Agents of Their Own Destruction

by Denis MacEoin
February 15, 2017

With the advent of President Trump’s administration, massive changes are expected, not just on the domestic front, but internationally. One of the first regions that will require immediate attention is the Middle East, where the policies of the Obama administration have led to a diminished role for the United States and therefore for global freedom.

If the Trump administration is to make rapid progress in the peace process (to the extent there is one), their first priority must be to demolish the Palestinian narrative. It is a false narrative from beginning to end. It tells historical falsehoods about the origins of the “Palestinian” people, the precedence of Jews in the land, the Jewish and Christian identity of holy sites, and the self-inflicted “Nakba” of 1947–48. But a purely historical approach is unlikely to appeal on the political or emotional level. Something more has to be addressed. That something more must, it would seem, be a hard-headed dismissal of the narrative of Palestinian victimhood. It is this perception of Palestinians as the constant victims of an aggressive Israel that drives pro-Palestinian Christians, human rights activists, moral campaigners, socialists, and many others.

The importance of a shift in narratives cannot be overemphasized. It is the key to peace. “Just as real peace could come to Europe after World War II only after Germans abandoned the ‘German narrative’ and accepted the true history of the war that Germany started, so only abandonment of the ‘Palestinian narrative’ and acceptance of the true sequence of the events of 1947–48 can serve as a basis for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs,” wrote Moshe Arens, former Defence Minister of the State of Israel.

The Palestinian Arabs, their leaders, and their worldwide, manifold aiders and abettors have deluded the international media, the United Nations, politicians just about everywhere, religious leaders from most of the Christian churches, and human rights activists on every continent, into believing them to be the world’s greatest victims, a struggling and persecuted people whose woes and sufferings have for decades eclipsed those of every other suffering minority on the face of the planet. You never have to look far for evidence of this.

Writing in 2015, shortly after Mahmoud Abbas’s visit to the UN General Assembly, Dr. Eran Lerman of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies expressed this sense of Palestinian victimhood thus:

The speech delivered by Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas at the UN General Assembly last week was proof, once again, that the Palestinian “narrative” of victimhood has become a threat to any practical prospect for peace. Palestinian leaders consistently advance an interpretation of history which is at odds not only with the facts but also with their people’s best interests.
At the core of Abbas’ plaintive narration is the notion of the Palestinians as innocent victims, whose right to statehood and independence has been taken away and brutally ignored for much too long. In this telling of history, the Palestinians deserve to be backed by coercive intervention, as soon as possible, so as to impose on Israel a solution which would implement their “rights.”

Lerman adds:

“The false Palestinian narrative of one-sided victimhood is a major hindrance to all efforts in the direction of Israeli-Palestinian peace. Global actors need to help the Palestinians move beyond wallowing in self-pity and rituals of bashing Israel, and towards difficult compromises with Israel.”

Writing at Honest Reporting in October 2016, Zahava Raymond speaks of an article in Ireland’s anti-Israel newspaper, the Irish Independent, promoting a photo exhibition entitled, “This is Palestine” by the choreographer and would-be Middle East authority, John McColgan.

In the world of the Irish Independent and McColgan’s exhibition, every Palestinian is a victim of Israeli oppression. There are no Palestinians who harm other Palestinians, and there are no Palestinians who harm Israelis. It is the usual, one-sided, simplistic narrative that the media generally favor, where Israelis = oppressors and Palestinians = victims.

This false trope of Palestinian victimhood is pretty well universal by now, and is seldom resisted or exposed anywhere outside media and political circles unless they are pro-Israel or genuinely balanced. Whether it be the New York Times, The Guardian, or The Independent.

It is not just the media that think that way. Many Protestant churches across the world adopt the same attitude. Writing for Commentary two years ago, Melanie Phillips declared that, “within the Protestant world, many churches are deeply hostile to the State of Israel. They present the Palestinians as victims of Israeli oppression while ignoring the murderous victimization of Israeli citizens at their hands.”

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