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Following the Itamar murders, Palestinian media rushed to blame immigrant workers or even Jews themselves for the crime. According to Abbas’ logic, Jews cannot blame Palestinian Arabs for the murder until courts sentence the perpetrators.

Though despicable, that attitude signifies a major new twist in the Arab mentality. Many of them are no longer happy with terrorist murders. Years ago, the West Bank would have erupted in celebrations over this terrorist act, just as Gaza did. This time, praise was muted and criticism transparently implied.

Perhaps the other side has also grown weary of the war.

Meanwhile, other Arabs do not laud Gadhafi for defying American pressure to step down. Years ago, he would have been idolized by the Arab street for fighting despite the US orders. Now, Arabs shrugged at his bloody methods. It seems that Arabs are losing their Bedouin mentality to consumerism and quickly acquire ethical values similar to Europeans.

A broad European poll conducted by Germany’s Social Democratic Party revealed a gap between anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli feelings. In the Netherlands, for example, 41%  of respondents expressed views highly critical of Israeli policy toward Palestinians, though only 17% said that Jews exploit the Holocaust—which in itself is not entirely untrue and cannot be flatly equated with anti-Semitism. Anti-Israeli attitudes also ran over 40% in Germany, Britain, and Italy.

Jews ignore the problem when they equate anti-Israeli attitudes with anti-Semitism. The reverse is true: anti-Semitism tends to be expressed in legitimate anti-Israeli terms, but relatively few of Israel’s critics are anti-Semites. By clothing the problem in moralistic terms, we abandon any chance for solving it.

Anti-Israel demonstration in Spain

March 2011
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