Dear occupiers, sorry if we hurt your feelings - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
Not one Israeli statesman today intends to apologize for the Nakba – not for the ethnic cleansing, nor for the exiling. But Abbas had no choice but to apologize for his Holocaust remark
Gideon Levy May 06, 2018
It’s hard to imagine a more unfounded, bizarre and insane scenario than this: The leader of the Palestinian people is forced to apologize to the Jewish people. The one who was robbed apologizes to the robbers, the victim apologizes to the rapist, the dead to the killer.
After all, the occupiers are so sensitive – and their feelings, and only theirs, must be taken into account. A nation that hasn’t stopped occupying, destroying and killing, and has never considered apologizing for anything – anything – gets its victims to apologize for one measly sentence by their leader. The rest is known: “apology not accepted.” What did you think would happen? That it would be “accepted”?
You don’t have to be an admirer of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to understand the depths of the absurd. You don’t have to be an Israel hater to understand the extent of the chutzpah.
Israel holds a magic card, the lottery of the century: the horror of anti-Semitism. The value of this card is on a dizzying rise, especially now as the Holocaust recedes and anti-Semitism is being replaced in many countries by criticism of Israel. Playing this lucky card covers everything. Its holders not only can do anything they please, they can be insulted and put on the squeeze.
The world became agitated over Abbas like it never was over any Israeli incitement – the chorus of the European Union, the UN envoy and of course, the ambassador of the settlers, David Friedman, who never denounces Israel for anything, only the Palestinians. Even The New York Times took on an amazingly sharp tone: “Let Abbas’ vile words be his last as Palestinian leader.”
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It’s hard to imagine that the newspaper the Jewish right has marked as an Israel hater, baselessly of course, would use similar language against an Israeli prime minister; the one responsible, for example, for the massacre of unarmed protesters.
There’s a double standard in Israel as well: It will never attack the anti-Semitic right in Europe as it attacks Abbas, who is certainly much less anti-Semitic, if at all, than Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Abbas said something that should not have been said. A day later he apologized. He regretted and retracted what he said, condemned the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution. It wouldn’t have taken much more for him to bend his knee to Israel’s hobnail boots and ask forgiveness for continuing to live under them.
But Israel won’t let any apology stop its nefarious gloating. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quick to damn the other side, as usual: “despicable Holocaust denier apology not accepted.”