The LA Times In The Cesspool

The murder victims

The Los Angeles Times engages in moral equivalence, the oh-so-sophisticated rhetorical device of leftist Western intellectuals, to apologize for the Itamar murderers:

One of the most depressing characteristics of the dysfunctional Palestinian-Israeli relationship is the self-destructive tit-for-tat mentality that often seems designed to keep the conflict alive rather than to end it.

Anyone who follows the news is familiar with how this cycle works. It might begin with a Palestinian child dying while stopped at an Israeli army checkpoint on his way to the hospital. In response, an enraged Palestinian shoots into a crowd of Israeli soldiers at a bus stop. To show that it will not tolerate such behavior, an Israeli army helicopter then fires a missile into an apartment building in Gaza, targeting militants but killing civilians as well, after which outraged Palestinians fire a rocket into Israel, which in turn leads the Israelis to tighten whatever embargo or travel restrictions or security rules are in place at the moment. That increases Palestinian rage still further.

Needless to say, the cycle doesn’t end there but continues until, after a while, it becomes completely impossible to say with any authority who began the hostilities or to distinguish actions from reactions.

We’re currently witnessing the cycle in real time. On Saturday, five members of an Israeli family living in the West Bank settlement of Itamar, near the Palestinian city of Nablus, were killed, including an 11-year-old boy, a 4-year-old boy and an infant girl, presumably [emphasis added] by Palestinian militants.

Claire Berlinski writes:

We went yesterday to Itamar, the West Bank settlement where Udi and Ruth Fogel, and their children–Yoav, age 11, Elad, age 4, and Hadas, their 3-month-old daughter–were murdered. A detail that wasn’t widely reported, or reported anywhere that I’ve seen, is that their newborn baby was decapitated [emphasis added]…

One very quick point I’ll make is that this was clearly not a family above all of “settlers”–some alien species that exists primarily as a political bargaining point–but of human beings. In the home next door to the one that was invaded, kids’ clothing was hanging on the line next to a child’s bicycle. You simply cannot look at that and think, “This story is above all about land and politics.” This story is above all about murder. They were children and they were murdered. Two more children were orphaned. The children were targeted deliberately. This was a premeditated murder–not a crime of passion or self-defense–and it was a psychotically savage crime. Anyone who in any way tries to rationalize or minimize this or to suggest that this is a fitting punishment for anything needs to go out and look at a three-month-old baby and ask himself what it would take to climb over a fence, climb in a window, and cut off that child’s head. If that act seems an “understandable” reaction to a political grievance to him, I don’t think we can have much of a conversation…

And Bret Stephens on the moral depravity of the liberal elite:

…Unquestionably pleased are residents of the Palestinian town of Rafah in the Gaza Strip, who “hit the streets Saturday to celebrate the terror attack” and “handed out candy and sweets,” according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth. The paper quoted one Rafah resident saying the massacre was “a natural response to the harm settlers inflict on the Palestinian residents in the West Bank.” Just what kind of society thinks it’s “natural” to slit the throats of children in their beds?

The answer: The same society that has named summer camps, soccer tournaments and a public square in Ramallah after Dalal Mughrabi, a Palestinian woman who in March 1978 killed an American photographer and hijacked a pair of Israeli buses, leading to the slaughter of 37 Israeli civilians, 13 children among them.

I have a feeling that years from now Palestinians will look back and wonder: How did we allow ourselves to become that? If and when that happens—though not until that happens—Palestinians and Israelis will at long last be able to live alongside each other in genuine peace and security.

But I also wonder whether a similar question will ever occur to the Palestinian movement’s legion of fellow travelers in the West. To wit, how did they become so infatuated with a cause that they were willing to ignore its crimes—or, if not quite ignore them, treat them as no more than a function of the supposedly infinitely greater crime of Israeli occupation?

That’s an important question because it forms part of the same pattern in which significant segments of Western opinion cheered Ho Chi Minh and Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe and even Pol Pot. The cheering lasted just as long as was required to see the cause through to some iconic moment of triumph, and then it was on to the next struggle. It was left to others to pick up the pieces or take to the boats or die choking in their own blood…

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