Western officials need to balance their condemnation of the undeniable evil of Hamas with something “bad” on the Israeli side, lest they appear biased.
So they’ve latched on to the idea of “settler violence.”
But do a handful of isolated criminal acts, nationally-motivated as they are, really constitute a major phenomenon that requires international diplomatic pressure?
Most of the incidents in question took the form of demonstrations by Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria, enraged by incessant Palestinian violence against them, that got out of hand and resulted in property damage. How is this any different from the violent demonstrations by pro-Palestinian activists in the United States that White House officials routinely brush off as legitimate expressions of frustration under the protection of “free speech”?
The rare incidents that resulted in the death of a Palestinian Arab can almost all be argued as cases of self defense.
Common sense aside, US President Joe Biden doubled down on this idea of a phenomenon of “Jewish settler violence” over the weekend when he mulled barring such Jews from entering the United States.
Gen. Yehuda Fox, head of IDF Central Command, stressed last week that Biden’s assessment is simply not true. Central Command is responsible for Judea and Samaria, and so has regular dealings with the Jewish communities there. Meeting with officials from the Binyamin Regional Council on Wednesday, Fox noted that “99% of the hilltop youth [referring to an ‘extremist’ group of young Jewish settlers] do no harm to anyone, neither the army nor anyone else.”
“There is no ‘settler violence.’ I’ve been saying this on numerous occasions. There are violent incidents in all kinds of places around the country.”
In other words, the occasional criminal acts committed by some Jewish residents of Judea and Samaria are no more a phenomenon than sporadic crime in any other sector of society.
More concerning than Biden’s efforts to equate the handful of Jewish outbursts with daily Palestinian violence is the implication that the two sides are equivalent in nature. There are no cases of Jews raping Palestinian women, or beheading Palestinian babies, or burning people alive. Nor will there be.
There’s also the hypocrisy of the Biden position. He stressed over and over again in the aftermath of October 7 that the actions of Hamas did not represent the people of Gaza. But Hamas draws its numbers from the people of Gaza, and was even voted into power by them the last time elections were held. And the people of Gaza celebrated Hamas’s brutal invasion of southern Israel, up until the moment they understood the fury they had unleashed.
By contrast, the few Jews committing crimes in Judea and Samaria are not backed or supported by anyone, no one “voted” for them. And when they do commit crimes, they are broadly condemned, not celebrated.
It seems Biden has things backwards, again.
Either he needs to drop this “Jewish settler violence” nonsense and recognize it for what it is: the kind of occasional criminal activity that exists anywhere in the world, including (and at a far higher rate) in American cities.
Or he needs to be balanced, and acknowledge “Gaza terrorism” and stop separating the populace from the Hamas killers who represent them.
Biden and other Western leaders are desperately grasping for a moral equivalence that will shift the narrative and distract everyone from the truth that is becoming all too painfully clear – that the Palestinians are the villains of this tale.
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