Opinion

Spirit of the Commander

That the New Zealand murderer saw Trump as a symbol of white identity shows the grave danger in Netanyahu's incitement against Arabs

U.S. President Donald Trump and Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shake hands after delivering a speech at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem on May 23, 2017.
MANDEL NGAN/AFP

Without checking, I can claim with 100 percent certainty that the Trump administration issued a condemnation of the terrible massacre in New Zealand, in which 50 people were murdered and dozens were wounded. But it doesn’t seem likely that U.S. President Donald Trump is about to do any soul searching to examine what he contributed to this horrifying massacre.

Brenton Tarrant, the murderer, says that for him Trump is “a symbol of white identity.” But this “symbol” says, less than 24 hours after the massacre, that he didn’t think white supremacy was a growing global problem. Well, that’s the message of the “symbol”: to minimize the importance of the dangers reflected in attacks against Jewish and Muslim religious institutions and against anyone who stains the purity of the white race.

This statement is not a random one. After the massacre in the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, about 2,000 people, most of them from the Jewish community, demonstrated against Trump, and there they called out slogans from which it’s important to learn, such as: “President Trump, words have consequences” and “We’re building bridges, not walls.”

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The demonstrators emphasized the connection between Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and the increase in the activity of white supremacists. According to an announcement by the demonstration organizers: “The gunman who tore apart our neighborhood believed your lies about the immigrant caravan in Mexico. He believed anti-Semitic lies that Jews were funding the caravan.”

So, if Trump is refraining from soul searching, there’s no choice but to refresh his memory. Immediately upon coming to power Trump hastened to issue a presidential order barring citizens of six Muslim countries from entering the United States. Is there any clearer way to signal to U.S. citizens and to the world that Islamophobia is a legitimate creed?

The declarations coming from the top of the pyramid undergo diabolical processing until they reach the bottom of the base – the ears of the ordinary person, the ears of the racist, and then the ears of the lunatic racists, who translate them into mass slaughter. In cases where there is government support, it becomes pogroms, ethnic cleansing and genocide, as happened to the Rohingya, the persecuted Muslim minority in Myanmar.

Here is an exercise in information processing: A prime minister says that the Arabs are coming out in droves to the polls, and the rank and file citizen pictures a huge wave that threatens to flood the homeland, and he fears that if he and his friends don’t stand guard, the country will suffer a disaster. Proof of the slogan’s effectiveness is the increase in the voting percentages of Jews immediately after Netanyahu’s cry of alarm.

And when in the present election campaign the prime minister attributes to the Arab parties the intent to destroy the country, experienced politicians see it as no more than cheap demagoguery, aimed at gathering more votes.

But the man in the street will process the information differently. After all, we’re not talking here about just anybody, nor just any senior politician; we’re talking about the supreme government authority, the prime minister, the man who knows more than anyone else. And if he says that the Arab parties are planning to destroy – who knows better than he does?

And now our country, for which we waited for thousands of years, is about to be destroyed by the enemy from within if we don’t act quickly and with determination, the rank-and-file citizen says to himself. Try to convince him that all Benjamin Netanyahu wants is to remain prime minister, one reason being to protect himself from the legal processes that are besieging him.

Therefore there is a lot to be learned from the massacre in New Zealand, but the most crucial lesson is that concerning “the silence of the Muses.” The people who are planning to replace Netanyahu remain silent when he incites against the Arabs. And the Arab response to that is: “Pharoah became Pharoah because there was nobody to oppose him.” That’s what’s happening here, and it carries great danger.