Monday, June 4, 2007

Desperation, Moderation, Madness, Morality & the West

On the eve of the 40th Anniversary of the 6-Day War, we are once again being bombarded by articles, videos, advertisements, and relentless sound bytes that speak of Palestinian "desperation." Alan Johnstone, the BBC reporter who has been held hostage by Palestinian kidnappers since the 12th of March, recently spoke of the "absolute despair" of the Palestinians and attributed this desperation to 40 years of Israeli occupation, "supported by the West." One can forgive Mr. Johnstone his utterances since he is no doubt spouting these accusations under extreme duress, ordered by his terrorist handlers to say whatever they want to be said, so they can get their "message" out to the world. But the same cannot be said for the free reporters of the BBC, who night after night emphasize that Mr. Johnston has given "a voice" to the Palestinian people. Oddly, what he is now saying under duress is not all that different from what his fellow BBC reporters say quite willingly on a regular basis. "It is that everything that is wrong in the ME and the wider Muslim world is the result of aggression or 'heavy-handedness' by America, or Israel or Britain...";jsessionid=J41CQO5M12QFVQFIQMFSFGGAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/opinion/2007/06/02/do0201.xml Charles Moore:
'What if Israel Had Abducted BBC Man?'

Although the "desperation" argument has been debunked time and again; see "Aspiration, not Desperation.", it is trumped as the "be all, end all" explanation for all ills of Palestinian society.
In a superb lte in the Times Saturday, Jonathan Reich puts it most eloquently, and I will quote him in full.
"We have constantly heard the mantra that Palestinian desperation is pushing Palestinians toward extremism and that the solution is to empower moderates by making concessions. But the concessions are only viewed as weakness by the extremists who gain more power, while the moderates, who frequently are engaged in terror, whine for more concessions. If Palestinians are desperate, it is time for them to look in the mirror and ask why their own media promote violence, why their society has no due process, and why their educational system continues to teach hate. They need to ponder why a group of people that receives more aid per person than any group on earth continues to have no credible economic system or rule of law. If Jihadists are gaining power, it is not the fault of the West or Israel. The root cause of the conflict is accountability."

Is is desperation that prompts a society to extol the virtues of martyrdom to kindergartners? Or does it rather reflect a society that has lost its moral compass?
Gaza Kindergarten Graduation Theme: "Death for the Sake of Allah!" (MEMRI)
Hamas' Al-Aqsa TV aired a report of a graduation ceremony for the kindergartens of the Islamic Association in Gaza on May 31, 2007. The boys shouted in unison: "Allah Akbar. Praise be to Allah. What is your path? Jihad. What is your most lofty aspiration? Death for the sake of Allah."

And what does it say about us that we continue to excuse, absolve, explain, and rationalize this kind of behavior that can only be understood as collective child abuse? Where is the moral outcry from all the human rights advocates who are so quick to cast blame on Israel?
As long as the West continues to give a pass to this kind of moral indecency, rushing to please/appease rather than fighting to maintain universal standards for human rights, little progress can be expected. To paraphrase Ambassador Dennis Ross,
Peace will come to the ME when Arab political culture moves from Victimhood to Accountability and Responsibility.

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