Try to imagine proposals in the newly restored Union of 1865 to bury John Wilkes Booth in the ground of Capitol Hill. Or proposals to bury Hitler’s charred carcass in the Invalides in Paris, or in Westminster Cathedral in London. How about a proposal to bury Pontius Pilate and Attila the Hun in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican? Or bin Laden’s body, when it is DNA-confirmed, buried at Ground Zero?
These similes capture the absurdity of the proposals to bury Arafat in Jerusalem (and on the Temple Mount, no less). The Temple Mount is the most holy site on earth for Judaism, a little matter that Arafat always denied while still alive. It is where the two Biblical Temples stood, containing the Holy of Holies. Jewish tradition has it that Isaac was bound there, and that Adam’s skull lies beneath the Mount. It is also a sacred spot for Christians, of course. And it is precisely this place where the Arafat groupies, including some prominent members of Israel’s own Lemming Left, sought to have the terrorist’s carcass dumped.
Observers have been at a loss to explain the outpouring of affection, devotion, admiration, and warmth for arguably the worst Middle East terrorist, plane hijacker, and mass murderer of the past century. The only good thing one could really say about Arafat is that he was really not as bad as Hitler and Stalin.
The Vatican issued eulogies for the dead Islamofascist that seemed to exceed the Vatican’s words issued in eulogy for canonized saints. French towns are knocking one another aside in the race to name streets after Arafat. The UN’s flags have been at half-mast. The international media were beside themselves in admiration, giving Arafat’s funeral far greater coverage than that of Ronald Reagan. Media commentators on the BBC and elsewhere literally broke into tears. States sent official representatives to the funeral, as if Arafat had been a head of state. Only time will tell if they will be as generous with their representations when the funeral for Osama bin Laden is at last conducted.
On CNN, Arafat was described as a “revolutionary romantic figure comparable to Ho Chi Minh and Nelson Mandela.” For USA Today, he “embraced sorrow and hope.” South Africa's City Press described him as a leader who “marshaled freedom fighters.” And in the Toronto Sun we were told he was “murdered” (!) by Israel. Many were comparing him to the Biblical Moses.1 One of the only dissident voices was Kuwait, which had been brutalized by Saddam’s Iraq as Arafat led Saddam’s cheerleader squads. A Kuwaiti minister, Muhammad Abul-Hassan, was threatened with impeachment by the Kuwaiti parliament for having allowed a television broadcast last week in which Arafat was described as a hero, a combatant for faith, and a martyr. Abul-Hassan elected to hand in his resignation over the matter.
And all this maudlin mourning for a mass murderer of children and other civilians, for a plane hijacker who paved the way for 9/11, for an Islamofascist who organized terrorist movements whose raison d’etre was a Second Holocaust of Jews. Or perhaps that was precisely the point?
The media circus and the proclamations of Arafat’s “greatness” did serve one useful function. And that is that they illustrated as well as anything what the true nature is of worldwide “solidarity with Palestinians” and support for Palestinian “national” goals.
The simple fact of the matter is that there is no such thing on the planet as sympathy for and identification with Palestinians. There is no such thing as pro-Palestinianism. Period. When Palestinians, or when Arabs in general, are mistreated, repressed, and tormented by any Arab regime, no one cares. When Palestinians were mass murdered by Syria and Jordan, no one cared. When more than 100,000 Arab civilians are massacred in Algeria, it does not even make the evening news. When Asad or Saddam Hussein carry out mass murders of Arabs, the “Human Rights” lobby never looks up from its cinnamon latté.
The pro-Palestinian movement is nothing more than the 21st century’s reincarnation of medieval anti-Semitism, complete with medieval anti-Jewish blood libels. People who claim to feel empathy for Palestinians are typically motivated by hatred of Jews. The reason the pro-Palestinian movement wants the Palestinians to have a state is because it understands that such a state will operate as an instrument to attack Israel, murder Jews, and seek the annihilation of the Jewish state.
Once one understands this fundamental fact of life about the Middle East and about world political motivations, everything else makes sense. The mind-numbing stupidity of the world media mourning Arafat in great cries of anguish, the fawning toadying of political leaders, the maudlin outpouring of love for the cause of the fallen terrorist nazi, are all understandable. There is nothing at all confusing about it. These people are not broadcasting their undying love of Palestinians, but rather their undying hatred of Jews.
