Time and again Israelis fall prey to their own sense of self-righteousness. The death of 18-month-old Ali Saad Dawabsha from Duma near Nablus (biblical Shechem) has spawned an embarrassing display Jewish self-flagellation.
Though arson attacks carried out by Palestinians in order to falsely accuse Israel are not unheard of, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin didn't even wait for the start of an investigation into the fire before demonstrating just how ready Jews are to take the blame.
"More than I feel ashamed," he said, "I feel pain over the murder of a little baby. Pain caused by a few of my people who chose the way of terror and thereby lost their humanity. Their way is not my way. Their way is not our way. Their way is not the way of the State of Israel and not the way of the Jewish people."
Rivlin's response, which Arabic-language Israeli newspapers headlined with "I Am Ashamed," only served to bolster the impression that Israel was directly responsible for this murder.
Rivlin, who more than once has demonstrated an inclination toward political correctness, again revealed that his concern for Israel's image comes at the expense of Israel's future. Otherwise, it is difficult to explain why he didn't use this sad occasion to likewise condemn the Palestinian Authority, which hails as heroes the killers of Jewish babies.
For those who would deem such a condemnation improper, the very least Rivlin could have done is point out the difference between Israel's contrition and the Palestinians' institutionalized incitement.
The lack of similar outrage over the premeditated killing of Jewish babies raises as much concern as the death of Ali Saad Dawabsha.
A poster of murdered Jewish babies reading "Does anyone remember them?"
Rivlin, however, with all his lack of sophistication, can't be suspected of being a leftist activist. Irritating as his politically-correct speeches are, the president is at least genuinely concerned, and for good reason.
Such is not the case among Israel's left-wing constituency, which quickly seized the opportunity to further their own political agenda.
While Rivlin might be unaware of the ramifications of his own self-flagellation, politicians and journalists are fully aware of the advantages they can draw from this tragic incident.
The several hundred leftists who on Saturday night protested in Jerusalem against the murder of Dawabsha under the banner "Rally for the Advancement of Tolerance" never did the same for the bereaved parents of dead Jewish babies. Their insincerity was most exposed when they raised blood-stained hands toward Minister of National Infrastructure Yuval Steinitz as he stood to address the gathering.
Photo: Moti Kimkhi
This abominable display (red-painted gloves prepared in advance), which recalled the 2000 Ramallah Lynching, accompanied by shouts of "the blood is on your [the government's] hands," shows just how far Israeli leftists are willing to go in service to the pro-Palestinian agenda.
Sadly, it wasn't only them who were quick to roll Israel in tar and feathers. Respected columnist Ron ben-Yishai penned a piece entitled "How to Stop a Jewish Jihad," in which he wrote: "These are not hate crimes, this is religious-messianic terrorism, committed by people who view themselves as acting according to God's true will. In simpler words - this is Jewish jihadism, identical in every detail to Islamic jihadism, except that, fortunately, this is not a mass phenomenon, the likes of which we have been seeing both in our region and in Europe."
At the very least, ben-Yishai's contradicting and false comparison ignored the possibility that given the "price tag" movement's record (if indeed they were behind the fire), Ali Dawabsha's death might have been unintentional. He also sidesteps the likelihood that "price tag" is not about implementing God's will, but rather is a crude reaction against what those in the movement perceive as the lack of a proper Israeli response to Palestinian terrorism.
Whatever the case, Israel's carnival of self-flagellation does nothing to ease the tension.
As blogger Thomas Wictor right observed, "inflating your 'wrongdoing' is just as self-aggrandizing as boasting about your moral superiority. Most of the commentary on the murder of Ali Saad Dawabsha is just ritualized posturing."
The question of why Jews are so eager to take blame can be answered by looking to history, beginning perhaps with the scandalous words of those irresponsible Jews who, in the name of all Jews, took the blame for crucifying Jesus.
PHOTO: Israelis visit at the scene of a house in the Palestinian village of Duma, near Nablus on August 2, 2015, where a Palestinian infant was killed early on July 31, 2015, in an arson attack, apparently by Jewish extremists. (Flash90)