Analysis: Jewish Terror and Arab Terror – Dangers and Differences
If a court confirms that Jews kidnapped and murdered a 16-year-old Arab boy, it is a dangerous shift in Jewish terror that has moral and strategic implications, because:
- Jewish terror, though a statistically tiny phenomenon, distracts from scores of Arab rockets on Israel, distracts from Arab riots in Israel, and distracts from the far greater strategic threat of Arab-Islamic terror worldwide, which claims thousands of casualties annually;
- Jewish terror destroys Israel’s qualitative edge in morality, by reducing Jews to the aims and means of the Jew-haters;
- Jewish terror can sometimes even hand a strategic victory to Arab enemies.
Some Arab-Islamic speakers, citing Islamic traditional sources, often claim Jews are the “descendants of monkeys and pigs,” and now a few Jews are accused of aping the bestiality of Israel’s enemies by abducting an unarmed Arab boy and burning him to death.
These are the kind of terror-torture tactics regularly employed by Arab-Islamic maniacs but probably never before by Jews.
During the 1987-89 “Intifada, the Palestinian War of Attrition against Israel,” Arabs often kidnapped Arabs and burnt them to death, even pregnant women, charging them with “collaborating with Israel,” tying them to light poles in Ramallah and Nablus.
Palestinian Arab killers even summoned camera crews from CNN to film the burning to death of the mukhtar of Qabatya, a village in Samaria.
Who can forget how Arabs celebrated the gasoline bomb burning deaths of Jewish civilians, burnt alive in their cars or the celebratory lynching-burning-defenestration of two unarmed Israeli reserve soldiers who accidentally drove into Ramallah?
One of Israel’s greatest strengths has always been that it is different: it fights hard to protect itself, but it does not fight dirty, holding itself to a code unmatched by any other country in the world.
For example, when Israeli commandos went to Tunisia to liquidate PLO terror chief Khalil al-Wazir (also know as “Abu Jidad”—rather of Holy War), they were careful not to harm any members of his family. Other Western countries —the U.S, Britain and France—probably have not been quite as careful in their wars.
As a matter of policy, Israeli pilots are careful not to drop certain kinds of bombs on Hamas terrorists, lest they also hit nearby neighbors or passers-by. Yes, mistakes are sometimes made, but Israeli soldiers are the most careful in the world.
Israeli leaders have long known that the world is hypocritical, that it demands a standard of combat from Israel and Jews that it would not ask of anyone else.
This is actually a badge of honor for Israel, but it also has a practical side.
Many Arab soldiers and even Arab terrorists do not fight to their deaths, possibly because they know they will not be lynched or tortured to death.
But the worst part of Jewish terror is that it can hand Arab terror a strategic victory, in several ways. A “Jewish atrocity” can quickly overshadow weeks and months of atrocities committed by Arabs against Jews.
The kidnap-murder of Muhammad Abu-Khdeir alleviates economic and political pressure on Hamas and Islamic Jihad to stop the scores of daily rocket and mortar attacks on Israeli civilians. The murder allows PLO leader Mahmoud Abbas to re-launch his political attacks on Israel at the UN and calls for economic and political boycotts.
PLO leader Abbas, and his top aides, and his broadcast media have been guilty of ridiculous incitement to violence and extremism against Jews. The murder of Abu-Khdeir gives them the axe to slam down on Israel’s head.
Twenty years before the kidnap-murder of Muhammad Abu-Khdeir last week in Jerusalem, Dr. Baruch Goldstein attacked Muslim worshipers in the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, murdering 29 and wounding 135.
It was a heinous mass murder, a huge blow to Israel’s moral standing, a desecration of a holy site—the Cave of the Patriarchs—and a desecration of God’s name.
But the Goldstein attack was also a strategic blow, harming the political standing of the “Right” in its attempt to criticize the Rabin-Peres policy of dealing with the PLO.
Hundreds died from Arab terror as the “Oslo Accords” became a fixture while the PLO and Hamas strengthened and armed themselves, as Israel’s security community continued with the illusion that the PLO would fight, arrest and disarm terrorists.
Just as Goldstein’s terror attack produced a new moral and strategic low, enabling the continued strategic blindness of the Oslo Accords, the Abu-Khdeir attack, if shown to be the work of Jews, will have done more than kill an innocent Arab boy: it has helped Hamas and Abbas continue to hurt Israel and its Jews.
Michael Widlanski is a specialist in Arab and Jewish terror, and the author of Battle for Our Minds: Western Elites and the Terror Threat, published by Simon And Schuster. He teaches at Bar Ilan University and was Schusterman Visiting Professor the University of California at Irvine 2013-14.