Richard Baehr: Bizarro reality

For the past few months, almost every day, Arab terrorists have ‎committed attacks on Israelis -- mostly knife assaults, but also cars ‎plowing into Israeli soldiers or civilians, and some shootings. Two dozen ‎Israelis have been killed, and a far greater number have been wounded. 

The ‎attacks followed a vicious incitement campaign by the Palestinian Authority, Hamas, ‎and other radicalized groups among Israeli and West Bank Arabs blasting out ‎repeated warnings that Israel and the Jews were mounting an assault on the ‎Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa mosque, with a design to change the character of ‎the arrangement that has existed there for nearly 50 years.‎

The warnings are false, of course, but also malicious, since the PA and its allies in ‎the slander campaign fully understand the power of the warnings about the alleged ‎threats to Al-Aqsa and Jerusalem, given the history of the conflict. No propaganda ‎campaign is more likely to incite attacks on Israel and Jews in Israel or elsewhere ‎than one focused on protecting Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa from the infidels ‎threatening it. 

Israeli soldiers, police, and in some cases civilians have responded to the ‎attacks quickly and forcefully, ending the lives of some of the attackers, wounding ‎or capturing others. All of the attacks presented life-threatening risks for the ‎Israelis who were attacked, and if ever a forceful response was justified by ‎Israelis or the authorities, these were such cases.‎

So how has the Palestinian Authority reacted to the attacks, other than calling for ‎more of them? Naturally, the PA has blamed Israel for unprovoked attacks and ‎killings of "alleged" Arab attackers, who of course are in most cases described as mere innocents on the scene. The PA has even gone so far as to claim ‎that knives were planted on some of the Arabs to justify the Israeli "attacks" on Palestinians (almost all of the Arab attackers have ‎come from the West Bank or Jerusalem). The Israelis who were murdered or ‎wounded must have been careless -- walking into knives without looking, or better ‎yet, prone to some previously unheard of disease that causes spontaneous bleeding wounds to suddenly appear on different parts of the body. 

We are in a strange ‎environment when the Palestinian Authority, the erstwhile partner for peace with ‎Israel according to all the world's diplomats, applauds the murders of Jews, honors ‎the "martyrs" who carry out attacks while simultaneously denying in many cases that they even ‎occurred, and condemns the defilement of the Temple Mount with the "filthy feet" of ‎the Jews.‎

This last canard was the language adopted by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, often described as ‎the moderate Palestinian leader representing the best hope for achieving peace ‎with Israel. ‎

It did not take long for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to link the attacks on Israelis ‎as a natural response by Palestinians to the continued frustration with the stalled ‎peace process, and the stepped up pace of settlement activity.‎

Abbas used almost identical language when ‎forced to acknowledge that there actually had been some attacks on Israelis (Jews ‎in almost all cases, of course). Continuing a streak of seemingly blind ‎misstatements, Kerry was wrong both on the supposed increase in settlement activity and ‎on the causes of the present wave of murderous attacks. In every poll of ‎Palestinians, the attacks were justified because of the risk to Al-Aqsa. Around 72% support ‎the current intifada, terminology used more frequently now to describe the terror ‎campaign. Even more to the point, only a tiny minority of Palestinians (11%) has any ‎interest whatsoever in a two-state solution and an end to the conflict. Palestinians are ‎not shy about telling polling organizations that all of Israel is a settlement, and the ‎goal of this current string of violent attacks is no different than all those that ‎preceded it -- the desire to eliminate Israel and kill the Jews. 

