So Long as Palestinians Are Treated as Exceptional, They Will Never Be Able to Overcome Their Woes

July 22, 2021 | Hussein Aboubakr
About the author: Hussein Aboubakr is an Egyptian-American writer and works as project director at the Endowment for Middle East Truth.

In the Middle East and across the globe, there are numerous stateless nations, refugee problems, and longstanding struggles over territory, yet the Israel-Palestinian conflict is treated as if it is fundamentally unlike all others, and has been treated thus from its inception. Hussein Aboubakr examines this strange situation:

Very few, if any, causes and ideas can gain the support . . . of so many disparate ideologies the way the Palestinian cause does. From the ideological projects of Islamism, jihadism, and Arab nationalism to Third World liberation ideologies, feminism, and wokeism, the Palestinian cause serves as a rallying call to disharmonious groups. Palestinian “refugees” are considered a unique breed of displaced humans, utterly different from the tens of millions who were displaced since World War II. The recent wave of protests against the oppressive rule of the Palestinian Authority proved to be [of little] interest to the Western supporters of the [Palestinian] cause, many of whom hold up the slain Saudi journalist Khashoggi as a Christlike figure.

The magical exceptionalism of the Palestinians turns appalling acts of violence . . . from terrorism into resistance. It turns common real-estate disputes into a struggle of justice, Islam, Arabness, feminism, wokeism, socialism, etc. It turns the cowardice of Islamist terrorists into heroic self-sacrifice. . . . And finally, it turns the nauseating toxic anti-Semitism, which is now proliferating the world over, into a banner of self-righteousness and equity.

The reason the star of the Palestinian cause is dimming among Arab nations, while ironically getting brighter in the West, is [that] we don’t see the Palestinians as exceptional anymore. . . . Ultimately, the biggest losers of Palestinian exceptionalism are none but Palestinians who seek a better future for their people.

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