As I see it: The invisible Jewish victims

Refusing to see Israel or the Jewish people as victims is part of the moral sickness of the West. This has blinded people in the West to the threat they themselves face.

Hassidic Jew (photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
Hassidic Jew
(photo credit: ANDREW KELLY / REUTERS)
In Europe and America, people have been left shell-shocked by a series of horrific terrorist atrocities since the beginning of this month.
In Dallas, Texas, five police officers were shot dead by a black gunman who set out to kill white people.
In France, more than 80 people were murdered when a Muslim terrorist drove a truck into a crowd on the promenade in Nice.
Three more police officers were shot dead by another black gunman in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
The next day, a 17-yearold ax-wielding Afghan refugee, claimed by Islamic State as one of its fighters, attacked passengers on a train in Germany leaving three badly injured.
In Israel, terrorist outrages are a near-daily occurrence. For several months there has been a wave of attacks by Arabs using knives, axes, rocks, guns and vehicles to kill and injure Israeli civilians. Hardly any of these incidents have been reported by Western media.
After the Nice atrocity, CNN listed terrorist attacks over 30 days which had left hundreds of people dead. It cited incidents in Chad, France, Nigeria, Afghanistan, Somalia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Turkey, Kenya, Bangladesh, Iraq and Indonesia.
Yet it made no mention of the Israeli victims of Arab terrorism during that period, such as 13-year-old Hallel Yaffa Ariel who was stabbed to death in her bed, or Rabbi Michael Mark who was killed and his wife and two children wounded when their car came under a hail of bullets.
Under pressure from the media watchdog CAMERA, CNN altered its list to include these examples.
Terrorist attacks on Israelis, however, are routinely subjected to selective reporting, distortion and double standards by Western media.
These regularly suggest no distinction between Arab attackers and Israeli victims by lumping them together in casualty totals.
They routinely headline Israel’s police or military repose to terrorism before reporting the attack itself. They thus falsely suggest Israel is the aggressor while downplaying Arab responsibility.
In Israel, Arabs regularly ram vehicles into people waiting at bus stops. Western media rarely report these attacks.
After the Nice truck atrocity, noted the media watchdog Honest Reporting, Agence France-Presse reported car-ramming had transformed vehicles into simple but deadly “weapons of terror” in incidents in Britain and Canada. Yet it made no mention of Israel, where since last September there have been 45 such vehicular terrorist attacks.
There are various reasons why Western journalists don’t include Israel in acts of terrorism against Western victims.
The first is a startling double standard. When Israel kills people, it is seen as a Western country and is held to Western standards. Yet when Israelis are killed, the Western media decide they aren’t the same as Americans, European or British terrorism victims.
The reason is shocking. Terrorism is violence perpetrated against the innocent. To the Western media and associated liberal mindset, however, Israel is not innocent and so Israelis can never be victims.
In part this is because many Israeli terrorism victims are “settlers” and are thus seen as “asking for it” by “illegally occupying Palestinian land.” Western liberals thus grotesquely blame them for their own murder.
This doesn’t stop there. To many such people, Israel was born in a state of original sin. At the core of this thinking is the risible but widely believed falsehood that the indigenous people of the land are the Palestinian Arabs. The Jews of Israel, the real and only surviving indigenous people, are therefore seen as colonizers.
Israel falls foul of a still deeper liberal shibboleth. This holds that the West is innately oppressive, that maintaining its own historic identity is racist and that nations that embody these Western values are thus morally compromised.
They must therefore never use military means to defend themselves against those in the developing world whom they have “oppressed.”
As a Western, ethnically based nation, Israel is therefore damned in the liberal mind three times over, and its military actions against “oppressed” Arabs to protect its people from further attack place it automatically beyond the pale.
It isn’t just Israelis who are thus airbrushed out of the victim picture but Diaspora Jews too. In Britain, there was widespread surprise that French Jews were targeted in the attack on the kosher supermarket in Paris following the atrocity at Charlie Hebdo.
In similar vein, there is shock at the vicious Jew-hatred which has openly erupted within the British Labour Party under the leadership of the ultra-left “friend” of Hamas and Hezbollah, Jeremy Corbyn.
Yet for many years French Jews have been under murderous attack by Muslims which the British media have for the most part failed to report at all. As for Jew-hatred in Britain, this has been rampant within British progressive circles for more than 15 years.
With their minds twisted by the demonization and delegitimization of Israel which is the default narrative of the liberal establishment, the British have failed to grasp that this is merely a fresh mutation of the oldest hatred – hatred of the collective Jew.
Refusing to see Israel or the Jewish people as victims is part of the moral sickness of the West. This has blinded people in the West to the threat they themselves face.
It guarantees the impotent shock with which they will continue to respond to the atrocities and challenges which are undoubtedly and tragically yet to come.
Melanie Phillips is a columnist for
The Times (UK).