To hear the Palestinian Arabs and their army of supporters tell it, the “real massacre” was that in Jenin, where the IDF engaged in a three-hour gun battle with many terrorists, and at the end, seven terrorists, and one innocent passerby, were dead. And now that the real massacre – no scare quotes needed – has taken place in Jerusalem, those who raged about “the massacre in Jenin” have little or nothing to say about the slaughter of seven Israeli civilians, including a married couple and a 14-year-old boy, as they were coming out of a synagogue.
More on this can be found here: “A tale of two massacres,” by Brendan O’Neill, Spiked, January 31, 2023:
…Western politicians who went online to express horror over the slaughter in [just outside] the synagogue found themselves bombarded by ‘pro-Palestine’ people asking: ‘And what about the killings in Jenin?’ Some media outlets hinted at a moral equivalence, or at least a moral link, between the Jenin clash and the synagogue killings. In its report on the synagogue slaughter, the BBC said ‘tensions have been high since nine Palestinians – both militants and civilians – were killed during an Israeli military raid in Jenin’. Have we really lost the ability to morally differentiate between an armed confrontation between soldiers and militants and the mass murder of unarmed civilians in their place of worship? These are not the same thing. In any way.
There was no link, save for that of proximity in time, between the gun battle in Jenin between two groups of armed men and the massacre of unarmed civilians in Jerusalem. The 21-year-old terrorist responsible for the massacre in Jerusalem had been planning his attack for many months before the Jenin battle; he was determined to be a “martyr,” as his social media posts made clear; he left no message linking his attack to what had happened at Jenin. Those connecting the massacre in Jerusalem to the gun battle in Jenin present a classic case of post hoc ergo propter hoc (Latin: “after this, therefore because of this”), which logicians describe as an informal fallacy that states: “Since event Y followed event X, event Y must have been caused by event X.” But there is no evidence at all that the massacre in Jerusalem was in response to the gun battle in Jenin the day before. Those pushing for this connection are not-so-subtly trying to justify the Jerusalem massacre: “See, the Israelis behaving with such wanton murderousness in Jenin caused that nice young Palestinian boy to snap. Mind you, I’m not justifying what he did, but we need to understand….”
Listen: when people are targeted in [coming out of] a synagogue, they are targeted because they are Jews. The slaughter on Holocaust Memorial Day was an act of racist barbarism, akin to the grim assaults on Christian churches in Sri Lanka or mosques in New Zealand. ‘Explaining’ the synagogue massacre as if it were a normal or even understandable expression of the broader tensions gripping the Middle East shows just how unhinged anti-Israel sentiment has become. It is shocking that this needs to be said, but nothing – not the events in Jenin, not Israel’s recent incursions into the West Bank and Gaza, not the Israeli settlements – makes the mass murder of Jews for being Jews a comprehensible thing.
Oh, but it is comprehensible. Just as the attack on the World Trade Center was comprehensible, and came as no surprise to anyone who was familiar with the Qur’an and hadith. The attack on worshippers coming out of the synagogue in Neve Ya’akov, a Jerusalem neighborhood, was comprehensible but intolerable, morally beyond-the-pale, an atrocity.
The past week suggests that the anti-Israel fury of influential Westerners is no longer just strange and prejudiced – it’s dangerous. It seems increasingly clear to me that the reimagining of Israel-Palestine as a war between dark and light, between the world’s most wicked state and the world’s most victimised people, is helping to nurture new and ever-more crazed forms of violence in the region. After all, if you are evil, then anything done against you can be justified, right?
So committed are some in the West to the narrative of Israeli evil and Palestinian good that they hold up Palestinians as the pitiable victims of massacres in the very week when it was Israelis, Jews in fact, who were the victims of a massacre. Their devotion to the ideology of Israel-hate clearly takes precedence over everything, even truth. That there has not been more moral and historical angst in the West over the massacre of praying Jews on Holocaust Memorial Day is abominable. It is a blot on the Western moral conscience. It tells us more about us than we would care to know.
It is nauseating to see the major media attempt, by sleight of word, to establish a link between the battle pitting armed men against each other in Jenin and the massacre of unarmed civilians, most of them worshippers, in Jerusalem. Too many in the media rushed to suggest that Israel’s Jenin operation was to blame for having started what they insist upon calling “this latest cycle of violence.” I’ve heard it dozens of times already: “In the latest cycle of violence, that began yesterday with the killing of eight Palestinians in Jenin….”
Brendan O’Neill knows that when the IDF soldiers entered Jenin, they did not come to kill anyone, but to arrest a terror cell that they had learned was in the final stages of preparing for an imminent attack on Israeli civilians. The soldiers arrived outside the hideout of the terrorists. They called for those inside to surrender. Instead, they were shot at and, unsurprisingly, they fired back. More Palestinians, outside the hideout, joined the fight. A wide-ranging three-hour gun battle ensued, at the end of which seven terrorists lay dead. Hamas said four of them belonged to its group; Palestinian Islamic Jihad claimed two; a third belonged to the military wing of Fatah. That is, all seven of those killed – by the groups’ own admissions – were members of terror groups. A gun battle between armed men on both sides, one that lasts three hours, is not a massacre. And when one terrorist surrendered to the IDF, they did not kill him, but took him prisoner, unharmed, instead. That is not what happens during a massacre.