War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israel shoots Palestinian children “like a video game”.

War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israelis shoot Palestinian children "like a video game" (guardian.co.uk)

War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israelis shoot Palestinian children "like a video game" (guardian.co.uk)

The film of War Horse, adapted from the novel by Michael Morpurgo, has just been released in the UK, but as well as horses being killed on screen there is something else for filmgoers to cry into their popcorn over. Morpurgo is happy to repeat vicious lies about Israel without seeming to bother checking facts.

Last February Morpurgo was given the honour of reciting the Richard Dimbleby lecture, which has been delivered by an influential figure every year since 1972, and he chose to speak on the lack of childrens’ rights around the world. He pointed out that 8 million children a year die before the age of 5. As he said, “that’s a holocaust of children every year”. He also mentioned that “69 million children never go to school” and that “3.5 million children in our own country are still mired in poverty”.

Most of those 8 million children die from AIDS, war, malaria, malnutrition and other diseases in Africa. But Morpurgo failed to say anything about that instead choosing to spend a large portion of this high profile speech on the darlings of the left, the Palestinians, and invoking the modern day version of the anti-Semitic blood libel. He relied on statements of those with an anti-Israel agenda.

He said he went to Jordan 10 years ago and met Jordanian children “about eighty per cent of whom are Palestinian refugees”. They are not refugees by any normal definition, but are simply born and bred Jordanians.

He mentioned a teenage girl who said:

“I want to tell you something real and true. My family lives here in Jordan, but I do not belong here. I belong in Palestine. It is my home but I can’t live there because it is occupied.”

Obviously, her “Palestine” means Israel and this was a call for the destruction of the Jewish state with its hidden aspiration for all Palestinians to head for Israel and turn it into another Arab state.

Morpurgo soon mentioned Gaza and repeated Israel-hating Amnesty International’s figure that 300 children were killed during Operation Cast Lead. But Amnesty and the United Nations class a child as being “under 18″. So a 17 year old Hamas fighter pointing a gun at an Israeli soldier being shot dead in self-defence is classed as “a child”.

Morpurgo also gave the impression that from the moment he entered Gaza to the moment he exited it two days later that the Israelis were hell-bent on killing Palestinian children.

No sooner did he enter Gaza when:

“Halfway down I heard the sound of a shot being fired – it sounded to a country boy like me as if someone was shooting rabbits. All around young Palestinian boys were racing around on their donkeys and carts whooping and shrieking. I had no idea what they were doing at the time. I was in another world. I didn’t know who was doing the shooting. In this other world I went the next day to visit a hospital for malnourished babies and then on to a project for blind children.”

On his way out of Gaza he described how “earlier that morning, before I got there it seems, some of the scavengers had ventured too close to the wall and had been fired at and wounded”, and while he was waiting to leave:

“It was then I heard shots, then screaming, saw the kids running to help their wounded friends. Now I really was outside the comfort zone of fiction. A doctor from Medicins sans Frontieres, waiting there with me, told me that the shots were probably not fired by marksmen from the watchtowers on the wall, but that these scavengers were sometimes targeted, remotely, electronically from Tel Aviv, which was miles away – ‘Spot and Strike,’ they call it. Like a video game – a virtual shooting. I don’t know if these claims are true but I do know the shots were real, there was blood, the boy’s trousers were soaked in it, the bullets were real. I saw him close to, saw his agony as the cart rushed by me.”

So there you have it, the modern day reincarnation of the anti-Semitic blood libel. In the old days this involved the accusation that Jews abducted and slaughtered non-Jewish children and used their blood in religious rituals. Nowadays it is Israelis, or Jewish Israelis to be more precise, who, allegedly, just kill them “like a video game”.

Morpurgo admitted that he didn’t know if the claims by a doctor from Medicins sans Frontieres that the shots came remotely from Tel Aviv were true, but he made them anyway. For Morpurgo it doesn’t matter because it sounds like a wonderfully sad story, which he is in the business of telling.

