Photo Credit: twitter

{Originally posted to the author’s blog}

On December 9th, taking to her Facebook account, Linda Sarsour justified Palestinian terrorism:

In context of what’s happening in Palestine in response to the announcement about Jerusalem and in general living under the longest and most brutal military occupation – we have to get a few things straight.

Nobody gets to tell an occupied people how to respond to their own oppression and the continued stripping of their humanity, agency and land whether they are Palestinians or not. Nobody. Oppressed people determine how, when and where to resist. They set the parameters. You don’t have to agree. Unless you have lived in their condition under the boot of a racist, supremacist, violent regime that sees them as less than human – you have no say in this conversation… [emphasis added]

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Let’s put aside how Linda Sarsour, who lives in the US, has a say in this “conversation” — but not anyone critical of Palestinian Arabs who attack and kill Israeli civilians.

First of all, the Muslim attacks and persecution of indigenous Jews in that land is nothing new.

It has continued for over a millennium — how could it be otherwise for non-Muslims under Sharia law which originated the requirement for Jews to wear a yellow star to distinguish them from Muslims and shame them, disallows non-Muslims to testify against Muslims outside of commercial cases and obligates non-Muslims to pay a special, onerous, jizya tax.

Arab attacks and mistreatment of Jews has nothing to do with Arabs being oppressed, but rather the continuation of their being the oppressors. For example, Muslims have a history of stoning Jews that predates the re-establishment of the state of Israel, going back to when the Arabs played host to Jews.

  • In 1955, S. D. Goitein, in his book Jews and Arabs: Their Contacts Through the Ages, wrote:

    In former times–and in remote places even today–it was common for Muslim schoolboys to stone Jews. When the Turks conquered Yemen in 1872, an envoy was sent from the Chief Rabbi of Istanbul to inquire what grievance the Yemenite Jews had against their neighbors. It is indicative that the first thing of which they complained was this molestation by the schoolboys. But when the Turkish Governor asked an assembly of notables to stop this nuisance, there arose an old doctor of Muslim law and explained that this stone-throwing at Jews was an age-old custom (in Arabic ‘Ada) and therefore it was unlawful to forbid it. [p. 76, emphasis added]

  • In Eight years in Asia and Africa from 1846-1855, Israel Joseph Benjamin includes among the multiple indignities regularly suffered by Jews at the hands of the Muslims of Persia:

    Under the pretext of their being unclean, they are treated with the greatest severity, and should they enter a street, inhabited by Mussulmans, they are pelted by the boys and mob with stones and dirt.[p 212]

  • Andrew Bostom gives examples in The Legacy of Islamic Antisemitism: From Sacred Texts to Solemn History.He quotes from Robert Satloff’s book, Among the Righteous — Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands, where Satloff tells the story of Yehuda Chachmon, who lived under Italian rule in Benghazi, Libya, during WWII and wrote about Arab street gangs:

    �Arabs would throw oranges, tomatoes, stones at us,� he said. �Every Jew would hide in his house after five in the evening. The houses were closed [i.e., locked up] with bars and you could not leave until the morning.�� [p 153]

Meanwhile, in then-Palestine, Jews suffered from attacks by Palestinian Arab in control in the centuries leading up to Jewish immigration, illustrating again that Arab attacks on Jews have nothing to do with being oppressed. The examples come from Joan Peters’ From Time Immemorial, collected from various authors.

1660: The Jewish community in Safed is massacred. [p. 178]

1742: A rabbi is allowed to settle in Tiberias and his arrival “brought back the Jewish community of Tiberias, which had been virtually purged of Jews for seventy years” [p. 179]

1775: Blood libel is spread against Jews in Hebron, resulting in mob violence. [p. 179]

1799: Safed’s Jewish Quarter “was completely sacked by the Turks” [p. 179]

1801: Djezzar sends troops to destroy crops in Nazareth while in Ramleh “during the three days of pillage, the local Latin Christians were either murdered, or lost all their property and fled” [p. 180]

1830’s “One book reported the game ‘Burn the Jew,’ a Christian-Arab children’s pastime at Lent in Jaffa. [p. 1888]

1834: Egyptian ruler Ibrahim Pasha levies conscription and when those in Eastern Palestine cross the Jordan to join in a revolt, “forty thousand fellahin rushed on Jerusalem…the mob entered, and looted the city for five or six days. The Jews were the worst sufferers, their homes were sacked and their women violated.” [p. 183]

1834: In Safed, the Jewish community is “brutally attacked by Muslim and Druzes” [p. 183]

1834: In Safed, Muhammed Damoor ‘prophesies’ that on the 15th of June “the true Believers would rise up in just wrath against the Jews, and despoil them of their gold, and their silver, and their jewels”–this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. [p. 185-6]

1837: Safed is hit by an earthquake which results in another attack by the Muslims on the Jews. [p. 183]

1840: Blood libel in Damascus has repercussions in Palestine. [p. 183]

1847: Charge of ritual murder is brought against the Jewish community in Jerusalem. [p. 190]

