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Posted in: Anti-Semitism, Jihad & Terrorism

Published on Jun 02, 2004 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for The Jewish Press

Islamist Barbarism and the Western Media


Leftists and "politically correct" progressives insist that Americans and Israelis are the real barbarians -- that we purposely and sadistically shoot innocent Arab civilian demonstrators from gunships and tanks and drop bombs on wedding parties, hospitals, and children.

I strongly disagree. Americans and Israelis only kill civilians by accident; Islamist terrorists kill civilians on purpose. The vast majority of American and Israeli soldiers have ethical standards that are far different from those of their Islamist opponents. The world, accordingly, holds them to a different, higher standard.

The world media are also quick to accuse the Israeli and American armies of crimes that they have not committed -- and slow to print retractions.

In the so-called "massacre" of Jenin (which never took place -- even the United Nations exonerated Israel of this libel), 23 young Israeli soldiers lost their lives. Possibly, given the world's hostility toward Israel's right to defend itself, the IDF felt it had no choice but to send its soldiers in on foot, house to house, to engage in hand-to-hand combat.

Last year, at the Israeli Film Festival, I saw a remarkable documentary in which the Israeli soldiers in Jenin were wracked with anguish for what they had to do. They did not gloat over their victory -- they mourned it. In my view, the Israeli army has behaved with exquisite, almost self-destructive, restraint as it faces hostile civilian populations who actively shelter armed terrorists in their hearts, homes, and demonstrations.

The U.S. army in Iraq has also behaved with Israeli-like restraint -- despite the fact that many mosques routinely shelter weapons and terrorists. Americans have tried hard to avoid civilian casualties and the destruction of mosques. Their considerable efforts have been rendered invisible by the media's obsessive fascination with the abuses at Abu Ghraib.

Of course I acknowledge that all loss of civilian life is terrible; that in war, unintended accidents do occur; that war is hell -- perhaps a crime against humanity and G-d. But just wars and wars of self-defense must be fought, not ducked.

Part of the problem is caused by a world media -- as the website HonestReporting.com brilliantly continues to document -- whose headlines are systematically, blaringly, anti-Israel, and whose corrections appear in fine print, if at all.

The media not only engage in double standards but also insist on looking at the sensational "small picture" as opposed to the complex "big picture." The media show us photos of wounded and dead Palestinians -- but do not show us the equally horrific number of wounded and dead Israelis. Worse: the media systematically present the "small" daily tragedy out of context, sensationalizing the gruesome close-up -- as if it exists in a vacuum.

Yes, the Palestinians are suffering -- not only from the harsh realities imposed by Israeli control of disputed territories, but as a direct result of the war that Arafat's jihadists have chosen to wage against Israel.

Palestinian suffering is also due to the fact that, for 56 years, 22 Arab countries have refused to offer citizenship to those refugees who fled what was, at the time, Jordan, Syria, or Egypt. And while the U.S. has earmarked more money to support Palestinians than have all the Arab countries combined, such monies (also sent by the United Nations) have been siphoned off into Arafat's private bank accounts and used to fund terrorism against Israel. The entire Arab world allowed the "Palestinian" refugees to fester so that they could become human fodder, human weapons, against the Western, Zionist, and infidel presence in the Muslim Middle East.

Back to barbarism, and the media's double standards:

Who can forget the 2000 lynching of the two Israeli reservists in Ramallah? The lynchers smeared themselves with the blood of their victims, showed bloody palms to the media, smiled and danced in the streets. I was struck by how dispassionately the world media presented this lynching, over and over again, without once drawing back in horror. Their neutrality constituted tacit support for barbarism.

More recently, we have seen the international media gasp in horror -- but not in response to the videotaped beheading of Nicholas Berg, and not in response to the pitiless slaughter of the pregnant Tali Hatuel and her four young children. Some journalists blamed Berg for having been there at all; others spread rumors that he was a Zionist agent. And some blamed Hatuel for having lived in Gaza.

What the world media focused on instead were the photos of the psychologically humiliated and abused Iraqi prisoners in American captivity. They did not focus on the sight of Palestinian terrorists in Gaza as they exhibited the "trophy" body parts of Israeli corpses and held the body parts aloft for ransom.

How are we to understand the savagery of Islamist and Palestinian jihad? Muslim Arabs have routinely tortured, beheaded, and mutilated their victims -- and then further mutilated their corpses.

If one recalls what happened to the first King of Israel, Shaul, in his last battle with the Plishtim, one may see a pre-existing pattern in the region. King Shaul "fell upon his own sword;" he did not want to be captured alive by the Plishtim. But they captured his corpse. And what did they do? They cut off his head, stripped off his armor and sent both the head and the armor to be displayed in their cities and in their temples.

Further, the Plishtim fastened his body to the walls of Beth Shan. And what did King Shaul's valiant soldiers do? At night, and at great risk, they went and cut his body down and, contrary to Jewish law, burned it, rescued the bones, and buried them under the tamarisk tree where Shaul used to sit.

The rabbis were puzzled. Why did the Jewish soldiers do this? My chevrutah, Rivka Haut, and I think that perhaps they knew the Plishtim were capable of digging up a grave and of continuing to mutilate and display the mutilated corpse. Hence, they burned the corpse but buried the bones in a place familiar to Shaul but perhaps unknown to the Plishtim.

Thus, such ghoulish and barbaric behavior existed long before Islam. Sadly, the monotheistic, religious influence against it -- including that of a "compassionate" and "peaceful" Islam -- has been negligible. Today, such barbarity has escalated alarmingly.

May we have the strength of purpose to do whatever it takes to stop our jihadic enemies for at least another 1000 years. If we don't, they will annihilate us.


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