Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Deadliest 'Zation (Zak Meyers)

An essay sent to me via email:

The Deadliest “Zation”
By Zak Meyers

On the evening of Friday, March 11, five members of the Fogel family, residents of the West Bank town of Itamar were brutally slain while they slept. The victims were: parents Udi (37) and Ruth (36), and their three children, Yoav (10), Elad (4), and Hadas (3 months).

I write this in their blessed memory…

In light of the most recent in a long history of Arab barbarism perpetrated against Israeli civilians, we must widen the lens through which we see Israel’s place in the world. What happened this past weekend is not a political issue. It is a human issue.

There is no political stance one can take that would warrant this savagery. The roots of such a profound level of hate are not buried in the dirt of political disagreement. There is no crime egregious enough to demand as punishment the coldblooded stabbing of three children. That is unless, of course, one perceives the subjects of such heinous acts to be less than human. If so, one might be inclined to slaughter them, like animals, and slit their throats, which was done. The concept of “human rights” is about how people should be treated, both in life and in death.

In the chronology of Israel’s subjugation, “delegitimization” is but the most recent tactic employed by Israel’s detractors. This effort attacks the very legitimacy Israel enjoys as a sovereign nation by questioning the “legality” of its foundation. As audacious as this movement is, there is one greater in both prominence and consequence: dehumanization.

Both prior and subsequent to the brutal massacre of five members of the Fogel family, key events transpired that provide those willing to see it with a sobering look at the reality of the Israeli-Arab conflict. Though, given the deep-rooted, venomous hatred of Jews rampant in the Middle East, it would be shortsighted to designate anything but the collective psyche of Muslim Arab world as the catalyst.

Less than a month prior to this weekend’s attack, Palestinian Authority TV broadcasted yet another video celebrating the “[Martyrs] of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine in Nablus.” One of the terrorists to whom the video paid tribute was Habash Hanani, who, in 2002, murdered three high school students in the West Bank town of Itamar.

Commemorative videos are but a fragment of the dehumanizing efforts employed by the Palestinians. The Palestinians are but a fragment of those propagating these detestable messages. The description of Jews as “sons of monkeys and pigs” is a common thread woven throughout sermons not only in the West Bank and Gaza, but throughout the Middle East. In fact, leaders of the Arab world have not uttered a whisper of condemnation regarding the brutality of the killings. Rather than recognizing the heinousness of the attack, residents of Rafah in Gaza flooded into the streets in celebration, handing out candies. This is not simply the absence of sympathy, which is callous enough; it represents the glorification of barbarism, ingrained in their psyches from childhood.

Though the blood of the Fogel family stains the hands of Western media, as well. CNN referred to the atrocity by adding quotation marks around Israel’s report of the event as a “terrorist attack,” thereby downplaying terrorism as a motive. It continued with its mendacious coverage by referring to the murderer as an “intruder,” likening his actions to the consequences of a botched robbery.

Likewise, as if needing to contextualize the crime, the BBC politely reminded its readers of the ongoing conflict over the settlements in which this took place. In its estimation, the ability to slaughter children is a direct result of Israel’s policies. Ergo, if Israel withdraws its forces, everyone would live in peace; any and all ability or desire to perpetrate such a heinous act would be alleviated with the presence of military forces.

The equation being promoted is thus: create a Palestinian state and the hatred of Jews will cease. Are we truly to believe that the ability to slit the throat of a three month-old child will dissipate if the perpetrators are members of a sovereign nation? Will the willingness to massacre a family of five, including three children, in the most intimate of manners cease if one’s passport states a particular nationality? Not only is this delusional stance an unabashed attempt at simplifying the situation, but it prevents us from addressing the root cause: dehumanization of Jews.

Bookending the tragedy is the UN’s screening of the virulently anti-Israel film, Miral, which essentially rattles off one Israeli “massacre” after another. As part of their modus operandi, those who propagandize on behalf of the Palestinian cause tend to portray historical events in a vacuum, furthermore trying desperately to link the past to current events.

