Quotes of the week: the conflict in a sentence or two

You can say a lot in a single sentence.

The great Melanie Phillips does it in an admittedly long one:

Israel, the victim of six decades of Arab aggression, is to be punished for frustrating ‘peace’ talks with its aggressors in which it is prepared to take part, on the grounds that it refuses to halt building homes which are said to be illegal but are not; while no punishment is to be meted out to the Arab aggressors who refused to take part in negotiations during the ten months that Israel did halt building these homes — within territories which during these past nine decades it has been entitled to settle under international law – even though these Arabs are the belligerents in the Middle East conflict and continue repeatedly to assert that they will never accept Israel as a Jewish state and who accordingly teach their children to grow up to hate and kill Israelis in order to achieve their never-renounced aim of destroying Israel; nevertheless these genocidal belligerents who have repeatedly turned down a state of their own ever since this was first offered to them more than seven decades ago because they wanted to wipe out Israel instead are to be rewarded by the EU while their victim is to be punished; and all to realise the creation of a state of Palestine which will surely turn in short measure into part of greater Iran, to the terrible cost of the Arabs living in such a state of Palestine and placing the free world in even more danger.

Elder of Ziyon nails it in even fewer words:

People have to start realizing that Palestinian Arab demands do not equal rights, and that a Palestinian Arab state cannot and should not be defined in a way that deprives the Jewish state and people of their own competing rights.

The fact that this needs to be said is testimony to the powerful reality distortion field that surrounds the conflict. There are other conflicts, some even longer-lasting and as seemingly intractable. But very rarely does one side get to make up its facts and have them automatically taken seriously by much of the world.

For example, as Elder of Ziyon also said, “Not one person has ever yet explained why Jerusalem must be a part of a Palestinian state.” Jerusalem was historically the seat of a Jewish kingdom and today is the capital of Israel. In modern times it has had a Jewish majority since the 1860’s. Yet the eastern portion thereof, from which Jews were driven at gunpoint in 1948 and where the holiest site in Judaism is located, is regularly referred to as ‘Arab East Jerusalem’, and the US, EU and UN consistently oppose construction inside Jewish neighborhoods there because “the Palestinians want that for the capital of their state.”

When did wanting become deserving?

Another distortion — alluded to by Phillips — is the inversion of aggression and victimization. Arabs have been starting wars and killing Jews and Israelis, violently opposing Jewish self-determination for at least a hundred years, and yet they are presented as the victims. Here are another two sentences to explain this, these by Canadian historian Gil Troy:

Arabs learned, that before a lazy, complacent world, they could mask sexism and homophobia, terrorism and dictatorship, their continuing rejection of Israel’s right to exist, behind a smokescreen of rhetoric treating the national struggle between Israelis and Palestinians as an expression of Jewish racism, colonialism, and imperialism. This New Big Lie was so potent it would outlast its Soviet creators, derail the UN, hurt the cause of human rights – and make Israel what the Canadian MP and human rights activist Professor Irwin Cotler calls the Jew among nations.”

Recently, a local acquaintance pointed to one of Roger Cohen’s diatribes about the illiberality of Israel and suggested that ‘progressive Jews’ needed to pay serious attention to the message therein, the message being that we shouldn’t support Israel because (according to Cohen and my acquaintance) it doesn’t live up to ‘progressive’ ideals — in a Middle East where it is a regular thing to punish free speech with imprisonment or bullets, where they hang gays and strangle uppity women!

The New Big Lie lives, even in Fresno.

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