Morpurgo did make a weak attempt at partiality with the following:

“I know Hamas rockets had been landing in Israel for a very long time and that Israeli children have been dying there too. And I know it is absolutely the right of every nation to defend itself.So most certainly the Israelis have had their reasons. But I’m sure that most of them believe as we all do that a child’s life in particular is precious, any child’s life. Yet Palestinian children died. Collateral damage, some might call it.”

He mentioned his visit to a village where “Arab and Jewish children play together and learn together”, but this mention of “Jewish children” should raise alarm bells. Why were the Israeli children described by him in terms of their religion and not their nationality, unlike the Arab children?

But if Morpurgo was really concerned about the rights of Palestinian children he would have highlighted the child abuse prevalent in Palestinian society where children are used as human shields by Hamas, where Hamas destroys childrens’ summer camps in Gaza and where television programmes are regularly aired by the Palestinian Authority on which children claim a desire to grow up to become martyrs.

Instead he chose to believe the propaganda of those who have their own financial interests in spreading lies about Israel and his words should have been prefaced with the following announcement:

“No facts were checked in the making of this speech”.

What a waste of an important speech last February. Instead of bravely speaking up for Palestinian children like he could have, Michael Morpurgo probably only succeeded in adding a little more hatred of Jews into the world.

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28 responses to “War Horse writer Michael Morpurgo: Israel shoots Palestinian children “like a video game”.

  1. Michael cohen

    I wonder what Spielberg thinks of Morpurgo’s Israel rants

  2. I remember that covered in the BBC. My impression of him was of a naïve who trusts the wrong people.

  3. He mentioned his visit to a village where “Arab and Jewish children play together and learn together”, but this mention of “Jewish children” should raise alarm bells. Why were the Israeli children described by him in terms of their religion and not their nationality, unlike the Arab children?

    You’re just too funny. It’s Israel that insists on it being a ‘JEWISH state’, that its ‘JEWISH character is maintained and that does everything possible to keep ‘Israeli JEWS’ the majority. This is precisely also what what you think allows anyone to label any criticism of Israel as antisemitic! So why on earth, should this guy NOT call these kids ‘JEWISH children’?!?!?

    “I want to tell you something real and true. My family lives here in Jordan, but I do not belong here. I belong in Palestine. It is my home but I can’t live there because it is occupied.”

    If that kid doesn’t belong in Palestine, then neither do you. When’s Israel gonna find her next cache of Russian ‘Jews’, huh? Or Peruvian converts, perhaps?

    Morpurgo soon mentioned Gaza and repeated Israel-hating Amnesty International’s figure that 300 children were killed during Operation Cast Lead. But Amnesty and the United Nations class a child as being “under 18″. So a 17 [blahdiblahdiblah…]

    But what about the dead toddlers, Ricky, you gonna blame their deaths on Hamas too? Go on, Dr Strangelove, I wanna see you write it.
    G-d, Richard, you’re such a muddlebrain… Chickensh*tzios, the funniest of all of them…

  4. “He mentioned his visit to a village where “Arab and Jewish children play together and learn together”, but this mention of “Jewish children” should raise alarm bells. Why were the Israeli children described by him in terms of their religion and not their nationality, unlike the Arab children?”

    Richard, how should he have phrased it? Both the Arabs and the Jewish children were Israeli citizens, so I can’t think of another way he could have phrased it. I might be missing something, though. It’s been a long day.

    That said, Michael Morpurgo sounds like a tosspot. “Like a video game – a virtual shooting. I don’t know if these claims are true…” No, but just repeat the allegation anyway, why don’t you?

  5. Gosh Richard, how do you do this? Like the Jew behind the tree there is a Jew hater under every stone!

  6. As a children’s writer, I met Michael Morpurgo some years ago at a conference in Eire. He is a very friendly person, but in my view also somewhat naive. I think he is easily convinced by those with good PR, and that is where the PA Authority and Hamas score over Israel. Sadly, that country is too embroiled with its infighting between REAL Israelis and the ultra orthodox who prefer to live in the year 2000BC. As for the loathsome Neturei Karta……..

