As I see it: Time to change the narrative

It is the West’s tragedy that it doesn’t understand it is up against exactly the same Islamic death cult that has attacked the Jews in the Holy Land for almost a century.

Terrorist victim Ezra Schwartz (photo credit: Courtesy)
Terrorist victim Ezra Schwartz
(photo credit: Courtesy)
The daily attacks on Jews in Israel and the disputed territories are continuing.
The toll of killings and injury from the three-month Palestinian-Arab terrorism and incitement campaign is mounting. At least 23 victims have lost their lives since the beginning of October in rock, gun, knife and car-ramming attacks.
In Tel Aviv, a Palestinian killed two Jews and wounded others in a knife attack at the entrance to a synagogue. In Gush Etzion in the West Bank, a Palestinian opened fire with a submachine gun on a group of people at a road junction killing 18-year-old American Ezra Schwartz, an Israeli man and a Palestinian passerby and wounding several others.
Near the same intersection 20-year-old Hadar Buchris from Safed was knifed to death.
Last Monday, two Palestinian girls ages 14 and 16 stabbed a 70-year-old Palestinian man with a pair of scissors in Jerusalem’s iconic Mahaneh Yehuda market; they mistook him for a Jew.
Many other attacks are taking place, with or without casualties. These Israeli terrorism victims are however almost invisible to the West, where the vast majority of attacks are not reported at all.
To some extent this is understandable.
Much worse has been going on elsewhere, not least in the heart of Europe itself. What is so disturbing is the way this sustained terrorism is being willfully airbrushed from the picture to which it belongs.
Last week, US Vice President Joe Biden described as “heinous” terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, Iraq and Nigeria. Israel was not included in his list of countries suffering from this scourge.
Biden was not alone. When people in the West think of terrorism, they don’t think of Israel as its victim. The reason is obvious.
Attacks on Israelis, whether by rocket or rock, are virtually never reported. That in turn is because the West thinks Israel is involved in a dispute over land boundaries for which it is partly or even wholly responsible.
And because the West also tells itself, erroneously, that “the Palestinian people” were the land’s original inhabitants, terrorism against Israelis becomes, outrageously, “resistance” – especially if the Israelis under attack are “settlers.”
Yet the current terrorism campaign against Israeli Jews is providing ample evidence of the real nature of the Arab war against the Jews. It was incited by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and his henchmen preaching Islamic holy war by spreading the inflammatory lie that Israel wants to take over or destroy al-Aksa mosque.
Abbas’s adviser on Islam, Mahmoud al-Habbash, said this month that Israel is “Satan’s project,” and that Jews represent “evil.”
A preacher in al-Aksa Mosque, Sheikh Khaled al-Mughrabi, raved: “The Children of Israel will all be exterminated, the Antichrist will be killed and the Muslims will live in comfort for a long time.”
Much of this terrorism campaign is being perpetrated, even more disgustingly, by young Palestinians taught from the cradle that their highest Islamic aspiration is to murder Jews and seize the whole of Israel.
It is being further encouraged, supported and promoted by the Palestinian leadership honoring and glorifying those who are murdering Israeli Jews.
At a rally honoring Palestinian terrorist Muhammad Halabi, who murdered two Israelis in Jerusalem’s Old City, Fatah Central Committee member Jamal Muhaisen said: “It is the right of our young men to cause Israeli women to cry like our women are crying.”
The Palestinian leadership is inciting yet further attacks by falsely claiming the Israelis are wantonly killing the young stabbers, omitting to acknowledge that such deaths only occur because even when challenged these attackers do not stop trying to kill people.
After 16-year-old Ashrakat Quattanami stabbed Hadar Buchris to death and was shot by an Israeli soldier, Palestinian authorities described it as a “brutal war crime against humanity and childhood.”
But Quattanami’s father is an active member of Islamic Jihad, who praised his daughter for setting out “to seek revenge in her own hands against the Israelis who have stolen our land.” By which he meant the whole of Israel.
The terrible thing is that none of this making the slightest dent in the West’s twisted narrative. Those who peddle the false view that the conflict is over land boundaries and that Israel is to blame for preventing a solution allow no facts to get in the way of this vicious delusion.
That’s why the Obama administration remained silent for days about the murder of American gap-year student Ezra Schwartz.
It’s why both the Swedish foreign minister and the head of the Dutch Socialist Party astoundingly blamed the Paris massacres on Palestinian despair.
It’s why US Secretary of State John Kerry said last month about the attacks on Israelis: “There’s been a massive increase in settlements over the course of the last years. Now you have this violence because there’s a frustration that is growing.”
But there has been no massive increase in settlements at all, as the statistics plainly show.
Even more infamously, Kerry suggested that, in contrast to the “indiscriminate” attacks in Paris this month, last January’s attack against Charlie Hebdo had “a rationale” – while forgetting altogether to mention the killings at the Hypercacher kosher supermarket.
On his trip to Israel this week, Kerry carefully tried to walk back his egregious double standard.
He lamented the death of Ezra Schwartz and said “no frustration, politics, ideology, or emotion, justifies taking innocent lives.”
Yet in adding “too many Israelis have been killed and stabbed, and too many Palestinians,” he still couldn’t stop himself equating the fate of Jewish victims and that of their killers, thus downgrading attacks on Jews and sanitizing their attackers.
After Paris, the hope was expressed in Israel that now the west would recognize Israel was suffering from the same war of conquest and extermination. Unfortunately, however, the more obvious this becomes the more viciously the West will seek to defend its delusion.
The need to change the narrative has never been more urgent. In a recent interview with Channel 10, Abbas admitted publicly for the first time that in 2008 he flatly rejected an offer of statehood from Israel that would have given him control of almost all the West Bank and a share of Jerusalem, as well as Gaza. In other words, he wants Israel gone.
For various reasons, however, Israel has chosen not to educate the world in certain basic truths: that this is not a fight over two states but a struggle to prevent the Arab extermination of Israel; that Palestinian identity was created solely to achieve that murderous aim; and that Israel’s ostensible Western allies are complicit in that project by falsely denying the legality of Israel’s actions and sanitizing and incentivizing Palestinian rejectionism.
It is the West’s tragedy that it doesn’t understand it is up against exactly the same Islamic death cult that has attacked the Jews in the Holy Land for almost a century. It will never understand this unless these basic truths now start to be told.
Melanie Phillips is a columnist for The Times (UK).