Thursday, August 23, 2012

On Hypocrites and Double Standards

Ben Dror Yemini comments on the "near lynching" that took place in Jerusalem  a few days ago and on the reaction of the Left:

Had a lynching been committed against a Jew inside an Arab village in Israel – as happened a few days ago in centre of Jerusalem – all hell would have broken loose. And rightly so. So even if we are speaking of an aberration rather than the norm, we are talking shame and ignominy here.

The lynching that only miraculously did not end in the young man’s death, exposes what we have already known. There are wild weeds. This was not just born today. Such incidents of attacks on Arabs for no other reason than they are Arabs, happen once every one or two years. Similar incidents have taken place  in the distant past. It’s hard to stamp out these weeds. The fact every society and every nation have them should not serve as mitigation or comfort.

Why do such things occur? Some people say it’s the result of incitement. One venerable professor, an Israel Prize winner, even managed to connect the lynching with the decision to deny Adar Cohen tenure*. This is from the academic, who ostensibly encourages understanding among the peoples. It is possible to bring up valid and serious claims. Let’s ask the Prof then: What’s the connection? Ugly occurrences took place on the shift of every minister of education; such incidents take place not only in Jerusalem but in Stockholm and Oslo, too.

If we apply the professor’s logic, that these boys are the product of the educational system then Cohen failed. But there is no connection. Bigotry, to our shame, is a disease of every society. It must be fought. It is doubtful whether it can be defeated. Incitement, as far as it exists, plays a role. But those who are screaming now about incitement are exactly the same people who remain mute and blind to any  expression of incitement on the Palestinian side.

Palestinian Media Watch posts daily reports on the unremitting  incitement. The Pavlovian reaction from the camp of the enlightened  designates it a “Right wing” organization. That is, the problem is not the incitement but its exposure to the public eye. When on the Israeli side there is hardly a hundredth of what is happening on the Palestinian side, they holler and howl across the world that Israel’s democracy is collapsing and racism prevails everywhere.

So we need to put some order in this madness.

There are ugly incidents in our cities that must be eradicated from the root. The fact that much worse actions occur on the other side does not provide us with an umbrella of justification or a discount on responsibility. Racism is racism and incitement is incitement and they lead to nasty manifestations. Every political camp has its vicious marginal extremes. This does not mean we write off the entire camp for these extreme minorities.  It is possible to have a Rightist position without hating Arabs. It is possible to have Leftist positions without hating Israel.

The following story illustrates my point: In 1947, before the declaration of Israel’s statehood, an incident took place at exactly the same spot as this one, the corner of Jaffa and Ben Yehuda streets. A group of kids just out of school encountered two Arabs, “one young, the other old” and treated them with “distinct crudeness”, including “coarse provocation” and bodily injury. An eye witness to the incident was Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the spiritual leader of national Zionism in general and the settler movement in particular. He saw what happened and later published a scathing letter to the principal of the school these kids attended. He specified that “not everyone was complicit in the deed … some [of the kids] protested against it”, but the letter was severe and sharply-worded.

“I was pained and ashamed … The reality of the incident upset and offended me and forces me to alert you to the need to pay special and intense attention to prevent such incidents in future. From a moral aspect instructed in the Torah and from the practical aspect of good social and national politics. We need to educate for  peaceful manners and neighbourly relationship”. There is a double message being made, simultaneously moral and political. We should not learn everything the Rabbi had to teach but this letter should be taught in school, in the subject of civics.


There is no Israeli leader who has not condemned this assault with explicit disgust and vehemence. The culprits have already been apprehended and will face the full force of the law. This is, as the aforementioned rabbi stated, a matter both of moral and national concern.

Still, Israel's defamers are celebrating this event. Consider how Prof. AbuKhalil typically represents this incident:

"Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Even when Israel commits massacres and lynches Arabs, it is humane

I have lived in the US since 1983.  I know the Western media and their standards pretty well.  Whenever Israeli commits a massacre or whenever a group of Israelis lynch Arabs, I expect to wake up the next day with a story about "soul-searhcing" in Israel, unfailingly.  The New York Times, like the rest of the Western press, did not report on the lynching of Arabs, but it reports about the "arrest" of the Israeli youth on the front page, thereby leaving readers with the impression not that Israelis habitually lynch Arabs, but that Israel habitually punishes attackers.  Oh, the soul-searching phrase appeared in the New York Times as in:  "adding to the soul-searching..."

To re-cap:  "The New York Times, like the rest of the Western press, did not report on the lynching of Arabs, but it reports about the "arrest" of the Israeli youth on the front page,"
If you read only our Angry friend's missive you would be left with the following impressions:
That a massacre / lynch  took place by the Israeli authorities against Arabs.
That the arrest of the bullies who attacked the young Arab man is just pretended, a fraud, to deceive the gullible Western  press into believing Israel is state of law and order.
That the Western press did not report on the incident itself .

As usual, all of these allegations are easily debunked. Just google "Lynching" and "Jerusalem" and you will get about 1990 entries on the subject
A violent incident took place. One young Arab boy was nearly beaten to death. The Israeli press is full of articles of any type on this incident: reports, condemnations, self-flagellation, editorials. 

Compare this with AbuKhalil's record.Try searching for the name "Fogel" on his "News Service". This is what you'll get.. 

If you search for Itamar, this is what you'll get. Another thinly veiled slander that the murders were actually not perpetrated by Palestinians and only serve as a pretext to harass Palestinians.

I'm wondering whether this is acceptable to an American University as proper academic conduct and ethics. Seems to me the professor is spending all this time blogging about what he considers "news", when he  should be teaching his students how think critically, how to distinguish between facts, innuendos, conspiracy theories, gratuitous insults, and  how to collect reliable material.from reliable sources, material that would stand up to peer reviews.


At 8:44 AM EDT, Anonymous TNC said...

These incidents are generally condemned by Israeli leaders across the political spectrum. It's only the most extreme that celebrate this sort of thing.

Given the tensions between the two groups it is a miracle more acts of violence do not take place. I have no doubt in my mind that if Americans dealt with daily violent threats and regular acts of terrorism some would behave in a similar manner or worse.

I know Southern California. It's a beautiful place. People have a reputation of being laid back. But if missiles were being fired into Southern California from Mexico, Mexicans would be catching hell. They would be beat in the streets. In some cases even lynched.

These are things that people do not like to talk about. We in the West do not realize how fragile civilization is. That the potential for barbarism among us is never far away.


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