Am I a 'Disgusting Racist' for Calling Palestinians Evil When They Sanctify Death and Jew Hatred?

Bradley Burston's smear tactics were an attempt to deflect from the reality that I described: the culture of death that saturates Palestinian life today.

Isi Leibler
Isi Leibler
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A masked Palestinian boy wearing a military fatigue waves a Hamas flag during a rally, Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, January 22, 2016.
A masked Palestinian boy wearing a military fatigue waves a Hamas flag during a rally, Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, January 22, 2016. Credit: Reuters
Isi Leibler
Isi Leibler

In a column provocatively titled “Racism-as-Zionism. Don't Call It 'pro-Israel.' Call It What It Is: Disgusting,” Haaretz senior editor Bradley Burston accuses me of being a revolting racist.

Burston bases his vulgar claim on a quote from a paragraph in my recent op-ed in which I stated, “There is irrefutable evidence of the barbaric and genocidal nature of Palestinian society. Indeed, the reality is that despite maintaining a ‘moderate’ stance to the outside world, internally the Palestinians and ISIS are birds of a feather — although the Palestinians are probably more corrupt.”

I also pointed out that while Arab hostility to Jews prevailed even during the period of the British Mandate, it was not comparable to the culture of death and evil which saturates dominant aspects of Palestinian life today.

Let us review the bare facts:

The Palestinian leaders have stated explicitly that their state would be Judenrein and that Jews would never be permitted to live in their ancestral home, even if they were willing to accept Palestinian jurisdiction Those deemed to have sold land to a Jew are brutally executed. Surely such behavior must be considered racist.

The charter of Hamas, which emerged as the largest faction in the only election held, explicitly calls for the genocide of Jews and Israelis.

The Palestinian Authority depicts Jews as “the offspring of apes and pigs” and calls for their extermination. This is communicated every day by the political leadership, including mullahs in the mosques and the state-controlled media. It is a society in which children from kindergarten are brainwashed into believing that the highest goal in Islam is to achieve martyrdom in the course of killing Jews.

The demonization of Israel and promotion of the culture of death incite individuals to strike out and kill Jews in concert or randomly. The “heroic” scenes of youngsters stabbing Jews, the praise by Abbas himself of martyrs “with holy blood” and the totally contrived religious frenzy accusing Israelis of planning to destroy Al-Aqsa mosque, coalesce into a witch’s brew of primeval rage and hatred.

The PA provides generous state salaries to terrorists apprehended by Israelis and if they are killed, their families are remunerated — partly from funds provided by Western countries. The religious and political leadership at all levels sanctifies terrorists as heroes and national martyrs. City squares, schools and even football clubs are named in their honor.

Barbarism is reflected in Palestinian street celebrations that erupt spontaneously with murders of Israelis. Even more nauseating are the repeated displays on TV of mothers expressing pride that one of their children had become a martyr and usually expressing hope that her other children would follow the example.

Is it racist to describe such a society as evil and criminal?

Most of us seek to separate ourselves from our Palestinian neighbors, but to create a neighboring crime-permeated state in the current circumstances would be insane. Aside from the turbulence in the region and the threat from Iran and ISIS, we would be creating an adjoining state pledged to our destruction or a candidate for an ISIS or Iranian takeover.

And we should be under no illusions. Most Palestinians favoring a two-state solution consider this only as a step toward achieving the ultimate goal. The Arafat/Abbas indoctrination process has radicalized successive generations into believing that the only solution to the conflict is the permanent termination of Jewish sovereignty in the area.

Burston descends to personal smear tactics to deflect from the reality that our neighbors have created a barbaric society sanctifying death.

On what basis can he allege that exposing such truths represents “disgusting racism”? Besides, since when are Palestinians a race?

The Nazis transformed the majority of Germans into genocidal barbarians and imposed a widely-accepted evil criminal culture on the nation. That does not imply racial prejudice against individual Germans under Nazism any more than against Palestinians living under the barbaric culture imposed on them by their leaders.

A personal aside: I oppose a one-state solution because this would transform us into a binational state. I have no simple solutions but the status quo accompanied by social and economic progress appears to be the only strategy on which to operate until the Palestinians come to their senses and produce leaders reconciled to coexist in peace with us.

Finally, I take pride in the fact that my record speaks for itself. I can testify to having fought racism and engaged in the promotion of human rights for the bulk of my political life in the Diaspora as well as the 17 years since I made aliya. It is outrageous that Burston, a senior editor at Haaretz, accuses me of racism because I truthfully state that our neighboring Palestinian society is evil and based on a death cult. His article is a prime example of reverse McCarthyism.

Isi Leibler, a former head of the Australian Jewish community and former Chairman of the Governing Board of the World Jewish Congress, lives in Jerusalem and is a regular columnist on Jewish and Israeli affairs. Follow him on Twitter: @ileibler

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