Dietrich Bonhoeffer was one of the few church leaders in Germany who vocally opposed Adolph Hitler and the Nazis in Germany. Regarding his fellow Germans and the choice they had to make in the face of Hitler’s vicious Anti-Semitism, Bonhoeffer famously said: “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Sadly, most Germans back in the 1930’s and throughout WWII were either silent or willing participants in Hitler’s hatred, which led to ghettos, death camps, killing fields throughout Eastern Europe, and the murder of approximately 6 million Jews in barely 4 years.
Last week, Prime Minister Netanyahu gave the U.N. the “silent treatment” during his speech before the U.N. General Assembly. Right before he started his 45-second [moment of] silence Netanyahu said: “Seventy years after the murder of 6 million Jews, Iran’s rulers promised to destroy my country, murder my people, and the response from this body, the response from nearly every one of the governments represented here, has been absolutely nothing. Utter silence. Deafening silence.” Sadly, while many in the media made much of the 45 second silent treatment, very few focused on the object or cause of Netanyahu’s complaint and instead chose to focus on the trivial, such as how angry Netanyahu looked or on whether the silent treatment should have been a little shorter.
What they did not talk about, was the fact that while the members of the UN General Assembly are largely celebrating a deal with Iran, and practically tripping over each other to get in line to do business with Iran once the sanctions are lifted, that no one in the U.N. (an organization founded in the aftermath of the Holocaust and the devastation caused by WWII) has said (let alone done) anything in response to the repeated threats by the Iranian regime’s leaders to destroy Israel.
Iran’s Supreme Leader publishes a book where – in true Mein Kampf fashion – he promises the annihilation of Israel within 25 years and the world’s reaction is largely … silence. The commander of the Basij militia of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says that “erasing Israel off the map” is “nonnegotiable” and the world’s reaction is once again, silence.
Sadly, silence or indifference in the face of vicious, irrational Jew hatred is not just the norm when it comes to 1930’s Germany or modern day Iran. The world also conveniently and regularly ignores hateful, anti-Semitic rhetoric from Mahmoud Abbas, the kleptocratic dictator who is in the 10th year of his 4 year term to run the Palestinian Authority (“PA”).
One would think that since Abbas’s legitimacy as the “leader of the Palestinian people” is highly questionable (to put it mildly) and since he pays himself an obscene $1million per month salary that he takes from generous “endowments” given to the PA by the U.N. as well as from both EU and US taxpayers, that Abbas would be more circumspect in his vile hate and incitement to violence against Jews. Sadly, Abbas knows that because the world is filled with very few people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer that he can say whatever he wants and still be treated in the U.N. and in Western capitals as if he is a “moderate” as opposed to what he really is, a repugnant anti-Semite, who incites his people to murder while he and his family profit from the continuation of the conflict.
This explains why on September 17, 2015 Abbas felt perfectly comfortable saying on PA T.V. and then posting on his personal website:
“The Al-Aqsa [Mosque] is ours… and they [the Jews] have no right to defile it with their filthy feet. We will not allow them to, and we will do everything in our power to protect Jerusalem.”
Notably, even though Israel has always allowed for the Muslim Waqf to administer the site of the Temple Mount, and has always agreed to a “status quo” where Jews are the ones prevented from actually praying at (as opposed to visiting) the Temple Mount, Abbas made this despicable comment about “filthy” Jews because immediately before start of the High Holy Days, law enforcement in Israel had learned that Palestinians, who certainly “defiled” the Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism and the 3rd holiest site in Islam) had been bringing onto the Temple Mount stockpiles of rocks, boulders and even firebombs to throw down at Jewish worshipers. As a result, Israel had to take repeated action during the High Holy Days in order to prevent terrorists, who were likely acting on orders from within the PA, from throwing rocks, boulders and firebombs on the heads of Jews that were going to be peacefully celebrating the holiest holidays of the Jewish calendar at the Western Wall.
