Guardian op-ed suggests murder of 3 Israelis was natural result of ‘asymmetry of power’

Professor Alan Johnson in his superb June 21st op-ed in the Telegraph (before the teens’ bodies were found) noted the “jubilant reaction of many Palestinians to the kidnapping of three Israeli teenage boys” and then argued:

And yet, despite all this whooping and cheering about the trauma and possible death of Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, the Palestinians will likely pay a very small price in the international community or global public opinion. Why?

In part, because an anti-Zionist mindset that has taken root in the West, and at its heart is unexamined assumption – that Israelis and Palestinians are different kinds of people. Israelis have agency, responsibility and choice, Palestinians do not. In short, the world treats the Palestinians as children – ‘the pathology of paternalism’ it has been called

The unarticulated assumption of anti-Zionism is that Palestinians are a driven people, dominated by circumstances and moved by emotions; qualities associated with the world of nature. Israelis are the opposite; masters of all circumstances, rational and calculating; qualities associated with the world of culture.

This “dichotomous thinking”, argued Johnson, results in very bad consequences.

One of the bad consequences of holding Palestinians blameless has been the increasingly prevalent spin by pro-Palestinians activists, since the bullet ridden bodies of Naftali, Gilad and Eyal were discovered, suggesting that the Palestinian terrorists who killed the three teens shouldn’t ultimately be held responsible, and that the real culprits are Binyamin Netanyahu, the Israeli government, and/or ‘the occupation’.

To boot, the Guardian published an op-ed on July 2nd by  (a former Palestinian negotiator) titled ‘For Palestinians, this week’s deaths highlight the asymmetry of power. Khalidi not only implied that the Palestinian terrorists who killed the three teens were not morally responsible for the crimes, but also suggested that other such acts of Palestinian terror (since 1967) can be justified as understandable reactions to Israeli policy.

Khalidi alludes to Palestinian support for the kidnappers in the following paragraph:

On the Palestinian side, the kidnappers – whatever their exact motives – seem to have deliberately tapped into the Palestinian public’s longstanding concern over the thousands of prisoners in Israeli jails.

He later expands on the importance of the prisoners in contextualizing Palestinian kidnappings and other acts of terror:

The release of prisoners has indeed been one of the main motives for a long series of Palestinian attacks stretching back to the very beginnings of the 1967 occupation. In successive prisoner exchanges, and as most recently demonstrated in the Shalit case, the Israelis seemed prepared to release Palestinians only under duress and at the tempting ratio for would-be kidnappers of around 1000:1. Eventually, Palestinian militants came to the conclusion that the most effective way of releasing Palestinians from jail was to take Israeli hostages in return.

Later, after a throw-away line noting that “none of this is meant to justify the killing of innocent civilians”, he in effect does just that:

But the three Israeli youths appear to have fallen victim to the asymmetry of power between occupier and occupied, and the inevitable consequences of nearly 50 years of occupation and collective punishment of the Palestinians. 

So, the three boys were killed, not by Hamas terrorists who sang and celebrated after they extinguished three young Jewish lives, but by an abstraction – “asymmetry of power between occupier and occupied” and the “consequences” occupation.  

As Alan Johnson suggested in the passages cited above, Palestinians to commentators like Khalidi, do not possess moral agency or free will.  They are not political actors but are always acted upon.

In short, per Johnson, according to the anti-Zionist moral paradigm, Palestinians always “remain perpetually below the age of responsibility; the source of their behaviour always external to themselves, always located in Israel’s actions”.

A better example of liberal racism would be difficult to find. 

28 replies »

  1. one of the main motives for a long series of Palestinian attacks stretching back to the very beginnings of the 1967 occupation.

    Than what was the motive of a long series of Palestinian attacks stretching back to 1949 until 1967?

    • Or those of 1929?
      Or those in Lebanon and Jordan during the 60’s and 70’s?

      What Khalidi suggests, after explaining about the ills of collective punishment, is that all palestinians are infact mentaly ill due to the long term effects of war.
      Not those of education that have been poor and those of radicalization from young age.

      Not the effects of allowing to skip school and throw rocks at soldiers and being rewarded for doing so.

      It’s always the other’s fault.
      This reminds me much of the ills in the current western societies where anything and everything is someone elses fault but mine.

    • The Nakba Alexa, the massacres and the distructions of the Palestinian villages, the making of 750,000 Palestinians into refugees and refusing to abide by the UN resolutions demanding that the refugees be allowed to return to their homes. Ultimately the colonization by the Europeans of Palestine remains the basis of the conflict and the violence we see in Palestine today.

      • “the distructions” (sic)
        Tehran Jane your grasp on English is as poor as your grasp on history and the truth.
        I am still waiting for you to answer the questions I put to you the other day.

