When OJ Simpson was granted parole in Nevada last week, I was reminded that reality is a malleable construct in politics. Whether OJ really killed his wife and her companion in L.A. back in 1994 didn’t concern people fed up with a justice system sticking it to black America. Back then, protesters celebrated his acquittal. Many really believed he was innocent.
A result of strained race relations in Los Angeles? To be sure. An anomaly for the professional protester class? Hardly.
Consider the debunked cases of rape by the Duke lacrosse team in 2006 and then the University of Virginia Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 2014. Proponents of the campus rape “epidemic” had no trouble presuming the guilt of the accused, marching in the streets and venting their rage across social media. It fit neatly into their narrative of white men abusing their privileged status.
Now the latest example of pre-fabricated protected class outrage comes courtesy of Islamist agitators and their apologists in the “international community.” Last week the Israeli government, reacting to the July 14 murder of two police officers keeping the peace over the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, installed metal detectors to screen entrants to the holy site.
A reasonable measure to keep weapons out of a sensitive place of worship? Not according to a Palestinian leadership which incites, emboldens, and rewards acts of terror. On Sunday Palestinian Authority President Abbas reiterated his objections.
“We will not allow the electronic gates to continue [to be placed] there,” he told a convention in Ramallah. “Sovereignty is our full right, and we need to supervise Al-Aksa and stand guard at its gates.” Violent protests have begun, and international condemnation is sure to follow.
To Abbas, the scandal is not that his constituents gunned down police officers in cold blood. It’s not that the Palestinian Authority continues to use U.S. tax dollars to compensate the families of jailed or slain Palestinian attackers. It’s not that Palestinian media and educational curricula proselytize Jew-hatred in every corner of Palestinian society.
No, the injustice of the magnometers is the challenge to Islamic supremacy. Seizing on an ordinary and customary security device, Arab and Muslim leaders have found another convenient hook to hang their anti-Israel propaganda. It makes no difference that such devices are used at the Vatican, during the Hajj in Mecca, and of course, for entrance to the Western Wall plaza below the Temple Mount. (I’ve been screened every time I’ve entered Judaism’s holiest site.)
Why can’t the Arab world be fair-minded and rational about the whole affair? If people can endure metal detectors at airports and shopping malls, why not at a holy site? I’m afraid it has little to do with sensible policy, and everything to with political power.
Rationalizations for violence, abdication of due process, and moral double-standards obscure a wholesale lack of self-criticism. It’s easier for the Arabs to blame Israel than it is to assess their own political and cultural shortcomings. Likewise, progressive activists blame law enforcement, firearms, the religious right, and “patriarchal society” for the ills of American society. Few acknowledge fault in the decline of marriage, lack of accountability in the welfare state, or the glorification of violence in popular culture.
Across the battle lines for taxpayer dollars, regulatory control, and levers of multilateral institutions, the means always seem to justify the ends, facts be damned. It’s always been about power, not truth.
Michael Rubenstein is a freelance contributor based in Phoenix, AZ. You can follow him on Twitter @MichaelRube.