A friend’s question

Yesterday I attended a lecture at the university where a very high-ranking PLO official presented himself as a victim of Israel. The material introducing this man specified that the speaker

served from 1978 to 1981 as a staff member in the office of Yasser Arafat, former chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization, in Beirut, Lebanon

This self-proclaimed victim of Israel lives a life of privilege, lecturing across the world on the Palestinian cause. He socializes with the elites, wears fine clothes, and travels in style. Some victim.

The lecturer believes that Arafat

was a great man, undeniably one of the greatest of the second half of the twentieth century

Arafat, who basically invented airplane hijackings and suicide bombings, whose evil and venality can be matched by few.

But the lecture was not surprising.

What surprised me was how many people in the audience of 300 nodded in agreement to his statements. We’re talking about an audience at a very rich town, listening in a large, well-appointed hall in one of the foremost universities in America. That audience applauded for nearly two minutes after the lecture was finished.

There were people there I know. People who are well-informed. People who supposedly know about the Middle East. People who take time to attend lectures and read on the subject. People who go to church. Those people were applauding a Christian whose father is buried at a Catholic cemetery but who nonetheless defends a monster who saw nothing wrong in weaponizing children to kill the people of the only democracy in the region.

Those were the people applauding the speaker.

So this morning, when Sigmund, Carl and Alfred, who is a good man, and a friend, asked in his post,

Does anyone seriously believe that the pious and noble words, spoken with such reasonableness in European languages by the Palestinians, can disguise their continued refusal to accept Israel’s existence?

I couldn’t help but remember yesterday’s pius and noble words, spoken with such reasonableness in heavily accented English by a terrorist apologist, and I remember the hundred or so people nodding in agreement to those same words.

And I have to answer my friend’s question, and say, yes.

That two minutes’ applause opened my eyes.


Update Kesher Talk has two posts of interest Working on mysteries without any clues
and Meet the new PLO diplomat

Update, Friday, January 18 If you really are Afif Safieh