      • Jane, Jane, Jane;

        The massacres and destructions of Jewish villages and homes by Arab mobs and Arab armies, the making of 800,000 Jews into refugees (who btw, do not receive handouts like UNRWA ones do), Refusing to abide by UN resolutions from the word go about partitioning.
        The 3 NOs, etc etc etc.

        Ultimately the wish to control and dominate other faiths by the Sunni Arabs of the near east and their utter refusal to accept the fall of the corrupt failing Ottoman Empire is the basis of the current Israeli arab conflict and probably every other conflict in the near east.

      • YOu mean arab refusing to abide by the UN resolution 181 , or rejecting the resoltuion about the refugees. or the arabs calling their people to get out of palestine and wait for the arab armies to clean Palesitne for them. Or jordan refusing to stop shooting at Israel before 67 or the Egyptian refusing to open the Tiran strait or Syrian refusing to stop bobming Israeli kibutsim for years before 67.Ultimately the basis of the conflict today is about Jews refusing to be dhimmis agains and daring to built a country in their historical land. Theirs not of those arabs who occupied the area in the 7th century.

      • It is not far fetched to believe that the Guardian will cheerlead whatever sells.
        Currently the demise of Israel sells big time among the Guardian readers and most of its editorial staff and writers.

      • Pretz on another note allow me to make a simple analogy;

        If you were an ASDA manager, for example, and one of your employee was caught placing bacon in the Kosher area several time even after you cautioned him and explained him that this is seriously wrong and why it is wrong.
        Now imagine that this fela carried on and every time he was warned he aplogised and changed his tone yet 2 days later he did it again.

        Would you assume this fela is racist or simply careless?

        Now change the person into a Guardian writer who is a repeated offender of spreading lies about Israel, and ASDA into the Guardian paper.
        The bacon would be the seriously incorrect article who can stear in trouble yet bring in more revenue to your paper.

        I think the Guardian had its fair time to correct the massive errors it carried out throughout the past few years.
        Failure to do so means but one thing. It is intentional.

  2. The sort of Guardianesque view of Palestinians essentially as being activated by Israel, rather than motivations arising from their own intentions, is a classic example of Said’s “orientalism” described here.

    The Oriental Arabs are viewed by their Western supporters as, in fact, little more than irresponsible, though charming, children. In that paradigm, they have no responsibility for their actions, and they are to be excused, tolerated, and found to be rather colorful in their inability to achieve the same standards we expect of others – for example, of Israel.

    Rather than be actors, they are to be considered the acted upon. When the Westernized Israel responds, it is seen as an adult unfairly chastising the children they are assumed to be, who are merely playing at being an adult.

    It is the sort of thing that allows kassams slamming into peoples homes, schools, and daycare centers to be dismissed as mere firecrackers. It is used to create the claims of lack or proportionality to excuse even the most horrific terrorist attacks. It allows the Palestinians to walk away from settling the dispute knowing the blame will fall on Israel, since they can be assumed to have no ability to control their own negotiating position,

    It is, in fact a form of racism .

  3. AKUS what a diatribe. Racism is when Palestinian boys are killed on the Nakba Dayand the shooting recorded by the CNN and the local CCTV,, yet none of the culprit gets arrested. Three of the Jewish boys get kidnapped and the whole Palestinian towns are put under siege and hundreds of Palestinians are arrested, including children. Palestinian houses are demolished. That is racism and of course the diatribe you produced is another form of racism. If you were not a racist you would consider how many Palestinians are killed in any month and you will find out the reason why there is so much anger against the racist entity you call Israel.

      • Gerald she can’t answer you.
        She’s been waiting for George Galloway to write a script to answer you but he’s been off for a while on big brother’s remake.
        This time the “big brava” house is in the new Caliphate, and he gets to role play an “infidel dog”.

        • “..he gets to role play an “infidel dog”.”

          Itsik more likely a neutered pussy cat.

    • Stop throwing stones, firebombs, hand-grenades, conducting terrorist attacks, and convince your leaders to settle for 95% of the West Bank, Jane, and you’ll have nothing more to complain about.

      • AKUS to Jane:
        “…and you’ll have nothing more to complain about.”

        She’ll lose her reason and will to leave.
        Why, she may actualy need to start excusing some of her own country’s brutality?

    • Jane,
      Do tell why Iran execution ration is th highest?
      Is it because of Zionism and THE ocupation?

    • Jane,
      I read AKUS’ comment and I read yours. His is far more persuasive as to what constitutes racism, whereas yours sounds like an example of what he’s talking about.

  4. So Barghouti calls the deaths “tragic” while at the same time blaming the Israeli government.

    Strikingly similar to Gerry (“xyz is regrettable BUT …”) Adams trying to explain away IRA attacks on civilians in the 1980s.

