06 August '15..
Tragic attacks such as the burning death of a baby in Kfar Duma pose a moral dilemma between presumption and proof.
Should one rush to denounce without proof those in the media spotlight and risk reacting prematurely, or should one have taken the time to check and risk failing in one’s elemental moral duty.
Since the announcement of the assassination of little Ali Dawabsheh, debates on this issue have been raging on social networks, each putting forward legitimate arguments.
Some argue that caution and the presumption of innocence, always invoked in less serious cases, should have been applied here, especially given the violence of the crime.
But there was no time for the question to even arise: Israeli society almost unanimously reacted immediately "from the gut." Contrary to Palestinian reactions after such attacks against Israelis, Israeli politicians of all stripes, spiritual authorities, civil society, the media, and the man on the street - all stood up to express their horror and denounce the perpetrators of this monstrous act.
This healthy momentum was unfortunately quickly diverted from its purpose and took three different directions. The first was healthy and legitimate: an honest introspection about violence in society, the influence of words on acts, coexistence between peoples, religions, tolerance for different opinions, etc. The initiative by rabbis or other Jews in Judea and Samaria in organizing meetings or common prayer sessions with Muslims reflects this type of positive reaction.
A second type was crass politics. Rallies and demonstrations against hatred were the scene of violence and hate against political figures, parties or population groups collectively identified as terrorists. In the name of tolerance, politicians were denied the right to speak. The media and the Israeli left resumed their old ways of collectively accusing the right, the rabbis and the inhabitants of Judea and Samaria of having armed the terrorists of Kfar Duma - just as they were accused 20 years ago of having armed the assassin of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin.
Instead of showing a united front with the government and thus enhancing the impact of this popular movement, the political opposition preferred to settle political scores by placing blame on the Netanyahu government for the string of violence. Not to mention the disproportionate reactions of Arab Knesset members, who are usually silent when Jewish blood is being spilled. Knesset members Ahmad Tibi takes the prize once more, having said that the attack in Kfar Duma was "a Kristallnacht perpetrated by Hebrew neo-Nazis." This extreme case of incitement to hatred also elicited no particular reaction …
And then there is the third type of reaction - by those who practice self-flagellation and advocate permanent mea culpas. This is the delegation of the far-left Meretz party that traveled to Ramallah in a gesture of contrition, but has never deigned enter the homes of so many families of Israeli victims of blind terror. These are the articles in Haaretz or on this site that seek to warn the world that Israeli society is racist, violent or almost fascist in nature. This is the verbal delirium of those who now speak of a "Jewish Jihadism". Unfortunately, it is also the president of the state Reuven Rivlin, knowing the weight his words carry abroad, who drifted in his lyrical flight of fancy and gave grist to Israel's critics.
They have all been heard in far away lands, as they wished. The headlines abroad or the clearly anti-Semitic caricature of French cartoonist Plantu are proof.
From a strictly Jewish point of view, it is always good to conduct soul searching and to not always compare one’s moral behavior with the absence of morality of others. But there has been a lot of hypocrisy and hype in the reactions. And one cannot simply ignore certain questions:
Is a murdered Palestinian baby near Nablus more important than hundreds of children killed in the Palesti
nian refugee camp of al-Yarmouk in Syria?
Why does the killing of a Palestinian baby, (allegedly) by Jews, provoke reactions on a much larger scale than the much more numerous murders of Jewish children?
Yes, we must react vigorously and unambiguously against a serious act, but without ransacking our own dignity.
Shraga Blum is an independent journalist. He publishes a weekly press review in the "P'tit Hebdo" and political analysis on Israeli-French language sites.