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January 23, 2019 7:53 am

Many Progressives Care About ‘Palestine’ — Not Palestinians

avatar by Mitchell Bard

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Palestinian officials laying the cornerstone of the Second Dalal Mughrabi School and Kindergarten in the West Bank. Photo: Al-Hayat Al-Jadida.

Many liberals and progressives support the Palestinian cause for justifiable reasons. What I find mystifying, however, is how so many liberals can advocate for Palestinians, when the Palestinians’ views and behavior are the antithesis of nearly everything that progressives claim to believe in.

While it is convenient to blame Israel’s “occupation” for Palestinian behavior, the truth is that the Palestinians are responsible for their own actions. Activists here, however, are unwilling to acknowledge that they have any ability to control their fate.

The Palestinian draft constitution calls for Islam to be the state religion of any new state. And many Palestinians, even those unaffiliated with Hamas, have become increasingly radicalized. For decades, generations of Palestinians have indoctrinated their children about the need to murder Jews — much of this based on their interpretation of Islam — and have managed to erase Jews from the history of the area.

Their leaders — Arafat, Abbas, Haniyeh — and many imams persistently use Islam to incite the masses to riot on the Temple Mount and the Gaza border. And like other Muslim leaders throughout the region, they persecute Christians. They also promote Jew-hatred, some of which is derived from Koranic verses that, for example, compare Jews to apes and pigs and are broadcast in sermons.

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And what about Palestinian democracy? Abbas is now serving the 15th year of his four-year term, and is seeking to eliminate the Legislative Council, which previously dissolved the constitutional court. It is Abbas, not Israel, who has repeatedly cancelled elections.

The progressives are so single-mindedly determined to create “Palestine” at any cost that they don’t even consider that the Palestinian state they dream of will be a brutal, corrupt dictatorship like those they denounce elsewhere.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) provides a frightening preview.

While pro-Palestinian advocates in the US are currently ranting about the non-existent suppression of their freedom of speech, they are silent when the PA arrests critics, closes social media accounts, and tortures opponents.

Speaking of silencing, a free press is nonexistent in the PA. Journalists who say anything that goes against the party line are subject to harassment, imprisonment, and torture. We know the uproar caused by false accusations of torture against Israelis, but where is the concern for the actual torture of Palestinians by Palestinians?

The Palestinians have made it clear that they envision a Palestinian state that is Judenrein. Yet this does not faze their supporters. Imagine if Israel were to declare that Muslims would no longer be allowed to live in Israel? As it is, they complain about Israel’s treatment of its Arab citizens, whose standard of living and civil rights are light years ahead of what Palestinians and other minorities experience throughout the region.

Where are the protests, for example, against Lebanon’s decades-long discrimination and persecution of the Palestinians?

If a Jew can be blamed for the injury of one Palestinian, their supporters rush to action. Yet groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine have no interest in the slaughter of thousands of Palestinians in Syria. These progressives also rail against violence, except when it is perpetrated by Arabs and Muslims or directed at Jews. They do not object to the pay-to-slay policy of the PA; instead, they oppose legislation to end American taxpayer subsidization of Palestinian terror.

The Palestinians’ fan club is also not put off by the glorification of martyrdom in textbooks, the media, and even sports. Itamar Marcus noted, for example, that one Palestinian textbook identifies 10 “heroes.” The list, he said, “includes no scientists, no doctors no engineers, no singers, no athletes nor any artists. There have been three Muslim Nobel Prize laureates in science and two in literature, but they are not on the list of Palestinian heroes.”

Who is on the list?

“Ten Muslim combatants from the first century of Islam through the 21st century.” Among them, Dalal Mughrabi, the person who was responsible for the murder of 25 adults and 12 children when she and her accomplices hijacked an Israeli bus in 1978. Her “heroism” is memorialized by naming streets, sporting events, city squares, and community centers after her.

Do American progressives agree that Mughrabi is someone Palestinian children should emulate? If not, they are keeping it a secret.

The same people who campaign in America for gay and women’s rights also have no interest in those of Palestinians. Again, they’re not being persecuted by Israel, but by their own people. Mention how gay people flee to Israel out of fear of being killed by other Palestinians, and people shout “pinkwashing” to change the subject.

Similarly, you do not hear advocates express outrage over “honor killings” and the broader mistreatment of women. Take, for example, the case of Suha Jbara, a mother of three who also has American citizenship. She was arrested for “illegally collecting donations for families of Palestinians killed or wounded in clashes with the Israeli army” (something the PA does), and then accused in jail of “collaborating” with Israel. Khaled Abu Toameh reported that Jbara described being tortured by having cold water poured on her face, being strip-searched, subjected to verbal abuse, and placed in solitary confinement. Her interrogators also threatened to take her children away, and sexually assault her mother and sisters.

Have you heard any of the advocates for Palestinian rights complain about how Jbara and other victims of torture were treated?

Setting aside the vital issues of Israeli security, supporters of the Palestinians should be asked whether they envision a state that behaves the way the leaders of Hamas and the PA currently do. Ask them why they care so deeply about “Palestine” while not having any compassion for Palestinians oppressed by their own people.

The time is long overdue to call out the hypocrisy of people who claim to hold progressive values while turning a blind eye to Palestinians whose actions and values are intolerant and non-progressive.

Mitchell Bard, Executive Director of AICE and Jewish Virtual Library, has written 24 books, including The Arab Lobby, Death to the Infidels: Radical Islam’s War Against the Jews, and After Anatevka: Tevye in Palestine.

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