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Jews and Justice

by Louis Rene Beres November 18, 2002

I am the faculty advisor of Israel Council at Purdue, a student organization
dedicated to combating misrepresentations of Israel. On Sunday, November 17,
the day of our major conference, THE ETHICS OF THE MIDDLE EAST CONFLICT, an
article appeared in our Lafayette, Indiana newspaper about the Hebron
massacre of Jewish worshipers two days earlier. The title of the AP
(Associated Press) piece, written by Nasser Shiyoukhi, was “Palestinian
Militants Kill 12 Israelis.”

Here is the way in which the systematic murder of Jewish worshipers by Arab
terrorists was described in the article. First, the killers were identified
as “militants.” Curiously, if the article had been about an Al Qaeda attack
upon Americans emerging from prayer it would surely have referred to
“terrorists.” In this connection, I don’t recall the September 11th attackers
being sanitized in the press as “militants.”

Second, the victims were not described as men, women and children, or even as
Israelis, but as “settlers.” The innuendo is clear. “Settlers” are not
innocent human beings; rather, at best, they are monstrous usurpers,
neocolonial oppressors of the vulnerable Arab masses. Even the infants. In
essence, when one reads between the lines, one can hear the words: “They had
it coming to them.”

Third, the writer makes clear that the attackers had a distinct and possibly
permissible rationale. Islamic Jihad, says Nasser Shiyoukhi, was “avenging
the killing of its northern West Bank commander, Iyad Sawalha, by Israeli
troops” several days earlier. So the terrorists and those who fight terror
are presented on exactly the same moral plane. The violence of the defenders
is no better than the violence of the murderers. Terrorism is no worse than

Fourth, the special volatility of Hebron is explained in terms of unique
intergroup orientations. According to Shiyoukhi: “The Muslims here are among
the most devout, and the Jewish settlers among the most radical.” Now, one
might ask, why aren’t the adjectives reversed? Why aren’t the Muslims
described as “radical” and the Jews as “most devout?” And, again, why
“settlers?” The answers are obvious.

Fifth, the writer ends his piece with a reference to a recent Israeli
defensive operation in Anzar, a Palestinian village near the West Bank town
of Jenin. Here, says Shiyoukhi, “Israeli troops killed Mahmoud Obeid, 28, an
ACTIVIST in Arafat’s Fatah movement.” An “activist.” Not a terrorist. Not
even a militant. What was the revolutionary specialty of this “activist?” It
was the premeditated murder of Jewish women and children, by shooting and
burning. The writer must have forgotten to mention this.

I am reminded of the always wonderful novel and movie EXODUS. Awaiting
hanging at the end of a British rope, the elder Irgun leader reminds his
small band of followers: “Jews and justice can never be uttered in the same
breath.” Truer words were never spoken. These words should never be forgotten
by friends of Israel, not until much has changed on this dangerous planet.

And what words shall we associate with Palestinian “militants” and
“activists?” What words do they use in dealing with what they sometimes
openly call “The Jewish Problem?” Here are some current examples:

“Kill the Jews, wherever you are, in any country.” This is the advice of
Sheikh Ahmad Abu-Halabaya, in a recent sermon in Gaza, a sermon that was
broadcast repeatedly on official Palestinian Authority television. The Sheikh
is part of the Arafat-appointed clergy.

Some more words of Arab “militants” and “activists.” PA schoolbooks teach
that “all Jews are evil.” PA newspapers print cartoons of bloodthirsty,
hook-nosed Jews hovering threateningly above Arab women and children. The PA
newspapers portray Jews as insects or animals. Palestinian Authority radio
programs openly accuse all Jews of atrocities and warn insistently against
Jewish conspiracies to poison Arabs. PA summers camps train Arab children to
“slit the throats of Jews.” Streets in PA-controlled cities are named after
murderers of Jews. The PA sponsors rallies honoring the murderers of Jews as
“heroes,” “martyrs,” and “stars.”

Jews and justice? Hardly. The grotesque inversion of right and wrong is made
even worse by the witting or unwitting complicity of “liberal” and
“enlightened” Jews with their enemies. Even now, even after the manifest
deception of Oslo is plain for all to see, many Jews – either through
indifference or group self hatred – identify openly with those who despise
them. This inexcusable identification can be found in Europe, in the United
States, and even in Israel – wherever Jews are unable to understand the
meaning of an implacable enemy.

Jews and justice? The juxtaposition does not have to be ironic or
inconceivable. There can be justice for Jews in this world, but only after
each individual Jew feels a responsibility to fight back against pertinent
journalistic manipulations and to recognize the still-exterminatory goals of
Arab war and terror. A “Final Solution” for the Jews is an ineradicable part
of certain Arab/Islamic strategies against Israel. To pretend otherwise is to
ensure the utter meaninglessness of “Never Again.”

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