Thursday, November 12, 2015

12-Nov-15: What about Palestinian Arab terror gives it that unique savagery?

[Image Source: MEMRI]
Two powerful articles appeared in Commentary Magazine in the past few days, each ripping into arguments that call for greater understanding of the savagery emanating from the Arabs. 

Evelyn Gordon ["Why Aren’t Tibetans Knifing Chinese?"] examines the fallacies that bring otherwise respectable, even if hopelessly ideological, observers to the view that the plague of Palestinian Arab terror now engulfing Israel is "an understandable (albeit reprehensible) response to Israeli actions". Jonathan Tobin, in a short piece ["Does Israel Deserve Terrorism?"] makes the case for why liberals can't have it both ways - condemning the terrorists but at the same time rationalizing the terror.

Both mention uber-liberal columnist Peter Beinart, a critic of Israel adept at affecting what Tobin astutely terms a “more in sorrow than in anger” voice. It's a pose that gives him a degree of cover in his Jewish community appearances. Quoted on the rabidly Israel-averse Mondoweiss site, Beinert asserts that Pal Arab terror is "a monstrous, demented response" to what Israel is doing to them. He urges his audience to think hard about Israel’s "moral darkness" and the way it has "denied dignity" to "millions of Palestinians" for "decades". 

He is kind enough to concede that 
No matter how much you object to Israeli policy, stabbing another human being  is wrong. Israelis deserve to be able to walk safely down the street, just like every other group of people. [Beinert in LA]
but he's driven to remind audiences how ethics and morality work:
Hard as it is to say, the Israeli government is reaping what it has sowed... [Beinert in LA]
13 year old Ahmad Manasrah: He and his cousin launched a
stabbing attack against Israelis on October 12, 2015. The cousin
was shot dead. The victims are seriously injured but are expected
to recover [Image Source]
Evelyn Gordon extends her focus to sociology professor Samuel Heilman who aired his position ["Palestinians Don’t Feel They Have Anything to Lose"] in Haaretz on Tuesday. Heilman understands their frustration and the way it brings them to “explode and strike at anything that walks down the Jewish street.” It's a matter of their “relative deprivation”, he says. He defines that as "the feeling of being deprived of something to which one believes to be entitled".

Evelyn Gordon says both men fail to address the question at the heart of the discourse: why do ethnic groups in comparable situations not respond with vicious violence the way the Palestinian Arabs periodically do? 

The explanation is in factors specific to the culture and attitudes of the Palestinian Arabs. Yes, Palestinians do compare themselves to Israel, as Heilman says, and are surely frustrated by what they see. On any measure, Israelis are living better lives than they. Yet
comparable situations elsewhere in the world should have produced comparable outbreaks of violence. And they haven’t. Take, for instance, Tibet, which has been occupied by China since 1951 – longer than Israel has controlled the West Bank. The occupation certainly hasn’t brought prosperity to Tibet, which has the highest poverty rate in China. Moreover, Beijing has sought to eradicate Tibetan culture and religion, a process that reached its climax when the government asserted the right to choose the next Panchen Lama, the second-highest post in Tibetan Buddhism’s religious hierarchy. Israel, by contrast, scrupulously respects Palestinians’ religious freedom. Finally, there has been such an influx of Han Chinese settlers into Tibet that ethnic Tibetans are now a minority in “greater Tibet,” whereas Palestinians, despite Israel’s much-hyped settlement activity, remain an overwhelming majority in the West Bank. [Evelyn Gordon]
Instead of a wave of Tibet violence against China, Tibetans have expressed their fury and protest by self-immolations: 143 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protest since February 2009. By contrast, she writes 
there have been 65 Palestinian stabbing attacks in the last six weeks alone... [S]omething in Tibet’s culture or leadership caused Tibetans to respond very differently to “relative deprivation” than Palestinians have. [Evelyn Gordon]
She refers to Martin Luther King and the American civil rights movement. Relative deprivation they certainly suffered. Basic rights were certainly denied them. Poorer than whites they certainly were and are. And that's why they erupted with periodic waves of vicious violence against American whites. Right? Of course not right. Riots, yes. But mass waves of stabbings, shootings and suicide bombings by blacks? 
Something in mid-20th century American black culture or leadership caused American blacks to respond very differently than Palestinians have. [Evelyn Gordon]
At the heart of the Palestinian Arab tragedy: A genuine,
 certified religious leader whose sermons preaching savagery and
hatred are screened on their TV channels. That's a steel dagger
he's waving [Source]
What would that be? It's not hard to figure out, she writes.
The Tibetans’ revered spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, tirelessly preaches nonviolence. Black civil rights leaders, led by Martin Luther King, Jr., also tirelessly preached nonviolence. And these messages were reinforced by other civil-society institutions, first and foremost Tibetan monasteries and black churches. In contrast, Palestinian culture is steeped in support for violence and loathing for Jews and Israelis,... Palestinian clerics, political officials and media outlets routinely denigrate Jews as “apes and pigs,” glorify terror attacks (see, for instance, herehere and here) and actively incite to violence (see, for instance, here or here). And that’s in the “moderate” Palestinian Authority. Hamas, needless to say, is even worse (like the Gaza cleric who urged young Palestinians to “cut Jews into body parts”)... That [Pal Arab society] have chosen instead to respond with repeated outbursts of vicious violence has nothing whatsoever to do with anything Israel has done, and everything to do with their own culture and leadership.  [Evelyn Gordon]
Of Beinert, Tobin says
he not only discredits himself but also shines a harsh light on the dubious efforts of many on the left to claim they support Israel while trashing it... [S]aying al-Qaeda and Palestinian terrorists are wrong in their methods but right in their sense of grievance is a profound misunderstanding of the point of such terrorism... [Jeffrey Tobin]
Terrorism is poorly understood and we all pay a large and growing price. And as we noted yesterday ["11-Nov-15: When child abuse is a national mission"], it's a price that is being paid hugely inside Palestinian Arab society, even if its leaders show absolutely no sign of understanding that. Most significantly, they show not the slightest awareness of what they do daily to their own children. Even if a solution magically emerges tomorrow, that legacy is going to be with them for the next generation and probably longer.

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