Monday, February 13, 2006
Cartoon Rioters Kick It Up A Notch
...by scrawling anti-Muslim insults on a West Bank mosque:
Israeli soldiers remove anti-Prophet Mohammed graffiti from the wall
of a mosque in the northern West Bank village of Nabi Alyas.
Hundreds of Palestinians have staged demonstrations in villages
in the northern West Bank after hardline Jewish settlers
scrawled insults against the Prophet Mohammed on a mosque.(AFP)
Let's get one thing straight, right now -- the identity of the graffiti scrawler, or scrawlers, is unknown. This is admitted openly, in the second-to-last paragraph of this AFP dispatch, which nevertheless fuels the fire with its headline, "Settlers scrawl Mohammed insults on West Bank mosque", and with its lead paragraph, "Hundreds of Palestinians have staged demonstrations in villages in the northern West Bank after hardline Jewish settlers scrawled insults against the Prophet Mohammed on a mosque."
(Why were so many unwilling to publish the Danish cartoons, which were not really that incendiary at all, whereas a fresh anti-Muslim insult is unhesitatingly photographed, published, and attributed to Israelis without evidence? Where's the reluctance to incite to further violence now?)
So. Let's get our ducks in a row here, people.
First, an unfortunately necessary disclaimer: the graffiti is indeed very insulting, particularly on the wall of a mosque. (I have not yet found any photos of the scrawlings from the front. What can be seen above appears to say, in bad Hebrew handwriting, "Mohammed = pig".) I would not condone antisemitic scrawls on the wall of a synagogue, and I do not condone this. I would like to see the graffiti "artist" found and prosecuted, regardless of who he is. ("She" would be phenomenally unlikely in this case.)
Having said that, however, let's remember that we don't know the identity of the scrawler(s). (I wish I could say, from the Hebrew writing, that it was not an Israeli who wrote it; but it looks inconclusive to me.) We do know, however, that Muslim rabble-rousers have not hesitated to blaspheme against Mohammed themselves and attribute it to non-Muslims; it should not surprise anyone if this turns out to be another example of the same.
Yes, it could have been a "settler", hardline or otherwise, or some Israeli not yet branded with that now-infamous epithet. I will certainly not deny that possibility. But Palestinians have been far more eager to provoke than Israelis in recent years... and spray-paint scrawlings on public walls is a common medium for that.
Remember, this took place in the West Bank Arab village of Nabi Alyas. So let's think of logistics -- a Jewish settler or two, armed with a spray can, sneaks undetected into a Palestinian village, where, if discovered, he or they would most likely be shot at best, or perhaps torn to pieces, simply for being there. (They would run a different sort of risk, a legal one, from Israeli authorities.) Yet they manage to spray-paint their slogans without being detected, without arousing the attention of the mosque's custodian, and they slip out again, still without being detected. Sounds likely, doesn't it?
Alternatively, if we assume the custodian's complicity ("I was opening up as I do every morning and I noticed this writing in Hebrew," the 67-year-old [Osman] Zamari said... "I didn't know what it was so I went to tell" other mosque officials who consequently protested to the local military authorities [who promptly sent troops to clean it up])... well, then it becomes a simple matter of the graffiti being spray-painted by people who lived there, ran no risks from anyone, and could continue at leisure.
(Although the photo doesn't show it, IRIS claims that the graffiti included a Star of David as well, which makes no sense at all if it was drawn by an Israeli. From the other side it makes sense, though -- antisemitism is part and parcel of Palestinian discourse these days, and it seems almost impossible for one Palestinian to insult another without calling him a Jew. The rabble-rousers thus also have a vested interest in dragging Israel and Jews into the conflict -- heck, they have already done so, with their Holocaust cartoons, for no reason at all.)
So let's summarize. Although we don't know yet to whom to attribute the graffiti, thousands have already rioted because of it, and people have already been wounded because of it. It will most likely get worse, in no small part because of the eagerness of the Main-Stream Media to fan the flames.
And, while we have as yet seen no Israeli involvement in The Cartoon Intifada, we have seen plenty of Palestinian involvement... and we've seen Muslims having no compunctions about slandering their own Prophet for political purposes. Please keep that in mind, as ever more headlines blame this latest provocation on Israel.