‘Married to Palestine’

by Jay Nordlinger

Like others, I have written from time to time about “the cult of Palestinianism.” What’s that? In brief, it is total absorption into the Palestinian cause. A perfervid belief in Palestinian victimhood and purity. An equally perfervid belief in Israeli wickedness and guilt. Have you ever known anyone who has fallen into this? The cult is widespread, in Europe, sure, but also here in the U.S.

In Impromptus today, I have a note on Vittorio Arrigoni, the Italian who devoted his life to the Palestinian cause: this cause at its most radical. He was strangled to death by a group in Gaza. I would like to say a little more here in the Corner.

I noticed something in a New York Times article. Eulogizing him, the deputy mayor of his hometown said that Arrigoni had “married Palestine.” That is well put. And I was reminded of something Jimmy Carter once said. He long ago fell under the sway of Palestinianism, and is in fact a leader of it. In 2009, he accepted an award from the PLO. And he said, “I have been in love with the Palestinian people for many years.” Those words are revealing. Ordinarily, we consider individuals lovable, or not. But there are those who fall in love with an entire people, believing in that people’s martyrdom, or essential holiness.

Palestinians are surely the most condescended to people in the world, aren’t they? I remember a lunch I once had with a noted British arts administrator. She said how much she hated the Israelis, who had been so beastly to “my Palestinians.” I was struck by that phrase: “my Palestinians.” She said it as though she might have been saying “my doggies and my kitties.”

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