After the shock of 9/11 wore off, the American media turned toward their natural disposition of worrying about Muslims being discriminated against -- and brutalized -- by ignorant Americans. Now, after what some call Israel's 9/11, we've reached the phase where the media turns once again to that American Islamophobia narrative.
One sign was Palestinian activist Rula Jebreal being invited on Jake Tapper's CNN show immediately after a story on the vicious stabbing death of a 6-year-old Muslim boy outside Chicago, now being investigated as a "hate crime." They want to blame it on talk radio.
Tapper explained it was an important time for Americans to distinguish between Hamas and all Muslims:
JAKE TAPPER: How important do you think it is for people in the media, for our political leaders, religious leaders to make this incredibly important distinction between Hamas, and not only the Palestinian people, but Arabs, and Muslims, all other people who somehow might unfairly and wrongly be lumped in with us?
Is that really a question? How important is it that we make this incredibly important distinction? It's a prompt. And then Jebreal talked uninterrupted for more than three minutes (not all of it below).
RULA JEBREAL: I think it's crucial. It's paramount. I mean, as we see the rise of hate crimes in America, as we see death threats in Michigan. In Brooklyn, restaurants are receiving death threats. Restaurants of Syrians, Palestinians, Muslim, it doesn't matter.
But it starts with dehumanization, Jake. It starts with the language of officials both in Israel and sadly in the United States where they blurry the distinction, they erase the distinctions between civilians and militants, and they carry this narrative that Palestinians are animals, are Nazis, that the only way somehow, the solution for this conflict to wipe them out, to exterminate them.
I mean, I've been listening to many in the media, and if we ever needed Palestinian voices to actually explain how we got here and where we go from here, it's now. If we ever needed rational thinking, I understand the fear, the emotions. I understand what, you know, and I have empathy and compassion for the civilians who died after that attack. At the same time, we need -- because of the emotions, because we've been there before, after 9/11, we've seen what happens when we overreact. We've seen what happened when we dehumanize and criminalize an entire group of people. It actually reminds me of, when after 9/11 in the preparation for the war in Iraq, a lot of Americans thought that Iraqis were responsible for 9/11.
JEBREAL: And that led to the invasion and led to building up lies about WMD. There is a threat of extinction. We need to go there, and now they regret these policies. I remember officials in the Bush administration coming out and saying our policies are creating more terrorists. But I also remember Barack Obama saying, you know, ISIS was the direct outgrowth of al-Qaeda and it's related to our invasion and occupation of Iraq. I remember these things, we seemingly didn't learn enough.
Then Tapper followed with a statement, not a question, insisting it's bizarre that "we're just going to go back to the way we were. And the Palestinians in the West Bank, and the Palestinians in Gaza are just going to be left to their own devices as they were before, and like, that is not -- that's not a solution."
Tapper closed by asking Jebreal how her relatives in the Middle East were doing. She went right back to the War on Terror, and Tapper agreed: "Those lessons from the global war on terror, the lessons from the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq need to be -- need to be remembered."