The Bigotry Of Low Expectations
In a tremendous piece by Alan Johnson, writing at The Telegraph, he starts by linking to the Israellycool pictures of sweets being handed out and kids celebrating the terrorist kidnap of Eyal Gilad and Naftali. He then continues:
And yet, despite all this whooping and cheering about the trauma and possible death of Naftali Fraenkel and Gilad Shaar, both 16, and Eyal Yifrach, 19, the Palestinians will likely pay a very small price in the international community or global public opinion. Why?
In part, because an anti-Zionist mindset that has taken root in the West, and at its heart is unexamined assumption – that Israelis and Palestinians are different kinds of people. Israelis have agency, responsibility and choice, Palestinians do not. In short, the world treats the Palestinians as children – ‘the pathology of paternalism’ it has been called
The unarticulated assumption of anti-Zionism is that Palestinians are a driven people, dominated by circumstances and moved by emotions; qualities associated with the world of nature. Israelis are the opposite; masters of all circumstances, rational and calculating; qualities associated with the world of culture.
This dichotomous thinking has three bad consequences.
Alan goes on to list the three consequences most eloquently, I’ll give you the headlines but I do recommend you read the piece:
- Every single failure to make peaces is blamed only on Israel because the Palestinians are always “cast as passive victims; a compelled people”.
- Security threats faced by Israel are called inevitable because, again, the Palestinians we are told, have absolutely no other method of expressing themselves.
- Palestinians are always treated as being “below the age of responsibility”. They are never accountable for the hate they teach their children or the steps they take to permanently bar a settlement of the dispute.
So the basic result:
Of course, Israel has to compromise and divide the land, making possible a Palestinian state. But if the Palestinians are treated as children, never held accountable for cultivating a culture of hate, then they will never make their own excruciating compromises for peace. And without those compromises – in a Middle East departing further from the norms of human behaviour by the day – Israel will not take risks for peace. Nor should it.
And I can’t help quoting from this satirical piece on the site Preoccupied Territories at this point:
Ramallah, June 18 – Arab thinkers and activists alike are pointing to Israeli society’s collective, low-venom reaction to the kidnapping of three teenagers by Hamas as further evidence that the Jews are foreigners in the region and have no legitimate sovereignty there.
Israeli media have concentrated on reporting the groups prayers for the return of the boys, the solidarity with the families, and the sober analysis of what military moves might be necessary to secure their release. Conspicuously absent, say the Arab commentators, are cries for vengeance, genocide, pillage, and widespread destruction, staples of what they call the authentic Middle Eastern approach.
“No true Middle Easterner in his right mind would envision long-term coexistence as a goal worthy of pursuit,” says Massikr Themal, a Palestinian activist. “The very notion of even letting one’s enemy survive, let alone reconciling, is alien to this region and must be uprooted with the rest of the Zionist colonialist enterprise.” He said that arrangements under which defeated populations were kept alive were always post-facto allowances for practical exigencies, and not an acceptable a priori approach.
Because that really is the point: Israeli (which are at heart Jewish) ethics and morals are completely alien to a region which was conquered so long ago by Islam.