March 14, 2011
Yesterday’s terrorist is today’s statesman: Another view of the Itamar murders
Murdering people in their sleep (if that is what happened to the Fogel family in the Itamar settlement) and butchering children is horrible no matter whose children they are. But the fact remains that the jury is out. The guilty parties have not been brought to justice. To tar and feather the entire Palestinian community with collective responsibility for these attacks is unfair. Let the criminals be brought before a court of law.
In the meantime, if we want to deplore the deaths of innocent civilians, let us also remember that more than 1,000 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, many of them women and children, during the 2008-2009 Israeli attack (13 Israeli soldiers died). Columnist David Suissa spends much time describing Palestinian culture as one that glorifies and martyrs “terrorists,” but he neglects to mention that Menachem Begin was among several early Zionists who terrorized and attacked the British, blowing up the King David Hotel in 1946 (91 people were killed, including innocent civilians). Begin was a member of the Irgun, which later was responsible for the 1948 Deir Yassin Massacre in which over a hundred Palestinians were butchered. Weren’t these the acts of war criminals? None of them were ever brought to justice. What history shows is that the first terrorists in the Holy Land were Jews, not Palestinians.
Suissa seems to have a double standard: Palestinian reverence for those who fight against their oppressors is abject, and Jewish blood is sacred.
One final criticism of his column: regarding the Israeli athletes who were taken hostage by Palestinians at Munich in 1972 and then killed mostly at the airport: the consensus now is that the German police were largely responsible for the carnage. There is no proof that Salah Mesbah Khalaf, also known as Abu Iyad, was the triggerman. In fact, there are too many holes in this column, and when you’re willing to fudge facts to drive a point home, or even make stuff up, it throws into question everything you write.
As a Jew myself, whose Moroccan Jewish aunt was killed in Auschwitz, and whose father and three uncles fought in Palestine in 1947-1948 because they thought it was the right thing to do at the time (they all subsequently regretted the experience and spoke for years of the discrimination they endured at the hands of their Ashkenazi colleagues), I care what Israel does in my name. I feel I have a right to speak for or against Israel because Israel pretends to speak for me as a Jewish person. I want to say, Israel does nothing in my name, and has no right to muddle my Judaism and my people’s history with the history of Zionism and what Israel has done to the Palestinian people. As I’ve written elsewhere, Israel has amends to make. Without doubt, so do the Palestinians. But let us not delude ourselves into thinking we are righteous or better than the Arabs, or less bloodthirsty. We all have blood on our hands. Who will be the first to take responsibility?