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Do not trust their words

The Palestinian movement employs words we understand -- "peace," justice" -- but they mean the opposite of what reasonable people in the West understand them to be.

At UMass Amherst recently, there was a spray-painted mural of a skeletal figure, meant to represent Palestinians, and the words “UMASS FEED$ ISRAEL WHILE IT STARVES PALESTINIANS.” Below this was written “Human rights” and adjacent was the phrase “Starving in silence.”

Palestinians are among the most obese people on earth and receive, by most accounts, more aid per capita than any other people on the planet, but so-called “pro-Palestinian” activists accuse Israel (and America) of starving Palestinians. One would have to scour Palestine quite thoroughly to find a resident as thin as the emaciated cartoon at UMass.

There are a few other glaring logical issues with the graffiti. Whatever Palestinians are doing – not starving, certainly, but everything else – they are doing it in anything but silence. The incessant braying of Palestinians and their overseas apologists obliterates the cries and whimpers of millions of far more aggrieved people almost anywhere on the planet one cares to look. The howler monkeys of the Palestinian movement suck most of the oxygen out of every other cause, so any assertions of “silence” would be laughable – if they weren’t so readily accepted by gullible millions.

There’s another affront to intelligence in the few words sprayed on the wall: “Human rights.” Palestinian activists – in Palestine and abroad – are many things, but human rights advocates they are not. There is not a scrap of reasonable evidence to suggest that an independent Palestine would respect anything that a Western progressive would recognize as “human rights.” In Palestinian society today, women are (at best) second-class citizens. Ethnic and religious minorities have mostly fled because Palestinians constitute one of the most racist societies on earth. And, according to an opinion poll, more Palestinians believe it is more acceptable to kill a homosexual than to be a homosexual. “Human rights” when employed by Palestinian activists has an entirely different definition than everyone else on earth uses. But this is inherent to their strategy.

The idea that Israelis are starving Palestinians is on the same intellectual plane that accuses Israel of perpetrating “genocide” on Palestinians – a people whose population has nearly quintupled since the beginning of the occupation. If Israelis are attempting genocide, they are doing a stunning poor job of it.

This is all part of a global gaslighting that includes accusing Israel of operating “concentration camps” and perpetrating “ethnic cleansing” and a “holocaust.”

It is characteristic of the intrinsic sadism of Palestinian activists that they taunt the very people whose recent historical experiences necessitated the creation of terms “genocide” and “holocaust” – an inhuman appropriation that would elicit incandescent rage from self-declared progressive people were it perpetrated on any people other than Jews.

As in its military strategy, the Palestinian rhetorical and ideological strategy recognizes no rules of engagement. There is no lie too big, no accusation too outlandish, no blow too low to employ in this fight.

The term “Pallywood” was invented to capture the panoramic lies and slick marketing that the Palestinians and their overseas mouthpieces employ to win the global PR race – things like posting photos of victims of Syria’s civil war and claiming they are Palestinian victims of Israeli oppression. Entire organizations (like HonestReporting, MEMRI and Palestinian Media Watch, to name just three of the best) exist to debunk the literally endless heaps of lies pushed out into the world by Palestinians and regurgitated by the naïve or malevolent. Confronting the lies is a form of intellectual Whack-a-mole.

In other words, lies, misrepresentations, merciless appropriations of Jewish history and an obscene assault on truth and human decency are the core traits of the Palestinian narrative.

But it is even more insidious than all that. There is an intrinsic dishonesty that permeates even the definition of words and terms used in the dialogue.

Well-wishing Western activists sign on to groups with names like the Coalition for Justice and Peace in the Middle East or Jews for a Just Peace.

Who doesn’t want justice and peace? Well, it depends on the definition.

When Palestinians and their allies use the words “peace” and “justice,” they do so in ways that no other people, movement or definition would recognize. To immerse oneself in the Orwellian gibberish that absorbs huge bandwidth on the internet is to realize entirely innovative meanings for these terms.

Peace is what will come when the Jews are vanquished and, depending on the narrator, annihilated, sent “back to Europe,” or, more gently, returned to their legitimate role in dhimmitude.

