The senseless death of innocent people is always a tragedy.
The deliberate murder of people in a house of prayer born out of hatred is pure evil.
And when the heinous act is coupled by the murderer’s proud chants of annihilation, decent people of the world cannot help but be sickened.
Unless it is election season in America, or every day in the Middle East.
Non-Jews in the Middle East and in America
The slaughter of Jews praying in a synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA in October 2018 is reminiscent of the murder of rabbis in the Har Nof neighborhood in northwestern Jerusalem in 2014. Two Arab terrorists walked into a shul clutching an axe and butcher cleaver shouting “Alahu Akbar,” while worshipers were reciting the silent Amidah prayer. They killed five people.
Here is how the Arab neighbors reacted to the crime, as reported from Australia:
“A reporter from the Israeli television network, Channel 2, went to the Arab neighbourhood of Jabel Mukaber in the south-eastern pocket of the city [Jerusalem], where the two terrorists had lived, to gauge the reaction of the Palestinian residents to the atrocity. The reporter said he could not find a single person to condemn the attack. Instead, the murders were praised and celebrated.
The Jordanian parliament observed a minute’s silence – in honour of the terrorists. Palestinian media was awash with cartoons and graphics lauding the slayings. Hamas called the attack “heroic.” Several employees of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), employed as teachers by the U.N., praised the murders as “wonderful revenge” and prayed for the terrorists to be accepted in “paradise” as “martyrs.” On the streets of Gaza and in the West Bank, sweets were handed out in celebration and loudspeakers used for calls to prayer were blaring words of praise for the murderers.”
Fortunately, in the United States, the hatred of Jews is neither so open nor widespread as in the Middle East. Jew and non-Jew acted as one in condemning the anti-Semitic act. The American Muslim community raised money for the victims’ families and survivors.
In America, Jews are considered fellow citizens; people who are friends and neighbors. People, all bound in common humanity.
However in Israel, Jews are not viewed as people, but as Zionists. Many non-Jewish neighbors see them as occupiers who do not belong in the land. The slaughter of Jews praying quietly to their God is a welcome farewell to the aliens who descended on Arab land.
Shockingly, that view is not just held by non-Jews in Israel about Israeli Jews, but also by non-Jews in America about Israeli Jews.
One of the Muslim groups that raised money for the Pittsburgh Jewish community was MPower Change, co-founded by vocal anti-Zionist Linda Sarsour. Sarsour has condemned anyone associated with Israel and rebuked anyone attempting to “humanize” Israelis.
Anti-Zionists in the Middle East and around the world are not against some policies of the government of Israel; they are against the presence of Jews in their holy land.
The United Nations Reacts
The murder of Jewish worshipers should be easy to condemn clearly and unequivocally, even in the swamp of politics that is the United Nations.
And it was… in the case of Jews being killed in the United States. The UN said of the killings in Pittsburgh:
“The Secretary-General is deeply shocked at and strongly condemns the shooting today at the Tree of Life Congregation synagogue in Pittsburgh in the United States. He expresses his deepest condolences to the families of the victims.
The shooting in Pittsburgh is a painful reminder of continuing anti-Semitism. Jews across the world continue to be attacked for no other reason than their identity. Anti-Semitism is a menace to democratic values and peace and should have no place in the twenty-first century.
The Secretary-General calls for a united front — bringing together authorities at all levels, civil society, religious and community leaders, and the public at large — to roll back the forces of racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and other forms of hatred, bigotry, discrimination and xenophobia gaining strength in many parts of the world.”
What a difference from the statement from the Secretary General in 2014 after the slaughter in the synagogue in Har Nof:
“The Secretary-General strongly condemns today’s attack on a synagogue in West Jerusalem which claimed four lives and injured several persons. He extends his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes the injured a speedy recovery.
Beyond today’s reprehensible incident, clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli security forces continue on a near daily basis in many parts of East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The Secretary-General condemns all acts of violence against civilians. Attacks against religious sites in Jerusalem and the West Bank point to an additional dangerous dimension to the conflict which reverberates far beyond the region.
The Secretary-General calls for political leadership and courage on both sides to take actions to address the very tense situation in Jerusalem. All sides must avoid using provocative rhetoric which only encourages extremist elements. In this regard, the Secretary-General welcomes President Abbas’ condemnation of today’s attack.
The steadily worsening situation on the ground only reinforces the imperative for leaders on both sides to make the difficult decisions that will promote stability and ensure long-term security for both Israelis and Palestinians.”
A single bland comment about the butchering of Jews. And then politics, politics, politics.
The 2014 UN statement was almost a blessing for the violence as it rationalized the cold-blooded murder of innocents. It politicized their deaths. For the UN, there was no anti-Semitism in Arabs walking into a house of Jewish prayer yelling “Allahu Akbar” chopping up Jews. Just a political dispute in which the UNSG called upon “both sides to take actions.”
Seriously? “Both sides?”
The world came down harshly on President Trump for his statement after the Charlottesville neo-Nazi march and protest that equated the two sides after a person was run over in the confrontation. Yet not one media outlet, not one political party, not one organized or spontaneous protest was launched against the vile statement by the UN Secretary General who equivocated about the deliberate anti-Jewish intent of the Arab terrorists.
Politicization of Murdered Jews
Decent people are rightly outraged at the politicization of the killings in Pittsburgh. There is a desire to mourn and show solidarity for the victims, and to show anger against the hatred that fueled the meditation massacre. People did not want to hear the anti-Republican theatrics before election season, which CNN did.
Americans object to victims being used as pawns to score political points. They note that the people in the synagogue were 100% innocent and the murderer was fueled by pure evil. Dragging politics into such a dynamic was ugly. Even for politics, it was horrid.
However, when it comes to Jews living in Israel, there is seemingly no compunction in politicizing their murders. For anti-Zionists, a Jew living in Israel cannot be viewed as an innocent person in their homes. The basic fact that a Jew has the temerity of being in Israel is an affront. An Israeli Jew cannot be innocent of anything, even standing in prayer.
For the anti-Zionists, like former UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon who made the vile statement in 2014, Israeli Jews are inherently a problem. Their physical presence in the land is an anti-Arab declaration. Without a word, without a step, Jews in Israel defy Arab sensibilities. These Jews are not like other Jews around the world. They really don’t belong.
Outside of Israel, Jews are just Jews. People who want them dead or gone are clearly identified as anti-Semites to be condemned. But in Israel, anti-Zionists consider every Jew as inherently anti-Arab, so the desire to kill Jews or expel them is something “natural” as the Arabs “resist” the interlopers in their midst. It is not the Arab that is an anti-Semite, it is the Israeli Jew who is anti-Arab.
People in America are rightfully angered at the politicization of slaughtered Jews before election season. Imagine how Israeli Jews feel every day.
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