While so many tragedies and disruptions have fallen on Japan and the Middle East in recent weeks, a singular event went almost unnoticed: the extermination of a Jewish family in Itamar, Samaria.
Although this event could seem insignificant — there were only five victims — it was nevertheless indicative of what is at stake in the Middle East, and how the world views it.
Even though this was not the first time that Palestinians killed Israelis Jews only because they were Jews, it was the first time in years that murderers sought to kill an entire family, including a three month old baby, using butcher knives, with barbaric and blatant savagery.
It was also the first time that the Israeli government chose to release grisly crime scene photos of the slain.
Other photos were shown the same day of Palestinians celebrating, throwing candy up in the air, at the news of the murders.
Israeli officials might have thought that the disclosure of their nightmarish images would create a shock; that at least some people in the Western world would begin to comprehend the horror and cruelty under the threat of which Israeli Jews constantly live.
Israeli officials might have thought questions would be asked, such as:
What kind of society produces such an inversion of values — not only urging people to slit the throats of babies, but then, instead of condemning that, treating the murderers as heroes and celebrating what they did?
How could a society with such a taste for blood, that the Palestinian leadership encourages every hour of every day, exist peacefully next to a democratic society?
More urgently: How could anyone even consider giving leaders with such values a "Palestinians State" – or any state?
Killing is not only tolerated in the "moderate" Palestinian Authority, it is cultivated there by the leaders, the media, the teachers, soccer stadiums, and summer camps, day in day out. For years, the so-called "moderates" "condemn violence" one minute, and urge it the next, in the most high-pressured way on its government-controlled television, newspapers, textbooks, and even crossword puzzles – all thanks to the bighearted taxpayers of the United States and Europe [for an avalanche of all of this, see www.palwatch.org].
Toddlers and children are aggressively indoctrinated to become suicide bombers; why is there no "human rights" group calling this a violation of the human rights of the child?
Anti-Jewish hate-speech is so omnipresent in Palestinian society, it is not even hidden, including the "moderate" Palestinian Charter, which still openly calls for Israel to be exterminated.
Israeli officials perhaps thought that the photographs of the Fogel family covered in blood might provoke a rethinking of Western policies toward Israel, the Palestinians, and the "Israeli-Palestinian conflict," and maybe lead to a change in these policies.
Not a bit.
Mainstream European and American politicians and journalists, with rare exceptions, dove for empty diplomatic platitudes, and did not stray from the bias and distortions that have formed the basis of their reasoning for decades. Not only did they hide the grisly photographs, but also the shocking elements of the story that might have helped to form a more complete idea of the crime.
Most European and American politicians and journalists perhaps want to preserve their comfortable assumption there is a "peace process" that will lead one day to the birth of a Palestinian state living quietly next to Israel. They perhaps want to believe that there are Palestinian interlocutors with whom one could speak and sign treaties. When stark facts come to contradict their beliefs, they perhaps prefer to ignore the facts, sanitize them, or prevent their appearance altogether.
While in America some politicians and journalists are courageous enough to speak the truth, in Europe they are considered dissidents, condemned not only to marginalization, but, as with the Dutch M.P., Geert Wilders, even put on trial.
We are witnessing in the Western world, as in the Arab and Muslim world, a growing environment to dehumanizing Jews in general and Israelis in particular, based on a gradual shift towards bias and lies, from the early "Zionism=Racism" Resolution at the United Nations, to its current attempts to label Israel an "Apartheid State," even though Israel includes Arab political parties in its government, Arab members of Knesset in its Parliament, Arab justices on its Supreme Court, Arab doctors and patients in its hospitals, Arab professors and students in its universities, Arabs in its military and Arabs in its diplomatic corps. The real Apartheid States, such as Saudi Arabia — where women are unable to drive to school to pick up a sick child without a male "guardian," where a Bible is not allowed in, where a woman who has been raped can be stoned to death for "adultery" unless she can provide four male witness to testify to the contrary, where her legal standing and inheritance are worth half of a man's, where an entire city, Mecca, is forbidden to anyone non-Muslim – are never even mentioned.
When murders are committed in Israel, the term most often used is "cycle of violence," which denies the concept of a murderer and a victim. If an attack takes place in Judea or Samaria, the murdered are described as "settlers," meaning people who are where they should not be and therefore deserve all the atrocities that may fall upon them. Judea was named after the Jews; they have every right to be there.
Slowly, little by little, omissions have been added to omissions, fragments of propaganda have been inserted by skillful propagandists into the blank spaces until only propaganda remains. Reality has disappeared beneath false caricatures of Israel as the Goliath trying to crush the Palestinians, other than, more accurately, the Goliath of twenty one Arab and Muslim countries, plus Europe, plus journalists and "human rights" groups, trying to crush Israel, a country the size of Vancouver Island, trying to defend itself from over 8,000 missile attacks just in the past few years. If people in London, Berlin or Paris were faced with incessant missile attacks, what would they do? Evacuate?
The situation is such today that Jewish Israeli victims are no longer depicted as victims, but instead are treated as if they are guilty. Increasingly, these victims are dehumanized in the telling of their stories. Symmetrically, Palestinian murderers are presented sympathetically, as the real victims, exempt from blame.
When Israeli reactions to attacks are portrayed as "unjustified" and "disproportionate" to such an extent, one must ask if the actual goal of many politicians, journalists and "human rights" groups is to prevent Israel from being able to defend itself.
Stereotypes coming from traditional anti-Semitism are used more and more. The borders between anti-Semitism and "anti-Zionism" are increasingly blurred, perhaps allowing Europeans feel less guilty about what they or their parents did in World War II. If Zionists are Racists and Jews are Nazis, then Europe can tell itself that it actually did the world a favor by sending six million sub-humans to crematoriums.
Similar attitudes about any other group – Blacks, Asians, or especially Muslims who now are the first to claim "victimhood" — would not be accepted or tolerated.
In this context, neither photos of babies whose throats have been slit, nor facts, nor any kind of proof even count anymore.
If the trend continues, they will mean even less.
Other books, by writers such as Natan Sharansky, Léon Poliakov, Alan Dershowitz and Giulio Meotti speak of "demonization," and explain how it works: portraying people, such as the Jews in Europe, as less than human, preceded and made possible the slaughter that followed. Israel is now treated as "the Jew among nations." The intentions of the killers are clear and unambiguous: They would like to be able to commit genocide. What they lack is not the will, but the means.
Those in the West who remain silent about that willingness, who refuse to see even the most damning evidence put before their eyes, are accomplices.
Is it possible that the wish behind the current demonization of Israel by all these elegant people is the death of the Jewish state?
The massacre of Itamar, the way it was minimized or widely ignored by politicians and the media, showcases the distressing degree to which attitudes have shifted towards what cannot, indeed, be called anything other than complicity.
If the number of Jews killed is not higher, it is not because the desire to kill them is lower; it is only because the hatred has yet to spread some more, and the means to commit mass murder is not – yet – in the hands of those who would like to carry out these acts.
This article was first published on the Hudson New York Blog