Don’t Let Facts Confuse You — It’s All About Ideology
When it comes to Israel and terrorism, there is a standard one-size-fits-all default formula that works whatever the facts on the ground here are. This is fortunate for the multitudes of self-declared “Middle East experts” out there, because it means that they can explain the situation here without having to resort to reality — in other words what is actually happening here — and without having to preoccupy themselves with understanding that reality.
As the Jewish radical and antisemite, Ilan Pappe, told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir in 1999: “Indeed the struggle is about ideology, not about facts. Who knows what facts are? We try to convince as many people as we can that our interpretation of the facts is the correct one, and we do it because of ideological reasons, not because we are truthseekers.”
Despite being outrageous and counter-intuitive to anything that the once truth-seeking Western civilization stood for, this quote and the worldview it represents — disturbingly similar to that of the former Soviet Union — has become the mantra, whether they are aware of it or not, of hordes of journalists, opinion makers, and politicians. You should keep that in mind, when listening to statements such as this one:
“And there’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing.”
In other words, it is “the occupation” — part one of the one-size-fits-all default formula. And no, the statement did not come from an obscure source in the Boycott, Divest and Sanction movement, but from U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.
Once the almost ritualistic “explanation,” completely removed from reality (since new settlement construction has been the lowest under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu than under any of his predecessors, according to data from Construction Ministry), of why Israeli cities and roads are made unsafe by Palestinian terrorists on the prowl to kill Jews had been established by Kerry, he proceeded to part two of the formula: “I am not going to point fingers [at the culprits] from afar. This is a revolving cycle that damages the future for everybody.”
The mysteriously self-igniting “cycle” of violence. No mention of the situation in Israel seems possible without “the cycle.” It has been in the formula — just like the settlements — for decades. And why shouldn’t it be? After all, it frees you from attaching any weight to the current reality of unprovoked Palestinians killing Jews just because they are Jews. In fact, the inherent bias implicit in this “cycle” concept is that it is all really the Jews’ own fault.
Coming from Kerry, the statements are naturally much more disturbing than when the identical analysis — or rather lack of analysis — comes from most other politicians and opinion makers, since the U.S. is still supposed to be our biggest ally.
In stark contrast, Canadian National Defense Minister Jason Kenney posted the following message on his Facebook page on October 14: “Canada condemns in the strongest terms possible the recent wave of terror attacks against Israeli civilians that has resulted in a number of tragic deaths and injuries. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and friends of the victims. We are deeply concerned by escalating incitement and violence that does nothing to advance the interests of peace, stability, and security in the region. There can be no justification for these attacks, and we will continue to oppose efforts undermine Israel’s legitimacy or right to defend herself in the face of terror.”
It is a rare thing for the analysis of international affairs to be subjected to such reductionist and indeed static extremes, as is the case with Israel. The one-size-fits-all default formula is recycled in all situations, regardless of facts on the ground and regardless of Israel’s actions.
There are no signs of this trend changing in the near future. In fact, the willingness of the general international public to shut eyes and ears to reality and not let it interfere with the ideology inherent in this formula has indeed become comparable to a natural reflex. That is what will happen, when you repeat a lie long enough. There is indeed now, a whole generation of Western youth literally brought up with that lie, which explains the prevalence of anti-Israel and anti-Semitic activity on university campuses.
As a consequence, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas believes he can get away with openly lying about anything. This includes claiming the child terrorist Ahmed Manasra had been “executed” by Israel, when in fact Abbas was perfectly aware that the very same terrorist is being treated with excellent care at an Israeli hospital by the very people that he was brainwashed to kill, and at the expense of the Israeli taxpayer.
Abbas knows the default formula better than anyone and he is relying on it to accomplish his goals. He knows fully well that his lies work the moment they hit the airwaves or the internet and that no amount of proof to the contrary will change that fact. The world loves a blood libel and Abbas knows that. After all, he has a Ph.D. advocating Holocaust denial and years of experience telling him that lies about Israel — the “Jenin massacre” and the Muhammad al-Dura case, just to mention a few — gain a life of their own, once they are out there, regardless of how much proof is presented to the contrary.
The workings of this kind of logic would have made the old Soviets proud. This is no coincidence, of course, since so many of the old PLO terrorists learned their trade in the communist bloc. Abbas himself earned his Ph.D. at a university in Moscow.
The Cold War ended a long time ago, but the legacy of the Soviet ideological mindset is alive and well.
Judith Bergman is a writer and political analyst living in Israel. This article was originally published by Israel Hayom.