“I cannot support this pro-Palestinian position because it could result in riots all over the world”.
When was the last time you heard someone say that? Well, me neither. But replace “Palestinian” with “Israel”, and you can bet that some variation of this is said every day all over the world. Why? Because it is true.
On December 7, 2017, US President Donald Trump officially stated something that all three presidents before him and all major Presidential candidates of the last couple of decades agreed on: that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. It was a simple statement of fact, with full bi-partisan support in the Untied States, and finally made official.
The Palestinian supporters’ reaction? Violence, all over the world.
On December 8, The Sun from UK showed pictures of riots in Gaza and the West Bank. The next day, it showed pictures of riots in Lebanon, Syria, Iran, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Chicago, Berlin, and London. American and Israeli flags, tires, and Trump’s effigy were burned. Stones were thrown. People were injured or killed. Riots also took place in Jordan, Morocco, Netherlands, Manchester, Bristol, Birmingham, Nottingham, Dublin, Belfast, Londonderry, Washington, New York, Sweden (where a synagogue was also firebombed), and probably in a few other places.
At the riot in New York, the rioters chanted, “Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammed is returning” and “With spirit and blood we’ll redeem al-Aqsa. We don’t want no two state, we want ’48”.
A reason frequently given by opponents of Trump’s declaration is that it could incite violence, and indeed it did. The threat of violence worked. Very few countries followed the US lead. No Western government did.
In response to Trump’s statement of fact, French President Emanuel Macron cautioned that we must “avoid violence at all costs”, British Prime Minister Theresa May advised that “the peace process must be conducted in an atmosphere free from violence”, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that Trump’s declaration throws “fuel on the fire”.
Merkel condemned the antisemitic riots in Germany, apparently seeing no contradiction between condemning the riots and appeasing the rioters by refusing to acknowledge a fact. Macron and May do not even appear to have acknowledged the riots.
I have a baseball cap that says “Jerusalem, Israel” (see picture), but I have been advised not to wear it in public in Ottawa. If I did, I would be taking a serious risk to my safety. Yet, I know that if I wore a cap that said “Jerusalem, Palestine”, I might get some strange looks from people wondering what planet I live on, but I know that I would be safe.
Palestinian supporters know that violence works. They know that they can riot and suffer no negative consequences. In fact, they know that Western leaders typically respond to it by caving in.
This is why Palestinians are gaining ground on the world diplomatic front.
Countries can make totally non-sensical declarations in support of the Palestinians, such as recognizing a “Palestinian state” that does not exist and has never existed, they can vote for resolutions claiming no Jewish connection to Temple Mount (imagine a resolution claiming no Muslim connection to Mecca?), and no violence occurs. Yet one country makes a statement that is nothing but the long overdue recognition of a fact about where Israel’s capital is located, and violence ensues all over the world.
Violence may not work so well when applied directly against Israel, but Palestinians and their supporters know that when the violence is applied against the rest of the world, it works like a charm.
This is why there will be no end to riots and violence by the pro-Palestinian mobs. Not until world leaders develop a spine.