20 November 2015

Why our fight is not their fight: ruminations of a pessimist

This post is an attempt to answer the question that is so frequently raised by many Israelis and friends of Israel. Its typical form could be presented by this cartoon:

There is no single answer to this question, but let's first take a look at the immediate aftermath of the Paris massacre. Heads of states, various organizations and even the outspoken supporters of their own versions of Islamist terrorism (such as Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad) denounced the barbaric bloodshed. Our own Bibi joined the chorus with his typical response:
He said: “I have been arguing for years that Islamic terror is attacking Israel and other countries because it simply wants to destroy us.”

Netanyahu also argued that an “attack on any of us needs to be seen as an attack on all of us.”
Notice, please, that I am not saying that Bibi is wrong in what he is saying, not at all. It is just that this attempt to appeal to the world's conscience fell on deaf ears (again, I should add, and again). It is only one of the uncounted times that Bibi's attempt to hitch our wagon to that of the enlightened world in its fight against the Islamist terror didn't resonate at all.

Of course, Bibi wasn't alone in this attempt. Many good people shouted at the world: here we are, we live this in our daily lives, the terror is here 24/7 - why don't you listen, we can tell you a lot about it. But hardly anyone listens. Which causes some of us to become indignant. Sometimes our indignation has a comically provincial aspect:
French media is reporting extensively about events held worldwide in identification with the country's grief following Saturday's terrorist massacre in Paris. However, solidarity events in Israel have not been reported on...
The person who has written these lines should really relax. Not everything is about Israel.
Screaming and shouting that it happens to us too doesn’t change that. Neither does giving the world a big mother of an “I told you so” or “Welcome to our life.”

Give those killed on Friday night the respect that they deserve – as victims of terror. And then find a way for the world to see all victims of terror on equal terms.
Find a way, says the author of this, otherwise fine, article. Much easier said than done.

The world, which is supposed "to see all victims of terror on equal terms", has an interesting way to respond to massacres - at least as far as Israel and Jews are concerned. Even after the Paris bloodbath, where the perpetrators announced themselves and their goals quite clearly, the conspiracy theorists and the leftists presented a united front. At least as far as their pointing to the culprit behind the massacre. It took only a few hours for the deliciously demented Veterans Today (no link will be provided) to declare another "false flag" operation by Mossad. It took a bit more for the grievously demented British Greens spokesman to finger a Rotschild in the stew.

The chorus of European leftist political dignitaries, echoing the above sentiments, albeit in a more politically correct way, wasn't far behind. Started by a Swedish thinker, seconded by a Dutch pol, amplified by a British one, the Irish - the list probably goes on, but my disgust level prevented me from further digging.

So the more uniform response of the Muslim part of the world with its insidious claim that Daesh (ISIS) is a creation of Mossad/CIA/... shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone. After all, the following shows quite well the essence of the world's skewed perception:

Indeed, in the reality where hundreds (sometimes thousands) of Muslims are murdered by their fellow Muslims daily, where wars rage all over the Arab countries, it is clear that one single priority item must be stated and put on the table. With the tacit support from the enlightened Western world, whose understanding we are so touchingly seeking.

Of course, there are some Jews that are ready to turn this issue on its head, such as the inimitable Gideon Levy, saying in a casual display of racism (neither he nor his editor spotted):
Even the kidnapped Nigerian girls interest it [the world] more.
Or an American/Israeli youngster, drilling to what he perceives as a core issue:
And yet, as J.J. Goldberg has pointed out in the Forward, the Israeli military intelligence community believes that the recent uptick in violence is a result of tension over the Temple Mount, Israel’s failure to adequately resolve the case of the murder of the Dawabshe family in the West Bank, and a general feeling of economic and political frustration, especially among Palestinian youth. A sense of hopelessness.
Apparently this youngster doesn't knows a lot about the almost 90 years of the Al Aqsa libel and its bloody history. Not at all, but he is ready to repeat the "accepted wisdom". When even the not especially friendly to Israel BBC summarizes the recent wave of terrorism quite succinctly:
The surge in violence began in September when tensions at a flashpoint holy site in Jerusalem revered by Jews and Muslims boiled over, amid rumours that Israel planned to relax long-standing rules to strengthen Jewish rights at the complex. Israel has repeatedly denied such claims.
But let's go back to Bibi and his unsubtle call for the world's understanding and unity in the face of terror. There are several good reasons why this call falls on deaf ears.
  • The Western world is rudderless and almost paralyzed, facing the Islamists' onslaught. The Western world hasn't a unified and coherent strategy for dealing with this blight, let alone time for sympathy to the rest of the planet with its uncounted trouble points, where the terror is doing its deathly business.
  • The world is tired of Israel and its problems. As it was said, quite well: "The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million -- that number again -- hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide." Not many care about history, the rights of a victor, the reasons for that occupation - the world just doesn't want to see or hear the news about another flare-up in this troubled corner.
  • Our Hasbarah proved to be a dismal failure. Granted, it fights against insurmountable odds - the sheer quantity of Arab and other Muslim supporters of the other side, unconstrained by any requirements of truthfulness or legality and enjoying the infusion of petrodollars. However, the ways the Hasbarah is managed and the style it uses (see under "Bibi") sucks in a major way.
  • The rabidly anti-Israeli left, hand in hand with openly antisemitic far right doing their "good work" wherever possible, using any opportunity to bash Israel for its real and invented ills.
  • The antisemitism, of course. I don't like to use this as an all-around explanation for the anti-Israeli sentiments, and it definitely isn't one. But to exclude it from the list will be a mistake. Our troubles are certainly a cause for some people's delight.
It is time to understand that nothing we can say will make the world sit up and listen. Not the clumsy entreaties, nor all too frequent mentions of Holocaust, nor the obvious but useless parallels, nor incessant and thus useless complaints about antisemitism.

We should cherish our friends, fight our enemies, be true to both and not expect miracles.