Is the West's truce with Jews coming to an end?By Jim Trageser
This article was originally published in the October 23, 2000 edition of the American Reporter.
In the latest wave of violence to wrack the Mideast, it may seem like the same old story. But there has been one difference that may signal a sea shift in public attitudes toward Israel in particular, and Jews in general a change that may spell very difficult times for the world's most-persecuted people.
For the first time in recent decades, anti-Israeli rhetoric is sneaking into Western news coverage.
Nearly a month after Palestinian officials either ordered (or, at minimum, ignored) violent attacks against Israeli officials and citizens, mainstream media in the West continues to treat these organized paramilitary operations as some kind of spontaneous uprising against oppressive Israeli policies. Israel's police and military responses to the Palestinian attacks are increasingly being criticized on network news programs and national wire services, in terms generally reserved for the editorial pages.
Right here in the American Reporter, there was recently an apparently serious call to recognize the Palestinian paramilitarists as "pro-democracy demonstrators" ignoring the fact that the only experiment in democracy in the entire region is the limited suffrage in Israel. The Palestinian government is anything but democratic, and the Palestinian "demonstrators" if we must reduce ourselves to polite euphemisms in order not to offend seem to forget any demand for a vote in their press releases, chants or signs.
What they do seem to want is the wholesale destruction of Israel and the death of all Jews.
It is difficult to imagine a public demand for genocide being dressed up as "democratic" in the U.S. media if the target were anyone other than Jews.
More troubling than the media's new-found willingness to parrot Palestinian propaganda is the United Nations resolution condemning Israel's supposed "provocation" of the Palestinians. The alleged offense? A visit to a holy site by conservative politician Ariel Sharon.
For an organization such as the United Nations, purportedly based on the principles of freedom and democracy, to issue a condemnation of an individual simply exercising his right to practice his religion, is frightening on at least three levels:
While the Clinton administration is sticking to the United States' half-century position of supporting Israel's right to defend its existence, the truth is that the public's support for a Jewish homeland has never been as strong as the government's.
Instead, the American public seems to have simply muted its antipathy toward Jews out of a sense of guilt for not supporting American action against Hitler until we were pushed into the war by Japan despite clear evidence as early as the mid-1930s of the Nazi's campaign of eradication.
Now, the attitude beginning to sneak into polite discourse seems to be this: It's been 50 years and we've done enough for the Jews. We beat Hitler for them, we gave them their own country, and we've backed them for a half-century, and frankly we're getting sick of them.
Besides, if the more extremist Islamic militants are successful in destroying Israel and carrying out yet another Holocaust (which differed from earlier and subsequent pogroms only in its scale and efficiency), the West need not feel guilty this time.
This time, the Jews will be taken care of and the blood won't be on our hands.
© Copyright Jim Trageser
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