Abbas and the other leaders of the PA of course don’t call on their people not to throw rocks or firebombs at Jews, particularly when Jews are praying at one of their holiest sites. To the contrary, Abbas’s preference is to encourage more hate and violence, which is why he followed up on his reference to “filthy Jews” with even more hateful and inflammatory rhetoric:
“We bless every drop of blood that has been spilled for Jerusalem, which is clean and pure blood, blood spilled for Allah, Allah willing. Every Martyr (Shahid) will reach Paradise, and everyone wounded will be rewarded by Allah.”
So while Abbas is far from a religious Muslim, he has no problem using such evocative language in order to incite and encourage Palestinians to hate Jews and to shed even more blood (both Jewish and their own) “for Jerusalem.”
Of course, Abbas suffered no consequences for going on PA TV with his anti-Semitic diatribe. To the contrary, he was feted at the UN last week and treated as if he was an elder statesman, instead of what he is – a vile dictator that brutally suppresses political opposition within the PA, steals aid money meant for his people, and encourages endless conflict by peddling the worst kind of anti-Semitic hate speech. Because just like with Iran, saying that you want to destroy Israel or kill Jews is met with, at best, indifference or silence by most of the world.
And that silence has consequences. Deadly consequences. This past week, a Jewish couple was murdered by two Fatah terrorists. Brutally gunned down in front of 4 of their 6 children for committing the “crime” of driving while Jewish. And it turns out the only reason the children were not murdered too, is because one of the terrorists accidentally shot his fellow Jew-hating terrorist in the hand. Otherwise, the children would have been killed too. A few days later, there were two separate knife attacks by Palestinian men also eager to “spill blood for Jerusalem.” Two Jews were killed and three others were wounded in these attacks before the police were able to shoot the knife wielding maniacs who were stabbing people for the “crime” of being Jewish in Jerusalem.
In response to the brutal attack on two parents driving in their car with their kids, Mahmoud Al-Aloul, a member of the Fatah Central Committee that is headed by inciter-in-chief Abbas, took credit for the “Itamar Operation” (as if acting like gang-bangers doing a drive-by shooting at a car is akin to a military operation and somehow not the conduct of brutal, racist, anti-Semitic thugs). Then, with a level of temerity that can only come from having your most vile actions always excused, ignored, or explained by most of the world, the PA’s response to two Palestinian men – acting on Abbas’s exhortation to “spill blood for Jerusalem” – by randomly stabbing Jewish families and children, was a PA press release calling on the “international community” to intervene following “the killing of two young men,” [meaning the terrorists who killed two and wounded three Jews] in Jerusalem.
The PA makes these absurd statements because for decades the world has demonstrated to the Palestinian leadership that they will never be held to account for murdering Jews, let alone for inciting the murder of Jews. Just look at this headline by the BBC following the attack where a Palestinian terrorist with a knife attacked a young couple pushing two baby strollers and ended up shot by police after he stabbed and killed two people and seriously wounded a young mom:
“PALESTINIAN SHOT DEAD AFTER JERUSALEM ATTACK KILLS TWO”
Can anyone imagine any instance that doesn’t involve Jews being killed where the BBC would write such a ridiculous headline? Where the highlight of the headline is that the terrorist was “shot dead” and not that he murdered two people while attacking a young couple walking down the street with their baby? And what is a “Jerusalem attack”? Is the city of Jerusalem attacking people? Only when the murderers are Palestinians and the victims are Jews do we see such absurd headlines where all rules of journalism and good writing go out the window in order to continue to paint the absurd picture of Palestinian victimhood. It is reminiscent of an equally absurd recent headline by the NY Times after a Jewish man was murdered by Palestinians that threw rocks at him while he was driving home from a holiday dinner with his family on the first night of Rosh Hashanah:
“JEWISH MAN DIES AS ROCKS PELT HIS CAR IN EAST JERUSALEM”
Setting aside the gratuitous “east” that the NY Times feels compelled to place in front of “Jerusalem” (which in its 3000 year history, since it was founded by King David, was only divided for 19 years after the Jordanians illegally conquered it in 1948), this headline is as ridiculous as the one by the BBC, and can only be the product of a concerted effort to write headlines that avoid using the active voice and describing clearly and succinctly what actually happened: e.g. “Palestinians throw rocks at family in car and kill Jewish driver.” But such an accurate headline would clearly describe the murderers, their conduct and their victims, something sadly much of the mainstream media wants to avoid; at least whenever the murderers are Palestinians and the victims are Jews.
