Thursday, August 03, 2006

The definition of joy, Palestinian-style

It's hard to comment adequately on a tale that resembles something from the Onion.

This story says a great deal, however, about how the thirst for destruction that's become commonplace in Palestinian society has joined the homicidal and suicidal impulses so closely that the two have become almost as one.

And, in line with that fact, I want to call your attention to an extraordinary article by Richard Landes.

Landes begins with an exploration of the cult of death in Arab Moslem society, ties it into the current war in Lebanon and in particular Qana, and describes the role the unwitting Western press plays in promoting that cult.

His essay is so rich with thought that, once again, I suggest you read the whole thing.

One particularly striking example he gives of the press's ineptitude (or malevolence--take your pick) is the following truncated quote by journalist William Orme of the New York Times.

Israelis cite as one egregious example [of Arab hated of Jews] a televised sermon that defended the killing of the two soldiers. “Whether Likud or Labor, Jews are Jews,” proclaimed Sheik Ahmad Abu Halabaya in a live broadcast from a Gaza City mosque the day after the killings.

It sounds fairly innocuous: "Jews are Jews." Who could object to that? What's all the fuss about?

Here are the Sheik's actual words--and those that followed them--in his televised "sermon" (and it ain't no Sermon on the Mount, let me tell you):

The Jews are the Jews. Whether Labor or Likud the Jews are Jews. They do not have any moderates or any advocates of peace. They are all liars. They must be butchered and must be killed… The Jews are like a spring as long as you step on it with your foot it doesn’t move. But if you lift your foot from the spring, it hurts you and punishes you… It is forbidden to have mercy in your hearts for the Jews in any place and in any land. Make war on them any place that you find yourself. Any place that you meet them, kill them.

This utterly egregious example of misuse of the truncated quote can't possibly be the result of ignorance or incompetence. So what is it? Stupidity or malevolence? Take your pick.

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