Beware: It can happen to anyone, as is illustrated by this misstep from the usually more reliable Peter Grant:
I've found myself - yet again - nonplussed at the outpouring of emotion over the situation in Gaza. All over the world Israel is being condemned for defending itself against terrorist attacks, which aren't even mentioned by most of its critics. At the same time, many of those defending Israel are ignoring the fact that Palestinians have a legitimate grievance against being dispossessed of lands that were theirs and being treated like dirt by the 'occupiers'. [Emphasis added by FWP]
The remainder of Peter's article is far better. I exhort my Gentle Readers to read it in its entirety, if only out of fairness. But the emphasized portion above tripped my triggers in a way I would never have expected from the fairly intelligent and generally sensible "Bayou Renaissance Man."
The "dispossession" to which Peter refers occurred in 1947 and 1948, following a United Nations Partition Plan designed to end Britain's Mandate over Palestine. It included the establishment of a state of Transjordan (later simply Jordan) as the new homeland for the Arab Muslim residents of the region allocated to the Jews. Rather than accept the Partition Plan, the Muslims of the region chose to go to war. The Jews won that war, and in 1948 declared the formation of the state of Israel, the Jewish homeland they hoped would secure them against persecutions of the sort that had occurred throughout world history.
That makes the Palestinians' "grievance" sixty-six years old as of today. How long must we wait for that "grievance" to expire? Are American Indians still entitled to claim a grievance against the European colonists of North America? Incidentally, the newborn state of Israel offered the "dispossessed" compensation for the lands and homes it had claimed. Though some of the Muslims thus dispossessed stepped forward to collect said compensation, many declined to do so, believing that they could recapture by force of arms what they had lost. As anyone familiar with the history of the region will know, Israel's uniformly hostile neighbors made several attempts to do so, all of which came to an abrupt end with Israel's acquisition of a nuclear deterrent.
The argument against "reparations for slavery" here in the United States has always been that the relevant injustices occurred so long ago that there can be no accuracy in identifying either the persons to be compensated or the persons to be mulcted for that compensation. Must Israel wait 149 years before it can say the same?
Are the Palestinian irredentists "treated like dirt" by Israel? What about the surrounding Muslim nations, all of which have absolutely refused to allow the Palestinian irredentists to settle in their countries? Give the Palestinians weapons? Certainly. Use them as a stick with which to beat Israel? Of course. But nothing more than that. Israel, meanwhile, has provided the Palestinian autonomous zones with water, natural gas, electric power, medical services, and a great deal of other aid -- all while being under constant assault by missiles and a continuous threat of terrorist strikes, which have reaped many Israeli lives and many millions of dollars in economic harm. And as is often mentioned on the Right, Muslims in Israel proper have more political and economic rights than Muslims anywhere else in the Middle East.
Later in his article, Peter writes that "I don't believe for a moment that Israel is blameless in this fight." If his entire reason for believing thus is the original war that gave birth to Israel, I must oppose his position. However, he goes a little further:
One can condemn Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian lands, and its mistreatment of the Palestinian people. Those are undeniable realities that no objective observer can ignore.
...but provides no specifics. Yet Israel does not "occupy" either of the Palestinian autonomous zones in any sense. It maintains security fences that limit Palestinian access to Israel, thus greatly reducing attacks by suicide bombers and other terrorist squads. It forbids Gaza to have a functioning seaport, fearing -- quite reasonably, in light of recent events -- that such a port would be used to funnel heavy weapons to HAMAS, which controls that zone. What other "mistreatment...that no objective observer can ignore" can anyone cite? If such mistreatment is genuinely occurring, and is not in the nature of offenses done by one or a few private Israeli citizens rather than by the government of Israel, I've missed it completely.
The point to all this is that credence granted to a claimed grievance must have an objective basis. The evidence must be in plain sight, not merely a representation by the propagandists of a group known for implacable hatred of its adversary and an oft-stated desire to see that adversary destroyed to the last man, woman, and babe in arms:
Though glossed over in major media reporting on the Israel-Gaza confrontation, the Hamas conflict with the Jewish State remains deeply ideological. Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV broadcast a sermon Friday reaffirming the Hamas ideology that according to Islam, it is Muslim destiny to exterminate the Jews.
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) carries a new video of an official television broadcast in which a Hamas cleric states:Our belief about fighting you [Jews] is that we will exterminate you, until the last one, and we will not leave of you, even one. For you are the usurpers of the land, foreigners, mercenaries of the present and of all times. Look at history, brothers: Wherever there were Jews, they spread corruption... (Quran): "They spread corruption in the land, and Allah does not like corrupters." Their belief is destructive. Their belief fulfills the prophecy. Our belief is in obtaining our rights on our land, implementing Shari'ah (Islamic law) under Allah's sky.
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), July 25, 2014]
Killing Jews as religious practice is a basic message of Hamas, which believes that Muslim struggle against Jews—not only Israelis—and eventual extermination of Jews at the hands of Muslims is intrinsic to Islam. Hamas includes this message in its charter:
Hamas Charter Introduction: "Our struggle against the Jews is extremely wide-ranging and grave..."
Article 28: "Israel, by virtue of its being Jewish and of having a Jewish population, defies Islam and the Muslims..."
Article 7: "Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah's promise whatever time it might take. The prophet (prayer and peace be upon him) said [in a Hadith]: 'The time (of Resurrection) will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews; until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: o Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come and kill him!'"
In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, it's well to remember that the Jews of that region were driven out of it in the first centuries after the rise of Muhammad, by Muslim armies resolved upon conquest under the banner of Islam. Indeed, Muhammad hated no other group nearly as much as the Jews, who were the first to reject him and his pseudo-religion. He was determined that they submit to him or die, despite truces he had made with them. The ferocity of the Muslim armies of those years got him his wish. Is it not ironic that Jewish arms should have redressed that ancient wrong -- and more ironic still that it's the far more numerous Muslims crying foul over it?