It’s Israel’s Critics, Not Its Supporters, Who Harbor Racist Attitudes toward Palestinians

January 9, 2019 | Stephen Daisley

On December 31, an Israeli court sentenced a Palestinian man to eighteen years in prison for the murder of a British student in Jerusalem; the culprit narrowly avoided a life sentence because of mental illness. Another Palestinian, however, did receive a life sentence on the same day: he was convicted by a Palestinian court of attempting to sell land to a Jew—a crime potentially punishable by death. Noting the scant attention paid to the second case by the Western media, which are normally so solicitous of jailed Palestinians, Stephen Daisley sees an unmistakable pattern:

Why talk about the Palestinians jailed for selling land to Jews when we can demand Israel release the Palestinians jailed for killing Jews? Why talk about the stipends paid to the families of terrorists who murder Israelis when we can condemn Israel for the security fence built to stop the terrorists getting in? Why talk about the Palestinians’ insistence that the West Bank be rendered Jew-free before they pledge to accept a state there when we can repudiate Israel’s cunning scheme to “Judaize” Judea? . . . Why, in short, face up to the real “obstacles to peace” when we can pretend building houses in the West Bank is what’s really holding things back? . . .

I’ve always railed against liberal blindness and hypocrisy on Palestinian extremism as a product of anti-Israel bias. I’m not so sure anymore. I’m starting to wonder if the real bias isn’t against the Palestinians. We expect Israel to operate like Belgium south of Beirut and castigate it for failing to live up to our values (or what we claim to be our values). We expect almost nothing of the Palestinians, and certainly not for them to conduct their affairs as we do (or tell ourselves we do). . . . .

[According to] the underlying assumptions of Western policy on the Middle East, . . . Israeli misdeeds are aberrations to be condemned and corrected while Palestinian misdeeds are shrugged off, excused, or justified. This is just who they are. The sentiment is sympathy but the logic is pure bigotry. We are not friends of the Palestinians. We are not lending them solidarity by indulging their outrages. We are treating them like a savage tribe, . . . benighted but noble in their own way, wide-eyed [and] grateful to the white man for understanding their backward customs. There is your racism.

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