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Jewish World Review April 5, 2002 /24 Nisan, 5762

Jonathan Tobin

Jonathan Tobin
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The backlash against Israeli self-defense is pure hypocrisy | After the latest round of Palestinian Arab terror attacks on Israel, there is a question on the minds of most Jews around the world that hangs on our tongues, waiting to be answered.

After 18 months of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat's terror war, we are left to wonder how much Jewish blood must be shed before the world demands that the killers be stopped?

How many massacres of Jews attending Passover seders, Jewish mothers and children eating pizza, Jewish teenagers at a discotheque, or Jewish diners at a cafe must happen before the international media, European nations and other sympathizers with the Palestinian cause start to focus on the sufferings of the victims of terror instead of those faced by its perpetrators?

Are the deaths of hundreds of innocent Israelis enough?

Clearly, the answer is no, as the world directs its protests in the aftermath of the Passover massacres of the last week not at Arafat and his terrorist allies, but at the Israel Defense Force that is attempting to root out the killers in their lairs in Palestinian cities.

Must we wait until the tally of Jewish corpses rises into the thousands?

These are not frivolous or rhetorical questions.

Because if the answer to our question is unclear, then we must understand that despite all of the endless talk and ink spilled about the Holocaust, some things have not changed in the last 60 years.

If, after all the lip service given to the memory of the Six Million Jewish martyrs and heroes who perished in the Holocaust, the world can tell Israel that the lives of its people are not worthy of protection and that it must make concessions to the terrorist murderers as a ransom for the lives of those not yet slain, then commemorations of the Shoah have been in vain. It is true that the Palestinian Arabs have suffered in the conflict, and that this poorly led people continue to suffer. But it must be repeated that the current conflict is a war that was chosen by Arafat himself after rejecting a generous Israeli peace offer at Camp David in July 2000, and embraced by his people when they could have instead chosen peace with Israel.

It is they who decided that a war of terror whose goal was Israel's destruction was preferable to peace. Even now, after these self-inflicted wounds have cost so many Arab lives, the desire to attack Israel is too great to allow them to sign a cease-fire.

But all too many onlookers - whether ignorant journalists, naive "peace activists" or pro-Arab propagandists - are uninterested in the Arab campaign to destroy Israel and the terrorism directed at Jewish innocents.

They look, but do not see. They hear, but do not listen.

No amount of evidence that Arafat and the Palestinian Authority are deeply involved in suicide bombing and other acts of terrorism against Israelis convinces them.

Statements from Arafat and the Palestinian Authority that make it clear that their only real goal is the destruction of the State of Israel are routinely ignored. The pretense that there is any difference between the PA and their fundamentalist Hamas allies has been exploded.

But their murderous attacks on Israel have actually generated a backlash against Israel rather than a wave of sympathy.

The "evenhanded" coverage in many American dailies, the breathless news accounts of television correspondents or the openly pro-Arab European press, all make it clear that a lot of people have accepted the myths that Israeli "oppression" and "occupation" of the Palestinians is just as bad, if not worse as Arab terrorism.

Never mind that this "occupation" could have been removed had the Palestinians been willing to accept a peace agreement. The sight of armed Jews rising in self-defense against the slaughter of their compatriots is still too much for the delicate sensibilities the world.

What's more, although Palestinian Arab suicide bombers left scores of Jews dead in what may always be known as the Passover massacres, most of those covering and commenting on the situation have no interest in the Jewish victims, and instead concentrate their attention on the plight of the people who had sent the bombers forth to kill and maim as many Jews as possible.

Just at the time when Israel has suffered the most from Palestinian terrorism and rejection of peace, it has come under the heaviest fire from its critics and "friends," who think that more concessions will save it from itself.

President Bush is under enormous international and domestic pressure to back away from his support of Israeli self-defense against terrorism. But what these critics are really saying when they criticize Bush for his "inaction," is that the president should intervene and pressure Israel to give in to Palestinian demands, and thus reward the terrorists for their campaign of violence.


In this week of sorrow that has preceded Yom Hashoah - the day of remembrance for 6 million murdered Jews that is commemorated on April 9th - we can only say this to those who scapegoat Israel and are indifferent to Jewish suffering:

Let us hear no more empty phrases of sympathy for European Jews who were killed by evildoers six decades ago, if you have no sympathy for their descendants in Israel whose blood is shed today.

If you are willing to sacrifice the living State of Israel to satisfy Palestinian ambitions or to deny it the right of self-defense when its people are being slaughtered, then spare us your crocodile tears for Jews murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators because no one cared enough to stop the killers.

Thus, it is no coincidence that the rise in anti-Semitism in Europe - as illustrated by the French and Belgium Jewish institutions that were burned and vandalized last week - comes at a time when Arab hatred directed at Israel is being tolerated by these same countries.

The cries of the fallen in Israel must not go unanswered by Americans - Jews and non-Jews alike.

JWR contributor Jonathan S. Tobin is executive editor of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent. Let him know what you think by clicking here.

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