Much (and much junk!) has already been written about the most recent wave of terrorism that shook Israel. While random Israeli Jews were being stabbed and shot in the street, much of the Western media was busy, as usual, trying to put a ‘pro-Palestinian’ spin on the ‘story’. This tendency manifested itself, among other things, in a keen effort to discover ‘reasons’ for terrorism. That in itself may not be a bad idea; but for so many of today’s lazy, talentless and politically regimented ‘journalists’, the term ‘discover’ does not mean ‘investigate’, but rather ‘speculate’. To Israeli ears, such attempts to present ‘reasons’ sound very much like finding justifications for terrorism.
That’s what Yair Lapid – a former Finance Minister who now leads one of Israel’s opposition parties – told BBC presenter Stephen Sackur, who was interviewing him for a programme called Hard Talk. Sackur had said:
“The Palestinians are quite clear, as Mahmoud Abbas has said, ‘we are living’, he says, ‘under unbearable conditions’. And when that is the case, you get the kind of desperation, particularly among nihilistic young people, who see no future, that results in violence on your streets.”
After Lapid accused him of justifying terrorism, Sackur countered:
“You use the word ‘justification’; I never used that word. I’m trying to place what is happening in a context, trying to maybe explain it, not justify it.”
Sounds logical, doesn’t it? He wasn’t justifying terrorism; just placing it in context, ‘explaining’ it. Nothing wrong with that, surely? Well, two things are very wrong with that, actually.
Firstly, such valiant attempts to use European logic in order to ‘explain’ Middle Eastern terrorism are only ever made when Israelis are its victims. Mr. Sackur would not use a similar ‘logic’ to ‘explain’ 9/11, or 7/7. When Muslim terrorists killed a random British soldier outside his barracks, no one at BBC ‘explained’ the act as “desperation, particularly among nihilistic young people, who see no future…”
Secondly, even assuming that ‘context’ and ‘explanations’ are necessary, why is it that, when Israel is involved (and only when Israel is involved) a particular ‘context’ is chosen, a particular ‘explanation’ is embraced as self-evident, with no attempt to actually investigate the reasons? Where does such ‘explanation’ come from? Mr. Sackur tells us in so many words: it comes from Mahmoud Abbas. But is Abbas a credible source? “The Palestinians are quite clear”, says Sackur. Really, are they?? Who speaks for “The Palestinians”? Abbas has become president 10 years ago, ‘winning’ stitched-up elections; there were no presidential elections since then. The latest parliamentary elections (2006) were won by Hamas – Abbas’s arch-rivals. Mahmoud Abbas speaks for the Palestinians just as Bashar Assad speaks for the Syrians.
Yet Sackur is not the only Western journalist adopting such irrational ‘reasoning’. He is not even the only one at BBC. Beeb’s Middle East editor Jeremy Bowen is also fond of ‘context’ and ‘explanations’ – when it comes to terrorism directed against Israel:
“Violence does not come out of the blue. It has a context. Once again, the problem is the unresolved conflict between Palestinians and Jews. It is at the heart of all the violence that shakes this city.
A big part of the conflict is the military occupation of the Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, that has lasted for nearly 50 years. It is impossible to ignore the effects of an occupation that is always coercive and can be brutal.
In successive Palestinian generations, it has created hopelessness and hatred. In some cases, that bursts out into murderous anger. Jerusalem this week is crackling with tension and hate, directed by both sides at each other.”
Again, if violence always has ‘a context’, then perhaps Mr Bowen should explain what was the ‘context’ of 9/11 and 7/7? What ‘unresolved conflict’, what ‘coercive and brutal occupation’ caused that burst of ‘murderous anger’? And, if that’s the ‘logic’ that he chooses to apply, shouldn’t the despicable murder of Drummer Lee Rigby be ‘explained’ as a consequence of the ‘coercive and brutal occupation’ of Iraq and Afghanistan – Muslim lands situated thousands of miles from British shores?
It seems to me, however, that the award for The Most Stupid Comment in Years belongs by rights to Time Magazine’s Karl Vick. After blaming the terrorist attacks on Israeli-induced Palestinian hopelessness, including of course an obligatory quote from Mahmoud Abbas, Vick calls Israel and ‘the Palestinian territories’
“the one part of the Middle East where the source of strife is comprehensible to Westerners: the aspiration–on the part of both sides–for a national home.”
The Middle East, of course, has no lack of conflicts: it’s Muslims against Christians, Muslims against Yazidis, Sunnis against Shi’a, Alawis against Sunnis, Kurds against Arabs, Turks against Kurds, Persians against Arabs, etc. etc. All that, Mr. Vick confesses, is incomprehensible to the Western brain; the one conflict that is different is that between Arabs and Jews. Why? ‘Coz when it comes to Jews, Arabs only want a national home.
Given Karl Vick’s admirable comprehension of that 100-years-old conflict, I thought I’d ask him a simple question; one that none of the oh-so-knowledgeable Western journalists has yet asked: where are the Christians?
No, I don’t mean the hundreds of thousands of Christians that have been persecuted out of the Middle East; we know where they are. What I mean is: why aren’t there any Christians among the terrorists?
Christians account for circa 2.5% of West Bank’s Arab population (they were 4% only a few years ago and circa 10% in 1948 – as they still are among Arab Israelis). Yet none of the terrorists involved in the recent wave of attacks was a Christian. And if you think that the number of those attackers is too small for reliable statistics, here is another fact: since 1993, circa 200 Arab Palestinians have blown themselves up in attempts to kill Jews; yet none of them was a Christian.
It’s not that Christians are uninvolved in the ‘Palestinian national struggle’. They pay their dues. God (or Allah) help them if they don’t! Under the loving ‘guidance’ of their Muslim ‘brothers’, Christian ‘spiritual leaders’ (whose flock is increasingly fleeing that same tight ‘guidance’) lambast Israel at every possible opportunity, including appeals to foreign coreligionists to boycott the Jewish state out of existence. Yet no Palestinian Christian has been involved – for decades now – in a serious terrorist attack against Jews.
This is understandable if, as Israelis assert, such acts of terrorism are the result of religious extremism, just as they are in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan and many other places. But if, as Messrs. Sackur, Bowen, Vick and numerous other Western ‘useful idiots‘ seem to believe, Palestinian terrorism is an expression of ‘desperation’ and frustrated ‘national aspirations’, then let them explain what makes Palestinian Christians less ‘desperate’; or why are Christians (who, historically, have been the flag-bearers of Arab nationalism) less keen to express their longing for a ‘national home’ – by stabbing, shooting or blowing up a few Jews.
It is Islamist fanaticism that begets stabbings, beheadings, suicide bombings and plane crashing all over the globe – from New York to London, from Madrid to Bali, from Moscow to Kunming, from Baghdad to Damascus and in many, many other places. Not in Jerusalem, though – in that place terrorists are not Muslim extremists, but nice people who want a ‘national home’ and just got… well, a bit impatient waiting for it. Welcome to Vick’s Planet!