Thursday, December 11, 2014
The ‘Cycle of Violence’ Fantasy in the Middle East
The 'Cycle of Violence' Fantasy in the Middle East
Posted By Steven Plaut On December 12, 2014
Ernst Eduard vom Rath was a German diplomat representing the Third Reich in Paris in 1938. In November of that year he was shot and mortally wounded by a 17-year-old Polish Jewish youth, Herschel Grynszpan, who had been living in Germany. Vom Rath was 29 years old. Ironically, vom Rath had earlier expressed anti-Nazi sympathies, evidently based on the Nazi treatment of Jews, and was under Gestapo investigation at the time for being politically unreliable. He died of his wounds two days after being shot. Hitler used the assassination as an excuse to launch Kristallnacht, a pogrom against German Jews, shortly after the death. My father attended school with Grynszpanand knew him casually; Dad escaped to America by the time of the assassination.
Now try to imagine how the Western media would report World War II if they were using the exact same rules of journalism that they apply to the Arab-Israeli conflict. The assassination of vom Rath by a Jewish youth would be universally held up to illustrate that the German-Jewish conflict was a circle of violence, an ongoing bloody conflict whose roots are so old that no one remembers them, a conflict where each side claims it is retaliating for the violence that the other side perpetrated, a conflict whose causes are all blurred by eons of history. Sure the Germans were murdering Jews, but then there was the vom Rath assassination, proving the violence was two-directional, symmetric. Close investigation could probably find a few other examples of Jews using violence against Germans. Innocent lives are being lost on both sides. Such senseless tragedy. Why can't both sides just live and let live?
Of course, such a representation of World War II would not only be an absurdity but also an obscenity. World War II was not about a "cycle of violence" between Germans and Jews. It was unambiguously a campaign of annihilation and oppression of Jews committed by Germans. The fact that one can identify a handful of outlier events such as the assassination of vom Rath does not convey any symmetry to the "conflict." Indeed to misrepresent the Nazi campaign of extermination against Jews as some sort of "symmetric" pair of movements of violence would be proof that the person so misrepresenting the situation was a Nazi-sympathizer and an anti-Semite.
The Middle East conflict is not a cycle of violence. It is not a "symmetric" campaign of retaliation by Jews against Arabs and Arabs against Jews. The Middle East conflict is as unambiguously a unidirectional campaign of violence and atrocities as was World War II. It is about Arabs murdering Jews and not the inverse. It is about Arabs seeking to deny Jews their human rights and their right to self-determination, and not the inverse. The Middle East conflict consists of a century of atrocities perpetrated by Arabs against Jews.
But the Western media are willing to go to extreme lengths to force the conflict into the prism of symmetry and the "cycle of violence" fantasy. Several months ago a Palestinian Arab teenager from East Jerusalem, Mohammed Abu Khdair, age 17, was kidnapped and murdered by a Jew. The Jew was mentally ill and believed himself to be the messiah. He was arrested and jailed by Israel. The killer did not represent anyone, was not sponsored by anyone, and no one in Israel cheered his crime. The killing of Abu Khdair came shortly after three Jewish teenagers were murdered by the Hamas in a well-planned operation. That was an operation sponsored, financed and planned by the Hamas and cheered by most "Palestinians" and by many Israeli Arabs. Many passed around candies in celebration.
Since the death of Abu Khdair, the media have exploited the case to sell their "symmetry cycle of violence" snake oil. True, the "Palestinians" murder Jewish children all the time but here we have a single incident of an inverted crime, an Arab teenager murdered by a Jew. The media obsession is far more than a postman-biting-dog stroke of interest in uncharacteristic news stories. The media have used the death to manufacture the symmetry fiction and spread it. After all, if it is symmetric, then both sides are wrong, which means both sides are right, which means there is no right and wrong about which to worry our pretty little heads.
The killing of Abu Khdair was as characteristic of the Middle East conflict as the killing of vom Rath was representative of the events comprising World War II. And it is hardly the only "vom Rath anomaly" that drives the reporting of the anti-Israel media. This week Ziad Abu Ein, a terrorist murderer serving as a Palestinian Authority "cabinet minister," died from a heart attack after being confronted by Israeli troops. You see, the media are bleating in unison? It is not just Palestinians who murder Israelis!
