With so much going on, it was no wonder that the reaction by Hebronites to a Gazan rocket that crashed in their midst went right under our radar. We had way bigger concerns and still do but the incident is nevertheless instructive – very much so. It can actually account for why no peace is possible. It firmly confirms that our logic and that of our neighbors operate on different wavelengths – an underlying and enduring fact of life that makes a meeting of the minds highly unlikely.
But to put the overlooked Hebron episode into context it might be best to start off with Alter Druyanov.
His name, alas, means absolutely nothing to the vast majority of Israelis today. Sic transit Gloria mundi. The output of this literary mover and shaker in newborn Tel Aviv is familiar only to nostalgia buffs and compulsive hoarders of esoterica. But in Druyanov’s anthology of Jewish jokes hides an unassuming little tale that is still sadly all-too-relevant to our scene.
Adhering to yesteryear’s time-tried format, a Jew rides the train and sharing the same compartment is a non-Jew – a Russian in some versions and a German in others. The non-Jewish traveler cogitates out loud that “all the wars, bloodshed, wretchedness and ill-will on earth are caused by Jews.” But the Jew across from him objects: “It’s all the fault of bicycles.”
“Bicycles?” thunders the bewildered Russian/German, “Why? How come bicycles?”
In calm, measured tones his interlocutor inquires: “How come Jews?”
It’s doubtful that the role of bikes in bringing every conceivable calamity upon humankind will be empirically examined in the Arab world. In realms where the Czarist forgery disseminated as The Protocols of the Elders of Zion and Hitler’s obnoxious Mein Kampf are still runaway best-sellers (for those who at all read), it’s still clear as day that the only blameworthy culprits for whatever are inescapably Jews.
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In the Arab world, lest it be lost on the rest of the world – and this is no anecdote from Druyanov’s dated compilation of Jewish humor – the Jews started both world wars, were behind both the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations (James Garfield and William McKinley apparently left little impression in Arabia) and spread polio and AIDS (occasionally also cancer and cholera).
They ritually bake assorted holiday pastries (from Passover matza to Purim cookies) with the blood of abducted Christian/Muslim tots. They fabricated the grand Holocaust hoax and at the same time they are as evil, if not way worse than the perpetrators of the Holocaust (which presumably never was). And in the present day Jews are the unseen malicious manipulators in the killing fields of Syria, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Sudan and even Egypt.
Not to forget, it was the Jews who brought down the Twin Towers and even forewarned fellow Jews to avoid the site on the day of the atrocity, which is why “there were no Jewish casualties…” There’s no point trying to counter any of the above fables with facts. We can individually name all the many Jews who died at the World Trade Center on 9/11 but any consumers of the latter-day Arabian Nights Tales are conditioned never to believe what they hear.
Besides, the Hamas Charter informs the faithful that “the Jews are the instigators of all strife in this world.” That proclamation is ample evidence in and of itself. The Hamas manifesto confidently determines that “there was no war that broke out anywhere without the Jews’ fingerprints on it.”
Get a load of Hamas historiography: “Jews stood behind the French and Communist revolutions and behind most all revolutions…. They also used money to establish clandestine organizations… to destroy societies and carry out Zionist interests. Such organizations are: the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, Lions Clubs, B’nai B’rith, etc. All of them are destructive spying organizations.”
Nobody, maintains the Hamas Charter, disputes that “Jews stood behind WWI, so as to wipe out the Islamic Caliphate… and established the League of Nations in order to rule the world by means of that organization. They also stood behind WWII…. They inspired the establishment of the UN and the Security Council to replace the League of Nations, in order to rule the world by their intermediary.”
Lavishing liberal love on Gaza won’t do the trick because Hamas, according to its Covenant, is leery of do-gooders who come with “publicity and movies, curricula of education and culture, using as their intermediaries their craftsmen who are part of the various Zionist Organizations which take on all sorts of names and shapes such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, gangs of spies and the like. All of them are nests of saboteurs and sabotage.”
Get it? Nothing in this existence is what it seems. Literally a stone’s throw from our doorstep reality is regarded as comprised of layer upon shadowy layer, one concealed behind another. Cloaked schemers abound, each exploiting another schemer, each duping someone for secret ends. Life is an interminable complex of nefarious conspiracies in which it’s best not to trust anyone but suspect everyone.
