“There has always been a hierarchy to the value of life.” So began the opinion piece from The Toronto Star’s editorial page emeritus, Haroon Siddiqui, about U.S. hypocrisy regarding Egypt. He said the hierarchy began with colonial oppression in Africa, (white supremacy), and today plays out as treating Muslims as “lesser than” others. Siddiqui, a member of the Order of Canada, states that our own government has more empathy for Coptic Christians than the Muslims. Regarding Muslims, he says there’s a double standard; the West shows preference for the secular “good Muslim” not the Islamist “bad Muslim.”
That’s his opinion and that’s his job. But what I don’t understand is the purpose of the sentence he tossed into the opening of his argument. “An Israeli life is deemed infinitely more valuable than that of a Palestinian.”
I sent a note to Mr. Siddiqui asking him for the facts behind that statement. No facts came back to my request so I wrote again: “I am looking for facts that back up your opinion about the value of Israeli versus Palestinian life. And when you refer to Israeli, are you referring to all Israelis-Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Arabs — or just the Jews?”
There was a response — but no answer to my question. I am trying to understand how the value of an Israeli life compared to a Palestinian life fit this narrative about the different treatment he sees afforded different Muslims, unless the purpose is the continued insidious pernicious propaganda and fantasy history that Palestinian sympathizers rely on when facts aren’t there.
Mr. Siddiqui, a respected writer/editor for the Toronto Star, has his own personal platform from which he has the unimpeded opportunity to exercise great powers of persuasion on any subject. I think he has forgotten that. He has forgotten that he has an obligation, as an editor, a journalist, a columnist, to his readers, to present his facts to go with his opinion so that readers can make up their own minds. Instead that throw-away line about Israelis and Palestinians could add to a negative atmosphere recently established in Toronto on al-Quds Day.
I noticed that Mr. Siddiqui had nothing to say about the hateful speech, to “Kill Jews in Jerusalem,” spewed by Elias Hazineh, former Palestinian leader of Palestine House, an organization no longer funded by the Canadian government. Nor did I see any demands from him for a full police investigation regarding the possibility that the call to kill Jews in Jerusalem might be hate speech. Should I conclude from this that Mr. Siddiqui doesn’t value Jewish life as much as the life of a Palestinian?
Almost 40 years ago, philosopher, George Steiner warned about being urged “to give up the proud image of homo sapiens — man the knower, man the hunter of knowledge — and go over to that enchanting vision-homo-ludens, which means, quite simply, man, the player of games, man the relaxed, the intuitive, the pastoral being.”
Mr. Siddiqui portrays himself as man the knower, the hunter of knowledge and instead he betrayed his profession. He wrote about his feelings regarding the place of Muslims in the eyes of the world, then felt the need to point out in all of this that the world values Israeli life (read: Jewish) more than Palestinian. Other than adding to the animosity toward Israel and Israelis what was the point of “An Israeli life is deemed infinitely more valuable than a Palestinian.”
Then it occurred to me that he’s right. “An Israeli life is deemed infinitely more valuable than that of a Palestinian.”
Since its inception 65 years ago, Israelis have prioritized education. Israel has built a country that has produced multiple Noble Laureates, products used the world over from drought-resistant crops to water saving irrigation, treatments for ALS, high tech research — a Middle East Silicon Valley, all the while defending herself from multiple Arab nations refusing to accept Israel as a Jewish state; whatever the borders.
The Palestinians continue to teach their children to wait and to hate. What other people in the 21st century elevate martyrdom for their children: send them to UNRWA-funded summer camps that teach them the glory of Jihad and to despise Israel; that ‘Jews are the wolf‘, and that, one day, the Palestinian children will rise again and take back the country that is rightfully theirs through force?
What other group of mothers do you know encourage their children to put on suicide vests and blow themselves up in cafés, restaurants, hotels, beaches and buses?
Many years ago Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, said that peace would only come to the Middle East when Arab mothers loved their children more than they hate Israelis. How sad that nothing has changed. Palestinian mothers do not value their children as much as Israeli mothers value their children.