Monday, December 14, 2009

The Difference Between Burning A Mosque And Burning A Synagogue

The New York Times today on the arson attack on a mosque--possibly by Jewish settlers:
West Bank Is Tense After Arson at Mosque
"Passions ran high on Sunday in this Palestinian village in the northern West Bank two days after arsonists, presumed by Palestinians and many Israelis to be Jewish extremists, set fire to the central mosque.

A delegation of Jewish religious leaders and activists, including some from West Bank settlements, tried to reach the village to express their abhorrence of the attack. But the Israeli Army prevented the group from entering Yasuf for security reasons as enraged villagers proclaimed that the visitors would not be welcome.

“The people will not allow it,” said Wasfi Hassan, a local farmer. “It is like killing a man, then going to his funeral.”" [emphasis added]
The only thing more harsh than that, I suppose, is killing a Jew and celebrating his death.
From February 4, 2008--via Yahoo News (via Wayback Machine cache):
DIMONA, Israel (Reuters) - A Palestinian suicide bomber from the Gaza Strip killed a woman in southern Israel on Monday, the first such attack in the country in a year, but Israeli officials said peace talks would not be derailed.

...Two other militant groups, Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, praised the Dimona bombing as retaliation for Israeli raids. Young supporters of Fatah handed out flowers and candy to passing cars in the Gaza city of Rafah. [emphasis added]
More to the point, Jonathan Tobin writes about the mosque incident:
If it is true that Jews committed this crime, this is clearly madness and is rejected not only by the overwhelming majority of the people of Israel but also by the overwhelming majority of the approximately 300,000 Jews who live in the settlements. Local Jewish religious leaders attempted to visit Yasuf to express their condolences, but they were prevented from going there.
He then offers a not so theoretical question:
But if you really wanted to get a feel for how differently the two communities think about these things, ask yourself what would happen if, instead of a mosque, a synagogue had been burned down. But this is not a hypothetical question.

In October 2000, at the start of the Palestinians’ second intifada, the Tomb of Joseph, a Jewish holy site in Nablus that served as a synagogue and religious school, was literally torn to pieces by an Arab mob. As Palestinian Authority “police” looked on, the mob destroyed the building and burned the sacred texts inside. But instead of treating the crime as an embarrassment to the national cause, among Palestinians it was treated as a cause for celebration. Another ancient synagogue in Jericho was also burned down that month. And even before the intifada, the Tomb of Rachel, a Jewish shrine near Bethlehem, was subjected to continual attacks. It had to be surrounded by fortifications to keep both the building and worshipers from harm.

In 2005, the Israeli government evacuated Gaza and removed every single Jewish soldier and settler from the area. The only things left behind were buildings, including the synagogues that had served the Jews who were forced out. But rather than treat these edifices with respect, if only to use them for their own purposes, the Palestinians burned every one down in a barbaric communal orgy of destruction. Again, no apologies were forthcoming from the Palestinians. Nor did world opinion treat this incident as worthy of condemnation. The fact that the Palestinians could not bring themselves to let even one former synagogue stand was a frightening reminder that the two sides still don’t view the conflict in the same way. To the Palestinians, this is not a tragic misunderstanding between two peoples but rather a zero-sum game.
Tobin concludes with a simple point that should be obvious, but will instead be ignored
So, as much as friends of Israel are right to condemn the mosque attack, let us not forget that when the tables were turned and Jewish sensibilities were offended, the Palestinians were not only unwilling to condemn similar incidents but instead celebrated them. Until that imbalance changes, hopes for peace will never be realized.
And until that time, those apologists who claim to be friends of Palestinian Arabs will just continue to make excuses for them.

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