The world actually understands that there is no such thing as a Palestinian “nation.” Palestinians are just Arabs who happen to live in the western section of Palestine, differing little from Syrians or Lebanese. Most of them are from families who migrated into Palestine from the time of the beginning of modern Zionism, when Jewish capital and human skills were making western Palestine a much more comfortable place to live for Arabs from the neighboring lands. To describe them as a “nation” is as persuasive as describing Michigan’s Arabs as a new “Detroitian” nation in need of self-determination.
In 1948, the entire West Bank and the Gaza Strip were seized by Arab states, (illegally) occupied by Jordan and Egypt, in their war to extinguish the newly created state of Israel. The Arab countries could have unilaterally erected a Palestinian state any time between 1948 and 1967 had they wished to do so, and Israel could have had nothing to say about it. There was no Palestinian national movement at all demanding statehood in these areas. In the entire world, there was no demand for a right of the Palestinian “people” to erect a state in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Neither was there any demand for Palestinian self-determination east of the Jordan river. Transjordan was always as much “Palestine” as was the land west of the river, and the Palestinians have always been a demographic majority in Jordan (since its independence after World War I.) So why have these East Bank Palestinians never felt the need for “self-determination”? Why have none of the caring supporters of Palestinians ever come out for a Palestinian state at least partly east of the Jordan River? Surely, establishing a state there, at least initially, must be much easier than doing so west of the Jordan. There would be no pesky Israelis around to deal with!
The analytic problem cannot be ignored and demands a clear and unambiguous answer. Why were there no demands for Palestinian “self-determination” before 1967 in the West Bank and Gaza? Why were there never any such demands for the Palestinians of the East Bank? Why hardly a word from the world’s “Palestinian advocates” when their beloved Palestinians are brutalized and repressed by the corrupt, kleptomaniacal “Palestinian Authority”? The answers are the same for all of these mysteries. In all these cases, promoting Palestinian “self-determination” and “national interests” would have done nothing to advance the destruction of Israel.
Palestinian “nationalism” has long been led in large part by non-Palestinians. Many of the leaders of the anti-Jewish and anti-British “Palestinian Revolt” in the 1930s were not Palestinian at all, but Syrians, Lebanese or Iraqi Arabs. The Palestine Liberation Organization was launched in 1964 in Egypt, with close ties to the Egyptian Islamofascist fundamentalist movement, the Moslem Brotherhood. It was initially headed by one Ahmed Shukhairy, best known for his speech before the Six Day War, in which he announced that there would be no Jewish survivors in the coming battle to liberate Palestine. Meanwhile, a young Egyptian student named Yasser Arafat set up a rival “Palestinian” organization in 1965 named al-Fatah, a term connoting Islamic conquest. Yes, Arafat – like Edward Said – was not a Palestinian but an Egyptian. Other “Palestinian” terrorist organizations were also led by Syrians and Iraqis.
What exactly were the Fatah and the PLO (taken over by the Fatah faction in 1967) supposed to be “liberating”? After all, this was back before Israel’s victories in the 1967 Six Day War, during which Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza in its counterattack. The West Bank and the Gaza Strip were there for the Palestinian plucking, had they wished to have their own state. There were no “Palestinian occupied territories” at all to liberate. The West Bank and Gaza were not “occupied,” at least not by Israel.
The answer is that these Palestinian “liberation” movements were launched in the mid-1960s to liberate the Middle East from Israel’s existence. From Arafat’s viewpoint and that of his apologists, Tel Aviv and Haifa were and are just as much “illegal settlements on Palestinian soil” as anything later constructed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.
On the day before the outbreak of the 1967 Six Day War, no one on earth, and certainly no Palestinians, were expressing the belief that Palestinians needed self-determination in the West Bank, on the East Bank, or in Gaza. Yet six days later, according to decades of historic revisionism ever since, the Palestinians are supposed to have morphed into a nation, desperately in need of their own state, unlike – say – the Kurds or Berbers, whose statelessness has never raises an eyebrow among the world’s compassionate classes. Indeed Palestinian statelessness was pronounced the nucleus of the entire Middle East conflict. But was it? Just what was the nucleus during the 20 years of conflict before 1967? The fact that any creation of such a newly needed state just happened to represent an existential and genocidal threat to Israel was of course pure coincidence.
The Palestinian lobby is an anti-Jewish lobby and little else. The pro-Palestinians like to denounce their critics as fawning yes-men for Israel, while posturing their own compassion for Palestinian “suffering.” The same people who have never heard of the massacres in Sudan or Algeria scream in outrage at the “genocide” and “war crimes” Israel supposedly conducted in Jenin, in which perhaps 20 Palestinians died in a battle against entrenched terrorist squads. The “pro-Palestinians” dismiss their critics by insisting that criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitism.
