On the 30th of July 2015, in a small village south of Nablus, in the West Bank, a group of masked men believed to be coming from a nearby Israeli settlement tossed a firembomb through the window of a house. I don’t think I need to explain what a firebomb does to an apartment. Luckily, most of the Dawabshe family who inhabited it managed to escape in time with only a few injuries. I say most, because although the couple and their 4-year-old managed to run outside before being killed, their 18-months-old died in his bed, burnt alive.
No amount of political bias can make the death of a toddler by firebombing acceptable. You could be the most ardent settlement supporter and still be an arsehole if you condone a similar action. Yet some, like those who did it – apparently in response to the once-in-a-decade demolition of some settlers’ house in Beit El by the Israeli state – and those who wrote “Vengeance” on the wall of the burnt house (granted, they might be the same people), apparently don’t seem to care.
There is a slight difference between someone being killed by a bomb shot miles away that fell on their house in the middle of a war (war might not be the most appropriate term for what happened in Gaza in 2014, but it sure fits) and someone killed in their bed, sleeping, by a firebomb for not even the slightest hint of a good reason. I don’t condone, but I understand the vast majority of Israelis, handicapped by a millennia-old paranoia, recently reinforced by sixty years of spectacular bad foreign policy by their arab neighbours, when they give only a little shit about civilian deaths in Gaza. It’s far away. Their boys are defending them from the evil terrorists (quote, G.W. Bush), or at least so they are told by their impressively pervasive media system. This however is different. So different in fact that even our dear friend Benjamin Netanyahu, who very recently appeared to have lost his mind while speaking about the Iran Deal, and notorious disliker of Palestinians and assorted Arabs, has condemned the act and vowed to find the culprits and bring them to justice.
Yeah, right. It sure sounded like Putin when he promised to investigate on the Smolensk crash of 2010 or the 2015 murder of Boris Nemtsov. But it is something. That’s how bad it was. The leader of the bad guys said it was too much.
The problem comes when the episode is still made into politics. When stuff like this is said
Mister Binyamin, no other than Professor Ilan Pappé, a man of undeniable academic achievements, but whose impartiality I woulndn’t put to the test, brings up a delicate subject. I do agree with him on some things however.
Firstly, as mentioned above, I find the whole story of the burned toddler absolutely sick. There is a good chance the criminals behind this had no idea that they were going to burn an infant to death, but it is of little importance when your plan is to chuck a firebomb inside of a house at night. I don’t think that they overtake the Islamic State in their inhumanity however. The act might be atrocious, but I hope not to be the only one who can still see with a clear head the difference in magnitude between an isolated attack against a family and the systematic murder, displacement, rape, kindapping and enslavement of tens of thousands, added to public executions, enforcement of a medieval (in both violence and chronological aspect) variant of religious law and the fighting of a war that until now killed hundreds of thousands. It’s bad, Pappé, you don’t need to make it bigger than it is.
I also agree that, and I quote
[…] it’s time for Imams to stop explaining or apologising
Rightly said, I personally find ridicolous all the westerners who urge Imams or Muslim community representatives to apologise or dissociate themselves every time some trigger happy mongoloid from the Middle East blows himself up in the name of Allah, as if the actions of one sick individual represented the entire Ummah. Did you feel the need to apologise for the actions of Anders Behring Breivik, undoubtedly committed in the name of the “White Race” and Christianity? Hi, I’m a white person – although not a Christian – and not in my name. You’ll find those who’ll do it anyway, as you will forever find Muslims who’ll go out of their way to assure you they won’t blow you up given the chance, but is it expected of us? I don’t think so. The actions of an individual cannot represent a larger group if they are not condoned, supported or accepted by the larger group: it works similarly to international law. The State is responsible for the actions of an individual when such individual is either wearing the uniform (therefore visually representing what the state stands for), or if the state is helping, supporting or not actively opposing those actions.
Let’s translate this in real world terms:
- If a member of an organisation does something bad while wearing the uniform of such organisation, the organisation is responsible, and should at the very least apologise.
- If a member of a community with no uniforms does something bad and the overwhelming majority of members of such community agree with it, uh, yes, the community is responsible and should at the very least apologise.
- If a government knows there is a terrorist organisation inside their borders, funds them, helps them logistically OR, without doing any of the things mentioned before still lets them do their stuff, and their stuff is bad, the government is responsible and should at the very least apologise.
