Tuesday, October 13, 2015

This is what long-term education to hatred will do (Update)

We're about two weeks into a period of intense Palestinian attacks against Israelis. Just today three Israelis have been murdered. The names haven't been published yet, but they were all killed in civillian contexts: taking a bus, walking down the street. Yesterday the victims included a 13-year-old riding his bike near his home. He was stabbed by two cousins, one of whom was 13 years old himself.

Palestinain society sends itself into spasms of bloody and murderous irrationality from time to time; at the moment the present case doesn't seem the worst of them. Yet what's striking about this time is the age of the culprits. If in the second Intifada there were hundreds of suicide muderers and would-be-murderers, most of them were young adults, and they mostly had some sort of organization behind them. Someone had to give them an explosive belt and drive them to their target inside Israel. This time many of the attackers are teenagers, some even young teenagers; and since they're using kitchen knives, all they need is access to their mothers' kitchens.

The pundits will pontificate on their motivations. Israel's critics will say it's all about the occupation. Israel's enemeis will say it's about Israeli brutality and general evil. The historians wil probably not have unravelled it many decades from now, and they, like the pundits, will find comfortable pat explanations.

The part that impresses me is the public atmosphere forming the minds of Palestinian teenagers. In order for significant numbers of them to be willing to be killed for the chance to stab an Israeli, they must be steeped in hatred to a degree most Western pundits can't even recognize. Many westerners don't even accept the reality, let alone the legitimacy, of the concept "enemy". These young Palestinians seem unable to accept the reality, let alone the legitimacy, of their common humanity with Israelis. For this, blame their parents and grandparents and society at large.

Spend decades telling yourself, your children and your grandchildren that Jews have no legitimate reason to be here, and that now they're here they spend their days cooking up nasty ideas about how to be cruel to Palestinians and destructive towards Islam, and eventually this is the result you'll end up with.

Thought experiment. Imagine you're a typical teenager. (Most of us were, once upon a time). If you don't know Arabic, spend a solid month reading only Mondoweiss commentaries and its comments section. Don't expose yourself to any other source of information. At the end of the month, see how you feel about Israel and Jews. (They're by and large interchangeable even at Mondoweiss). Now, once you're well-disposed to feel negative, imagine it hasn't been a month, it's been every day since your birth, and the birth of your grandparents. The echo chamber isn't limited to a website, it's your entire world. And you yourself either know people who've been harmed by Israelis, who are always and exclusively motivated by the urge to harm Palestinians, or at the very least you know people who know of them. And you've been trained never to ask what the Israelis were responding to, because Israelis don't respond. They always initiate persecution of Palestinians.

And now, imagine that recently your whole world has been telling that the Jews are about to destroy the most sacred spot there is, and they've upped their malice and are shooting people on your side because that's the way they are.

End of experiment.

Update: Avi Issacharoff, one of the few journalists who really knows what he's talking about and also has something interesting to say, thinks the current violence is mostly the result of incitement about the Temple Mount. The Palestinian leadership and media have been convincing themselves Israel is about to harm the mosques, and their followers are convinced they must defend it. Assuming he's right, or even if he's only partially right, it begs the question How stabbing Israeli civilians might possibly be a way to defend Al-Aksa Mosque.  More significant, to my mind, it's a perfect example of irrational hatred. Israel isn't about to harm the mosques. Simply: Not. No question about it. Which means that a pile of Palestinian public figures and their followers are lying to themselves and each other, convincing themselves and each other, and then setting off to to kill Jews because of the lie.

Which has of course always been standard antisemitic behavior, centuries before Israel began building settlements. Centuries before there even was an Israel, for that matter.


Anonymous said...

I've seen exactly this behaviour from the two Belfast " ghettos ". Each of course vehemently denied it and despite the Good Friday Agreement and the cessation of hostilities, continue to do so. And BTW, I accept that Ireland is an imperfect analogy, but there are undoubted similarities.

Teresa Pollin said...

"Spend decades telling yourself, your children and your grandchildren that Jews have no legitimate reason to be here, and that now they're here they spend their days cooking up nasty ideas about how to be cruel to Palestinians and destructive towards Islam, and eventually this is the result you'll end up with."

