by Phyllis Chesler
Formerly colonized people of color, especially if they are Muslims, can Do No Wrong—and Jews and Israelis can Do Nothing Right. That’s the cognitive game, that’s how it’s rigged.
I have been getting email and phone calls from dear friends in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. The Tel Avivians and Jerusalemites are sober but slightly shocked to have woken up to a lesser, but still a Sderot-like reality. Senior citizen friends cowered in stairways and hunkered down in “safe” rooms. Younger citizens rushed to shelters or hit the ground. Everyone supports what the IDF is doing. No one was injured or worse.
Day #6 of Israel’s decision to fight back, to stop the constant barrage of Hamas rockets, meant this: according to the IDF, in the first five days, over 500 rockets from Gaza rained down on Israeli civilians and the Iron Dome intercepted 287 such rockets. Additionally, they note that 45% of Israelis live within rocket range of Hamas’s missiles and rockets. That number is equivalent to 140 million Americans.
Would America or any other non-Muslim majority country live with such constant terror, such overwhelming vulnerability to genocidal forces?
And yet, demonstrations in favor of just such terrorism to exterminate the Jewish state have been taking place around the world. They are ugly, pre-planned, formulaic, and very, very loud. People scream, they do not talk; screamers do not listen to reason, they march to kill.
In one instance, a Jewish Community Center on the upper West Side of Manhattan, ejected a young Israeli, Jacob Kimchy, when he interrupted the Big Lies being told by the likes of Haaretz' Gideon Levy and mendacious "Jenin, Jenin" writer Mohammed Bakri. Kimchy said that his father had been murdered by Palestinian/Faux-istinian terrorists and what the panelists were saying was meant to defend terrorism against Israeli civilians.
Yes, he, Kimchy, was thrown out, not the Big Liars; leftis[t] liberal Jewish pride insists that by allowing precisely such lies, that this proves that the “good” Jews believe in diversity, tolerance, free speech—and that they love all those who have vowed to destroy them.
Hamas' Khaled Meshal has visited Khartoum and is said to be going on to Cairo, looking for support. The “international community” people are holding meetings. They always fiddle while Rome, Rwanda, South Sudan, Bosnia, Congo, Syria—and southern Israel--burn.
While some Western democracies have finally supported Israel’s right to defend herself, world leaders will soon want Israel, who is the true victim here and who is fighting a war of self-defense, to lay down its surgically precise weaponry and resign itself to a life in which Israeli civilians are expected to live with the sound of 1000 sirens and 1000 rockets—or more--exploding every single year.
World leaders are worried that Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist groups will be “hurt” and that this might translate into even greater instability in the region. The reasoning goes: Israel should allow itself to be sacrificed in order to….stop the Shiite Muslims from slaughtering Sunni Muslims and vice versa; stop Al-Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood from taking over even more than just Egypt and Libya.
In reality, the knee-jerk reflex of believing that Israel can stop the Muslim-on-Muslim and Muslim-on-infidel violence is undergoing a small “aha” moment.
More people understand that none of this is Israel’s fault and that the sacrifice and terrorization of Israel will not bring peace to the roiling region. It is also increasingly obvious, that Israel is the West’s only stable and militarily sophisticated ally in the Middle East.
Even Westerner journalists “get” that Syrians are slaughtering Syrians; that Israel has nothing to do with this; and that, come to think of it, there are possibly 300,000 Syrian refugees (and 1. 5 million Afghan refugees still in Pakistani camps) for which no UNRWA exists.
Why is the United Nations supporting only terrorists and abandoning the world’s real refugees as well as the civilian victims of terrorism?
For the last twelve years, Israelis, who do not hide behind children, do not stash their ammunition, rockets, and missiles in synagogues or among civilians, who take exquisite care to avoid enemy civilians—have, nevertheless, been portrayed as Nazi-Fascist-Apartheid aggressors. Israel and Zionism—the liberation movement of the perpetually persecuted Jewish people—have become the “dirtiest” words in the world; curse words.
Islamists, who routinely practice both religious and gender apartheid as well as the human sacrifice of their women, children, and civilians behind whom they hide—Islamists have been portrayed as innocent “freedom fighters.”
Dr. Anat Berko , a criminologist and Lt. Colonel in the IDF, has written two important books about the Faux-istinian culture which entraps vulnerable women and children into becoming suicide killers. Her recently released book, The Smarter Bomb. Women and Children as Suicide Bombers, depicts a death-eating culture in which women are honor murdered, not only by their families, but by a culture which has brainwashed them to hate Jews, Israelis, and infidels, (and, like their male counterparts, they do, they do)—and by a culture in which increasingly force- and face-veiled women have absolutely no other pathway to glory, no other escape from their truly wretched lives.
Dr. Berko interviewed Palestinian female terrorists in Israeli jails who failed in their missions; many prefer life in an Israeli jail to their lives at home.
Dr. Wafa Sultan, the spunky, Syrian-born psychiatrist, may actually have been the first Arab woman in history to tell an Arab religious man in public to be quiet, that it was now her turn to speak. She describes this in her deeply honest book, A God Who Hates, as a turning point in her life. This took place on Al-Jazeera. Courtesy of MEMRI, her words went viral on the internet. Dr. Sultan shares one heartbreaking anecdote after another about the lives of women in Syria and in the Arab and Muslim world. Her book supports what Dr. Berko is saying.
Nevertheless, among the intelligentsia, misogyny, (which does exist everywhere), is only targeted among Christian conservatives in America—and among religious Jews, both in Israel and abroad. Ironic, isn’t it?
But this is a small part of the larger picture in which formerly colonized people of color, especially if they are Muslims, can Do No Wrong—and Jews and Israelis can Do Nothing Right. That’s the cognitive game, that’s how it’s rigged.
I predict that this game will change. It has to. The Israeli government and the IDF have both shown a new media savvy, and the cultural ground cover that pro-Israel bloggers are bringing to the gaming tables may help turn the tide. At least a bit.
This is what we are up against. The violent cultures that practice human sacrifice and apartheid are seen as liberators and oppressed, and the non-violent cultures that believe in life, liberty, human rights, women’s rights, and the pursuit of happiness, are viewed as villains and war-mongers.
I believe that the tide may be slowly, slowly, turning. Now, some dogged truth-tellers are getting the word out. Videos, YouTube, Twitter, the use of live-action cameras which are quickly uploaded to the internet are beginning to hold their own against the usual Blood Libels.
It is too soon to tell whether this will create a lasting difference but in the thick of battle, both on the ground in Israel and in cyberspace, one never knows how the war will turn out.
Prof. Phyllis Chesler is the author of fifteen books, including Women and Madness (Doubleday, 1972), The Death of Feminism: What's Next in the Struggle for Women's Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005) and most recently, The New Anti-Semitism. She is the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology and the National Women's Health Network.
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