Internet or Intifada?

TEL AVIV – According to Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the ongoing wave of knife attacks on Jews by young Palestinian “lone wolves” can be blamed entirely on incitement by Palestinian Authority and Islamist websites. Netanyahu evidently expects Israelis, and the world, to believe that if these sites were posting cat videos, the Palestinians would cease their agitation and submit quietly to occupation.

Palestinians are indeed being provoked, but by Israeli actions – beginning with the perpetual encroachment on their rights that occupation entails. Beyond facing daily humiliation at checkpoints, Palestinians have seen Israeli settlers destroy their crops and olive groves, and even torch a West Bank home, burning three family members and killing a toddler. Add the Israeli military’s frequent late-night house raids in search of “terror suspects” and the relentless expansion of Israeli settlements, and it becomes pretty clear that Palestinians don’t need to scour the Internet for reasons to be angry.

It is ironic that Netanyahu, of all people, is accusing anyone of incitement. Was it not incitement when, just days before Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated in 1995 for his efforts to achieve peace with the Palestinians, Netanyahu addressed a rally where posters depicted Rabin in a Nazi SS uniform? Was it not incitement when he attempted to mobilize Jewish voters earlier this year by warning of “Arabs voting in droves, bussed in by the left.”

Just this month, one of Netanyahu’s shamelessly incendiary statements – the claim that Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, gave Adolf Hitler the idea of annihilating Europe’s Jews during World War II – sparked a media firestorm. When it comes to anti-Jewish zeal, Husseini’s record hardly needs false footnotes – unless, apparently, one has an interest in presenting the Palestinians as co-perpetrators of the Holocaust.