An anti-racist message aimed primarily at the US, where the white population is suffused with guilt for the institution of slavery followed by institutional discrimination against African-Americans. Palestinian Arabs are (nonsensically) presented as discriminated against because of their ‘race’, comparisons are made to apartheid South Africa, and violent terrorism is compared to the civil rights movement of the 1960′s. This argument is epitomized by a recent article by Sarah Leah Whitson of Human Rights Watch.
Today I want to look at another dimension of these various messages, the way they are characterized by an inversion of reality. Let’s look at some of the most absurd anti-Israel claims and see how they are actually inversions of Arab actions or objectives:
[T]he Goldstone Report’s anti-Israel charges were just unproven partisan allegations masquerading as investigative conclusions.
But Palestinian Arab terrorism against Jews, which has been going on for at least 100 years, primarily targets civilians. They are soft targets, and best fit the goals of terrorism — to attract attention and to demoralize a population.
2. Children are especially victimized. If there ever was an inversion, this is it. No better example can be given than the recent murder of five members of the Fogel family, where one of the perpetrators returned to the house to kill a crying baby, and one said that they would have killed two other children if they had known they were present. There was the recent murder of a child when an antitank missile was fired directly at a yellow school bus. And there have been any number of ‘actions’ like the Ma’alot massacre, the Bus of Blood, the attack on the nursery at Misgav Am, etc., in which the victims were primarily children.
3. The conflict arises from Israeli racism. There is no doubt that many Israeli Jews strongly dislike Arabs. You would too, given 1. and 2. above. But going all the way back to the beginnings of Zionism, there is documentation of a Jewish desire to coexist with Arabs in the land. On the other hand, the founding documents of both Hamas and the PLO (Fatah) are explicitly antisemitic, as are the messages broadcast by Palestinian Arab media, taught in schools, etc.
4. Israel tries to deny self-determination to Arabs. Of course the whole point of the anti-Zionist movement is that the only Jewish state in the world is illegitimate, and should never have been created. Self-determination, they argue, is fine for ‘Palestinians’ — but not for Jews.
5. IDF actions are intended to terrorize the Palestinian population. No, they are designed to stop Arab terrorism, which is designed to … you get the idea.
6. Israel wants to displace Arabs from their land, on both sides of the Green Line. Both major branches of the Palestinian movement are quite clear that the problem is Jewish ‘occupation’, which refers to all of Israel, “from the river to the sea,” in the words of former PLO official Feisal Husseini.
7. Israel is a regional power oppressing the weak Palestinian Arabs. The Palestinian Arabs are just a small part of the complex of the entire Arab world plus Iran, which is prosecuting its war to eliminate Israel. Can 40,000 (a conservative estimate) rockets aimed at Israel from Lebanon, long-range missiles in Syria, the increasingly unfriendly but massively armed Egypt, the Iranian nuclear program, etc. be left out of the equation?
8. Israel is carrying out a genocide against the Palestinian Arabs. This is the most vile accusation of all. The Palestinian Arab population in the territories and within Israel has more than tripled since 1970. Does this look like genocide? Not to me. But Hamas explicitly espouses murdering Jews in its charter, and Fatah has killed more Jews than anyone since Hitler.
I could go on. But I want to present one last example of the absolutely insane lengths to which anti-Israel propaganda has been taken.
One of the panelists at a recent University of California’s Hastings College of the Law conference (“Litigating Palestine: Can Courts Secure Palestinian Rights?“) was Noura Erakat, niece of Palestinian Authority negotiator Saeb Erakat. Here is how Stephen Schwartz reported some of her remarks:
In a weird attempt to contrast the present-day view of Israel held by the majority in the U.S. with official attitudes toward ethnic Japanese living in America during WWII, Erakat argued incoherently that “Israel [sic] enjoys citizenship and full status in the U.S.” Answering a question from the audience, Erakat claimed that “criticism of Israel is seen as criticism of the U.S.” by the American populace and that U.S. laws against assisting Palestinian terrorists are comparable to Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding racial segregation based on the maintenance of “separate but equal” facilities. She advised her audience that changes in the public outlook about Arab opposition to Israel would eventually arise, just as in 1954 the Supreme Court issued its decision in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education finding segregation of schools to be illegal. After the panel, Jules Lobel, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh and keynote speaker for the session, explicitly identified the Jewish state and its relation to Palestinians with American slavery.
The closest parallel that I can find to slavery and discrimination against African-Americans in the US is to compare the terrorism of the hooded Klan to that of masked Arab terrorists: