Logo

When Is Palestinian Incitement Against Israel Morally Equivalent to Just About Anything?

Written by Phyllis Chesler

View Comments
Share

Some are amazed and gladdened by the fact that, in early January, the New York Times has finally—finally!!—published a piece about the Palestinian incitement of Palestinians to hate Jews and to understand that they have been born to destroy to Israel, the Jewish state.

But I am very hard to please.

First, let us note that the piece, written by Jodi Rudoren, appears at the very bottom of page A4, not on page A1 where Israeli is routinely demonized.

Second, please note the title: "Israeli Officials Point to an Intensifying Campaign of 'Incitement' by Palestinians." Ah, so the presumed incitement has merely been alleged by "Israeli officials."

I wonder how many readers of the NYT believe what "Israeli officials" have to say?

Third, I must also note that 'incitement' itself is in quote marks, as if it is only an Israeli official's opinion, and not objectively true.

Fourth, the bolded pull quote says this: "A move by Israel is criticized as an effort to distract."

Anyone in a hurry, anyone who reads only the Times to learn about the Middle East will easily conclude that "Israeli officials" are manufacturing a false accusation or exaggerating what's in the Palestinian textbooks and media to hide their own nefarious moves.

The choice of this pull quote is what amazes me since the 1052 word article begins this way: "Adolph Hitler is quoted on the website of Palestinian Authority schools. A young girl appears on Palestinian television, describing Jews as 'barbaric monkeys, wretched pigs,' and the 'murderers of Muhammed.'" This is clear, shocking, but pretty standard fare in the Arab world.

If someone—a journalist, perhaps, was familiar with the fine work of Itamar Marcus's Palestinian Media Watch (PMW), and with its translations of Palestinian text books and media, and with the work of MEMRI, which translates work in the Arabic world, he or she would not view this filth as even newsworthy. This is part and parcel of how Muslims are taught to view Jews and the Jewish state. This is the crux of the problem.

While Rudoren does quote 34 words of Minister of Strategic Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, she quickly rebuts and dilutes his points by turning to Majdi Khaldi, Abbas's diplomatic advisor; she quotes 53 of his words; and she paraphrases, in 36 words, what Xavier Abu Eid, a PLO spokesman, told her about Israeli maps which do not show "Palestine" on its maps. Does Rudoren not understand that legally this is disputed territory, land acquired in a war of self-defense, land in which Jews have lived historically for many thousands of years? How can we charge Israel with some equivalent "incitement" because it has failed to recognize a fantasy land—a Naked Emperor which the entire world now fervently believes actually exists and always has or if not, should.

To be fair, Rudoren gives the Israeli and Palestinians positions (direct quotes, paraphrases) about an equal number of words—and that is my greatest problem with this kind of journalism. It is not morally equivalent for the Palestinian representatives to raise other issues instead of admitting that the incitement, the poisonous propaganda, will indeed present a problem were the two sides to ever try and live in peace.

I object strongly to the kind of journalism that feels it must interview a concentration camp survivor—and Hitler or Eichmann in order to get a "balanced" story. Doing so allows them to pretend they are not taking sides when, in fact, they are doing just that. Giving each side a voice can amount to collaborating with evil and may constitute inciting public opinion against the already victimized party by presenting the victimizer as the innocent or at least as an equally innocent party. Rudoren chooses to paraphrase what Mr. Khaldi says, namely, that "Israel's continued construction in the West Bank settlements and military raids on Palestinian cities (are) forms of incitement."

George Orwell—please take a bow. You were prescient about how language can be employed in order to tell Big Lies, but dressed in all the power and majesty of the truth.

As for Khaldi's accusations: I have written hundreds, perhaps thousands of times before: I have no doubt that the people who call themselves Palestinians are suffering—but that is mainly due to the long-ago decision of the Arab League to use this festering refugee population as a means to destroy Israel. Thus, Palestinians, who were once Syrians, Jordanians, Egyptians, and of no national descent, have been denied citizenship and employment rights in every Arab Muslim country and have been both impoverished and indoctrinated into hatred by their leaders. The world has supported their leaders and has funded their terrorism, lavish lifestyles, and escalating misogyny. The world did not support an equal number of Arab Jewish refugees; Israel, alone bore that burden entirely at its own expense.

Oh, and on page A6 in the same issue, there is a story written by Isabel Kershner, with a five column photo. The title is: "Africans Continue to Protest in Israel. Changes Sought in Asylum Policy." I will allow you to draw your own conclusions. The "occupier" is now persecuting black Africans…Israel, after all, is a racist state. Yes? No, of course not. So many Israeli Jews are black-brown-and olive-skinned and Israel provides humanitarian services (it always has) all over Africa. This is a thorny issue but it is not one specific to Israel. What shall civilized countries do with the flood of illiterate, impoverished refugees in flight from war zones, Islamist and otherwise?

Please allow me to quote Prime Minister Netanyahu as Rudoren herself does. "The Palestinian incitement is rampant. Instead of preparing Palestinians for peace, the Palestinian leaders are teaching them to hate Israel."

If this is true—and it is very, very true—how can Rudoren still give equal space to the propagandist purveyors of death and hatred?

First Published in Israel National News January 8, 2014

Phyllis Chesler Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. She is a best- selling author, a legendary feminist leader, a psychotherapist and an expert courtroom witness.

You are now being logged in using your Facebook credentials