Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before direct peace talks in Washington, D.C., in Sept. 2010 (Photo/JTA-Getty-Jason Reed-Pool
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (left) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before direct peace talks in Washington, D.C., in Sept. 2010 (Photo/JTA-Getty-Jason Reed-Pool

Don’t blame both sides in Charlottesville — or Israel

President Trump’s refusal to unequivocally condemn the neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist and anti-Semitic groups that terrorized Charlottesville, Virginia, is beyond the pale. These hate groups descended en masse on a college town with a Jewish mayor. Ostensibly in protest of the removal of a Confederate statue, they displayed Nazi flags and chanted anti-Semitic slogans. Their hate incited violence, including a deadly car ramming, in the cause of racist hatred.

To criticize “both sides,” as Trump did, is to equate terrorists with their victims. Trump’s presidency is now an irredeemable moral failure.

The outcry against Trump, however, underscores the double standard on Israel. Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has called the Holocaust “the fantastic lie.” In 2008, he rejected an Israeli peace proposal and has evaded peace talks ever since. Palestinian television programs use Disney look-alike characters to indoctrinate Arab children to hate and aspire to kill Jews. On Sept. 16, 2015, during the Jewish High Holy Days, Abbas declared: “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem” and denounced Jews even visiting the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site, because “they have no right to defile it with their filthy feet.”

This and similarly hateful statements by Abbas and other Palestinian officials and clergy incited a wave of Palestinian terror attacks against Israelis. Yet America’s, and the world’s, response has been to criticize “both sides,” or even Israel alone, rather than the Palestinians. Where is the outcry for moral clarity in that context?

Stephen A. Silver,
San Francisco

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