In the West, if you can’t blame the Jews, don’t blame anybody - opinion

For Israel’s critics, Arab Lives Matter only when Israeli Jews can be blamed. When no Jews are involved, then suddenly Arab lives don’t matter at all, it seems.

 ISRAELI ARABS block a road in Tel Aviv in October as they protest against violence and recent killings in their communities. (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)
ISRAELI ARABS block a road in Tel Aviv in October as they protest against violence and recent killings in their communities.
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

Arabs in the Israeli city of Ramle are being terrorized.

In recent weeks, a young Arab man was shot dead near a Ramle mosque, an Arab was woman slain in front of her children, another Arab woman was murdered in a car bombing, a couple and their teenage daughter were gunned down in a drive-by shooting, and a young woman was shot and killed in the adjacent city of Lod.

Surely you heard about these killings. J Street and Americans for Peace Now, which are committed to the principle that Arab Lives Matter, are urging Congress to intervene. The State Department is demanding an explanation. The United Nations is preparing to convene an emergency session.

Oh, wait–no, they’re not. J Street and Americans for Peace Now haven’t said a word about all those murdered Arabs.

Neither have the State Department or the UN.

POLICE OFFICERS clash with protesters during a protest in Ramle on May 10. (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)POLICE OFFICERS clash with protesters during a protest in Ramle on May 10. (credit: YOSSI ALONI/FLASH90)

Reporters aren’t rushing to interview the victims’ families. Jewish ex-State Department officials aren’t scrambling to offer comments. Angry pundits aren’t dashing off furious op-eds.

Can you guess why not?

Do you suppose it has something to do with who the killers are?

If J Street or the Washington think tank crowd thought that Israeli Jews – think Hilltop Youth – were to blame, you can bet they would be mounting the barricades. The problem for them is that Arabs are committing the murders.

You see, for Israel’s critics, Arab Lives Matter only when Israeli Jews can be blamed. When no Jews are involved, then suddenly Arab lives don’t matter at all, it seems.

Too bad for Ziad Mughrabi, just 28 and with his whole life ahead of him. They found his dead body near a mosque in Ramle’s mostly-Arab Jawarish neighborhood. Mughrabi was a nephew of a leader of the Jaroushi clan, which is involved in an ongoing rivalry with another Arab clan.

Just two weeks ago, Mrs. Suhaila Jaroushi, 36, was gunned down in front of her young children on a Ramle street, another apparent victim of the clan war. Last year, Yousef Jaroushi, 58, his 46 year-old wife, Nawal, and their 16 year-old daughter, Rayan, were all killed in a drive-by shooting shortly after moving from Ramle to an Israeli Arab town in the Galilee.

And last December, an Arab woman was murdered in a car bombing in Ramle. Police are still investigating that one. There are so many possibilities: family feuds, turf wars between mafia factions, and of course, the most infamous – “honor killings.” That’s when Muslim extremists murder their wives or daughters on suspicion that they somehow dishonored their family by, for example, leaving an abusive husband or wearing a short skirt.

Last week, the ex-husband and the brother of Ms. Lamis Abu Laban, 26, were arrested for shooting her to death in the city of Lod. She left behind three young children. Apparently she “dishonored” them by fleeing from her abusive husband. In the past year, 16 women were murdered in Israel under such circumstances.

Last year, a total of 126 Arabs were killed in criminal incidents in Israel. You would think that 126 murders of Arabs would move J Street to issue at least one press release or would stir a Jewish ex-State Department official to send out one tweet. Just one! Because if Israeli Jews had been involved in any of those killings, those press releases and tweets would be clogging up our email boxes.

But they can’t blame the Jews. So, they don’t blame anybody. They say nothing.

It’s not just that the Jewish Left and the State Department don’t show any genuine human feeling for the victims. There’s also a callous political motive involved.

Drawing attention to intra-Arab violence reminds people about uncomfortable differences between life in Israel and life in Arab societies. The phenomenon of “honor killings” and other casual violence in Israeli Arab society – and Palestinian Arab society – is a reminder of the kind of neighbor Israel would have if a Palestinian Arab state is ever set up next door. Those guns which are casually fired in celebrations at Arab weddings would have many new targets. 

And that’s something which the J Streeters don’t want people thinking about.

Such cynicism is contemptible – and, frankly, kind of racist as well. It treats Arab deaths as unworthy of comment or concern unless they can be used to further a political agenda. What a tragedy!

Stephen M. Flatow is an attorney and the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995. He is the author of A Father’s Story: My Fight for Justice Against Iranian Terror and an oleh hadash (new immigrant).