A Fifth Column?

What does it mean when your seemingly friendly Arab neighbor turns against you?

Originally published at The Times of Israel.

Arab Israeli Muslim citizens (yes, they are “Palestinians” too), have been torching synagogues, cars, buses, and buildings in the Jewish Holy Land, as they turn on their Jewish neighbors with violent hatred.

We have read about and some of us have experienced such pogrom-like atrocities before—but only in Christian or Muslim sovereign lands. I’ve listened to many a Jewish escapee from Hitler describe how quickly her neighbors seized her family’s chinaware, paintings, furniture—their entire apartments, even before they had reached the lobby of their building.

I’ve also spoken with Jewish Arabs who’ve describe how their North African Muslim friends laughed and then wept with them as they explained that, although they loved their Jewish friends, that one day they would still have to kill them—it was nothing “personal.”

I’ve read about Arab Muslims slaughtering Jews in the Holy Land when the Turks or the British held Mandatory powers. We know that Arabs have attacked Jews in Jewish Israel ever since Israel was founded in a series of individual attacks or during well-planned Islamist-nationalist-religious “Intifadas.”

But what has just been happening in mixed Arab and Jewish cities such as Lod, Acco, and Haifa may be new because it is happening in a Jewish state. It is also a ghastly replay of Jewish history in exile.

Jewish Israel was meant to end pogroms, or at least to empower Jews to fight their attackers with military might. And Israel has certainly done so.

But what does it mean when your seemingly friendly next-door Arab neighbor turns against you? Can such co-existence ever be trusted again? If not, what does this mean?

Apparently, Muslims cannot abide a Jewish sovereign presence in their midst. That is why nearly a million Jewish Arabs had to flee or were forced into exile when Israel came into being. Maybe not all Muslims, not each and every one acts on the mandate to kill Jews, but certainly their religious and political leaders—as well as the indoctrinated Arab “street,” do so.

If Israel expels the Arab rioters, as well as all those Arabs who did nothing to stop the rioting—Israel will be accused of “ethnic cleansing,” “apartheid,” and “genocide.” Anti-Israel sanctions, punishments, opprobrium will rule the day.

If Israel fails to do so—the Arab attackers may strike again at any moment, and with impunity. They will not be accused of Jew hatred or of engaging in a pogrom. They will not be condemned as racists or as carrying out a religious holy war. Jewish self-defense will, at best, be seen as equal to the attack; at worse, Israel will be blamed for successfully repelling such attacks.

The International Criminal Court is focusing on Israel, not on “Palestine” for committing war crimes. According to Nevet Basker, “Shooting at civilians is a war crime (the principle of distinction). Shooting from among civilians is a war crime (use of human shields). Shooting at civilians from among civilians and then lamenting to int’l media about civilian casualties is plain chutzpah.” Clearly, she is describing Hamas, et al.

Left wing American Jews demand that Israel welcome back five generations of Arab Palestinians, most of whose ancestors chose to leave, and who were denied citizenship in any one of the 22 Arab Muslim countries. Today in the New York Times, Peter Beinart suggests that accepting all such refugees into Jewish Israel will constitute a necessary moral redemption for Israeli Jews. In the same issue of the Times, Nicholas Kristof demands that the United States stop funding Israel’s “bombings of Palestinians.”

Elder of Zion has just confirmed that the majority of children in Gaza who have recently been killed were killed by Hamas rockets gone awry. I have not yet seen the mass media carry this story. Nevertheless, Kristof is not calling for an end to American and European funding of terrorist Palestinian leaders.

On the other hand, Center for Security Policy’s David Wurmser suggests that Israel finally liberate Jerusalem, including the Temple Mount in some significant way from treacherous and traitorous Arab hands; that Israel finally override the loss of nerve that afflicted Moshe Dayan, Golda Meir, and even Ariel Sharon in the matter of both Jerusalem, the Temple Mount, and Gaza.

Some of my liberal Jewish friends are quick to point out that Jews are now also attacking Arabs in the Holy Land. It does no good to point out that this is mainly in response to being attacked and that Jewish religious leaders have condemned such vigilante injustice. To the best of my knowledge, Muslim religious leaders have not issued any similar condemnations.

Beyond continuing to “manage” the “matzav” (the situation in which southern Israel is continually being bombed, “intifadas” break out from time to time, kidnapping occurs, etc.), which road should Israel take?

Fifth columns are, by definition, those people who destroy you from within your own midst.

Which is the fifth column that must be neutralized?  Jews who want to merge their destinies ever more fatefully with the Muslim Arabs who’ve been carefully taught to hate and kill Jews? Or those who wish to separate from Muslim Arabs even more forcefully and clearly?

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D is an emerita professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies and the author of 18 books.

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