1847: Jewish visitor to Palestine writes about the Jewish community “They do not have any protection and are at the mercy of policemen and the pashas who treat them as they wish…they pay various taxes every now and then…their property is not at their disposal and they dare not complain about an injury for fear of the Arabs’ revenge. Their lives are precarious and subject to daily danger of death” [p. 190-1]

1848 Hebron plundered. [p. 191]

1848-1878: Reports from the British Consulate in Jerusalem document scores of anti-Jewish violence. Example–“July, 1851: It is my duty to report to Your Excellency that the Jews in Hebron have been greatly alarmed by threats of the Moslems there at the commencement of Ramadan…”

1858: Muslim in Hebron is confronted with his theft and vandalism of Jews and responds that “his right derived from time immemorial in his family, to enter Jewish houses, and take toll or contributions at any time without giving account” [p. 173]

In contrast, in Israel today, under what Sarsour glibly refers to as a “racist, supremacist, violent regime that sees them as less than human,” Israeli Arabs participate in all aspects of Israeli life: social, judicial and political. Among the high-profile political, military, and judiciary roles Israeli Arabs have:

    • Jamal Hakrush, Israeli police deputy commissioner.
    • Mariam Kabha, Attorney. Unanimously approved by Israel’s cabinet to be national commissioner for equal employment opportunities
    • George Deek, Israel’s Deputy Ambassador to Norway
    • Colonel Ghassan Alian, Commander of IDF Golani Brigade

    • Naim Aradi, Israel’s Ambassador to Norway
    • Yusef Mishleb – IDF Major General
    • George Kara, led 3-judge panel that convicted Israeli ex-President.

    • Jamal Zahalka, received BA, MA and Ph.D. Member of Israeli Parliament and leader of Balad political party — while describing himself a victim of “Israeli racist apartheid”

    • Omar Barghouti, Doctoral student at Tel Aviv — while a leading Arab advocate for the academic boycott of Israel.
    • Majalli Wahabi, Former Deputy Speaker of the Israel Parliament — and acting President of Israel during February, 2007

    • Reda Mansour, historian, poet and former Israeli ambassador to Ecuador
    • Salim Joubran, Israeli Supreme Court Justice

Obviously, there is a lot of work still to be done, but clearly, there is movement in the right direction.

Meanwhile, Palestinian Arabs in the “West Bank” now have the closest thing they have ever had to their own sovereign state, something they have never had — least of all under the rule of the Ottoman empire.

The crux of the problem with Sarsour’s convenient claim to Palestinian right to murder Jews is that second paragraph:

Nobody gets to tell an occupied people how to respond to their own oppression and the continued stripping of their humanity, agency and land whether they are Palestinians or not. Nobody. Oppressed people determine how, when and where to resist. They set the parameters.

This actually sounds familiar — it is reminiscent of the claim Maureen Dowd’s made about Cindy Sheehan, whose son was killed in the Iraq War. Dowd wrote that “moral authority of parents who bury children killed in Iraq is absolute” This arbitrary assignment of superior judgment, or in this case, giving Palestinians a pass on murder, just does not cut it.

Her words may resonate rhetorically, but they fall apart when examing the facts.

In his book, The Case for Israel, Alan Dershowitz examines this issue in the chapter, “Is There Moral Equivalence between Palestinian Terrorists and Israeli Responses?”

It is perhaps a sign of how far Sarsour is willing to go, that instead of talking about moral equivalence, Sarsour is claiming moral superiority.

Dershowitz recalls some examples of Palestinian terrorist attacks that perhaps Sarsour has forgotten:

Does Sarsour really thing that Palestinian terrorists get to make the parameters for the murder of defenseless men, women and children?

A better question might be what is Sarsour’s source for claiming terrorists have a moral right to choose their victims? Is it based on the Koran or does she have some other source?

In The Crisis of Islam, Bernard Lewis quotes from the standard collections of the traditions of the prophet on the rules of warfare and the conduct of Jihad:

Be advised to treat prisoners well.

Looting is no more lawful than carrion.

Allah has forbidden the killing of women and children

Muslims are bound by their agreements, provided that these are lawful. [p. 33]

Lewis later spells it out:

Fighters in a jihad are enjoined not to kill women, children, and the aged unless they attack first, not to torture or mutilate prisoners, to give fair warning of the resumption of hostilities after a struce and to honor agreements. [p. 39]

Is Sarsour actually claiming that Islam sanctions the murder of innocent children? If so, let her give a source. If her source is from outside of Islam, why is she elevating that authority above that of Islam?

Contrary to Sarsour, Palestinian terrorists do not have an absolute moral authority that frees them from judgment and allows them to murder unarmed Jews at will.

Palestinian terrorists need to be held accountable for their actions.

Linda Sarsour should be held accountable for her absurd claims.

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Bennett Ruda has been blogging at daledamos.blogspot.com for 13 years. He is active on Google Plus, while also posting under his blog pseudonym on Facebook and Twitter. He lives in Elizabeth, New Jersey, where he lives with his wife, two children and 2 cats.