Commentary Magazine


Contentions

What If Palestinians Were Jeffersonian Democrats?

As Nicholas Kristof’s Israel venom and infatuation with the Palestinian-victimhood narrative have increased, his columns have become other-worldly. His most recent contribution is a plea for a Palestinian women’s movement of Gandhi-like proportions on the West Bank:

But imagine if Palestinians stopped the rock-throwing and put female pacifists in the lead. What if 1,000 women sat down peacefully on a road to block access to an illegal Jewish settlement built on Palestinian farmland? What if the women allowed themselves to be tear-gassed, beaten and arrested without a single rock being thrown? Those images would be on televisions around the world — particularly if hundreds more women marched in to replace those hauled away.

“This is what Israel is most afraid of,” said Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, a prominent Palestinian who is calling for a nonviolent mass movement. He says Palestinians need to create their own version of Gandhi’s famous 1930 salt march.

No, I think Israelis are most afraid of having their children blown to smithereens by terrorists. Or incinerated in a nuclear attack. Or killed by rockets launched from behind the skirts of Palestinian women.

But let’s get back to Kristof. What if Palestinian women didn’t delight in their children’s martyrdom? Yes, what if they didn’t send their offspring to Hamas summer camps? What if Palestinian women in ever-increasing numbers didn’t themselves resort to suicide-bombing? Yes, then it would just be a question of convincing the Palestinian men not to slaughter Israelis. But in the real world, far too many Palestinian women are either victims or enablers of the cult of death (and sometimes both).

Despite all evidence to the contrary, Kristof stubbornly clings to the notion that Israel is engaged in violence for violence’s sake against innocents. When he asks, “What if the women allowed themselves to be tear-gassed, beaten and arrested without a single rock being thrown?” you wonder if he’s serious. I mean, obviously, there wouldn’t be a need for tear gas if the rock-throwing stopped – and no need for checkpoints and fences if the terrorists stopped killing Jews. But let’s not let logic or reality mess up another ode to the nobility of the Palestinian cause.

Nevertheless, maybe Kristof is on to something. So let’s play along. What if Palestinian leaders had spent the past 60 years building civil institutions, training scientists and architects rather than terrorists, naming squares after artists rather than murderers, instituting the rule of law, stamping out terrorism, spending billions in aid for the welfare of their people rather than squirreling it away for themselves, and reading Gandhi rather than Nazi tracts? Not only would Palestinians have had their own state but we would also have been spared years of Kristof’s drivel.