    • BUT… none of them threaten Genocide:

      http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=452&fld_id=452&doc_id=6099

    • Hi Brian,

      I’m quite certain that you are an exceptional children’s writer – as you have displayed an uncanny knack of turning a complex social dialogue that is taking place in the Middle East’s only true democracy amidst a plurality of legitimate though differing viewpoints, over what are often existential issues concerning the future of Israel and its people into a highly condensed two-character “goodies against baddies” tale.

      I’m have no doubt that your readers are on tenterhooks to know who will emerge victorious; the “real Israel” or the ” loathsome Neturei Karta”. Any hints?

      • I think,in the end, the REAL Israelis will win, and I include those Arabs, especially the Bedouin, who serve in the IDF.Are you aware that one of the top IDF officers IS a Bedouin? I remember treking from North wales to London for a mass rally in Trafalgar Square in support of Israel, where Netanyahu was the principle speaker, Hundreds of Israel-supporting Christian groups were there. Then I saw the Neturei Karta slimes, walking in procession to join the pro-Palestinian group, carrying banners denying the right of Israel to exist. I’m all for differing views, but when those living, and getting their income, in Israel decry its existence, I am very, very angry.
        Aren’t you???

      • No, I’m not angered by that. I guess I’ve lived too long and seen too much. Neither am I angry that Arab members of the Knesset want Israel to cease to be a Jewish state and I’m not even angry to read how many young “REAL” Israelis would prefer to be “REAL” Americans if they could only get “REAL” a green card.

        I’m not angry at the number of “REAL” Anglo Jewish Zionists who have no intention of living here and sharing in any of the responsibilities of maintaining a Jewish State, but forever have advice to offer us from Left or Right.

        However, while not angry I am a little upset to talk to brothers who seem to have an understanding of what democracy and free speech mean that is different to mine, especially those who begin a sentence with, “I’m all for differing views, but…..”

        Brian, a democrat is not judged by his ability to tolerate views that he agrees with or sees as being as legitimate as his own. It’s our facility to listen to those that anger us that defines us. Needless to say, an individual’s freedom of expression should not be dependent on where he is “getting his income”.

        PS
        Who is this “top IDF officer” to whom you refer? Last year we all celebrated when a Bedouin junior officer from Rahat became the battalion commander of his basically Bedouin battalion.

      • I understood from Sarah Honig’s last blog post that Neturei Karta don’t take money which for me begs the question who finances them? Do they work?

        http://sarahhonig.com/2012/01/12/another-tack-losing-proportions/

  7. Rich off topic
    Out of interest, how come you allow Gert the opportunity to post here . A fascist who sucks at the Greenstein teat should be kicked off the site forthwith .

    • Gert posting here reveals how these people support genocide – they are gullible and spew out the propaganda fed to them by the allies of the Nazis who have taken over where their friends in crime left off. We need to know they exist and how they think so we can urge governments to wake up across the West. In case you missed it:
      http://palwatch.org/main.aspx?fi=452&fld_id=452&doc_id=6099

  8. Here I concur fully with Sharon. While I basically acknowledge that Gert has earned all of Harvey’s scorn, I do not think he should be “kicked off” this excellent blog. Furthermore, I say that as a commentator who was banned from Gert”s blog only last week:

    http://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=11234003&postID=883425422224044826

    On the face of it I should have every reason to want revenge for the terrible humiliation of being banished from what is probably the loneliest and least read blog on the net, however, I must sacrifice my own selfish ego for the greater good, and no greater good could be done to the Zionist cause than what is done daily by the Gerts of this world, indeed, if he didn’t exist, we’d have to invent him.

