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Dr. Catherine Chatterley


By Dr. Catherine Chatterley, November 25, 2015


Reprinted from The Huffington Post
November 25, 2015 


A double standard is a rule or standard of behaviour applied unfairly to two or more people, placing someone at a disadvantage. 

Since the jihadist terrorist assault on Paris, the most glaring double standard has come into view. It seems that while the victims in France have our sympathy and concern, the Jews murdered by terrorists in Jerusalem and other cities in Israel do not. 

All week, I have been watching people change their Facebook photos to the Tricolour (the blue, white and red flag of France) in a wonderful gesture of solidarité with the French people. Then, others started observing that no one was changing their photos to the blue and white of the Israeli flag, or posting anything about the almost daily stabbing or car-ramming terror attacks on Israeli civilians. When the odd article was posted, it was from some strange, unknown site or from an Israeli newspaper. 


The leaders of the world were making public statements in support of the French government and its people, condemning the killings of innocent civilians in Paris and offering assistance. None of them, however, condemned the ongoing killings of innocent Israelis or responded to Prime Minister Netanyahu's attempt to connect the present terror campaign in Israel to the one in Europe. 

Apparently, jihadist terror is terror when perpetrated on European soil, but it is not terror when perpetrated on Israelis in the Middle East. How could this be the case? It's easy to understand, actually, but no less disturbing. 

In contrast to the historical record, Jews are believed by some to have "stolen the land" from the Arabs to establish the Jewish State. Depending on one's ideological perspective, either the entire State of Israel is occupied land (a growing consensus in some circles) or the land outside the 1967 borders is occupied territory. 

Whatever violence is perpetrated, then, upon Israeli Jews is simply part of a legitimate Arab resistance movement to regain their land. France, on the other hand, isn't occupied territory and is an innocent victim in this most recent jihadist assault. Whatever similarities may exist between the ideological commitments of the murderers, the main difference is that while European civilians are pure victims of Muslim-perpetrated violence, Israelis are never deemed to be innocent of the "crime of occupation" so they will not be recognized as proper victims. 

On some level, unlike Europeans, "Israelis are getting what they deserve."

On Oct. 29, 2015, in what can only be called a truly surreal moment, I discovered that the cover of a Nazi book was posted on the official Facebook page of Fatah, Mahmoud Abbas's organization. This book is called Trau keinem Fuchs auf grüner Heid und keinem Jüd auf seinem Eid (Trust No Fox on His Green Heath and No Jew on His Oath) and it was published by Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher in 1936. Have a look at it here to see its libelous depiction of the Jewish people. What is astonishing is that this same book is the subject matter of an essay assignment I give to university students in my course on the history of antisemitism and the Holocaust. 

This kind of antisemitic propaganda infected the minds of Germans and their children for 12 long years, and it effectively convinced them of the lie of a "criminal Jewish conspiracy," which was the justification given for Jewish expulsion and, eventually, for mass murder. 

The new terrorist fascination with using knives and cleavers to kill Israelis is an obvious influence from the well-publicized atrocities perpetrated by ISIS throughout the region, but that, too, appears to go unnoticed by the West. Palestinian terrorists are now encouraged to kill Jewish Israelis with knives in sermons, songs ("Stab the Zionists"), and via television programs and social media

This incitement to kill Jews in Israel is no different than any other form of incitement to murder, either past or present, and yet it, too, goes unnoticed and unreported in mainstream media when it should be roundly condemned as an outrage to normal human values. How can anyone honestly expect to establish a legitimate peace process in such an environment?

President Hollande and his European colleagues may be excused, perhaps, from this round of condemnations, as they are obviously overwhelmed. The same, however, cannot be said for President Obama and Prime Minister Trudeau, neither of whom has directly addressed this industry of anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian society and these stabbing and car-ramming terror attacks. 

Even those engaged in Holocaust memorialization and education, like the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, have failed to address the escalating anti-Semitic incitement in Palestinian society and the so-called "stabbing intifada," choosing instead to make statements on the tragic Syrian refugee crisis. 

For some reason, all of a sudden, some diaspora Jews find the issue of Syrian refugees to be the most pressing ethical concern: "At stake is not only the fate of Syrian refugees, but also the meaning of Jewish identity itself."

The one major international group to rightly condemn the terror-killings of Israelis so far, surprisingly, is Amnesty International: "There can be no justification for a spate of deliberate deadly attacks by Palestinians on civilians over the past week in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories which displayed a clear contempt for human life."

Our world leaders and religious authorities must publicly condemn all forms of terrorism and incitement to kill, regardless of the identities of victims and perpetrators. They cannot be allowed to perpetuate double standards. Respect for innocent human life, after all, must remain above political considerations.


Dr. Catherine Chatterley teaches history at the University of Manitoba and is the Founding Director of the Canadian Institute for the Study of Antisemitism (CISA). 


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