These three examples can be concretised by 1) the Catholic Church and a Paedophile Priest, 2) White Americans and the KKK, 3) Taliban Afghanistan and Al Qaeda.
See where I’m going? If practically every muslim you know is a good person, is horrified by terrorism and violence as much as you are and doesn’t shout “Death to ze infidels” day in and day out, there is no need for them to reassure you they aren’t terrorists, and you sure as hell haven’t got the right to make them do so.
[…] one would have expected the Western media to usher Rabbis to the studios and demanding from them to ‘apologise’ for the heinous crimes committed by Jews
So, dear Professor Pappé, there is no need for Rabbis to openly dissociate themselves from what happened in Nablus. There never has been. And worst of all, I disagree entirely on the notion that even if Imams had to apologise for the acts of a Muslim terrorist – which they don’t –, Jewish Rabbis had to apologise at all in this case. Responsibility, which we’ve pretty much cleared is not there for any of these cases is very different from accountability. A barbaric act committed in the name of something makes that something accountable, even if not responsible. I can be the CEO of a company that makes ’50s postcards with unfunny captions such as “Kill the Commies!”, and I wouldn’t be violating the law. If some distubed 18 year old Midwestern kid believes me and goes on shooting all the leftists he sees it’s not my fault, but I might still be accountable for it. This is the shitty argument that many make against Shooter videogames: I think it’s demented, but the general public doesn’t, so it stays.
The atrocity committed by these Jews however (whose affiliation to Judaism is only assumed because pretty much everyone that lives in the settlements is a hardcore Jew) wasn’t committed in the name of Judaism. It is totally irrelevant that they were Jews, and we wouldn’t be talking about it if the entire fact wasn’t soaking of political bias. There is this really annoying tendency among Palestinians, Arabs in general and pro-Palestinian Westerners to use and confuse the notions of “Jew”, “Israeli” and “Zionist” at will, as if they were the same thing, according to whichever better suits the needs of the moment. Of course then, it’s Jews that killed the baby! And if someone should apologise it’s…it’s…uh…the Main Jew! What’s the name of a Main Jew? A Rabbi. Yes. Have the Rabbi apologise. There are Jews who aren’t and who aren’t, Zionists that aren’t Jewish, Israelis that aren’t Zionists and so on. And yet this difference doesn’t seem to be clear to Prof. Pappé at all, which is weird since he is both Israeli and Jewish. Why would a Rabbi be accountable for the acts of these murderers? These acts were committed in the name of a political extreme-right wing ideology, that of Revisionist Zionism, something that tells its adherents that all of Judaea and Samaria are ancestral Israel, ergo the West Bank is the Holy Land and the Arabs must go. It has little to do with religion.
[…] immunity to the barbarism of one faith
War, politics and revanchism are the drivers behind these attacks, not the faith of the attackers. Nobody ever yelled (uh..probably?) “Yahveh wills it” when throwing a bomb on a Muslim. Yes, there is a Star of David above the “Vengeance” on the wall, and one source (Al-Jazeera, which is the most biased source ever) say there also is a “Long live the Messiah” written somewhere. I don’t see it, and the argument stands. Were these settlers atheists, they probably would’ve done the same. Why would a Rabbi then be accountable for someone who shares little with him? It’s like someone throwing a firebomb in a supermarket shouting “McDonald’s wants me to!” and a McDonald’s employee going on a killing spree. The company would most likely apologise for the former act, not the latter. Those – if any – that are to do some dissociating (and maybe apologising) are the settlers, and not the Israelis.
Who by the way are openly dissociating themselves from the acts, in rallies thousands-strong all over the country, demanding an end to the settlers’ violence, while the Dawabshe family is being treated in an Israeli hospital.
As members of a community, as said before in Example 2), that for too long condoned and/or supported violence against Palestinian civilians, Settlers however should probably say something. This conflict has become one between the extreme rights of both factions, with everyone else stuck in between, sick and tired of the violence and the stupidity emanating from both sides. And it’s always those in the middle apologising, and us – the West – always demanding these ridicolous apologies from the wrong people.
It’s time that people learned that membership does not imply representation, and it’s time for these extremist sides to be isolated, so they can come to terms with each other or kill each other off for good. Whichever way they would choose, we would finally be able to live in peace.