Yet such a “defense” is entirely disingenuous. “Anti-Zionists” cheering Palestinians who blow up buses full of Jewish children and who mechanically denounce each and every effort by Israel to protect those children from bombers are simply anti-Semites. The “Solidarity Movement” hoodlums vandalizing Israel’s security fence are designer-jean pogromchiks. The issue is not whether Israel and its policies are legitimate target for fair criticism. Israel is an imperfect democracy, with all the shortcomings of other democracies, augmented by decades of nonstop warfare and siege. The real issue is the “pro-Palestinian” agenda of anti-Semitism and genocide.
“But-but-but,” scream the Israel-bashers, “what about Jewish anti-Zionists? If anti-Zionism is today in fact virtually always anti-Semitism, what about Jewish anti-Zionists?” The answer is that Jewish anti-Zionists are also, by and large, anti-Semites. Jewish self-hatred and anti-Semitism have been around for many centuries, despite the delight and the serendipity expressed by Israel-bashers every time they find one more to put up on their websites. Some of these Jewish anti-Semites have tenure at Israeli universities.
It is thanks to their efforts and those of Israel’s own politicians that Yasser Arafat became the darling of the Western media. In 1992, Arafat was an entirely discredited hoodlum, exiled to Tunis, persona non grata in Washington and in the capitals of other civilized nations. Arafat was rescued from his pariah status by Israel’s political Left. And he had to do absolutely nothing as quid pro quo.
Israel’s left-wing Labor Party government of Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres rescued Arafat from oblivion. Israel’s Left was certain that Arafat would respond to its outreach with goodwill and moderation. It imported Arafat’s terror legions into the suburbs of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
Worse yet, the Israeli Left decided to dignify the myth of Palestinian “nationhood,” proclaiming the Palestinians indeed a “people” in need of a state. The myth had been invented after 1967 as a public relations stunt, eerily resembling the promotion of the “sufferings” of the Sudeten and Danzig Germans in 1937, when Hitler was representing them as folks in sudden need of “national self-determination” – as a figleaf for genocidal aggression. And the myth of Palestinian nationhood had been fabricated for precisely the same reason.
The Israeli Left preferred not to dwell on the contradictions and absurdities of the claims for existence of some imaginary Palestinian “nation” in need of self-determination. What difference do such things make if the mutual acknowledgement of “legitimate national aspirations and the right to self-determination” could defuse the Arab-Israeli War?
Except it did not defuse anything. The “mutuality” was all in the deluded minds of the Israelis. The Arab world never agreed to acknowledge Jewish rights as quid pro quo for Israel recognizing the Palestinian “nation” and the PLO as its representative. The Israeli political establishment claimed that the Arab world would accept “Land for peace” and “Two states for two peoples” as the formulae for achieving peace. This was the basis for Oslo and for the “Road Map.”
It is unrealistic to expect civilized nations to be more pro-Israel than Israel’s own government. Once the reigning government of the Israeli Left declared Palestinian statehood the key to a stable peace, how could any democratic government not follow Israel’s lead? And once the entire world had beatified and legitimized the PLO, even the muddled Likud lost its will to resist.
Creation of a Palestinian state will not result in any relaxation of tensions, regardless of its borders. Its creation will result in the greatest terrorist bloodbath in the history of the conflict, with countless rockets and missiles raining down upon Israeli civilians from the “State of Palestine” – with thousands of Jews murdered by infiltrating terrorists, who are cheered on by the European intelligentsia; where Palestinian use of Weapons of Mass Destruction is a real possibility; where “Palestine” will serve as the launching base for Arab armies from neighboring countries entering “Palestine” much like German troops entering the Rheinland in 1936.
And when the final showdown comes, then all those compassionate supporters of Palestinians, those whose hearts always cried so passionately for Palestinian suffering, all those protesters of Israeli “violations of Palestinian human rights,” all the ISM demonstrators vandalizing Israel’s security wall, all those who could not control their tears at the funeral of the arch-terrorist mass murderer, all those media bimbos who saluted the noble cause Arafat promoted, will have nary a word to say about the final Armageddon unleashed against the Jews.
It is the greatest disgrace of the state of Israel that Arafat was allowed to die a natural death. He should have been assassinated decades ago. Leaving him alive made a mockery of Israel’s claim that “Never Again” is its reason for being.
1. A rare piece of sober common sense was published by Fouad Ajami, “A JUGGLER PAR EXCELLENCE,” USNEWS.com, November 15, 2004. George Will issued a call for “De-Nazification” of Palestinians, a cause I have been promoting for years. Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe also dismissed the dead Arafat as a monster.