The recent passion in the West for tearing down statues, taking television shows off air, and “canceling” people seems for the most part driven by nihilism and ignorance. But Ruthie Blum insists that, nonetheless, there is a “need for serious intellectual debate over the type of material that a society wishes to promote or discourage.” And while some within the Black Lives Matter movement wish to coopt the Palestinian cause for their own purposes, and vice versa, there seems to be no room for debate over which figures Palestinian society should memorialize. Blum writes:
One monument of note is a structure in Ramallah honoring Dalal Mughrabi, a female Palestinian terrorist from Lebanon who led the 1978 Coastal Road Massacre, considered the deadliest terrorist attack in Israel’s history. The attack began with the hijacking of a bus and ended with the slaughter of 38 innocent passengers—among them thirteen children—and the wounding of more than 70 others.
As for sports, Palestinian karate, chess, soccer, table-tennis, and other youth tournaments bear the names of “martyred” mass murderers. Ditto for murals, music videos, and cartoons depicting Jews as hook-nosed aggressors in IDF uniforms, and urging Palestinians to commit stabbing, car-ramming, Molotov-cocktail, and missile attacks on Israelis. Oh, and hopefully to lose life and limb during the endeavor.
If Palestinians were to take to the streets . . . to shout about their lives mattering, it would make perfect sense. Not only are they persecuted, kept impoverished, and programmed to exist in a state of fear, they are egged on to sacrifice themselves and their children for a goal that their leaders perpetually block.
If the residents of Ramallah and Gaza were to topple portraits of terrorists, overturn police cars and demand a new order of democracy and civil rights, they would be justified. Unfortunately, they’d also be subjected to torture on a par with, or worse than, that suffered by George Floyd.