Thursday, July 13, 2017

Misreading fanaticism - Dr. Reuven Berko

by Dr. Reuven Berko

According to Oz, a fanatic is anyone who loathes uncertainty. Based on his definition, it's actually the Left, which detests "management of the conflict" (as uncertainty), who are the fanatics.

The UNESCO resolution declaring the Cave of the Patriarchs a Palestinian World Heritage Site is in line with the stance of the organization that denies any links between Judaism and Jerusalem and, by doing so, absurdly obliterates the history of Christianity, whose savior Jesus worked close by the Temple in Jerusalem before it was destroyed. 

These resolutions were passed despite the fact that the citizens of many U.N. member states are Christians, and rejecting Judaism's primal rights to these sites is a rejection of their own citizens' identity. 

Meanwhile, the blind eye UNESCO turns to the mass slaughter and destruction of world heritage sites by Muslims is particularly noticeable. 

The Arch of Titus in Rome tells the story of the failed Jewish revolt and the expulsion of the Jewish priests from the Temple and its treasures, and there is hardly any Jew who does not shed a tear when standing beneath it. But as Jews, we ignore it to avoid upsetting the gentiles. In the past, we explained the hypocrisy of Western nations as stemming from anti-Semitic Christian education and their dependence on Arab oil. Now, we express an understanding of their stances given the Islamic threat they are facing at home, and are even giving them the benefit of our experience fighting Palestinian terrorism, the only Palestinian global startup to date. 

In light of Israel's painful experience with depending on the nations of the world and its understanding of our enemies, its leaders are acting cautiously by managing the conflict. It's no coincidence that Amos Oz's book "Dear Zealot," which presents a refreshing spectrum of views on pluralism, democracy, and fanaticism, and even sheds some light on the Jewish actors in the conflict, is getting a boost in this tumultuous time. 

But Oz's project sets Israel up as a lone actor and fails to hold up a mirror to the Palestinian and Islamist enemies. Since Oz is powered by Jewish optimism, he concludes that taking any action for its own sake will bring the desired results. 

A failure to understand our enemies and their motives led Oz to make the claim -- erroneous in my opinion -- that global Islamist terrorism is rooted in a "bitter, desperate idea." The legacy of radical Islam is a "sweet" one and promises paradise and safety under Allah's wing, as megalomaniacal, imperialist Islam continues to spread. 

Oz also gives the Palestinians a pardon, arguing that there is "no truth" to the Israeli government's claim that the Palestinians are part of the same gang that produces Islamist murderers and fanatics.

Is that so? The murderers in Hamas and plenty in the PLO believe that the Islamic legacy and the wheels of history destine us Jews to be slaughtered and disappear just like the Crusaders. 

The Palestinians don't beat themselves up. When history poses a challenge to their claims, they invent an alternate one and destroy "hostile" facts. That's what Islamist radicals have done in Arab countries, and that's what Palestinian terrorists do to our heritage sites. 

Since the days of the Soviet propagandists, "propaganda" has developed into fake news and fake history, much like George Orwell envisioned in "1984."

The media functions as a tool the Palestinians use to turn false claims into reality. No Palestinian can justify the Palestinian claim to Jerusalem as their capital on religious, historical, or national grounds, and yet no Palestinian is forgoing the claim of a right to return. In the face of fanaticism like that, Oz tries not to cause anyone any pain. International pressure is supposed to give the country to the Palestinians, while the Jews, its legal owners, disappear. 

According to Oz, a fanatic is anyone who loathes uncertainty. Based on his definition, it's actually the Left, which detests "management of the conflict" (as uncertainty), who are the fanatics. When I compare Oz's vision to that of armed Palestinian fanatics, who glorify and fund shahids [martyrs] and aspire to "return," I have more faith in the Palestinians. 

Dr. Reuven Berko


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