You put your finger on the essence of the problem - the Arabs never hear any other narrative. The Europeans never hear any other narrative. Israel assumes that the truth will by itself - this is a huge mistake - as of now the lies win. A serious effort to tell the truth, to tell the history of the Jewish people and the connection to Eretz Israel throughout the centuries has to be made by the state. We HAVE to explain and show that the Arabs do not want a two state solution. They want one state - Arab State.

Teresa Pollin

megapotamus said...

Why not pull down the mosques? Why not demolish the Palestinian villages? Why not bomb and burn them? It's called war, Hebrews. And it is upon you, whether you would risk it or not. Apparently a cop responding to one of these attacks begged civilian bystanders not to shoot the attacker. What for? So he can do it again? So he can write (if he has the ability) from a prison as cushy as his home that it was all well worth it? Death, death, death, death and yet more death is what the Palestinians as a polity promise and work toward every day in every way. Don't think so? Fine. Just wait. You must do unto others as they promise and work to do unto you, which is annihilate you. He who annihilate second loses. Forward.

Barry Meislin said...

"Irrational hatred"?

No, sorry.

If your goal is to destroy another people, you kill them as best as you can with whatever you've got.

It has nothing to do with being irrational.

One might argue that trying to destroy the State of Israel is irrational.

One might argue equally that trying to destroy the State of Israel is not only rational, but a virtuous goal.

(Keep in mind that according to the Palestinians, the second intifada wasn't wrong. It just wasn't that effective; and ultimately, they suffered a bit more than they thought they would.)

The 20-year "softening up" period since the Oslo treaty was ratified and "agreed upon" (as it were), has proven wildly successful in persuading large swaths of the world that Israel is the biggest source of evil on the planet and deserves to be destroyed---if only because it can't seem to find a way to make peace with a "partner in peace" that wishes to destroy it.

For this extraordinary success, the Palestinians (Arafat and Abbas and the rest of the strategic geniuses in the Palestinian leadership) deserve a lot of credit.

And they will be sure to continue to implement their strategy of pursuing "peace" until Israel is finally destroyed, inshallah.

"All else is commentary."

On the other hand, Abbas and his coterie may have come to the conclusion that with Israel sufficiently delegitimized, Bibi regarded as the devil incarnate, and Obama just waiting to give his blessing to the creation of a Palestinian state, that the critical mass is so much now in the Palestinians' favor that there is no longer any need to fake any so-called "peaceful" intentions.

Though, to be sure, "peace" is defined by Israel's "partners in peace" as Israel's destruction.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Remember the Tibetan uprising of 2008? Five Han girls were burned alive in a store, and many other atrocities were committed, even though China is fast bringing development to the region. You know, occupied people don't like to be occupied.

Now consider the Palestinians. Hundreds of thousands were expelled or fled Israel after Deir Yassin. Israel razed to the ground some 350 Palestinian villages. It then confiscated Palestinian property by means of the Absentee Property Law of 1950. Land, houses, bank accounts, jewellery, even rugs and books. A wrong never corrected. Israel now controls the lives of all Palestinians, also those living in Area A -- a Jenin resident can't travel to Nablus without being humiliated at an Israeli checkpoint. That, and not irrational hatred, is the root reason for the periodic intifadas. An intellectual, as you pride yourself to be, should never seek self-comforting explanations for very complex realities.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Here's a video of a Palestinian, who was minding his own business, wrongly arrested after being kicked and hit with a rifle by Israeli soldiers who were unaware that the scene was being caught on tape. After the man presented the tape as evidence, he was released.

Two questions: do you believe the number of Palestinians wrongly arrested in a similar fashion is larger or smaller than the number of those who have stabbed Israelis?

And -- if this man went on to stab an Israeli soldier, do you think it would be due to his leaders' incitement or to the brutal treatment meted on him by the soldiers?

End of experiment...

Graham said...

A good analysis here, which you may have seen by now:http://www.timesofisrael.com/losing-palestine/

Graham said...

I mean: http://www.timesofisrael.com/losing-palestine/

Anonymous said...

"More significant, to my mind, it's a perfect example of irrational hatred. Israel isn't about to harm the mosques."

This is the point, isn't it? The result is a cycle of violence quite different from its usual meaning: Since Israel never intended to harm the mosques, but they thought she would, the fact that she doesn't, proves that their "resistance" was successful.

- Abu Matzen -