Israel’s minister of communications and home front defense, Gilad Erdan, got it right when he said that the State Department report was making “a gross, incorrect generalization” in essentially equating acts of vandalism with murder. “We are not talking about acts of murder; this is graffiti. There is a difference between murder and destruction of property,” he said.
The small minority of Jewish settlers who drew the ire of the State Department have participated in what has become known as “price tag” attacks. The State Department report defined “price tag” attacks as “property crimes and violent acts by extremist Jewish individuals and groups in retaliation for activity they deemed to be anti-settlement.” The report expressly linked the words “extremist” and “Jewish” to describe the group of settlers involved in the attacks, while the Obama administration considers it too politically incorrect to identify those committing acts of terror in the name of jihad as Muslims.
The report conceded that Israeli police had set up special units to pursue the price tag cases and that the government had given authorities broader powers to act against the perpetrators. However, relying on the United Nations and unnamed non-governmental organizations as its sources, the report charged that the attacks by settlers “were largely unprosecuted.”
The report identified two specific examples of such attacks – both aimed at Christians, not Muslims. They involved graffiti on gravestones in a Christian Orthodox cemetery and the firebombing of a monastery. The report then cited the pro-Palestinian United Nations Office of the Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs as the source for claiming that there were “399 attacks by extremist Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries or property damage.” The report added that “Violent extremists, including Israeli settlers, vandalized five mosques and three churches in Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to data compiled by the UN.” There was no analysis of the data compiled by the UN or explanation of where the data came from.
With Christians being murdered and persecuted by Arabs throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the chapter of the State Department report dealing with that violence-prone part of the world chose to emphasize alleged Jewish settler price tag attacks against Christian, as well as Muslim, targets. The only other anti-Christian incident highlighted by the report involved assaults on Christian Coptic Churches in Benghazi, Libya and damage to a major Sufi shrine. The report actually went out of its way to praise Jordan for hosting conferences “highlighting challenges facing Arab Christians and the importance of religious tolerance.”
Why no highlighting of the gunmen who seized the Christian village of Sadad in Syria and murdered 46 people, including 14 women and two children? How about the attacks on Egypt’s Coptic Christians and their churches by Muslim Brotherhood supporters, including the murder of a ten year old girl as she was leaving church and an eight year old girl at a Christian wedding? Why didn’t these murders of little children leaving a church and attending a Christian wedding make the State Department report, but some graffiti allegedly placed on gravestones in an Orthodox Christian cemetery by Jewish settlers did manage to make the cut?
Why is the Muslim Brotherhood mentioned only a couple of times in the chapter of the report dealing with the Middle East and North Africa, and then only as a victim of the post-Morsi Egyptian government crack-down? The State Department report said there was no proof presented that substantiated the Muslim Brotherhood’s direct involvement in the terrorist attacks that followed Morsi’s removal. Is the State Department under President Obama so much in the Muslim Brotherhood camp that they ignore evidence right under their noses showing a spike in acts of violence against Coptic Christians after Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood took power, and then even more so after Morsi was removed and his supporters called for revenge? Or are they simply incapable of putting 2 and 2 together?
What do you expect from an administration whose ambassador to Egypt spoke favorably last year about the Muslim Brotherhood? The Obama administration’s love fest with the Muslim Brotherhood continued earlier this year when a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood was a guest at a meeting in the White House with President Obama.
It’s easy for the Obama administration to pick on Jewish settlers for committing isolated acts of vandalism and destruction, including of Christian sites. However, Muslim atrocities that spill the blood of Christians get hardly a mention at all. Instead, we are spoon-fed taquia (lies) by the State Department about Muslim concern for the “challenges facing Arab Christians and the importance of religious tolerance,” and the further lie that the Palestinian Authority “has taken significant steps to ensure that official institutions in the West Bank that fall under its control do not create content that leads to incitement to violence.” Did anyone at the State Department bother to review any of the hateful content broadcast on official Palestinian Authority outlets, including children’s programs, before writing such pro-Palestinian propaganda?
None of this discussion is intended to excuse the settlers’ price tag attacks. Such crimes committed by anyone, against anyone, are inexcusable and should be punished. Israel itself has not shied away from branding price tag attacks as a form of terrorism. Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said that such attacks constitute acts “against Israel and Zionism.” (Emphasis added) She added that “As a society we must marginalize them, and as a country, we must deal with them seriously and severely and bring them to justice.”
However, there needs to be some sense of proportion, which is sorely lacking in the State Department’s 2013 terrorism report. Price tag attacks against primarily property are not on par with the targeting of innocent civilians for death, as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hezbollah and other shadowy jihadist groups do as a matter of course with rocket and mortar fire and bombings. The Obama administration apparently does not see the difference, which is consistent with its anti-Israel, pro-Islam and pro-Palestinian bias.