Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
It is just one more of those unpleasant facts of life that the anti-Israel lobbies of the planet have no real interest in the well being of the Palestinians, but are merely motivated by hostility to Jews. It is another unpleasant fact that those protesting their support for the Palestinians are merely seeking the destruction of Israel.
Welcome to the wonderful world of Middle East Orwellism. It took September 11 to force the Western world to confront the realities of the Middle East, and as part of this, the prevalence of Orwellism in that part of the world.
In the Middle East, words often mean their opposite, causes and effects are generally reversed, victims are generally blamed and aggressors whine about their victimization. The same pattern is increasingly characteristic of the Israel-bashing choruses in the Western media and elsewhere.
In the aftermath of September 11, Americans were treated to daily lectures by demagogues from the Arab world about U.S. culpability in the “oppression” of the Palestinians. Spokesmen for the most barbaric and oppressive regimes on earth lectured the West about its “insensitivity” and immorality. Supporters of terrorism argued with a straight face that the attacks on New York and Washington were the work a Jewish cabal.
Israel, of course, has had to deal with the Orwellism of the Middle East all along. It has long listened to the reversal-of-cause-and-effect homilies coming from the Arab world, under which Israeli retaliations for barbaric terrorist attacks against its civilians are “aggression,” while those very attacks themselves are “protests” by frustrated “activists” and “victims.”
Israel has also been lectured by the Western armchair peacemakers about how its settlements are the cause of the Arab-Israeli conflict, whereas they are in fact its consequences. Israelis are told that their “occupation” of the West Bank and Gaza Strip caused Arab hatred and resentment, whereas their occupation was in fact the consequence of that hatred and resentment.
In the Middle East’s Orwellisms, victims are turned into aggressors, savages and barbarians are painted as victims, imperialists and warmongers are declared moderates, defense is aggression, offense is defense, democrats are denounced as imperialists, dictators are lauded as democrats, and there are no problems on the planet that could not be resolved through the destruction of Israel.
The anti-Israel lobby demonstrably puts on display its recreational compassion for the “suffering Palestinians.” In fact, it has no interest at all in any Arab suffering unless it can somehow be used as a bludgeon to delegitimize Israel. The simple fact of the matter is that Arabs living under Israeli rule are the only Arabs in the Middle East who are not brutally oppressed by their rulers. They are the best-treated political minority in the Middle East. They are the only ones living under some semblance of the rule of law, the only ones enjoying basic freedoms,
the only ones who can vote, the only ones protected by due process, and the only ones not subject to summary execution and mass murder when challenging their regime.
The Middle East is the planet’s best illustration of Moynihan’s Law, which posits that the degree of oppression of any people is in inverse proportion to the cries of oppression one hears from them. The only government in the Middle East that does not indiscriminately shoot Arabs who criticize it is that of Israel. But Middle East Orwellism has been swelling, especially in Europe and in liberal circles in the United States. The rank hypocrisy staggers the objective mind:
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in enlightened government and progress — but overlook Arab fascism and are silent when Algeria or Sudan massacres its civilians.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in peace — but support all forms of military aggression against Israel and think such aggression must be rewarded.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in democracy — but feel that Israel is the only country in the Middle East that must be dismembered and destroyed.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in basic freedoms — but back the likes of Arafat, Mubarak, the Saudis and the Assads.
The Israel-bashers claim they oppose violence — but “understand” Palestinian terrorism.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in human rights — but not in Arab countries.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in freedom — but are not disturbed that slavery still exists in Sudan, Saudi Arabia and elsewhere among Arabs.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in freedom to practice religion freely in the Middle East — but of course only for Muslims.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in progress and enlightenment — but endorse concessions to those preaching jihad, medieval blood libels, and Holocaust denial.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in progress, but Arab societies should never be expected to progress beyond 13th century feudalism.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe in honest government — but have nothing to say about Arab kleptocracies.
The Israel-bashers claim they believe that human rights of Arabs must be protected — but not in Arab countries.
The Israel-bashers claim they oppose the use of torture — except when practiced by the Palestinian Authority or other progressive Arabs.
In fact, the only “human right” the Israel-bashers really think Palestinians need is the right to attack Jews and destroy Israel.
Steven Plaut is a professor at Haifa University. His book ‘The Scout’ is available at Amzon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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