Sunday, May 09, 2004

And the world still remains silent

Rachel Raskin-Zrihen

There are only a couple of possible explanations for why the world is not out even now, protesting the intentional murder of a pregnant woman and her four young daughters by Palestinian gunmen.

I think it's clear that had the shooters been Israeli soldiers and the victims a Palestinian family, millions of righteously indignant protesters would have hit the streets and the airwaves calling for the capture and punishment of the murderers and, no doubt, the immediate dismantling of "the Zionist entity."

They do that when a Palestinian civilian gets unintentionally caught in the crossfire. They do it when actual gunmen and terrorists are killed. They do it when fences are constructed to keep the killers out. They do it when terrorists' houses - their houses, not their families - are destroyed. They do not do it when defenseless Jewish women and children are gunned down in the street.

There are only a limited number of explanations for this - none of them very pleasant.

One must realize that we are talking about the intentional murder of a pregnant woman and four little girls. Someone had to take aim at and shoot an obviously pregnant woman and four small children ages 2 to 11. This was not a case of accidental collateral damage. This was a targeted killing. And, I'm sorry, but there is absolutely no moral equivalency between the targeted killing of an armed (or even an unarmed) terrorist mastermind, and the murder of an unarmed pregnant woman and her children, no matter how much certain people would like there to be. It is the difference not between apples and oranges, but between apples and skyscrapers.

Had the victims been any other pregnant woman and her children, practically anywhere else in the world, there would have been a deafening hew and cry.

So, either much of the world is OK with the Jews as victims or they have a very low opinion of Arabs.

What I mean is, that unless there is a collective understanding that Jews are unimportant, expendable or worse, justifiable targets, the only other explanation is that the world feels the Palestinian Arabs are simply incapable of civilized behavior. Unless the world is collectively thinking, "well, they're Arabs, what do you expect?" then we can explain the deafening silence over this atrocity only through worldwide, systemic and deeply entrenched anti-Semitism.

I'm not crazy about either explanation, but I think I hope it's the former, because there is some chance for the Arabs themselves to change that perception by behaving in a civilized manner, and by calling on their misguided brethren to do so, too.

The latter explanation, on the other hand, has terrifying and far-reaching implications that I'd prefer not to contemplate, and which people all over the world, in the United States in particular, are dismissing as impossible.

Unfortunately, those of us familiar with history know that dismissing unpleasantness out of hand doesn't make it go away. On the contrary, it allows it to fester and grow.

If the international acquiescence to or rationalization of the murder of that Jewish family isn't a function of anti-Semitism or a belief that no better behavior can be expected from Palestinian Arabs, then it can only be a fear, a terror as it were, that to speak out against the wholesale slaughter of innocent Jewish men, women and even children may bring the wrath of the proverbial Hun down upon the protester.

If that's it we're all doomed, of course, because that means the terrorists have already won.

(What make these murders even more horrendous, is the fact that the Arabs involved deliberately came up to the car afterwards and slaughtered the children at close range.)