When I heard about the terrorist mass murder in the South Carolina church, I had a familiar feeling. It was the same feeling I had one morning last November, when I learned of the massacre at the Kehillat Bnei Torah Synagogue in Jerusalem. In fact, it was the same feeling I have had countless times in recent years, including twice more in the past week.
It is a combination of emotions. Sorrow, anger and a desire for justice, but also an assertion that “this time is enough. We won’t take it anymore.” Of course, most likely we won’t stop ‘taking it’, any more than blacks in America will be able to stop being the victims of racially-motivated hate crimes.
There are similarities and differences between our situation and theirs. One of the similarities is that incitement fuels the fury of the vicious or unstable individuals that become perpetrators of terrorism. In America, it’s underground. It isn’t socially acceptable to express race-hatred, but there is plenty of it in private discussions and, above all, on internet sites and social media. Among Palestinian Arabs, incitement to hate and kill Jews is taught in schools, broadcast on official PLO and Hamas media, and preached in mosques.
So when a Palestinian Arab speaks pleasantly to a Jew, smiles and shoots him dead (as happened last week), it isn’t a random act, even if the victim is chosen at random. The killer learned to hate in school in a carefully planned system of education set up by Yasser Arafat when he was allowed to return in 1993, and he heard murder glorified every day by his political and religious leaders.
Dylann Roof, who murdered nine people in Charleston, did not study to be a white supremacist in school, and he probably wasn’t told to go out and kill black people in church. He learned on the internet: Here is what he wrote in his manifesto:
The event that truly awakened me was the Trayvon Martin case. I kept hearing and seeing his name, and eventually I decided to look him up. I read the Wikipedia article and right away I was unable to understand what the big deal was. It was obvious that Zimmerman was in the right. But more importantly this prompted me to type in the words “black on White crime” into Google, and I have never been the same since that day. The first website I came to was the Council of Conservative Citizens. There were pages upon pages of these brutal black on White murders. I was in disbelief. At this moment I realized that something was very wrong. How could the news be blowing up the Trayvon Martin case while hundreds of these black on White murders got ignored?
The Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC) is the heir of the White Citizens’ Council of the 1960s, which in turn was the more polished version of the KKK. While the CofCC also espouses traditional conservative political positions, racist themes predominate.
The Charleston terrorist thus has his roots directly in the violent racist tradition that grew out of southern opposition to Reconstruction after the Civil War, which was expressed by segregation, lynching, denial of suffrage, etc., and spawned the KKK and similar organizations.
Reconstruction was in part an attempt to punish the South, but it also was intended to rebuild its shattered economy and obtain human and political rights for the newly freed southern blacks. It failed in these latter tasks, and ultimately what emerged was the poor, Democratic-dominated Jim Crow South that existed until the 1960s. The status quo was strictly enforced by the deadly violence of the KKK and other racist groups.
I am indebted to “Sar Shalom” for pointing out to me the analogy between the reactionary southern opposition to Reconstruction, one of whose goals was to keep freed blacks from realizing the rights they should have gained after the Civil War, and the reactionary ‘Palestinian’ movement, which aims to return the region to its pre-WWI Muslim-dominated condition — and to prevent the Jewish people from obtaining its legitimate rights.
Thus Dylann Roof and Arab terrorists are not only driven by similar racist incitement, their ideological goals are also similar: to oppose a progressive change that granted an oppressed people their rights.
Palestinian inversion of reality tries to make it appear that their struggle is intended to gain rights for Arabs. But this interpretation is belied by their rejection of offers of statehood on numerous occasions, their insistence on ‘right of return’ and their refusal to accept the definition of Israel as a Jewish state within any borders. Their movement is not about creating an Arab state, but rather opposing the Jewish one.
And the white supremacists? Their movement isn’t about the rights of “the white race” either. But I don’t think anyone needs to be told that.