Writing about the Baruch Goldstein killings, David Wilder makes a very important point.
When journalists ask me about our reaction to Baruch Goldstein, after replying, I inquire as to whether they ask my Arab neighbors what they think about Yahya Ayyash. About 99% of them don’t know who I’m talking about. Ayyash was nicknamed ‘the engineer.’ Bombs he assembled killed more than 70 Israelis in numerous terror attacks in the 1990s. He trained his successors to follow in his footsteps after his death at the hands of Israeli intelligence. At his funeral, attended by well over 100,000 people, Arafat called him a saint. (Two days after Goldstein’s attack, Yitzhak Rabin, in the Knesset, said, “I am ashamed to be a Jew.”)
How many Jews have committed such acts? Five, six, maybe seven. How many Arabs? Between 1989 and 2008, more than 800 Arab suicide-homicide killers have murdered Jews. Who is the only one remembered? Baruch Goldstein.
The Palestinian Authority pays salaries to its mass murderers while in prison and demands their release.
John Kerry pressures Israel to free mass murderers. The New York Times and the Washington Post and the other papers doing yet more stories about Baruch Goldstein agree. It’s impossible to escape the conclusion that they don’t oppose killing people when the people being killed are Jews. Not everyone’s life is valued the same.
Here’s a murderer whom Abbas, the man that Obama declares is Israel’s peace partner, talking proudly about his crime.
Issa Abd Rabbo is one of the terrorist murderers that Israel was forced to release from prison in order for PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas to agree to start negotiations with Israel. Palestinian Media Watch reported that the day Abd Rabbo was released, Mahmoud Abbas called him a “hero” and raised his hand victoriously.
Until his release, Issa Abd Rabbo was serving two life sentences for killing two Israeli university students, Ron Levi and Revital Seri, who were hiking south of Jerusalem on Oct. 22, 1984. At gun point he tied them up, put bags over their heads and then shot and murdered both.
I tied them up of course and then sentenced them to death by shooting, in the name of the revolution. I shot them, one bullet each, and went [hiding] in the mountains… I went to my aunt and told her: ‘We have avenged Muhammad’s blood.’”
Host: “She is the mother of Martyr Muhammad Abd Rabbo.”
Issa Abd Rabbo: “I told her: ‘Instead of one, we got two.’
She cried out in joy.”
The same media that will once again cover Baruch Goldstein won’t talk about the Palestinian Authority’s veneration of terrorists. That double standard and the excuses that accompany it are morally unjustifiable because excuses go both ways.
I knew Goldstein. He was my friend. He was also a doctor. A very good one. He treated both Arabs and Jews. His trauma treatment was legendary in Israeli medical circles. His on-the-spot diagnoses were, after weeks of hospital tests, found to be 100% on the mark.
He was also the only on-duty doctor in Kiryat Arba, just about 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During the first intifada, following drive-by shootings and terror attacks, he was frequently the first medical person at the scene. As such, he witnessed horrible sights. It is said that he would sleep at night with earphones in his ears, allowing him to hear reports of attacks, without disturbing his wife’s’ sleep.
Why did he do what he did? This is a question to which, as far as I know, nobody really knows the full answer. To the best of my knowledge, he didn’t leave behind any notes or messages. However, only two months earlier, I was present at the scene of the murder of his close friend, Mordechai Lapid and his son Shalom, just outside the gates of Kiryat Arba. He tried to save Mordechai’s life, in vain.
At the beginning of that fateful week, IDF General Shaul Mofaz visited with the Kiryat Arba leadership for an emergency meeting. Baruch Goldstein, as the doctor of the area, was present. Mofaz told of intelligence information concerning a planned terror attack in the area of Machpela towards the end of the week. Baruch Goldstein was asked to “be prepared.” The Saturday night prior to the attack, during evening prayers, Arabs inside Machpela chanted “Itbach el-Yahud,” “Slaughter the Jews.”
The next morning he arrived there early, shot and killed twenty nine Arabs as they prayed, wounding dozens of others.
No Israeli government has defended what Baruch Goldstein did. The same can’t be said for the Palestinian Authority.
If Israelis are expected to value the sanctity of Muslim life, there should be a reciprocal commitment on the other side, and if there isn’t such a commitment, then at the very least there should be a refraining from the celebration of mass murderers. Without that, there is no moral sanction against killing, only the sort of killing that the New York Times and the Washington Post disapprove of.
There is one side that unleashed this violence and continues unleashing it.
By the time the massacre ended, 67 Jews lay dead – their homes and synagogues destroyed – and the few hundred survivors were relocated to Jerusalem. The aftermath left Hebron barren of Jews for the first time in hundreds of years.
Arab youths began the riots by hurling rocks at the yeshiva students as they walked by. That afternoon, student Shmuel Rosenholtz went to the yeshiva alone. Arab rioters broke in to the building and killed him. Rosenholtz’s was but the first of dozens of murders.
As early as 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning – the Jewish Sabbath – Arabs began to gather en masse around the Jewish community. They came in mobs, armed with clubs, knives and axes. While the women and children threw stones, the men ransacked Jewish houses and destroyed Jewish property. With only a single police officer in all of Hebron, the Arabs were able to enter Jewish courtyards with literally no opposition.
The Beit Romano police station turned into a shelter for the Jews on the morning of Saturday, August 24. It also became a synagogue when the Orthodox Jews gathered there said their morning prayers. As they finished praying, they began to hear noises outside the building. Thousands of Arabs descended from Har Hebron, shouting “Kill the Jews!” in Arabic. They even tried to break down the doors of the station.
For three days, the Jews were besieged in Beit Romano by the rampaging Arabs. Each night, ten men were allowed to leave the building and go to Hebron’s ancient Jewish cemetery to conduct a funeral for any Jews murdered that day.
I’ll close with one final quote,
One little old woman had jumped out of the auto and started to run about silently among the crowd searching and whispering, “My children, have you seen my children?”
Until that woman’s suffering gets equal billing with the complaints of Muslims, any further belaboring of Baruch Goldstein’s actions should be ignored and dismissed out of hand.
Until Muslims are held to the same standard as their victims, in Israel, in Egypt, in Pakistan, in Kashmir and in Burma, there is no justification for talking about Muslim suffering.