Jewhatred: Fuel of the Second Intifada
The Second Intifada launched Israel’s story onto the world in a way most would never have anticipated. As one suicide bomber after another blew themselves up on buses, streets, hotels and night clubs, the world was witness to the depth of hatred that drove the Palestinian Arab thirst for Jewish blood. And the murder became logical.
While some empathized with the victims of the senseless terror that invaded the lives of innocents, a surprising twist was the increased arousal of empathy towards the Palestinian campaign of murder as “justified resistance” against the Jewish state. More and more people felt a nagging resentment of the unwarranted humanization of Jews. What was needed was the humanization of the “other side of the story” - the terrorists and their right to resistance.
When Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount on September 28, 2000, claimed as the trigger event for the uprising, the stage had already been set. Historical Jewish stereotypes again emerged - accused of intentional infiltration of boundaries, “attacking Palestinian rights” through their very presence. The vengeance with which murderers pursued their “just cause” was fed by the endless propaganda and mass messages being disseminated by their leaders, drawn from the playbook of generations before them: The Jews, bloodthirsty and monstrous, were to blame for their misery, Die Juden sind undser Ungluck….
Crafting the messages that demonized the Jews became a collective effort, with artists and academics alike shaping a message that the public would digest easily both in and outside the Arab and Muslim worlds. Communities and resistance movements around the globe quickly became enraged by the scenario that presented the terrorists as the victim. Grotesque depictions of the claws of the mighty Jew tearing into the innocent Arab/Muslim dispossessed of their human rights tore at the hearts of increasing numbers, often fueled by a similar vein of traditional hatred, resentment and anger toward the Jews.
At the time, we asked of ourselves, “how could it have reached this point?” No civilized people would accept this outright demonstration of medieval desire to kill. How could the world be silent in the face of such blatant public acts of evil? In fact, Sharon did not attempt to enter any mosques and his mere 34-minute visit was conducted during normal tourist hours.
Yet when nearly 1500 Palestinian Arab youth shouted and threw rocks, attempting to inflame the situation, it drew further media attention. The message was simple and clear: in spite of organized attacks against Israeli soldiers, innocent civilians, Jewish communities and places of worship, the violence was blamed solely on alleged unprovoked attacks by Israel, which stole land and “massacred” defenseless Palestinian civilians, who “merely threw stones in self-defense.”
The outburst of violence had much deeper causes, drawn from the anger surrounding the failed peace process, the deteriorating economic situation, and, most importantly, the unkept promises and continued incitement of their leadership. Yasser Arafat had continuously diverted blame to Israel as the oppressor and cause of all suffering, thus unleashing Palestinian frustration, desperation, and an explosion of anti-Jewish propaganda and incitement that has since become an integral part of the Palestinian psyche and of their blind supporters worldwide.
The case for an international grassroots movement in support of Palestinian rights was made with urgency and persuasive clarity, to illustrate the stranglehold Israel continued to exert over Palestinian lives. From the radio and the pulpit of mosques, from the schools and the newspapers, calls to defend all-Aqsa, to storm the Temple Mount, to kill Jews fostered organized and well-funded riots - the precursor of the border riots of today that are endlessly warped by the media and are used to justify violent resistance.
Spreading to towns and villages, the terror that spilled throughout the land was fueled by the hatred of the Jew, based once again on a myriad of lies and distortions just as previously in history. The Second Intifada taught that it was the very existence of Jews and a Jewish State that drives Palestinian Arabs to commit themselves so willingly to jihad and martyrdom.
Manipulating the public into believing the Jews capable of the worst of crimes was, and is, not difficult. The role of the Jew as the eternal “other” makes it a simple matter of using everyday stereotypes and exaggerating them into a grandiose abyss of lies. This “otherness” is felt, perhaps, by each society differently - whether in Iran, Argentina, Germany, France, Belgium, New York, Washington or Israel - but what each shares in common is that the Jew continues to remain humanity’s misfortune.
The never-ending battle with this reality divides the Jews in each generation as to how to cope with that era’s manifestations of this ancient resentment. As a result, it is easier to undermine the conceptual basis of Jewish peoplehood.
Palestinian leadership and its tactics and strategies since the Second Intifada have only grown more bold in their efforts to demonize and delegitimize the Jew, the Israeli, the Zionist, and the Jewish State - all based on lies - as the physical and political entity held responsible for all its woes. From Oslo onward, the rhetoric of blaming Israel as the ultimate Jew of the world, oppressing all of mankind, justified the acts of violent resistance. The Palestinian freedom fighter became the new Jesus.
In fact, a cartoon of an Israeli soldier pointing a rifle at a Palestinian baby was published wherein the baby was a typical depiction of the baby Jesus. The caption read, "Oh, you’re doing it to me all over again." Demonization of the Israeli soldier is made possible through the ancient accusation of deicide - the Jews killing a holy being.
This was not the first, nor the last, visual representation of the Palestinian as the new Jesus, which has since incorporated the idea that Jesus was Palestinian - contrary to all historical truth, but well-accepted by the masses of brainwashed Jewhaters. This has since become a dominant rhetoric that strengthens an anti-Israeli agenda, trivializes the political issues and nourishes an anti-Semitic culture for even the most common of individuals, young and old.
People became enamored with the idea of Israel as the aggressor. It fit squarely into their perception of Jews throughout time and in each geographic location in its own way: the Jews were the misfortune of the world, and the Palestinian struggle embodied the ultimate war against the threat.
Even before the Second Intifada, the Koran and Muslim tradition had been used in rationalizing the rejection of Zionism, Israel and Jews in general. In its aftermath, this trend spread. Today, we see how extreme right movements, radical leftist speech, growing populist elements, an increase in Muslim populations and a society enamored with Islam, a persistent economic crisis and a desperate need to point fingers of blame all lend power to the continued flow of Jewhatred.
The indiscriminate abuse of law, media and guerilla tactics in digital warfare have enabled this hatred to be promoted under the guise of social justice and human rights - the very elements that the terrorism undermines in their murderous attacks against Israel, Israelis, and pro-Israel Jews around the world. The trend that began in 2000 has since created a global demonization and dehumanization of the Jew and of Israel simultaneously, thus perpetuating the cycle of hate born from ignorance.
Today’s young generation knows little about the facts surrounding the onset of the last 20 years of terrorism. They know even less about the ongoing battle for Jewish human dignity and freedom from Jewhatred even in our ancestral homeland. Perhaps the recent historical milestone of peace accords between three nations of Abraham demonstrates that, when the lies and incitement to hate against the Jew are usurped by acceptance, the foundations of mutual respect central to any real peace can indeed be made possible.