“The [mainstream media] is guilty in two senses for not covering the pervasiveness of this grotesque hatred. They not only reported Palestinian lethal narratives bordering on blood libels as news, they did not report the hatreds that inspired such narratives.”
More on that elephant in the room: the antisemitism that the Arab Spring has helped bring to the surface, while politically correct fantasies and “the soft bigotry of low expectations” lead many to turn a blind eye to it. “Muslim anti-Semitism, Israel and the dynamics of self-destructive scapegoating,” by Richard Landes for the Telegraph, December 1 (thanks to Zulu):
One of my daughters recently wrote to me: “I was speaking to a friend of mine who had been dating a very, very, anti-Israel activist for about a year. We don’t usually broach the topic but she asked me if most of the Muslim anti-Semitism in Europe wasn’t based on their dislike of what is going on in Israel and not so much on religion.”
This is a widely held belief among not only anti-Zionists, but among liberals in general. It takes a number of forms, all of which serve to explain the explosive and virulent hatreds of the Muslim world for Israel and the Jews (who support it), as a function of the evil that Israel has done to the Palestinians. It includes the widely held assumption that suicide bombings were a response to the despair that Palestinians felt because Israel denied them independence and dignity. It is also directly related to the problem of “Islamophobia is the new Anti-Semitism,” in which speaking of Muslim anti-Semitism becomes a new form of anti-Semitism.
The argument, of course, can work inversely: Palestinian anti-Semites have produced icons of hatred that, through modern media, have spread the virus throughout the Muslim world. The violence that Israel does against the Palestinians, from targeted killings to the separation barrier, to the blockade of Gaza, responds to Palestinian attacks inspired by anti-Semitic propaganda.
Because the Western mainstream news media (MSNM) has mainstreamed some of this propaganda, many people, including my daughter’s friend — whose only data points are the TV images of terrible violence Israelis do to Palestinians, and TV images of Palestinian hatred — assume that the hatreds are at least in part justified. “No wonder French Muslims hate you,” the French would say to their Jewish co-citoyens, “look at what your brethren in Israel do to their cousins in Palestine.”
Of course such an attitude has to ignore the fact that the Israelis do a fraction of the violence to Palestinians that Arab leaders do towards their own people with far less provocation. To “grant” the Palestinians and other Muslims “permission” to hate the Jews “given what Israel does to them,” reveals unthinking racism: “I don’t really expect anything remotely rational or balanced from these folks. If you piss them off, you deserve their rage.”
The MSM is guilty in two senses for not covering the pervasiveness of this grotesque hatred. They not only reported Palestinian lethal narratives bordering on blood libels as news, they did not report the hatreds that inspired such narratives. In the summer of 2000, the PA was blasting hatred of Israel. If the MSNM were surprised by Arafat’s “no” at Camp David, it’s because they ignored what he and his friends were saying in Arabic. On the contrary, driven by a belief that peace was around the corner, they felt that dwelling on such bad news would queer the peace process.
Nor did the Oslo war make a difference. Sheikh Halabiya gave a sermon calling on Muslims to slaughter the Jews (NB: Jews, not Israelis) everywhere. William Orme wrote a piece on Palestinian incitement in which he quoted Halabiya saying: “Labor, Likud, they”re all Jews.”
As a result, the ferocious strain of anti-Semitism in Palestinian irredentism, from the Mufti — who visited Hitler in Berlin 70 years ago today, discussed his contribution to the “final solution,” and pumped the Arab world with Nazi propaganda — to the escaped Nazis who fled to Egypt and Syria to continue their work, to Arafat and his pseudo-secular patter of “national liberation,” to Hamas” apocalyptic paranoia, has gone largely undocumented and unknown to the average observer of the Middle East conflict. Nor is this merely a quirk of journalism, but a widespread practice of the “post-colonial” field of Middle East studies in the wake of Edward Said’s masterpiece of cognitive warfare forbidding Westerners from “othering” Muslims.
And yet, what are we to make of crowds rallied by the Obama administration-designated, “moderate” Muslim Brotherhood chant, “One day we will kill all Jews”? Since 2000, Arab and Muslim news media have been awash with gory video depictions of the Elders of Zion carrying out their blood sacrifices of innocent Muslim youth. Specialists disagree over whether this is primarily an import from the worst of European hate-mongering, especially the Nazis, or an indigenous growth with roots in the Koran. European anti-Zionists may like their fantasy that their attitude is not anti-Semitic, but in the case of the Arab and Muslim world, the slide from opposing Israel to ranting about “al Yahud” everywhere is effortless.
Given the power of genocidal anti-Semitic sentiments in the Arab and Muslim world — press and TV, mosques, public officials — one might wonder why Western audiences know so little about it. It’s more than just the powerful intimidation that pervades journalism in the Palestinian territories, so visible in the Ramallah lynch affair.
It’s also related to a particularly dangerous form of political correctness, in which speaking badly of Muslims is the new form of anti-Semitism. As a Parisian colleague insisted, “The experience of the Muslims in Europe today is exactly the same as the Jews a century ago.” Of course, that’s not the case at all: both in terms of the wildly different behavior of the two minorities, and in terms of how the European elites reacted to their presence. By that logic, however, any attack on Islam is immediately comparable to an attack on Jews a century ago. […]
Anti-Semitism is everyone’s problem, especially the Muslims’. And the sooner the “progressives” who want to help them, stop feeding their anti-Semitic vulnerabilities by joining them in demonising Israel, and help them learn some self-criticism, the sooner we are likely to see a real Arab Spring, one that benevolent people the world over can sincerely cheer.