Dr.Gerstenfeld’s new article, “Propagating Restraint and Other Anti-Israeli Mischief.” was originally published in Algemeiner. This is an extended version of the original and republished here with the author’s consent.
PROPAGATING RESTRAINT AND OTHER ANTI-ISRAELI MISCHIEF
By Manfred Gerstenfeld
There is a long-lasting anti-Israel bias among many in the Western world. This has led Palestinian leaders to conclude that provocations against Israel can have important public relations value. Such provocations can lead to anti-Israeli reactions and often to condemnations from sources such as the United Nations, Arab countries, the European Union and some of its members, NGOs, as well as some Jewish masochist organizations and individuals. These reactions then provide a further incentive for continued Palestinian provocations.
The recent major Hamas-initiated Palestinian Gaza border protest demonstrations, The March of Return, were not peaceful. They included rock throwing, Molotov cocktails and sniping at the IDF. There were attempts by Palestinians to damage the border fence and cross it into Israel. Eleven of the first Palestinian casualties have been identified by Israel as terrorists including those from Hamas.1
In the second march, a week later, there was new violence, including the burning of what may have been 10,000 tires. There were further attempts to both attack IDF soldiers and infiltrate Israel under the resulting smokescreen.2 Since then burning kites have been launched over the Israel-Gaza border, some with Molotov-cocktail-like bombs tied to their tails.3
Many anti-Israeli statements were issued including by Western countries, bodies or individuals after Israel responded to Palestinian violence. A number of them followed one or more of four patterns. On the surface, they seem reasonable. Yet even superficial analysis shows that all involved hypocrisy and bias. A few examples will illustrate this.
The first is that Palestinians are entitled to demonstrate peacefully. This thus suggests that Israel did not enable the Palestinians to demonstrate quietly on Gaza territory at a reasonable distance from the Israeli border. Those who made this statement knew that it was irrelevant because Hamas interspersed the demonstrators with violent and border-breaking actions against Israel. Among those whose statements stressed the Palestine right to peaceful demonstrations were the European Union,4 France5 US Democratic Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders,6 as well as JStreet.7
The second pattern of statements consisted of calling for restraint. This came in two versions. One addressed genocide promoting Hamas and democratic Israel, with an emphasis on the latter. This implicitly suggests that Israel failed on this point. Such statements were made by the EU,8 the Deputy Prime Minister of Ireland9 Jstreet and Russia10. Other statements calling for restraint were even more biased, addressing only Israel. Such statements have come from France11, Senator Elizabeth Warren and the Head of the Union of Reform Judaism, Rabbi Rick Jacobs.12
Amos Guiora, a professor at the University of Utah, has described the many codes the Israeli army has in regard to morality and ethics in combat. It is doubtful whether anything similar exists elsewhere I any military. The way these codes are transmitted to Israeli soldiers have been praised by several Western armies.13
The third type of statements includes asking for an independent investigation of what happened. Here we find the EU14 in the company of the deputy Prime minister of Ireland15 and Kuwait.16 Those who make this claim know full well that the logical candidates for such pseudo-independent investigations are United Nations associate bodies. The best known such investigation was the report by the Goldstone committee. This document was so extremely distorted that in 2011, editors Gerald Steinberg and Anne Herzberg filled an entire book about its massive bias.17
The fourth pattern of statements concerns the proportionality of Israeli reactions. This implies that Israel’s reactions are not proportionate or even disproportionally indiscriminate. There we find the EU and France18 along with Iran,19 Turkey20 and Russia.21
Toward the end of April when it was already clear that the demonstrations were a cover up for major efforts to breach the border the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein made a statement that what was going on was a citizens’ demonstration with some stone throwing and Molotov cocktails. He said that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly.”22
There are also other statements by Western nations. For instance, the long-time anti-Israel inciter Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the British Labour party, asked for a review of his country’s arms sales to Israel.23
Amnesty International, in fact only a part-time human rights NGO, published a statement on April 27 which read “These people are merely protesting their unbearable conditions and demanding the right to return to their homes and towns in what is now Israel.” It again called on governments worldwide “to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Israel following the country’s disproportionate response to mass demonstrations along the fence that separates the Gaza Strip from Israel.”24
Hamas can be happy. The more so as it cares far more about anti-Israeli reactions in the Western world than about the death of Palestinian civilians. Such Western reactions stimulate further Hamas-initiated violent demonstrations as the organization continues to solicit more anti-Israel reactions. Westerners who make these declarations may claim that incentivizing Hamas is not their intention. They should have learned by now that these reactions only serve to continue Palestinian violence and thus further casualties.
9 /press-release-archive/2018/march/statement-by-the-tanaiste-on-developments-in-gaza/# www.dfa.ie/news-and-media/press-releases
15 www/press-release-archive/2018/march/statement-by-the-tanaiste-on-developments-in-gaza/# www.dfa.ie/news-and-media/press-releases