activists working in the Palestinian territories, said the spokesperson for B’Tselem "must have been on an [extra] dose of whisky to write this gibberish."

"If B’tselem really stands behind the words given to you, I challenge them to go to court and sue all of us for libel," said Tenenbom.

He said Channel 2 was given the entire tape, which went through the network’s fact-checking process before the segment aired.

Tenenbom said in the full footage, "Atef continues his holocaust denial by faulting the media for coming up with this story," and said it will be included in a Swiss documentary Tenenbom: The Movie, which is slated for release later this year.

"Let them sue. It will be fun," he added.

Meanwhile, Abu-Alrub vehemently denied that he questioned the Holocaust.

"The genocide that the Nazis committed against the Jews, is an indisputable fact that only an ignorant or insane man would contradict," he said in a statement sent to the Free Beacon by B’Tselem. "I am neither, and I have no shred of a doubt that what happened to the Jewish people is a despicable crime that any human being must condemn."

Published under: Israel