    • At least Gerry Adams did not attend a university in the UK while trying to destroy the very country that was subsidizing his education, unlike Barghouti.

  5. The article is 11 years old but pretty much describes the Guardian perfectly.
    The Left’s Support for Palestinian Terror
    By J.D. Cassidy
    February 24, 2003

    Among the myriad of anti-American causes that have spilled into the leftwing cesspool known as the “peace movement,” support for the bloodthirsty Palestinians is perhaps the most disgusting. To the left-wing America-haters who constitute the new “anti-war” movement, being “pro-Palestine” somehow translates into being “anti-war.” Never mind the fact that the Muslim radicals who attacked America on 9-11 used Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel as a model for their sinister plot.
    The American left views Palestinian radicals as “freedom fighters,” therefore liberating “Palestine” has become one of the central battles of the new “anti-war” movement.

    To ensure that fledgling radicals know which position to take in regard to the Arab-Israeli war, the website of the Workers World Party (WWP)- the Stalinist cult that bankrolls the current “peace” movement- lays out plainly how all good lefties should view Israel. The website contains hundreds of articles filled with anti-Jew vitriol, and loathsome denunciations of the “Imperialist” Jewish state. Another radical organization that is active in the “peace” movement actually arranges for leftwing malcontents to travel from America to Israel. There, the radical Jew-haters carry out plots to sabotage the Israeli Army’s peacekeeping efforts. The group’s website boasts photographs of the left-wing thugs whom it sponsors engaged in physical confrontations with Israeli soldiers. This dangerous organization, called “The International Solidarity Movement,” has chapters in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Michigan, Washington and Sweden.

    The movement to “liberate Palestine” is a movement that defines itself by its hatred of Jews and a violent desire to spill their blood. The American and international left, however, chooses to ignore this cold fact. It instead throws its weight behind the Palestinian “liberation movement” because it believes that the Palestinians are “oppressed” by the Israelis, whom the left considers agents of “Western Imperialism.”

    The left believes that the warfare in Israel is a “cycle of violence,” rather than an offensive terrorist war against Israeli civilians. It believes that Israeli soldiers are to blame for the ongoing warfare- that when the Israeli military moves into a Palestinian village to root out terrorists, it is not attempting to stop future terrorist attacks but is instead taking “revenge” on out-gunned Palestinians. The left has been on the wrong side of every important issue in history. Its position on the Arab-Israeli war is no exception.

    The best way to understand what it means to be “pro-Palestine” is to look at the agenda of the Arab organizations that are working for “Palestinian liberation.” Since its inception, the PLO has taken part in hundreds of terrorist attacks against Israelis. In recent years, Arafat has paid lip service to a Palestinian desire for peace, but the PLO’s ambition to drive the Jews into the sea continues.

    Consider, for example, a statement that Arafat made in the aftermath of a recent suicide attack in which 29 Israeli civilians were slaughtered at a Passover celebration. Referring to this attack, the bloodthirsty Arafat prayed: “Oh God, give me martyrdom like this. We are all potential martyrs, the whole Palestinian people.” In a speech in Sweden in January 1996, the Palestinian leader declared: “You understand that we plan to eliminate the State of Israel and establish a purely Palestinian State. We will make life unbearable for Jews by psychological warfare and population explosion; Jews will not want to live among us Arabs!”
    In September 2002, Arafat stated “By Allah I swear that the Palestinian people are prepared to sacrifice the last boy and the last girl so that the Palestinian flag will be flown over the walls, the churches, and the mosques of Jerusalem.”

    Arafat’s statements are right in line with the attitude towards Jewry that prevails among Arab leaders and officials. In a letter to President Bush and the United States Congress, a member of the Consultative Council of Saudi Arabia, named Amhed al-Tuwaijri, actually had the gall to openly defend suicide bombings. In the letter, dated April 16, 2002, the Saudi official writes: “When young men and women offered their souls for the sake of freedom and independence and in defense of their religion, dignity, self and family, the United States could not find anything to describe these great sacrifices except to say they are terrorist, criminal actions.” I suppose it should not be surprising that a Saudi official would make such a horrific statement. Saudi Arabia, after all, is a nation that recently held a telethon, during which one hundred million dollars was raised for Palestinian suicide bombers.

    Support and encouragement for suicide attacks against innocent Israelis is also commonplace among Palestinian clergy. On April 12, 2002, in a televised sermon that was delivered from a mosque in Gaza City, an Imam of the Palestinian Authority unleashed the following message to his Arab disciples: “Anyone who does not attain martyrdom in these days should wake in the middle of the night and say: ‘My God, why have you deprived me of martyrdom for your sake? For the martyr lives next to Allah.'” He then continued:

    “Oh Allah, accept our martyrs in the highest heaven.”

