|Rina Ariel weeps over the body of her slain |
13 year old daughter Hallel during her funeral.
AP Photo/Olivier Fitoussi
01 July '16..
Earlier this week, Britain’s embattled Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn sparked a controversy when addressing a report about anti-Semitism—by adding to the list of outrages. Corbyn compared Israel to “self-styled Islamic states or organizations.” That sounded like a direct comparison of the Jewish state to ISIS. But if that hadn’t been bad enough, in an attempt to explain his slur, Corbyn’s staff explained that he didn’t mean the Islamic State but rather to groups like Hamas. In other words, for Corbyn (and apparently the bulk of Labour voters that want to keep him in his post over the protests of disgusted fellow members of Parliament) democratic Israel is the moral equivalent of an Islamist terror group whose openly declared goal is not merely the destruction of the Jewish state but the genocide of its Jewish population.
Corbyn isn’t the only one promoting moral equivalence about Israel and terrorism this week. On Friday, the diplomatic Quartet—the group comprising the United States, the United Nations, the European Union, and Russia—issued a new report about the Middle East peace process. There was much in it that made sense, especially the way it took to task the Palestinian Authority for its honoring of terrorists and the incitement to hate Israelis and Jews it has been carrying on in statements from its leaders and its official media. It condemned the wave of violence against Jews that is popularly known as the “stabbing intifada” in which, Palestinians, encouraged by their leaders, have sought to slaughter any random Jews they encounter.
But having told the truth about the PA, the Quartet then tried to balance those statements with references to the encouragement of violence by Israelis. This is absurd. Instances of Israeli violence against Arabs, while deplorable, make up a fraction of the attacks by Palestinians against Jews. Moreover, instead of encouraging the violence—as PA leader Mahmoud Abbas and every other Palestinian does—Israel’s government not only condemns such actions but also prosecutes them.
But the real moral equivalence came when the Quartet got to what it considers the real obstacle to peace: Israeli settlements in the West Bank. It may be tedious to point it out yet again, but the Palestinians have already repeatedly rejected offers of statehood and independence. That’s because any such deal, even if it involved the evacuation of all of the West Bank by Israel, would have then obligated them to recognize the legitimacy of a Jewish state within some borders and end the conflict for all time.
The moral equivalence being drawn in the Quartet report is in some ways no different from Corbyn’s comments. The mere presence of Jews living in some places from which the Palestinians wish to evict them is treated as an offense on the same plane as stabbings, shootings and bombings in which terrorists seek to indiscriminately kill as many Jews as possible.
Which brings us to this week’s incidents in which a new surge of Palestinian terror has taken more Jewish lives. In one, a Palestinian entered a home in the settlement of Kiryat Arba and slaughtered a sleeping 13-year-old Jewish girl, who also happened to be a U.S. citizen. Not long after Palestinians opened fire on a car nearby and killed one Jew and wounded three others. The same day in Netanya, which exists inside pre-1967 Israel, another Palestinian stabbed two Israelis.
According to the Quartet, Palestinians are “frustrated” with settlement building and the lack of progress toward peace. But the motivation for the stabbings is not a dispute about where the borders of Israel and a putative state of Palestine should be. Rather, it is anger about the very existence of Israel and the presence of Jews in any part of the country, including Tel Aviv. What else could explain the widespread support within Palestinian society for actions such as the murder of 13-year-old Hallel Ariel, an atrocity that not only was not condemned by Abbas and other so-called “moderates” but which has been lauded by his Fatah Party? Crimes like this are not motivated by diplomatic arguments but by hate that is shared by mainstream Palestinian opinion, not merely an extremist minority.
So long as international opinion, as expressed by the Quartet, treats the presence of Jews in their ancient homeland, even little girls sleeping in their beds, as comparable to terror, the costs of this epidemic of moral equivalence will continue to be paid in Jewish blood.
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