Blaming the victim is nothing new.
The rapist blames his evil on the woman’s flirty behavior; the abusive husband blames his violence on his wife’s improper behavior; and PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas blamed centuries of European “massacres of Jews... including the Holocaust” on the European Jews’ behavior.
Now, the European Union is blaming the Palestinian murder of Israelis on Israeli Jews’ behavior. The EU Representative to the PA, German diplomat Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff, is blaming Israel for Palestinian terror.
The EU is in great company.
Those who blame the victims are always quick to justify their accusations: A rapist will blame the length of the woman’s skirt, while a violent husband may accuse the wife of socializing with the wrong people. Mahmoud Abbas had a straightforward explanation for the European “massacres [of Jews]... from the 11th century until the Holocaust”: “The hatred of the Jews is not due to their religion, but rather due to their social role in all the states of Europe... that was connected to usury, and banks, and so forth” [Official PA TV, April 30, 2018].
So, when the EU representative delineated not one, but numerous reasons Israelis are to blame for Palestinians murdering them, he was following the well-known playbook of criminals and terrorists. As reported in The Jerusalem Post, June 2, 2022, Von Burgsdorff told the Alliance for Middle East Peace at a recent conference in Jerusalem, “don’t be surprised (that Palestinians’ are killing Israelis – it is to be expected). The last few weeks, terrible terror attacks [were] perpetrated... 20 Israeli innocents lost their lives. But don’t be surprised because there is hatred burning in many of these young Palestinians.”
“20 Israeli innocents lost their lives. But don’t be surprised because there is hatred burning in many of these young Palestinians.”Sven Kühn von Burgsdorff
Then, the diplomat made it clear the cause is Israeli behavior: Israel’s first and fundamental sin that causes Palestinian burning hate is that it exists. Von Burgsdorff says, “We need to bring to the fore and to worldwide attention the plight the people of Palestine have been under for the past 74 years.” The number 74 the diplomat chose to describe the Palestinian plight is the years of Israel’s existence. Palestinian Media Watch has documented that Hamas, PA and Fatah leaders, all instruct Palestinians to hate Israel and commit terror because Israel exists. But von Burgsdorff is not satisfied that he alone understands this primary cause of Palestinian terror, his goal is that the entire world sympathize with this source of Palestinian hate.
The EU diplomat doesn’t stop there, explains Palestinian hatred is also burning because Israel is fighting terror. Von Burgsdorff says, “When you are a Palestinian child living next to the separation wall, what do you think this child will grow up with?” Von Burgsdorff should know that Israel does not want a separation wall.
FROM 1967 until 2000, before there was systematic PA-driven terror, there was no wall. But when the PA launched its terror campaign with hundreds of suicide bombers who murdered more than 1,100 Israelis, Israel had no choice but to build a security fence. Von Burgsdorff seems to be suggesting that Israel should let Palestinian terrorists and suicide bombers walk right into Israeli cities and murder civilians, because even though the separation wall effectively stops terrorists – it is sure to upset Palestinian children.
The diplomat also objects to another Israeli terror-fighting mechanism. Israel demolishes the houses of confirmed terrorist murderers because it has been shown to deter future terrorists. However, von Burgsdorff is worried about the Palestinian children who saw houses of relatives “demolished because he or she was a suspected or real terrorist.” This is a blatant lie. Israel does not demolish houses of suspected terrorists, but only of confirmed terrorist murderers, as the EU representative should know.
And here is another von Burgsdorff fiction: “Since 2008, thousands of Palestinians have been killed... while only a handful of those [Israeli] perpetrators have been brought to justice.” Von Burgsdorff must know that virtually every Palestinian who has been killed since 2008 is either a terrorist or was killed while Israel was fighting terror. Only a handful of innocent Palestinians were intentionally killed by extremist Israelis, and the guilty parties were sought out and almost always brought to justice. The diplomat’s implication that thousands of non-combatant Palestinians have been intentionally killed by Israelis who therefore must be brought to justice is another odious lie.
Not only is Von Burgsdorff’s libelous rant insulting to every Israeli, and especially to the families of victims of Palestinian terror, but it is also a strong terror motivator. While Palestinian terror is promoted directly by PA figures who incite hate and murder along with the PA’s rewarding and honoring terrorists, terror is also promoted when Palestinians feel they have international support to kill. When Von Burgsdorff, a senior diplomat, says in effect that the gruesome murders of Israelis who were chopped to death with axes in front of their children was “not surprising,” the diplomat can become a terror multiplier. Worse still, coming from a diplomat who represents the EU, he is probably even more influential than the PA religious figure who recently prayed on official PA TV, “Allah, delight us with the extermination of the evil Jews.”
Palestinians calling to kill Israelis is part of the background hum in the PA, but a diplomat who blames the butchering of Israelis by Palestinians on Israeli behavior is a strong booster shot for terror in the region. If even only one Palestinian’s motivation to kill Israelis is aroused or strengthened by the knowledge that the EU understands his plight and motivation, the diplomat will be morally responsible for the consequences of the terror.
Von Burgsdorff’s statement in the name of the EU that Israel’s behavior causes Palestinian terror is no different in essence than Abbas saying European Jewry’s behavior brought centuries of massacres. They are all saying that killing Jews and Israelis, whether thousands in Israel or millions in Europe, is an act of self-defense.
If the EU wants to have any standing in Israel, it must immediately recall Von Burgsdorff, condemn his irresponsible speech and replace him with someone who does not support terror justifying Antisemitism. If the EU refuses to bring him back, Israel must demand that Germany recall its diplomat; if neither acts properly, the Israeli government must do what any government that respects the lives of its citizens would do: Put him on the next plane to Brussels or Berlin.
Israel must not allow any diplomat to remain in the region who echoes PA hate speech by blaming Jewish victims for their own murders. Von Burgsdorff must go.
The writer is director of Palestinian Media Watch. His book Deception was acclaimed by Robert Bernstein, the founder of Human Rights Watch, as “one of the most important books you may handle in your lives.”