Arabs in the West Bank vandalize Jewish property so often that it is generally never even reported as news, even in the Israeli media, because it is so commonplace. Arson attacks and vandalism of synagogues by Arabs are so frequent that they rarely make it out of the back pages. But if a handful of teenage Jewish delinquents vandalize some Arab vehicles or paint graffiti on Arab buildings, not only is this highlighted on the front pages, but it is denounced as evidence of Jewish terrorism. The media, including the Israeli leftist media, scream that such incidents are hate crimes. Demands are made to define the graffiti painters as a terrorist organization.
Rock throwing by Arabs at Jews in Israel is even less likely to make it into the press or news or even the social media. But if Arabs allege that some Jewish "settlers" threw some rocks at Arab cars or houses, then stop the presses! All other news must be removed to page 3. Arabs in the West bank vandalize Jewish property, including agricultural produce, more frequently than the sun shines in the Middle East. No one hears about it because it is not considered "news." After all, dogs chasing postmen are just not very interesting or newsworthy. But let some Arabs or leftists allege that Jewish "settlers" have vandalized some West Bank Arab olive trees and the media shrieks are deafening. So deafening, in fact, that they drown out reporting about some cases of Arabs and leftists intentionally vandalizing Arab olive trees as provocations to be blamed on "settlers." And it goes without saying that the firing of thousands of rockets by Gaza terrorists at Israeli civilians is never important enough to be reported as news. But let Israel fire back at the savages and there – you see – we are back in the symmetric cycle of violence.
The symmetry perversion has been played up by the media for so long that few can even keep straight the fundamental underlying truths behind the conflict. There is a war in the Middle East because the Arabs, controlling territory nearly twice that of the United States (including Alaska), are unwilling for the Jews to control their own state smaller than New Jersey. The Middle East conflict is not about unwillingness on the part of Jews to accept self-determination for Arabs, but rather by unwillingness on the part of Arabs to accept self-determination for Jews. Middle East violence is about the campaign of terrorist aggression by the Arab world, including its "Palestinian" playthings, to murder as many Jewish children and other civilians as possible. The number of innocent Palestinian civilians intentionally murdered by Israel is precisely zero. Palestinians get killed when Israel shoots back and retaliates for Arab terror and aggression and rocket attacks. When Arabs do not attack Jews, the Jews do not shoot back. There is no anti-Arab Jewish terrorism.
Arab terrorism is not caused by Israeli "occupation" but rather by the removal of Israeli occupation. The "Palestinians" have about as legitimate a claim to statehood and independence as did the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia. Granting "Palestinians" independence will have precisely the same effect as did the granting "self-determination" to the Sudeten Germans. The only reason Arabs demand that the "Palestinians" be granted a state is in order to use it to launch an all-out war of annihilation and terror against what would be the rump Israel.
Israel is the only country in the Middle East that is NOT an apartheid regime. The only Arabs in the Middle East enjoying human rights are those living under Israeli rule. The treatment of Arabs by Israel is at least a thousand times better than the treatment of Arabs by Arab regimes. The "stateless Palestinians" are Arabs, and Arabs control 22 states. No one is stopping any Arabs uncomfortable about living in a Jewish state from moving to any of those 22 states and taking all their assets and wealth with them. The Middle East conflict is about injustices perpetrated by Arabs against Jews and not the other way around.
None of this belies the possibility that if one seeks hard enough one can find incidents in which some Jews behave badly towards some Arabs. Just as Hershel Grynszpan may have murdered the wrong German. But that hardly makes the Middle East conflict a symmetric cycle of violence and injustice. There was a handful of white slaves owned by slaveholders in the American south before the Civil War and there were small numbers of black slave-owners. Using that to paint pre-Emancipation slavery as a symmetry of black and white slaves with black and white slave-owners would of course by an obscenity. Use of the assassination of vom Rath to create fictional symmetry would be even worse. But nothing can compete with the malicious, repugnant, and perfidious distortion of the Middle East conflict by the media as a symmetric conflict and a cycle of violence.