    Gert can hardly open his mouth without putting his foot in it. When I first met him he was under the impression that Jaffa is in occupied territories. He later challenged Richard to explain why ever growing numbers of Israelis are shouting “Arabs to the Ovens” a rumor he picked up from Tony Greenstein who had borrowed it from Fidel Castro, of all people. Only last week he accused me of “kettling up” the Palestinians and I could go on. Oh did I mention that a few weeks ago on an excellent posting by Tony Greenstein remembering his recently deceased father Gert thought it pertinent to discuss the size of “little Gert”? If you don’t believe me, follow the link:

    http://azvsas.blogspot.com/2011/12/death-of-my-rabbi-father-solomon.html?showComment=1324752705647#c1935143256432600790

    The Gerts are our best hasbara tool and any Zionist or friend of Israel should do all he can to encourage them to write regularly and on as many sites as possible. To screw up another cliche:

    Because Gert disagrees categorically with everything that I say, I shall defend with my life his right to do so. – Apologies to François-Marie Arouet.

    • Gert not only banished you Daniel – he censored you and edited your comment.

      I tried to improve on your above comment by finding a working permalink for the banishing and censoring edict but Gert seems to have done away with those – how scared he must be of you – thus one has to scroll all the way down or Ctrl-F for banished to find his ruling.

      The honour, the honour

      But while looking I found that Gert now seems to think about establishing a translating service – good luck to him – when I was still working translating services available from the UK were the best and the most cut-throat imaginable more or less world-wide and not for English alone – he really must consider himself to be first-rate to even think he might find paying customers. I like his naming it Oxford though – nothing to give respectability than Oxford – much more seductive than Bridlington.

      http://oxfordtranslationservices.blogspot.com/

      Gert seems to have a little fixation with his best part – it is now several times that he has informed me that he is leaking from there.

  9. Pingback: MICHAEL MORPURGO AUTHOR OF “WAR HORSE” ….ACCUSES ISRAEL OF SHOOTING PALARAB KIDS LIKE A VIDEO GAME IN HIS BLOG | RUTHFULLY YOURS

  10. I don’t understand ping back
    Who is ruthfully yours ? . I swear I don’t know of any Ruth and certainly not in the fully sense of the word .

  11. According to Bill Bryson the full sense of the word ruth might be merciful or compassionate. Though this word no longer exists in modern English, we can reach this hypothesis by asking what the opposite of the adjective “ruthless” would be.

  12. I think Richard Millett has been less than fair to Morpurgo. Yes, the passages quoted above irritate pro-Israel sensibilities but reading the entire lecture, one is taken by Morpurgo’s evident concern for all children and by his hopes for a fulfilment of the story he wrote about an Arab boy sending kites with messages of peace written on them that are picked up by an Israeli girl in a wheelchair.

    As he himself puts it “Sentimental clap-trap, I hear you thinking. Maybe, or rather a hope that a new generation will one day rise above the prejudice and suspicion, hurt and hatred – as has happened in Europe, in South Africa, in Ireland, and now only days ago in Egypt. Each a process of reconciliation that’s still ongoing, of course. It is the children of today, yesterday and tomorrow who will do this also in Israel and Palestine, given half a chance.”

    He may be naive, he may have little or no knowledge of and only the most superficial understanding of the Israel- Palestinian conflict, but he is not the enemy and his lecture does not warrant Millett’s attack on it.

    http://www.michaelmorpurgo.com/news/read-michaels-dimbleby-lectur/

    • Glad you agree with my comment that Michael IS naive. Sadly that is the problem as he was manipulated by Hamas when he visited Gaza, and never saw the new shopping malls, the five star hotels, the food stalls. Hamas has deliberately kept some destroyed buildings to ‘show’ visitors how they suffer. I read his book about the kite, but it WAS slanted towards the Palestinians.As for the Arab Spring bringing a change! Christians murdered in Egypt, Iraq. Ongoing progrom in the West bank to force them to leave. Already tribal violence in Tobruk, and potential civil war in Iraq, and so on and so on. Michael could, and should, have drawn attention to the use of children as suicide bombers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

      • Michael’s naivete – it is no excuse for bad reporting especially when one is so well known that mere mortals never doubt what they read/see/hear from such famous people. It is the duty of anybody who takes on the mantle of reporting either via the media or via the arts, to ensure that they research from source material, that they analyse with wisdom and the tell only the truth. If they cannot work according to this high standard then they should retire to a job that doesn’t influence others – gardening, flower arranging or box packing can be recommended for those with an ill will to spend time researching properly.

