Monday, June 30, 2014

  • Monday, June 30, 2014
  • Elder of Ziyon
More lazy moral equivalence from Jodi Rudoren in The New York Times, in a story headlined "After West Bank Kidnapping, 2 Mothers Embody a Divide"  (originally the headline seems to have been "2 Mothers Cope With Loss of Sons:")
It was about 4 a.m. on a Friday when the police banged on Rachel Fraenkel’s door in this Jerusalem suburb looking for her 16-year-old son, Naftali, and a friend he studies with at a yeshiva in the West Bank. The night before, Naftali had texted his parents saying he was going to hitchhike back home. They had no idea he had never arrived.

“I was praying maybe he did something stupid and irresponsible,” Ms. Fraenkel recalled, “but I know my boy isn’t stupid, and he isn’t irresponsible.”

It was almost exactly a week later, just past 5 a.m., that Aida Abdel Aziz Dudeen was startled awake by a gunshot, then banging on her own door in the West Bank town of Dura. Her family had locked the door the night before to keep her 15-year-old son, Mohammed, from confronting the Israeli Army after days of house-to-house searches and arrest raids. The key was still under Ms. Dudeen’s pillow.

“I didn’t imagine he would jump out the window,” she said. “I saw a cousin at the door shouting, ‘Mohammed is a martyr!’ I said, ‘Mohammed who?’ He said, ‘Your son.’ He showed me a shirt with blood. I wanted to know who died because I still believed my son was inside the house.”

More than two weeks after the abduction of Naftali and two other Israeli teenagers, Israel’s security crackdown has raised questions about the asymmetry of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the value of lives on both sides. Mohammed, who witnesses said was among a crowd of youths who hurled stones at Israeli soldiers storming their neighborhood that morning, is one of five Palestinians fatally shot by soldiers in the West Bank; three more have been killed by airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

Most Israelis see the missing teenagers as innocent civilians captured on their way home from school, and the Palestinians who were killed as having provoked soldiers. Palestinians, though, see the very act of attending yeshiva in a West Bank settlement as provocation, and complain that the crackdown is collective punishment against a people under illegal occupation.

Ms. Fraenkel and Ms. Dudeen share little aside from deep religiosity and empty beds where their sons should be. But both have been thrust into conspicuous roles in their side-by-side societies, reflecting the conflict’s human costs.
So who is being compared to a boy who was just trying to get home?

An Arab boy who jumped out his window specifically to fight Israeli soldiers, who participated in a riot where not only stones but Molotov cocktails were being thrown at the soldiers.

The New York Times is comparing a boy who was kidnapped because he was a Jew to a boy who deliberately chose to be a combatant and to engage in acts of war.

Being a Jew in a region that Palestinian Arabs believe should be Jew-free isn't exactly the same level of "provocation" as purposefully going out of your way to join a battle. While Rudoren doesn't explicitly make the equivalence, the style of the article where the mothers of both boys are interviewed leaves little doubt as to what impression she wants to give her readers. (There are six photos accompanying the article, three about the Fraenkels and three about the Dudeens.)

The implication, of course, is that being Jewish on "Palestinian land" is just as reprehensible as hurling firebombs and potentially deadly projectiles.

(h/t Ronald)



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