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With the myriad of critical problems confronting President Joe Biden, it is remarkable that he, the Secretary of State, and other members of his administration have the time to inject themselves into the debate about Israel’s proposed judicial reform. Netanyahu’s administration was duly elected in a nationwide vote, not by a “slim majority,” but by 64 seats out of 120. A party requires 61 seats to form a government. Since one party has never secured all 61 seats, governing coalitions have to be created, which is precisely what happened this time. 

Meddling in Israeli Domestic Affairs 


The interference by the Americans in the affairs of a sovereign nation, and its closest ally in the Mideast, appears designed to overturn the will of the Israeli electorate. There is no problem with legitimate questions being raised about judicial reform, but not in public and not in such a threatening manner. Is there a limited understanding of the need for this urgent adjustment of Israel’s judicial system or is this meddling just the American government’s determination to impose its own agenda on the Jewish State? 

Demonization and Incitement  

As in the past, the US is asking Israel to make onerous concessions to Palestinian Arabs without asking them, much if anything, in return. There is no demand for them to cease incitement to violence against Israel and glorification of Palestinian Arab terrorists, which are ubiquitous in the Arab media, mosques, and school curricula. Daily examples are so pervasive, it is incomprehensible how anyone can realistically discuss a peace process until this demonization and unrelenting resolve to destroy Israel stops entirely. 

Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported the Palestinian Authority (PA) summer camps are indoctrinating tens of thousands of children with their hate and terror messages. The major theme this summer is “non-recognition of Israel’s existence in any borders and anticipating a world without Israel.” 

In PA cartoons, the Jews and Israelis are portrayed as animals reports PMW. Recently, Israel was shown as a crocodile in the official PA daily. In one cartoon, the crocodile has “an Israeli flag on its snout – is opening its jaws to reveal rows of houses with red roofs characteristic of Jewish towns in Judea and Samaria.” 

The PA has taken its religious antisemitism to new levels, PMW informs us. According to Islam, Satan spreads evil and deceit in the world, and one of Islam’s objectives is to vanquish Satan. The PA’s “most  important religious figure,” described how Satan has assumed the appearance of humans, particularly “People of the Book,”… who are committed to converting Muslims into apostates: “A group from among the People of the Book (i.e., Jews) wants to deceive you… and turn you back from your religion… Satan does not have to be in the form of a demon, hidden, he can also be in your form, but he is Satan. And they (i.e., Satan-Jews) are still fighting us until they turn us back from our religion.” 

 No Demand to End “Pay for Slay” 

Just as there is no demand to cease demonization and incitement, there is no ultimatum for Arab terror organizations to terminate compensation to families where a terrorist is killed or incarcerated in Israeli prisons. This program praises people who have sacrificed themselves to murder Jews, encourages others to join in the war against the Jews, and guarantees those prepared to “martyr” themselves that their families will be granted ongoing financial aid.  

“Still Believe in the Peace Process” 

Amid the unrelenting assault to annihilate the state of Israel, there are Jews throughout the world and American politicians who still believe in the “peace process” and the Two State solution observed journalist Sol Stern. This orthodoxy, he said, held that anything called a “peace process” was always better than war. And it wasn’t just in Europe and the United States that the mindset prevailed, but in Israel too. Despite all of the failed peace overtures of the past, wasn’t it worth trying yet one more time? To think otherwise, to believe that there might be something inherently violent and unreasonable in Arab Muslim political culture was—well, racist. The neoconservatives have had the bad taste to show us what we wanted to avoid admitting—that this conflict is not about disputed territories. It is about Israel’s right to survive as a democratic Jewish state. 

Why Americans Cannot Understand Arab Society and Culture of Terror 

Americans have difficulty in grasping the random nature of the shooting, stabbings, stoning and car-ramming attacks against Israelis. This is, in large part, due to a basic assumption that everyone aspires to the same goals of a productive life and a positive future for their family and children asserts Elan Journo, a fellow at the Ayn Rand Institute and its Director of Policy Research. The inability of Americans to accept that a majority of Palestinian Arabs do not share this vision undermines our ability to understand the underlying causes of the conflict.  

The PMW and MEMRI regularly publish TV clips and statements by Arab leaders and average citizens expressing their hatred of Jews and urging that they be murdered. Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV broadcast a statement in which former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh asserted, “We love death like our enemies love life!”  

Historian Alexander H. Joffe postulates that during the “Stabbing Intifada” (October 2015 and March 2016), the stabbings reveal a great deal about Palestinian Arab society, of which sadomasochism is a part. Every society sanctions a measure “of institutional sadism—police, prisons, military—as part of their monopoly on violence.” Nonetheless, pain is generally just “a means to an end; political success and cultural survival,” are the primary objectives.  

“But inflicting pain and rejoicing in suffering are so visible within Palestinian culture,” he said, “that they can be construed as defining traits. Israelis being murdered, kidnapped, or even just rocketed are causes to hand out sweets to strangers in the street, to publicly affirm—and to invite others to affirm—pleasure in the suffering of others. This is a cultural psychology of objectification and dehumanization. But to characterize it merely as the result of pervasive incitement is inadequate.” 

Masochism is apparent in the present stabbing campaign, Joffe observes, since based on previous experiences, it is clear that the Palestinian Arabs will ultimately suffer more than the Israelis. Yet, there is a religious dimension reflected in Hamas’ ideological messages broadcast on its official Al-Aqsa TV station: “Killing Jews is worship that draws us close to Allah.” This, Joffe concludes, “is a religious appeal to a higher reality that cannot be refuted by logic or experience. Masochism is an avenue to salvation, transforming murderers into heavenly beings.” 

What should be the response to sadomasochism and religion in Palestinian Arab culture? The first step, he suggests, is to recognize that this is “an entirely different set of cultural premises and behaviors, with self-reinforcing logic, that plays off superficial Western images of victims and victimizers.” 

Secondly, the concept of achieving an agreement through negotiation, force, and or compensation, might apply to some degree or not at all. Finally, one must accept that Palestinian Arab leaders are engaged in “a zero-sum game” in which Israel has no right to exist 

When suffering is embraced, when one side truly loves death more than life, how can peace be made? What is the price and who is willing to pay? These questions remain unanswered.” 


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Dr. Alex Grobman is the senior resident scholar at the John C. Danforth Society and a member of the Council of Scholars for Peace in the Middle East. He has an MA and PhD in contemporary Jewish history from The Hebrew university of Jerusalem. He lives in Jerusalem.