(“It’s the economy, Stupid.” – A phrase, made popular by President Clinton’s campaign strategist James Carville, referring to the notion that Clinton was a better choice because President Bush had not adequately addressed the economy.)
The significance of my recent post “Almost half of all Palestinians support murdering Jews inside 1949 armistice lines” was, I thought, clear enough. 49% of Palestinians surveyed supported killing Israeli civilians (men, women, and children) within pre-1967 borders. However, I have reason to believe that the significance of this poll eludes many readers. Let me be clearer, then, on its meaning:
The most tired trope advanced by the mainstream media, and the Guardian in particular, is that “settlements” – referring, of course, to Jewish communities built in Judea and Samaria in the aftermath of the Six Day War (Israel’s war of defense waged to prevent its destruction) – are the main impediments to peace between Israel and the Palestinians. This argument rests on the premise (equation) that “occupation” = conflict and “withdrawal” = peace. However, this equation somehow ignores that results of Israels’ unilateral withdrawals from Southern Lebanon (2000) and Gaza (2005) – disengagements which only led to the strengthening of terrorist movements dedicated to Israel’s destruction (Hezbollah and Hamas respectively.)
Such folks always seem to ignore the fact that – regardless of Israeli policy – the failure of the Arab world, and Palestinians in particular, to acknowledge Israel’s very right to exist (within any borders) may be an impediment to peace. Further, such otherwise liberal and sober minds always find ways to justify – or conveniently ignore – the virulent anti-Semitism and demonization continually peddled in Palestinian political culture. One only need to read reputable sites such as Palestinian Media Watch or MEMRI to understand the depth of the problem.
I recently asked an extremely well-informed and thoughtful colleague why “progressives” – typically sensitive to even the most subtle forms of racism- seem to ignore the most vile and virulent anti-Semitism consistently on display In Palestinian society – a level of Jew-hatred that respected historian Robert Wistrich has characterized as on par with that advanced by Nazi Germany.
“The scale and extremism of the literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst. Yet the Western world largely turns a blind eye to the likely genocidal consequences of such a culture of hatred…”
My colleague suggested that such “progressives” may actually believe that exposure to such information may hurt the “peace process.” That is, in the minds of many, facts regarding anti-Semitism and intransigence in Palestinian society may create an impediment to the trust and goodwill necessary to achieve a peace agreement. Let’s call them “inconvenient truths”.
Of course, such folks never consider that – beyond the public relations problems such facts cause – the REALITY of such Palestinian intransigence, hate, and intolerance towards Jews may be, in itself, an impediment to peace. In other words, maybe it’s not just a public relations problem but, rather, such hate may be an essential root cause of the conflict.
I often wonder what those who are convinced that “the settlements” are the root cause of the conflict would say if Israel withdrew from every last square meter of the West Bank, and granted the Palestinians a capital in East Jerusalem, and that such concessions not only didn’t result in peace, but actually emboldened the most radical elements within Palestinian society – making Israelis (men, women, and children living within its ’49 borders) even more vulnerable to deadly terrorist attacks – and rendered the Jewish nation’s very existence less secure.
Would such “proponents of peace” finally admit that they were wrong all along? More importantly to those, like me, who actually live here, would such an admission come too late?