In the Arab Middle East one and all assume they are being conned and no one can ever convincingly contest this premise. Truth isn’t only immaterial; it’s downright undesirable. Assiduous rejection of the truth guarantees that there would never be an earnest reevaluation of the foundation for that undying enmity to Israel.
This, after all, is the region that ecstatically celebrated Nasser as the out-and-out victor following his 1956 and 1967 debacles. Given their penchant for hogwash, it wasn’t difficult for Hamas hotshots to insist that their rockets are effective and aren’t neutralized by Israel’s Iron Dome. No way were their mammoth investments in monster military stockpiles a bust, not even after their rockets were revealed to be useless against sophisticated Jewish defenses.
Official Gaza mulishly contends that Israel’s heartland is bleeding badly but “the Zionist regime” shrewdly covers up all the death and destruction. Even mass funerals are conducted stealthily on its orders, claimed Hamas mouthpieces in an effort to buck up their people’s spirits and resolve. Nothing boosts Arab morale more than dead Jews. In the disagreeable event that no major casualties were inflicted on the Jews – not for lack of Hamas effort – Jewish casualties can be invented. A fertile imagination can correct any unfavorable circumstance.
Thus, when a rocket traverses the evening skies and touches down in Hebron, the last thing you’d expect of Hebronite Arabs is to look reality in the eye. They are hardly apt to concede that the potentially lethal projectile was a gift from their Gazan brethren, who admittedly aimed to murder Jews but missed the mark. No way can a sober assessment of the situation be expected.
The piteous misery motif promoted so powerfully by Hamas propagandists isn’t scrutinized in Gaza or Hebron, although Hamas’s exploitation of the masses is second only to North Korea’s. Nobody is likely to ponder how there can be abject poverty in Gaza when obviously there’s enough wherewithal for the importation and manufacture of firepower. There’s enough cement to fortify innumerable labyrinths of underground tunnels to facilitate gunrunning, sabotage, abduction and homicide but there’s never enough for schools, hospitals, housing and community facilities. There’s electricity for the rocket factories but not for households. There’s shelter for the honchos but ordinary folks must function as human shields for Hamas property.
There’s always more comfort in the convoluted world of conspiracy theories and hence Hebronites needed no critical investigation to arrive at the instant and anticipated conclusion that the Jews did it. They can spot Jewish intrigue even when it comes down from Gaza’s direction in a deafening thud.
And so the Number-One narrative asserted that the Jews had vindictively aimed that rocket at Hebron’s mild-mannered Arabs. The Hebronite consensus was that this was no Gazan rocket but an Israeli mock-up fired deceitfully to emulate an errant projectile from Gaza. The Jews, it was stated, took predictable advantage of all the background commotion and - between their bombing of Gaza and Gaza’s heroic rocketing of Israel – had pulled another wily subterfuge. This is just what’s to be expected of underhanded Jews and hence it’s true.
No Hebronite bothered to dwell upon a minor inconsistency in the sly-Jewish-scam scenario. If the Jews are so accomplished in their exploits, why did their rocket plunge down where it didn’t wreak real havoc? Surely the Jews know how to aim with satanic accuracy.
Here, however, is where a variation on the theme enters into play, one which makes allowances for Jewish cunning. Even if it’s accepted – for argument’s sake only, say Hebronites – that it was a Gazan rocket that disturbed their peace, why didn’t the Iron Dome intercept it? The answer is manifest: those crafty Jews calculated the rocket’s trajectory, realized it was headed for an Arab population center and therefore callously decided to let it do its worst.
See? No way can Jews come out looking even semi-good out of any turn of events. We might explain till we’re blue in the face that it’s pointless to intercept rockets about to nose-dive into open spaces. Cagey sorts steeped in convoluted cabals find such rationale intrinsically suspicious. Nothing we perceive as reasonable, unambiguous and straightforward is trusted in settings where absolutely nothing is ever reasonable, unambiguous and straightforward.
If Druyanov’s generic Jew shared a train compartment with a Hebronite or Gazan passenger and postulated that bicycles are to blame for all that plagues this planet’s denizens, his words would be met by nods of avid agreement. The Arab commuter would then promptly elaborate on the sure-fire certainty that these are “diabolical Jewish bikes… Jews devised them. Jews were spotted pedaling the infernal two-wheelers. They habitually steer them and they are also known to hide behind them…”
Debunking the Bull, Sarah Honig’s book, was recently published by Gefen.
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