by Bruce S. Thornton
In Gaza the fighting between Fatah and Hamas has escalated to the point of all-out civil war, replete with dead women and children, kneecapping, and handcuffed prisoners thrown from roofs. Meanwhile in Lebanon, the Lebanese army continues to shell a Palestinian refugee camp, with who knows how many civilian deaths. Arab is killing Arab, Muslim is killing Muslim, and the world basically is shrugging its shoulders.
How different from the intense media attention and the U.N.’s hysteria over Israel’s attempt to root out terrorists in Lebanon last summer. This obscene double standard that strains out the gnat of Israeli self-defense while swallowing numerous camels of Muslim-on-Muslim violence cries out for explanation.
Certainly the scale of alleged Israeli crimes can’t justify fifty years of international hatred and calumny. Since World War II, some 25 million people have died in various conflicts, only 8,000 as a result of Israel’s attempts to ward off a chronic existential threat. In the last decade the slaughter in Sudan has claimed 250,000 lives, a brutal war of extermination with a religious and racist subtext that usually sends “progressives” into fits of righteous indignation. And of course the current mayhem in Iraq, where Muslims are blowing up, torturing, and mutilating fellow Muslims, dwarfs even the lurid lies about Israel’s behavior regularly circulated among Western liberals and leftists. Yet the supposedly new and improved U.N. Human Rights Council, like its predecessor the discredited Human Right Commission, last year voted to make a review of supposed Israeli “human rights abuses” a permanent activity of every session. Unsurprisingly, in its first year the Council has issued twelve resolutions: nine condemnations of Israel, and three non-condemnatory resolutions on Sudan.
Objective assessments of Israel’s misdeeds, then, cannot explain the double standard that vilifies a tiny country’s attempt to survive the attacks of enemies sworn to its destruction. Larger cultural dysfunctions are at work, not least being the corrupt Western media. The major print and television media are filled for the most part with self-styled champions of “social justice,” crusaders not for the truth but for “progressive” ideologies in turn based on incoherent ideals and sheer ignorance of history. Their minds shaped by sentimental Third-Worldism, Marxist demonizations of “colonialism” and “imperialism,” and arrogance about their own moral superiority, many Western reporters are easily turned into the chumps and shills of corrupt Arab regimes and Muslim jihadists. The Palestinian Arabs in particular have brilliantly exploited the useful idiots of the media to construct the narrative of brutal Israeli “occupation” of the Palestinian “homeland,” as documented by Richard Landes and Pierre Rehov, who have exposed the numerous blatant fabrications eagerly swallowed as fact by the media, such as the Jenin “massacre” or the killing of the boy Muhammad Al Durah by Israeli soldiers.
This irrational hatred of Israel on the part of many Westerners is dangerous and short-sighted, as is the failure to understand the true roots of Muslim hatred of the Jewish state. For the modern jihad against the West did not start on 9/11, or even in 1979 with the Iranian revolution. Its first major campaign took place in 1948 when the Arab states ignored a U.N. resolution and attacked a U.N. member state. As significant as this rejection of the Western-crafted international order was, the response of the West — leaving Israel to sink or swim — was even more important. By sitting on the sidelines while a Western democracy battled for its life, the West sent a message: that it would not intervene to protect a cultural brother and a legitimate state when attacked by autocracies and religious fanatics.
The failure to destroy Israel militarily two more times led to other tactics — disinformation, propaganda, phony negotiations, and especially terrorism. And once again, the Western flabby response emboldened the Muslim view of Western decadence and weakness. Suddenly Palestinian “national aspirations” become the rationale for murdering Israelis, even though historically there is no such thing as a distinct Palestinian people. Shrewdly recognizing the West’s media-fed obsession with suffering, the Arabs masterfully generate telegenic images that divorce reality from any moral and historical context. Understanding the West’s Enlightenment fantasy of conflict resolution through discussion and “agreements,” the Palestinian Arabs play that game too, attending conferences and summits, issuing proclamations and “frameworks,” and signing various “accords” that they have no intention of honoring. Knowing that the West is infected with cultural self-loathing and guilt, they play the race card, the colonialism card, or the imperialism card as trumps more powerful even than historical fact or responsibility for the conditions they decry. And convinced that a secular West believes in nothing other than material comfort and security, they unleash terrorism as the ultimate demonstration of their own passionate commitment to their ideals, and of the West’s spiritual bankruptcy.
All these tactics first perfected in the jihad against Israel are being used in the other theaters of the war against the West. Yet we still persist in believing that the assault on Israel is a conflict distinct from jihad, or that jihadist terrorism is created by that conflict and would disappear if it were resolved, or that “moderates” like Mahmoud Abbas genuinely accept Israel’s existence and will peacefully coexist with a nation of despised former dhimmi if only the Palestinians get their own state — all this despite the absence of any empirical evidence from the last fifty years that could support these fantasies.
Meanwhile the U.S. Secretary of State scampers around the Middle East pursing the chimera of the “two-state” solution via “frameworks” and “road maps,” Israel is pressured to show “restraint” in the face of violence, and U.S. tax dollars are sent to Fatah, in the weird belief that it makes sense to help Fatah, who believe Israel should be destroyed in “phases,” prevail over Hamas, who believe Israel should be destroyed right now. In other words, we continue to validate the jihadists’ estimation of our gullibility and weakness, which in turn convinces them that they can win and so should fight on. Why shouldn’t they? After all, they’ve been fighting Israel for over fifty years, and have been rewarded with the Sinai and Gaza. Why wouldn’t they think Al-Andalus is next?
©2007 Bruce Thornton