Media Microscope: Paris and Jerusalem
Nov 30, 2015 | Allon Lee
The horrific terror attacks in Paris on Friday Nov. 13 inevitably saw media references made to Israel and Jews.
Bruce Hearn Mackinnon, a Deakin University lecturer in the department of management whose expertise is in industrial relations, partly blamed Muslim radicalisation on Western support for Israel‘s “occupation of Palestinian territory…humiliation of Palestinian people, [which] has been a festering sore, breeding resentment, frustration and anger from not only Palestinians, but the wider Muslim community… let’s not forget that Israel secretly fund[ed] and encourage[d]…Hamas, in its early years, as a means of undermining the secular mainstream PLO.”
The reality is that in the 1970s/80s, Israel allowed non-violent Islamic organisations in Gaza – some of which later evolved into Hamas – to build mosques and distribute aid. Furthermore, it is the Arab rejection of Israel that has prevented peace, not the reverse, Age (Nov. 16).
On ABC TV News24 (Nov. 14), professor in public policy Andrew MacLeod claimed an FBI study showed that of “terrorist attacks over the last 20 years in the United States roughly six per cent of them were perpetrated by Muslims. Roughly seven per cent perpetrated by Jews.”
This so-called “FBI study” doesn’t exist. An anonymous pro-Islamist blogger called “Loonwatch” used FBI figures on terror “incidents” in the US between 1980 and 2005 to make claims minimising the actual threat of Islamist terror.
Most of the non-Islamist “terror attacks” did not involve attempts at civilian mass murder. The “Jewish” attacks were overwhelmingly attributable to the violent Jewish Defense League, whose last terror attack was in 1986.
Mohamad Abdalla, Griffith University National Centre for Islamic Studies director, jumped on the equivalence bandwagon, writing, “I refuse to apologise for the actions of evil people…But this is exactly what seems to be expected of all Muslims… take the plight of the Palestinians of Gaza. A recent UN report shows that Israel killed more Palestinian civilians in 2014 than in any other year since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip began in 1967… Again, Australian Jews were not expected to apologise for these crimes, and no statement was issued (as far as I know) from any Australian Jewish organisation condemning these crimes and dissociating them from Judaism.”
Israel was defending its people from Hamas terror tunnels and rocket attacks that were intended to kill as many civilians as possible, both Jews in Israel and Palestinians in Gaza. ISIS’s actions – which Abdalla himself described as “outrageous and inhuman” – were like those of Hamas, not Israel, ABC “Religion & Ethics” website (Nov. 16).
The Herald Sun‘s Andrew Rule (Nov. 15) argued France was paying the price for ignoring past Islamist antisemitic terror attacks. “Anti-Semitism is something the authorities have been inclined to ignore – perhaps because that’s easier than ‘provoking’ armed and dangerous radicals among the estimated five million Islamic voters in France. There are only 500,000 French Jews, which means they don’t have the same political clout… But the French are learning the hard way the lesson of trying to appease extremists preaching hate… It was probably inevitable that the underlying terrorism against France’s Jews that has been let flourish over 30 years has let the haters grow so bold that now they have turned to terrorising mainstream France.”
Analyst Ayaan Hirsi Ali recommended the West “learn from Israel, which has been dealing with Islamist terror from the day it was born… True, Islamic extremists inside Israel today resort to using knives and cars as their weapons of choice, but that is because attacks such as those in Paris last week are now simply impossible for the terrorists to organise. Instead of demonising Israel, bring their experienced, trained experts to Europe to develop a coherent counter-terror strategy,” Australian (Nov. 18).
Journalist Sharri Markson quoted Israeli Deputy PM Silvan Shalom’s warning that “‘Hezbollah, Hamas, Daesh – all of them are terrorist organisations, but they do not put a threat to our existence… Iran is developing new missiles with much longer range that will put within that range all the capitals of Europe,'” Australian (Nov. 17).
Australian Grand Mufti Dr. Ibrahim Abu Mohamed’s controversial statement on the Paris attack saw Matthew Benns and Miles Godfrey write, “Three years ago the Mufti led a delegation to meet leaders of Hamas in the Gaza strip and said he was pleased to be ‘in the land of jihad’. But unlike the Grand Mufti, even the leaders of Hamas denounced the Paris attacks,” Daily Telegraph (Nov. 18).
This article is featured in this month’s Australia/Israel Review, which can be downloaded as a free App: see here for more details.