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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

August 9, 1938: The High Commisioner appeals for peace

I was looking at the Palestine Post from August 9 and 10, 1938, and saw the usual number of attacks against Jews (perhaps 8 mentioned in those two days), mention of a rare incident against Arabs by Jews (that happened a month and a half earlier), and a few incidents of Arab-on-Arab violence, and at least one case where Arabs attacked the British. But this is no different than a recent post I had done, about a violent 24 hours earlier in 1938.

What was slightly noteworthy was that the British High Commissioner addressed the Jews and Arabs of Palestine:

A couple of things are interesting about this three-minute speech:

One is that political correctness and "evenhandedness" was as absurd in 1938 as it is today. The vast majority of terror incidents were (and are) done by Arabs, and the ones done by Jews may be reprehensible but they are insignificant in context - in fact, their restraint seems positively admirable. But the British leader addresses both communities as if they were both equally responsible for the violence, as if the Arab claims that the very existence of Jews on what they think of as Arab lands is an affront that is worse than any number of Arab attacks on Jewish civilians.

The second point is the irony of his statement that violence is counterproductive: clearly that is wishful thinking and far from the truth. Violence is very productive. The entire reason that the Palestinian cause ever got the world's attention is because of the terror attacks in the 1970s. The entire reason Muslims can recruit terrorists so easily is because of the "success" of Al Qaeda and Hezbollah and Hamas and Fatah and Islamic Jihad and Black September and all the other terror organizations that can claim victory in the deaths of innocent civilians.

Appeasement is counterproductive. "Measured responses" are counterproductive. Trying to negotiate with those whose only interest in negotiations are as a stalling tactic is counterproductive. Defining a problem incorrectly is counterproductive. Relying on wishful thinking is counterproductive. But violence, unfortunately, is very, very productive.

And usually, the only way to fight violence is with much more violence. It is a shame, but it is also reality.