Such is the example of Deir Yassin, which is mentioned in Miral (2011). For those unfamiliar, Deir Yassin is the centerpiece in the Palestinians’ effort to demonize the Israel Defense Forces as bloodthirsty criminals. Briefly, what transpired there was the result of an Irgun military operation in 1948 to end the blockade of Jerusalem during British rule in Palestine. Even after multiple calls by the Jews for Arabs to leave their homes, some residents decided to stay, which resulted in a battle that left approximately 100 Arabs dead. However, according to champions of the Palestinian cause, Jews went from house-to-house in Deir Yassin, cutting down anything that moved.

This gross misrepresentation of events was replayed during the “Jenin massacre” in 2002. Palestinians sought to replace Deir Yassin in this capacity, with the hopes of demonstrating Israel’s long history of slaughtering Arabs. However, that plan was scrapped when it was revealed that Palestinian authorities may have exaggerated the number of casualties: from the hundreds (even thousands) initially reported…to 53. The number of combatants included in that figure ranges from 48, according to the IDF, to 27 according to Human Rights Watch. Meanwhile, Israel lost 23 soldiers. So, from “massacre,” we quickly move to “battle.”

Even after the audacious claims of “genocide” and “ethnic cleansing” were refuted, no apologies were made, no retractions were issued. The stain had already soaked deep into the moral fabric of society. Yet, even still, there are those who cite “the massacre in Jenin” as further evidence of the IDF’s brutality.

Maybe the world should be reminded of the Arab Riots of 1920-1921? Perhaps the 1929 Hebron Massacre? Or possibly the Arab Riots of 1936-1939?

Since the UN is now a venue for movie premieres, I submit they host a screening of What I Saw in Hebron (1999). With interviews of 13 people who survived the Hebron Massacre, this documentary illustrates the gruesome consequences of dehumanization in one isolated incident. Though detailing an event that occurred more than 80 years ago, the message is evidently just as relevant as ever.

I agree with those who say this massacre is the direct result of policy. It is the direct result of international pressure on Israel to acquiesce to its demands, while completely disregarding the reality on the ground set forth by the Palestinian Authority. The removal of roadblocks in the West Bank, which were in place to prevent such atrocities, should be directly correlated to the removal of the Palestinians’ campaign of dehumanization.

The efforts of delegitimization are taking place in colleges and courts, while that of dehumanization are taking place in schools and mosques. The results of the former are seen in the UN, while that of the latter are seen in headlines. Until Arabs are taught to perceive Jews in their rightful manner, as human beings, these attacks will continue.

How could Arabs possibly be expected to consider Israel “legitimate” if it is inhabited by “creatures” that are perceived to be less than human? How could the Palestinians ever seek to make peace with “sons of pigs and monkeys?” Why treat them with a degree of dignity one would reserve for fellow members of mankind?

The brutal slaying of Udi and Ruth Fogel and three of their children was not about settlements. It was not about politics. By putting it in this context, we are simply dulling the tip of the sword. Under the guise of “fighting oppression,” the Palestinians are offered carte blanche vis-à-vis Israel. In painting Israel’s military presence in the West Bank with such exaggerated strokes of oppression, the international community effectively absolves the Palestinians of the responsibility to act with human decency. That is why slitting the throat of a three month-old child is considered a natural response to “occupation” by the “brutal Zionist regime.”

Political turmoil has always been and will always be a permanent fixture of civilization. It is a natural result of the pursuit of self-determination. However, dehumanization involves the abandonment of civility, which should not validate a people’s right to self-governance. On the converse, it should raise red flags as to what kind of society would be created. Only when a people demonstrate a willingness to treat fellow citizens and fellow humans with dignity, should this people be granted a state of their own.

The abomination to civilization that transpired Friday evening was about one simple fact: the victims were Jews.