Explaining Arab rage

Caricature of Avigdor Lieberman as a Nazi pig, displayed in an Egyptian demonstration

Caricature of Avigdor Lieberman as a Nazi pig, displayed in an Egyptian demonstration

To find something to illustrate this post, I googled ‘Egyptian antisemitic cartoons’. I got 152,000 images. I picked one that was colorful, though not as bloody as most of them (this one was done by a Belgian named Ben Heine, but was popular in Egyptian media and on posters).

If you were to ask an Egyptian why a slavering mob tore down a concrete wall and furiously hammered on an inner door (video here) just a few feet from six trapped Israeli security guards in order to try to tear them to pieces, they would likely say that they were furious over the death of several Egyptians during the recent terrorist attack near Eilat, and angry about Israel’s ‘treatment of Palestinians’.

Never mind that a) several of the terrorists were Egyptian citizens, b) seven Israeli Jews died in the attack which was launched from Egyptian soil, c) it’s quite likely that one of the Israeli casualties, police counterterrorism officer Pascal Avrahami, was murdered by Egyptian soldiers or police, and d) Israel apologized!

Oh, and never mind that the ‘treatment of Palestinians’ is a direct result of about 100 years of murder and terrorism directed at Jews and Israelis by Palestinian Arabs.

The guards were armed and probably would have killed dozens before being overwhelmed. Then Egypt would have demanded an apology.

Nothing affected me personally more than this story, here in the words of PM Netanyahu:

During this long night, we were required to make many difficult decisions.  I would like to share with you one conversation from this night.  On the line was Yonatan, the security officer of the Embassy.  He and his men, six in number, were trapped in the Embassy building.  The mob entered the building and entered the office.  Only one door separated between the mob and Yonatan and his friends.  He sounded perfectly calm to me, and on the other hand understood the situation in which he and his colleagues found themselves.

During the ongoing event, he requested from the security officer in the Foreign Ministry one thing:  If something happens to me, he said, my parents should be notified face to face, and not by telephone.   I got on the phone line and I said to him, “Yonatan, be strong.  I promise you that the State of Israel will do everything in its power and will use all possible resources in the world in order to rescue you and your friends unharmed and whole from this situation.”

And thank God this morning they all landed in Israel.  A short while ago I spoke with Yonatan and his mother.  They sounded wonderful.

There is more than one story of what happened to Jews who were not so lucky. There was the lynching of the two reserve soldiers who accidentally drove into Ramallah (video here), and countless attempted murders in which Jewish Israelis were stoned or stabbed (horrifying video here).

Why do Egyptians and Palestinian Arabs, despite ‘peace’ treaties, hate Jews so much? The answer is simple: they are fed a constant diet of anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda, by their leadership and by all Arab media. Here’s the way ‘peace’ is implemented:

  1. An Arab entity like the Egyptian government or the PLO makes a ‘peace’ agreement with Israel. Israel makes concrete concessions, like returning the Sinai to Egypt, or allowing the PLO to return from exile and set up a government. The ‘international community’ makes massive aid payments to the Arabs. The Arabs commit (in English) to peace with Israel, and explicitly agree to stop hateful incitement.
  2. The Arabs, officially and unofficially, ramp up incitement. Palestinian media glorifies terrorists and broadcasts the most horrible slanders against Jews and Israel. Egypt produces a TV series based on the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, and an Arabic version of Mein Kampf is a best-seller.
  3. When the Arab masses inevitably explode in violence, the leadership blames ‘Israel’s treatment of Palestinians’, etc.

There are cultural factors that make this possible. The idea that a Jew could kill or humiliate an Arab under any circumstances is guaranteed to drive them wild. Arab politicians understand this, and it is always useful to divert unhappiness about the lack of food or jobs into anti-Israeli channels.

Israel and the West have made an error by ignoring the incitement, treating it as peripheral and unimportant. It is actually essential — if the Israel/Egypt peace treaty is abrogated, it will be a direct result of the incitement.

Update [12/3/2011 2301 PST]: added the information about the cartoonist, plus the fact that Israel apologized.

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One Response to “Explaining Arab rage”

  1. Shalom Freedman says:

    All the years of the cold peace with Egypt the incitement continued and even was promoted by the Egyptian government. Throughout the Arab and Islamic worlds there is the constant theme of Israel and Jewish demonization. In such a world with such a mind- set how can we expect real Peace?
    The question of how the Arab and Islamic world can re- educate itself is one it is not asking toward understanding basic human rights of the ‘other’ is one not being asked.
    Instead Arab and Islamic hatred are indulged and so cultivated by a largely indifferent ‘other world’.
    If there is an answer to this and a way out of it I do not know it.