        Adverse influence either by default (naivete) or by design (race hate/extreme ideology) is called propaganda and it is very dangerous. Its time the naive/ignorant/stupid/evil of this world took full responsibility for their actions.

      • And we see here how Hamas, voted as leader of the Palestinians and as part of the broader Islamic movement, uses this non arms carrying form of Jihad to achieve its goal – non arms carrying of course being the service of useful idiots like Michael, for naive or not as the case may be, he serves their purpose:
        Hamas Charter – Yale University Avelon Project:
        Article 30:
        “… Jihad is not confined to the carrying of arms and the confrontation of the enemy. The effective word, the good article, the useful book, support and solidarity – together with the presence of sincere purpose for the hoisting of Allah’s banner higher and higher – all these are elements of the Jihad for Allah’s sake.

        “Whosoever mobilises a fighter for the sake of Allah is himself a fighter. Whosoever supports the relatives of a fighter, he himself is a fighter.” (related by al-Bukhari, Moslem, Abu-Dawood and al-Tarmadhi)….”

        Perhaps those who know Michael can refer him to this website (if he hasn’t already started reading this excellent blog) where he can start his journey out of naivete:
        http://avalon.law.yale.edu/20th_century/hamas.asp

  13. Why were the Israeli children described by him in terms of their religion and not their nationality, unlike the Arab children?

    Err … because their ethnicity is Jewish?

    FCOL, you are not one of those halfwits who can’t get their head around the simple fact that Jewishness is a religion but also a nationality or ethnicity, are you?

    As to Murpurgo: oh, great … yet another hate-filled leftie bastard to boycott.

  14. If that kid doesn’t belong in Palestine, then neither do you

    Other than the fact that there isn’t such a place as ‘Palestine’, dumbo.

  15. Brian, a democrat is not judged by his ability to tolerate views that he agrees with or sees as being as legitimate as his own. It’s our facility to listen to those that anger us that defines us.

    What nonsense, and complete logic failure (hint: you are conflating ‘agree’ in one clause with ‘listen’ in the next). One can support the NK’s freedom of speech, while hating them or being angry with them. Nowhere did Brian suggest that they should be censored.

    • Thanks “Leah”, but actually my conversation was with Brian.

      I support your freedom of speech too, but that is not to say that I have any wish to enter into a dialogue with you.

      Have a great week!

    • Thanks,Leah, for your comment. Of course I don’t mind ideas, contrary to my own, from being aired.That is REAL democracy, which Michael Morpurgo will not find in any Muslim country. I repeat my view that-sadly- the man is very naive and easily brain washed. Similarly I do not agree with all that happens in Israel, notably the rising (dangerous) power of the ultra-orthodox that seeming condones spitting on eight year old girls. It is my belief that if Israel falls, it will be the enemy within-secular v ultra religious, that is the cause.

  16. I am very happy that Holocaust denial has been and still is a criminal offense in Germany. As nice as this ideal of unlimited freedom of expression sounds in theory, in practice it has many loopholes by which defense is possible. A bit more openness about what the applied weaponry in the field is might be beneficial instead of this constant upholding of ideals which at closer scrutiny aren’t as ideal as they seem at first glance.

    Whether the direct approach Germany has chosen is pointing in the right direction is for experts to debate but this constant accusing Israel of this or that violation and thereby losing her right to being called a democracy that I have witnessed over the years and which I by now call freedom-of-speech-fundamentalism isn’t ideal either.

    sorry the English Wikipedia is still blackened
    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gesetze_gegen_Holocaustleugnung