Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Posted by Daniel Greenfield 5 Comments
As the fighting goes on in Gaza the world watches and frets wishing those nice boys in their ski masks would stop shooting at each other and get back to their usual time honored hobby of killing Jews.
The bout of savage barbarism that exploded in Gaza and is threatening to spill over into the West Bank challenges the world's deeply held assertion that every terrorist atrocity against Israel was caused by Israel's oppression of the Palestinian Arabs. The sight of Fatah and Hamas terrorists shooting, beheading and throwing each other off tall buildings leads any intelligent person to the inevitable conclusion that Fatah and Hamas haven't been killing Israelis because they had no choice but because they are ruthless murderers greedy for power and who have no regard for human life.
That however is too difficult a conclusion for Western liberals and some conservatives who have staked so much on the belief that Palestinian terrorism is the product of oppression. Instead they adopt the Reductio Ad Occupationum. The Reductio Ad Occupationum reduces every single Arab problem across the Middle East to one primary cause, Israel.
For the last decade Arab countries from Saudi Arabia to Egypt had been insisting that the lack of human rights, the dictatorships, the oppression of women and terrorism in the region were all caused by Israel and the "Occupation". Until the Palestinian question was resolved (preferably through the destruction of Israel) the Arab world and perhaps the Muslim world was hopelessly
doomed to be a series of dictatorships, wife beaters, honor killers and exploding Jihadis.
Whenever the Bush Administration has talked about reform, the Arab dictators have promptly dragged out the Palestinians like a boy bringing a dead cat to school as a particularly gruesome piece of Show and Tell, insisting they could not reform until Israel gave the Palestinians a state. It was a particularly pathetic sight when 100 million people who fancy themselves as the greatest religion in the world and descendants of the greatest empire in history, blamed all their problems on a few million people living in a tiny strip of land.
Yet this is the nature of Anti-Semitism. Conspiracy theorists have routinely insisted that Jews control everything. The government. The Federal Reserve. Hollywood. There is a method to such madness. The Arab world by blaming Israel for everything gives up none of the control but all of the responsibility like a drunk who insists he drinks because of his wife or his kids or his boss. Arabs want the freedom to live in dictatorships, to murder their wives and daughters and make a mess of their countries and none of the responsibility. For the Anti-Semite, the Jew is the Prime Cause of everything. For the Arab world, the Jew is the reason for their own miserable failures.
Reductio Ad Occupationum has been widely adopted. Its premise is that everything goes back to the Occupation. When Hamas and Fatah began shooting each other in the streets, a host of figures from Desmond Tutu on down began insisting that the occupation was at fault. It of course doesn't matter that there was no Occupation in Gaza and that in fact the killings were happening precisely because there was no more Occupation in Gaza-- a sentiment Palestinian Arabs themselves repeatedly voiced to Western reporters. Occupation you see is a State of Mind.
In the philosophy of Reductio Ad Occupationum, Occupation becomes the Original Sin of Israel which forever deprives Palestinian Arabs of any responsibility for their own actions, instead laying the sin on Israel for all time. When Fatah kills Hamas, it is Israel's fault because Israel had backed Fatah. When Hamas kills Fatah, it is Israel's fault because Israel backed Hamas. If both kill each other, it is Israel's fault for not picking the "right" side, for not having turned over Gaza in 1997 or 1967 or 1897 and finally for simply existing.
That is what Reductio Ad Occupationum ultimately comes down to. Israel is at fault because it exists. Every instability, every fault and every flaw and misery spread throughout the Arab world is tied down to Israel. From Terrorism to Tyranny, Arab misbehavior is simply the helpless product of Israeli abuse. A 100 million Arabs are just the abused children of the few million Jews whom they spent centuries slaughtering and oppressing because those Jews finally managed to build themselves a state.
As long as the Arab world is willing to justify their sins through the Jews and as long as the world is willing to let them, the Arab World will be exactly the collection of brutal tyrannical regimes ruling over plots of dirt, exploding in frustrated bursts of rage aimed at their own governments America, Israel or their own wives and daughters. Those who are incapable of taking responsibility for their actions are also incapable of morality. They cannot repent or change their ways or improve their lives because they have already shifted the imaginary locus of control over to the Jews.
It is not the Occupation that is the Prime Cause of the Arab world's problems but their own unwillingness to take responsibility for their own ills. The fault, dear Brutus, is not in the stars, but in ourselves.