Justice is an equally unrecognizable term in this context. To understand how “justice” is bastardized by the Palestinian movement, one has to understand that the creation of the State of Israel is viewed not merely as a military defeat for the Arabs or even just a tragic turn in the history of Palestinians. It is viewed as an existential injustice. For Islamic supremacists, the defeat by the lowly Jews in 1948-’49 and again in 1967 represented civilizational humiliation. Hundreds of millions of people have been displaced, oppressed, “humiliated” and otherwise treated unfairly in the past century. But Palestinians, with the (declining but still significant) approval by much of the Arab and Muslim world, view the existence of Israel as the very incarnation of injustice.

So, while ignorant or willfully blind Americans or Norwegians will hear the phrase “Justice for Palestine” and picture rainbows and doves, to Palestinians and the leaders of their overseas movements, “justice” means the same as “peace”: total violent conquest over the Zionist usurpers. That conquest, again depending on the narrator, involves genocide, expulsion or merely subjugation under a Palestinian regime that is guaranteed to be (whether under Hamas or Fatah) the most antisemitic polity on earth.

This is the fundamental nub of the conflict. If one man’s freedom fighter is another one’s terrorist, by extension one man’s justice is another man’s injustice. If justice for Palestine means the destruction of Israel and we want to call that just, well, we can. But it is duplicitous and, put mildly, not a definition of the term any progressive person should accept.

Consider this formulation by the anti-Zionist organization Jewish Voice for Peace.

For decades, Israel has delayed or obstructed constructive peace talks, while continuing to expand settlement building, by claiming it had no partner for peace. Supporters often claim that Palestinians have repeatedly rejected opportunities to have their own state, but to frame those moments as “opportunities” is disingenuous. At every point, Palestinians have been asked to give up their rights to freedom and equality in the land they were born in order for Israel to maintain an exclusivist ethno-nationalist state on their homeland. … The truth is, as even Palestinian Authority senior officials have noted, that Palestinians have no partner for peace.

Leaving aside the amusing credulity that, if “even Palestinian Authority senior officials” have said it, then it must be true, what the gentle framing of this paragraph papers over is the very crux of the conflict. The only thing Palestinians have been asked to give up is their determination to wipe Israel from the map, either militarily or demographically.

We need to understand what members of the Palestinian movement mean when they use terms like “just,” “justice,” “human rights,” “reconciliation,” “coexistence,” “freedom” and “peace,” because they do not use these terms in ways the rest of us do.

Ilan Pappé writes: "At every given moment in the history of the conflict, justice was ridiculed when it was even suggested as a principle in the attempts to solve the conflict."[i]

You have to understand that the “justice” Pappé seeks is the erasure of Israel. “Solving the conflict” means the annulment (put mildly) of Jewish self-determination and a return to the conditions that led to thousands of years of oppression culminating in the Holocaust. This is the “justice” that the Palestinian narrative envisions. It is a parody of the term.

When the existence of Israel is viewed as the greatest injustice in the world, the term “just peace” takes on a far less benign connotation.

Further, the “rights” the Palestinian narrative speaks of are not those basic human rights we seek for ourselves and others – the Palestinian movement is almost entirely silent on the right of Palestinians to things like free press, democracy or women’s equality. In the most generous assessment, the right they seek is self-determination, which is absolutely legitimate – except that that self-determination is unlikely to come with those other rights. So spray-painting "Human rights" on walls like the one at UMass Amherst, is not so much an actual call for human rights as it is to spit in the face of the very idea.

Freedom is not freedom as Western minds understand it but the end of perceived Palestinian subordination to the despised Jews. Peace, in the Palestinian narrative, is what will come after the Jews are vanquished. Justice means the violent destruction of the Jewish state. Coexistence and reconciliation mean Jews learning that their place is subordinate to Muslims.

The Palestinian narrative has found fertile soil in the West partly because of a deceitfulness of language. Peace is violence. Justice is injustice. Human rights are oppression.

It is one thing to confront the lies that are foundational to the Palestinian movement – the ridiculous assertions of “apartheid” and assorted fabrications – but it is even more challenging to confront the misuse of words that mean one thing to reasonable people in the West and the precise opposite to Palestinians and their accomplices.

This is key to understanding how progressives have joined a movement that is antithetical to our every value. As long as we ignore the dishonesty and keep chanting words that sound good but mean the Orwellian opposite of their definitions, we don’t have to face the inconsistencies in our ideology or the hypocrisy of our alliances.

[i] Pappé, in Chomsky and Pappé, page 29


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