In his latest piece (“What Rudy Giuliani and Benjamin Netanyahu Don’t Understand About Incitement,” http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.633534), Peter Beinart manages to lump Bibi in with Giuliani and Pataki. Besides making for a convenient rhyme scheme, what the three have in common is that they all accused people of incitement which directly caused murder (for Bibi it was the Har Nof massacre, for Giuliani and Pataki it was the two NY police officers). And all three, Beinart tells us, were wrong on two counts: one, incitement doesn’t make people murder, and two, there was no incitement on the part of Eric Holder and Bill De Blasio, or Mahmoud Abbas.
Peter Beinart wants us all to know that these murders – and yes, they were reprehensible – were not caused by incitement but were inspired by the trauma of injustice.
Okay, let’s go slow on this one. First off, just because Bibi and these NY politicians blamed the murders on incitement doesn’t mean both are correct. When Bibi tells us that Abbas is inciting violence against Israelis – something Bibi has done repeatedly – what he means is: Abbas is the dictator of the PA. Under his rule, there is no freedom of speech and no freedom of the press. Government television heroizes terrorists, children’s schoolbooks encourage violence against Jews, and public squares are named for terrorists. This is clearly a government-led program, part of a culture which supports and encourages violence against the Jewish State.
Let us compare Palestinian rhetoric and culture against Israel to the anti-cop utterances of Eric Holder and Bill De Blasio. Somehow, I don’t think the term “incitement” really applies equally to both, if at all.
But rather than focus on the differences between the Arab-Israel conflict and the question of police brutality and racism, Peter chose to find common cause between them. This is insulting to the memory of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner, two innocent men who were killed by the very men entrusted with their safety. (Beinart further insults the memory of Martin and Garner when he lumps their deaths in with Mohammed Abu Khdeir, killed by thugs of questionable mental capacity.)
That Israel has to treat Palestinians so harshly is a tragedy for both Israelis and Palestinians, and the fault lies largely at the feet of the Palestinian leadership for encouraging anti-Israel violence while doing almost nothing to foster a successful Palestinian state.
Now, Peter is well read on the current state of affairs in Israel. There is really nothing I have written that he does not know.
Why, then, does he choose to deliberately distort context? Is Peter engaging in a subtle incitement of his own?