Western governments, which actually fund the PA, and thereby also fund its incitement to terror and terror activity, are barely better. In response to the murder of two people stabbed to death by a Jihad inspired terrorist in Jerusalem, the Obama Administration issued the following statement:
“The United States strongly condemns all acts of violence, including the tragic stabbing in the Old City of Jerusalem today that left two victims dead and two injured. We call for all perpetrators of violence to be swiftly brought to justice. We are very concerned about mounting tensions in the West Bank and Jerusalem, including the Haram al Sharif/Temple Mount, and call on all sides to take affirmative steps to restore calm and avoid escalating the situation.”
“All sides” … so while Abbas and the PA take credit for “operations” whose principle goal is to randomly kill Jews and while Abbas and the PA openly incite Palestinians to murder Jews based on blatant lies about Jews and their “filthy feet” “defiling” the Temple Mount, the Obama Administration calls on “all sides” to restore calm. Disturbing moral equivalence to be certain; but even more disturbing is the silence and complicity by the Obama Administration in response to Abbas’s open anti-Semitism as well as Abbas’s and the PA’s continued support for and encouragement of terrorism.
Just this past February, a federal court in New York found the PA guilty of planning and abetting multiple terrorist attacks in Israel that killed and wounded numerous American citizens and awarded the 10 American families that brought the suit $655 million. The PA appealed the verdict. Normally, in such a case, the guilty party has to post a significant amount of money in the form of bond, so they will not be able to hide or deplete assets during the appeal process. Unfortunately, normal did not apply here, because this past August the Obama Administration intervened on behalf of the PA and convinced the judge to order only a $10 million bond.
While we have long known that over 6% of the PA budget goes towards monthly salaries for terrorists and their families; yesterday we learned from an Israel Radio investigation that the PA has paid some of the most notorious Palestinian terrorists, including Hamas terrorists, literally tens of thousands of dollars. For example, Abdullah Barghouti, a Hamas bomb maker serving 67 life sentences in an Israeli maximum security prison, has so far received almost $66,000 from the PA. Ibrahim Hamad, who was the head of Hamas’s military wing in the West Bank and is currently serving 54 life sentences, has already received almost $53,000 from the PA. Barghouti and Hamad were involved in numerous suicide bombings in Israel including the Hebrew University cafeteria bombing, the Sbarro restaurant bombing in Jerusalem and a nightclub bombing in Rishon Lezion. These 3 terrorist attacks alone killed 40 people and severely wounded numerous others. Under the PA, however, terrorism pays; literally.
Of course, it is not surprising or unexpected that an organization headed by a kleptocratic dictator that earned his PhD. in Holocaust denial and helped finance the Munich Massacre in 1972 would continue to finance and support terrorism. That should be as expected as the gross exhortations to violence and anti-Semitic rhetoric that Abbas and other PA officials use almost daily. What should be surprising and unexpected is that 70 years after 6 million Jews were murdered in a matter of 4 years that most of the world, including most of the world’s democracies, would be either silent and/or complicit in the face of this clear evil. And as Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught us, silence is complicity.
It is long past time for all Americans and Europeans of conscience to say “enough.” To make it clear to your respective governments, in particular your respective legislatures, that you do not favor supporting, let alone funding, a Mahmoud Abbas led PA that encourages and incites vile Jew-hatred and murder while at the same time stealing U.S. and EU aid money meant for its own people in order to fund bloated salaries for Abbas, his henchman and for terrorists. If enough people and governments start treating the Palestinian leadership like they actually have to account for their actions, then perhaps they will actually change their behavior, and be more interested in pursuing peace than in inciting violence and killing Jews.