Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ziad J. Asali Gets Up On His High Horse

As far as so-called "pro-Palestinian" organizations go, you could do a lot worse than the American Task Force on Palestine. It is true that most of their activity is dedicated toward spreading anti-Israel propaganda, and some of their positions are too far for me to agree with them personally. But compared to some other organizations that have been given a mouthpiece by the Huffington Post, the ATFP is an improvement. This time they are represented by Ziad J. Asali, their president.

Dr. Asali is getting to the "price tag" party a little bit late, but he makes up for it in high sounding rhetoric. For comparison, here is his one and only mention of Palestinian violence (which has actually killed people):
"Those of us in the Palestinian community who have spoken publicly and clearly about our condemnation of terrorism directed against Israeli civilians, including settlers, are morally obligated to also condemn the acts of terror and vandalism by settlers against Palestinian civilians."
Credit where credit is due. Dr. Asali doesn't pull any punches, making it clear that it is terrorism, that it is directed against Israeli civilians, and that settlers also "count" as civilians. And he deserves compliments for all of that. But now let's contrast that with the settler "price tag" policy, which hasn't killed anyone and has only damaged Palestinian property. First we have one-sided playing of the victim:
"Is not the simple Palestinian villager standing defiant and unarmed in the face of those who cut down his olive trees and burn his fields the victim in this tragedy?"
Oh, how insensitive of me not to realize that every single Palestinian is a simple peaceful villager who stands around minding his own business when his life is suddenly destroyed by settlers. And of course he would never cut down his own trees to make the Jews look bad. Certainly not. Next up we have some Jew baiting:
"Victims of a long and bitter legacy of persecution defined by pogroms, ghettos and genocide, Jews have historically been at the forefront of the fight for equality and justice for the disenfranchised. It is therefore a sad irony that settler thugs and their allies have been waging this growing campaign of violence against Palestinians....Brave, young Jewish Americans, who traveled to the Deep South to fight and, in some cases, die for civil rights in our own country have left an enduring legacy. Their courage in the face of police brutality and racist mobs stands in stark contrast to the violent arrogance of some Jewish Israelis."
Would it be unreasonable of me to think that Dr. Asali is trying to draw a comparison with thousands of years of Jewish persecution with gangs of settler thugs? Or is he just using Jewish history to make a "gotcha" emotional talking point? Either way, it's pretty ugly. Still, I'm glad that at least some Palestinians make it clear that it is in fact about Jews and not "Zionism."

Next up we have some selections that would be self-righteous coming from anybody, but coming from a pillar of the Palestinian community, is downright hypocritical:
"While these odious acts have been duly acknowledged and even condemned by the Israeli government and by mainstream society, they mostly go unresolved and unpunished."
"Under international law and by any moral standard, Israel has the obligation to restrain its citizens from inflicting harm on people who live on land it controls. But its justice system barely takes note of these flagrant crimes and has created a general climate of impunity." 
Before someone tries to make the point about the Palestinian Authority cracking down on terror groups in a very effective manner, I remind you that the Palestinian Authority is not the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. The actual representatives make price tag settlers look like Care Bears in comparison. And just to take a recent example: It wasn't the PA who caught the Itamar murderers and delivered them to Israel. Israel had to do it themselves. That doesn't stop Dr. Asali from wagging his finger at Israel and hiding behind such words as "international law" and "moral standard." Unless there are some serious changes to Palestinian society and culture, those words will always strike me as hypocritical when a Palestinian says them.

I'm concerned I might be repeating myself, so let's conclude with Dr. Asali's last hypocritical statement of the article:
"Israel and its supporters cannot simultaneously proclaim its high-minded opposition to a culture of hate while its own lawless citizens persistently feed the flame of hatred. All forms of incitement and violence, the mortal enemies of peace, must stop."
I wonder if that means he concedes that a culture of hate does in fact exist among his people? Okay, Dr. Asali, let's see you write an article the next time there are some Palestinian riots or murders and get up on your high horse toward them. You seem to have been asleep at the switch the last few times, but I'm sure the way things are going you'll have a chance to prove your impartiality soon.

This is why I think Dr. Asali will always be seen as partisan. Because the only condemnations he ever has for the Palestinians (government or otherwise) is hidden behind general "all X is bad" statements. No long paragraphs about how awful Hamas is for shooting rockets. No sir, that kind of thing is reserved just for the Jews.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Hey guys we've started to employ a slight comment policy. We used to have completely open comments but then people abused it. So our comment policy is such: No obvious trolling or spamming. And be warned: unlike the Huffington Post we actually enforce our comment policy.