Leon de Winter: Why The Palestinians? And Why The Jews?
In recent weeks at least as many people have died in violence on the borders of Congo and Sudan as during Israel’s recent operations in Gaza – yet a large part of Europe’s media has paid hardly any attention to the violence in Africa.
What do the Palestinians have that the Congolese and Sudanese don’t? Do Europeans love Palestinians for their extraordinary artistic and scientific contributions to the world?
There is one quality that Palestinians can certainly claim: for generations they have managed to preserve their status as refugees. Of the countless millions of displaced persons and peoples seeking refuge in the years following the Second World War, only the Palestinians have succeeded in remaining permanent refugees with their own exclusive United Nations organization. Sixty years on, Palestinian towns are still called refugee camps; four generations of Palestinians have been labeled refugee from birth.
What other qualities do Palestinian victims have that prompts Europe’s media to focus so much attention on them? Nowhere in Europe have demonstrators protested against the Arab terrorists who try to undermine Iraq’s burgeoning democratic process, even though the number of Iraqi victims of terrorist violence is many times greater than the number of victims in Gaza.
What is so special about the Palestinians that causes Europe – and by now, most media in the world - to focus on them so intensively?
The Palestinians in Gaza voted for a religious-fascist party whose fundamental aim is to annihilate the state of Israel. Passionately, Hamas promised war and martyrdom. At its mass rallies in Gaza their leaders screamed for bloody confrontation. Their two main slogans sounded like: ‘Every Palestinian loves death more than life - No sacrifice is too great to bring an end to Israel’. That was the message propagated by Hamas in its media, by the Mullahs in Tehran, by Hizbollah in Lebanon.
Well, Israel offered the inhabitants of Gaza - who voted en masse for a party that promotes the genocide of the Jews throughout the world - what those inhabitants wish more than anything else in life, so they keep on telling the whole wide world: an opportunity to heroically resist and destroy the Jews. Yet instead of expressing profound satisfaction of the chance to fight the Jews, the Palestinians cried out that they were being treated disproportionately and that the Jews shouldn’t be allowed to shoot at women and children. The same people who screamed for violence and war, showed the media how bad they were treated by the Jews they wished to destroy in violence and war.
Imagine what would have happened if Hamas had Israel’s arsenal. Would the islamo-fascist fighters have stuck to ethical guidelines? When Samir Kuntar, the Palestinian who in 1979 crushed the skull of a 4-year old girl with the butt of his rifle, was released by Israel last July, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh congratulated Kuntar for ‘the great victory of the resistance, which proved the rightness of our way’.
For years, Hamas has been firing rockets at Israel, and Europe’s media has shrugged its bored shoulders. In a bloody civil war in June 2007, Hamas expelled so-called moderate Fatah from Gaza; the media registered the events without emotion. Every day, Hamas leaders promise the Jews a painful death; Europe yawns. And when the provocation becomes too much for Israel to bear, and Israel responds by hitting Hamas with a fraction of what Hamas wishes it could throw against Israel, journalists converge on Tel Aviv airport to report the cruel deaths of women and children and Israel’s overwhelming military strength.
Why are these journalists incapable of understanding that Hamas would rather die firing rockets at Israel than do whatever needs to be done to protect its own children? What do Palestinians have which so fascinates Europeans that far worse conflicts around the world, such as Putin’s demolition of Chechnya, pale into insignificance?
The answer is that Palestinians have an enemy which is Europe’s obsession: the Jew. Ancient, civilized Europe has never been a safe haven for Jews. With its national and ethnic divisions, this continent has always found the Jew, just like the wandering Gipsy, the last nomad of the continent, incomprehensible and dangerous. Jew-haters feared the Jew since the Jew was smart and flexible; the Jew blended in more easily but remained loyal to the Hebrew tribe. The machinations of the Jew could explain anything that was wrong on earth – anti-Semitism is the ultimate conspiracy theory. And it has spread from Europe to most corners of the earth. In a globalizing era, in the middle of incomprehensible economic disorder, the scheming Jew can be used, even in countries without Jews, as the classic explanation of why things are bad and threatening.
The eradication of the Jews of Europe was the organic result of a process that lasted a thousand years. And Europe has never come to terms with the consequences of its Holocaust. On the contrary, since decades the continent feels blackmailed and held to ransom by the Jews. Europe’s sympathy for the Palestinians has nothing to do with the unique Palestinian spirit or the circumstances in which Palestinians live – Europe loves the Palestinians because it is Europe’s way of ridding itself of its guilt for the mass murder of its Jews.
Yasser Arafat, a traditional, corrupt Arab warlord, had the remarkable insight in the 1960s to repackage the Palestinian cause in anti-imperialist rhetoric, and so turn the Palestinian case into the cause of Europe’s leftist intelligentsia (RAF, the radical leftist German terrorist movement, worked closely with Palestinian terrorists). The massacres by Christian militias at the refugee camps of Sabra and Chatila in 1982 opened the first cracks in the taboo against criticism of Jews which had been an unwritten law in European public life since 1945; the first Intifada, with its images of stone-throwing Palestinians facing heavily armed Jewish soldiers festooned in the world’s press, cleared the way for a vilification of Israel that turned increasingly into an attack on Jewish arrogance and, maybe more important, an attack on Israeli and Jewish misuse of the legacy of the Holocaust.
Responsible European politicians – and there are many - are aware of the dangers of Islamic religious fascism and, despite heavy pressure of parts of the media, try to preserve a balanced perspective (in the midst of the Gaza-storm in the media, these political elites didn’t condemn Israel), but no other conflict in the world, whether it involves hundreds of thousands or millions of victims, excites as much European emotion as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Europe is obsessed by it.
By placing Israel’s defensive actions in a selective, magnified perspective, European media is able to portray the heirs of the victims of Europe’s most obscene hatred - anti-Semitism - as vile perpetrators, and so finally to release Europe from its dead Jews.
It is clear to whoever has some conscience and knowledge that, even if thousands of innocent bystanders had died in Gaza, there would still be no comparison with Nazi Germany’s annihilation of the Jews – and yet left-wing and Muslim protestors and media commentators constantly use terms such as Holocaust and Nazi to describe Israel’s response to Hamas terrorism. Thus they reduce the magnitude and seriousness of Nazism, and suggest by implication that the conniving Jews may even hold some share in the blame for their suffering under the Nazis.
It would be wrong to blame all Europeans of senseless Jew-hatred, but there is an old and strong ‘ressentiment’ hiding in Europe’s underbelly - a recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League in 7 European countries indicates that 31 percent of adults blame Jews in the financial industry for the economic meltdown. This survey also made clear that criticism of Israel and having an opinion of Jews became synonymous: 58 percent admitted that they like Jews less due to Israel’s politics. The ADL didn’t ask these European adults whether they also have a low opinion of adherents to the Russian Orthodox Church due to the destruction of Grozny and the killing of tens of thousands of Muslim Chechens by the Russian army.
By demonizing Israel’s six million Jews, even though they are merely defending themselves against an enemy motivated by blind religious hatred, Europe is expressing its burning desire to at last get rid of the six million dead. Europe will not forgive the Jews the burden of Auschwitz.
That is why the hundreds killed in Gaza are so much more significant in Europe than the millions who have died in Darfur and Congo. Just like other human beings, Jews didn’t learn much from history, but they know one thing for sure: it repeats itself.