    “Oh Allah, show the Jews a black day.”

    “Oh Allah, annihilate the Jews and their supporters.”

    “Oh Allah, raise the flag of Jihad across the land.”

    Not only do Arabs encounter suicidal messages in their mosques, but Palestinian children are actually bred, through schooling, to rejoice in the slaughter of innocent Jews. Consider the following line excerpted from a Palestinian schoolbook, “I will take my soul into my hands and hurl it into the abyss of death.” Or this line, taken from another textbook: “Beware of the Jews, for they are treacherous and disloyal.” Or this line from the PLO teachers guide, which is placed under the heading “important values” that should be instilled in Palestinian youth: “Wrath to the alien thief [Israel] who obliterated the Homeland and dispersed its people.”

    It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that the Palestinian liberation movement is about killing Jews. There is no effective voice of moderation among the Palestinian leadership or clergy. There is nobody in the Palestinian community who is effectively promoting a peaceful solution to the Arab-Israeli war. To the terrorist organizations that are leading the movement to “liberate Palestine,” the possibility of living side by side with Jews is unthinkable. In their minds, the Jews are infidels who deserve to be driven from the Middle East through a bloody Jihad.

    To put this all into perspective it is necessary to look at the historical roots of the Palestinians’ war against Israel. Prior to the First World War, what is today called Israel was part of the Ottoman Empire and was known as Palestine- though it was not considered the “nation” of Palestine. Nor were the Arabs who lived there considered “Palestinians.” They were considered- and they considered themselves-“Arabs.” In the aftermath of WWI, the Ottoman Empire, which had allied with Germany, was divided up among the British and French victors. The area then known as Palestine came under British rule. During this period, the area known as Palestine experienced an influx of European Jews.

    In the wake of the holocaust, a movement for a Jewish nation-state garnered support from the United Nations. Throughout the 1930s, as the rise of Hitler catalyzed intensive Jewish immigration to the area of Palestine, tensions between Jews and Arabs escalated and two attempts by the British, in 1937 and in 1939, to divide the land between Arabs and Jews were rejected. The Arabs rejected the first attempt, and the Jews rejected the second attempt, which would have restricted the rights of Jews to immigrate and own land.

    At the close of World War II, an acceleration of fighting between Jews and Arabs in this area prompted Britain’s decision to turn the problem over to the United Nations, which supported the creation of a Jewish state. On May 14, 1948, Britain officially withdrew from the area and Israel was declared a nation. On this very day, five neighboring Arab countries- Egypt, Lebanon, Trans-Jordan, Iraq and Syria attacked Israel. Amazingly, the outnumbered Jewish nation was able to beat back its Arab foes and a peace treaty was signed in 1949. When the war ended, Egypt was in control of the Gaza Strip and Trans-Jordan had annexed the West Bank (these territories were later won by Israel in the 1967 war).

    The Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) was formed in 1964. From the outset, the PLO stated that its ultimate goal is to drive the Jews into the sea. The destruction of the state of Israel was actually laid out plainly in the PLO Charter until PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat ordered it removed in 1993. Arafat, however, still wears the official sign of the PLO – a map of the future state of Palestine – on the sleeve of his military uniform. This map shows Palestine encompassing the entire land of Israel. This is the goal of the PLO: to destroy Israel and replace it with an Arab nation called “Palestine.” Among the leadership of the Palestinian liberation movement Yasser Arafat is actually a moderate voice. This is a man who funds terrorism and publicly encourages (in Arabic) his followers to carry out suicide attacks against innocent, defenseless Israeli men, women and children. Arafat is a man who walked away from peace talks in 2000 after then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered to give the Palestinians 99% of the land that they demanded. Arafat did not accept Israel’s concession for one reason: in Arafat’s words, “Peace for us means the destruction of Israel.”

    Until terrorist groups like Hezbollah, Hamas and the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade are brought to heel; until the PLO ceases funding and encouraging terrorism; until there is a deep change in the cultural attitudes of Palestinians, the Arab war against Israeli will persist. Innocent Israeli civilians will continue to be blown to pieces by Jew-hating Muslim radicals; children will continue to be incinerated in their school buses; babies will continue to die in their strollers on city sidewalks; old men and women will continue to be slaughtered by madmen in street-side cafes. These are the realities of the Palestinian “liberation movement.” The next time that a Western “peace” demonstrator feels compelled to pick up a Palestinian flag and wave it in the air, he should take a look at the news photos of Jewish bodies strewn across Israeli streets and think about what he is actually supporting.

  6. The Guardian letting Palestinian terrorists write articles for them supporting slaughtering Jews.
    The Guardian is basically Deir Stumer.