Joe Biden is not known for his scruples. Those forced to endure his speeches have cringed at having to listen to an endless plethora of gaffes emanating from his unrestrained tongue, each more embarrassing than the next. We’ve become inured to his pearls of wisdom – JOBS is a three-letter word and all Indians work at 7-11 – and chalk them up to his advanced age and possible onset of early dementia. But on September 30, Biden went too far, even by Bidenesque standards.
In a speech before the George Soros funded anti-Israel group J-Street, Biden referred to the Palestinians as the “least ideological and sectarian” Arabs in the Middle East. The remark was stunning not only for its breathtaking ignorance but for demonstratively revealing how far removed from reality this administration has become in assessing the Middle East’s players.
Of all the Arabs of the Middle East, it is the Palestinians who are perhaps the most ideological and sectarian. Their blood lust began in 1920 with the Nabi Musa riots in which mobs of crazed “Palestinian” Arabs chased down pedestrians and ransacked Jewish owned businesses, synagogues and learning institutions while screaming “Palestine is our land, the Jews our dogs.” Five Jews were killed and some 200 injured in the mayhem. Palestinian-Arab violence only escalated from there and culminated in the 1929 Hebron massacre in which 67 Jewish residents, men, women and children, were savagely lynched by Palestinian mobs, inspired by age-old anti-Semitism.
But Palestinian sectarianism and xenophobia was not merely limited to Jews. Christian Arabs also bore the brunt of Palestinian-Muslim brutality. During the 1936-39 Arab insurrection against the mandatory authorities, the common Muslim chant, “first Saturday then Sunday,” often heard during violent anti-British demonstrations, was a not so subtle reference to the fate of Christian Arabs once Muslims succeeding in eradicating the Jews. Indeed, as a direct result of Muslim intimidation, the Palestinian Christian population, once representing some 10% of the overall Palestinian population, has declined precipitously to half that amount and the downward trend continues.
In the 1930s and 1940s Palestinian democracy manifested itself through assassinations and counter-assassinations as rival Palestinian leaders vied for power, gangland style. During World War II, the top echelon of the Palestinian leadership, including Hassan Salameh, Fawzi al-Qawuqji, and most notably Haj Amin al-Husseini, provided aid and comfort to the Nazis and took up residence in Nazi Germany.
For the Palestinians, things have changed little since the 1940s. They continue to remain sharply divided along sectarian and ideological lines. Internecine strife, a feature characteristic of Palestinian society since the advent of Palestinian nationalism in the 1920s, has never ceased and still continues unabated as evidenced by the violent clashes that erupted in Gaza between Fatah and Hamas in 2007. A good account of the brutality that the belligerents are capable of inflicting upon one another was candidly described by a Fatah activist who was repeatedly shot by rival militiamen in the legs and left for dead.
The concept of democracy is as alien to the Palestinians now as it was to them in the 1930s. Hamas currently controls Gaza with an iron fist through a theocratic politburo that gets its marching orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Judea & Samaria (West Bank) Palestinians are governed by an unelected, Holocaust-denying autocrat, who utilizes the Palestinian Authority’s security apparatus to suppress any form of dissent. Torture and intimidation are endemic and systemic to the judicial systems of both entities.
Biden’s careless and factually baseless rhetoric demonstrates the administration’s near-total disconnect from the realities currently plaguing the Arab world. The region’s problems do not stem from the Arab-Israeli dispute. Rather, they are the result of deep religious schisms sweeping an undemocratic Muslim world, mired in medieval backwardness.
What’s more, the Palestinian-Israeli dispute stems not from so-called “settlements” but from the irrational unwillingness of the Palestinian leadership to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. The very idea of sovereignty for non-Muslims in any part of the Land of Israel is an anathema to the Palestinian leadership. They will not be content unless they have secured every last square millimeter of “Palestine” with no differentiation to whether the territory is east or west of the Green Line (the 1949 armistice lines).
Delusional rhetoric of the type found in Biden’s speech to J-Street that flirts with fantasy rather than addressing the region’s underlying, core problems will only serve to hinder rather than advance the cause of peace.
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