According to scholar Bassem Tawil, ‎"A recent poll found that 48% of Palestinians interviewed ‎believe that the real goal of the 'intifada' is to 'liberate all of ‎Palestine.' In other words, approximately half of Palestinians ‎believe that the 'intifada' should lead to the destruction of ‎Israel, which would be replaced with a Palestinian state, one ‎that now would be ruled by Hamas and jihadi organizations ‎such as Islamic State and al-Qaida.‎ It is notable that only 11% of respondents said the goal of the ‎‎'intifada' should be to 'liberate' only those territories ‎captured by Israel in 1967."‎

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his welcoming ‎remarks to the climate summit in Paris, chose a moment of ‎silence for recent victims of terror in Paris, Bamako, ‎Beirut and Tunis. Missing, naturally, was any mention of Tel Aviv ‎or Jerusalem. One might think the secretary-general believes ‎terror attacks on Jews or Israelis are something different than ‎attacks in the rest of the world.‎

The United Nations has much to answer for itself in terms of being an ‎active participant in the current incitement campaign to ‎murder Jews, with teachers in UNRWA schools making their ‎own appeals for more killing of the Jewish "apes and pigs."‎

Double standards come naturally to the Obama ‎administration as well, which waited a few days to ‎acknowledge the murder of a Jewish American, Ezra ‎Schwartz, in one attack in Israel, after immediately noting ‎attacks that killed Americans in Paris and other places. The ‎public acknowledgment of Schwartz's death on a Monday night ‎football broadcast probably forced the president's hand.

Two weeks ago, the European Union finally followed ‎through on its long-expected announcement that it would ‎begin requiring labeling of products from settlements, and ‎would not allow these items to be labeled "product of Israel." Professor Eugene Kontorovich pointed out that the policy ‎was inconsistent with how the EU treats products from the ‎roughly 200 other conflicts around the globe where one side ‎or another may be occupying territory, is inconsistent with its ‎own rules and policies, and is in violation of various ‎international agreements. It did not take long for the U.S. State ‎Department to effectively endorse the EU action, since it also ‎claimed not to recognize the legality of Israeli settlements.

When Barack Obama became president, clues to his conduct ‎of foreign and domestic policy could be found in one formula ‎that pretty much always worked: If George W. Bush did ‎something one way when he was president, then Obama would do the opposite. ‎Bush led the U.S. into Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama would ‎get us out. Bush took prisoners to Guantanamo, Obama ‎would release them and close the prison. Bush supported tax ‎cuts, Obama would raise rates even higher than they had been before Bush reduced them. If you were describing the ‎behavior of a 5-year-old, you would say, he is "doing the ‎opposite." ‎

Another way to describe the behavior is Bizarro-like. ‎Bizarro was a super-villain who originally appeared in the Superman ‎comic book series. Superman, the Man of ‎Steel, was a force for good. Bizarro was Superman's opposite, a very negative ‎force whose powers were often the exact reverse of Superman's. ‎

Bizarro World is the EU treating Israeli products differently than those from ‎everywhere else. It is Obama forgetting only the Jewish terror victim in ‎his public comments. Bizarro World is the secretary of state distinguishing the ‎latest terror attacks in Paris as having had less legitimacy and rationale than the ‎earlier ones in January (which included the deliberate murders of Jews and ‎cartoonists who drew pictures of the Prophet Muhammad). I guess we should understand and ‎accept that Arabs and Muslims want to kill Jews and those who think they have a ‎right to caricature Muhammad, but attacks on others are more problematic. ‎Bizarro World is the U.N. secretary-general not treating terror attacks on Jews as ‎equivalent to terror attacks on anyone else. Bizarro World is treating ‎Abbas as a potential peacemaker while he fans the flames of mass murders of Israeli ‎Jews.‎

Take your pick: opposites or Bizarro World. In either case, we are forced to ‎confront some basic "truths": Terror is wrong, unless its victims are Jews. Boycotts ‎are wrong, unless they are aimed at the one Jewish state. Terror victims should be ‎named and remembered, unless they are Jews. For years, the United Nations has ‎been exhibit No. 1 in the Bizarro World presentation, as the Human Rights ‎Council, filled with the world's most thuggish regimes, only condemns behavior ‎by Israel. Now we are seeing evidence of similar selective treatment of Israel ‎by the United States. When the Palestinians reject Israeli peace offers (as we now ‎know occurred in 2008), Israel is blamed for the failure to finalize a deal ‎because of its settlement activity. When Palestinians refuse even to meet with ‎Israelis without prior concessions, Israel is blamed for its lack of interest in peace. ‎In Bizarro World, Israel cannot win, for everyone else sees the opposite of reality.‎