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Terror returns to the heart of Tel Aviv

By Emily Gian

“Max Brenner, come off it, there’s blood in your hot chocolate”.

So the hate-filled chants went outside Max Brenner stores around Australia for a number of years after the chain became one of the main targets of those involved with the BDS campaign.

But a Max Brenner café made the news for a different reason on Wednesday evening when two Palestinians dressed nicely in suits entered one of the chains in the Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, ordered coffees and desserts before indiscriminately opening fire on everyone in their sights. Video footage would later show that one of the terrorists even calmly took one last sip of his coffee before standing up and shooting.

They were neutralised by police but not before they managed to kill four Israelis and injure at least 16 more. The four people killed were Ido Ben-Ari, 42, Ilana Nave, 39, Dr. Michael Feige, 58 and Mila Mishayev, 32. One of the terrorists was taken for treatment at the Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv, the very same hospital to which his innocent victims were also taken.

The story says a lot about the lies and hypocrisy spread by the BDS movement. The fact that two Palestinian men entered a busy café in the heart of Tel Aviv and did not raise suspicion, and the fact that after carrying out a vile and deadly attack they were still taken and treated as equals in a nearby hospital which treats Jews and Arabs alike without distinction goes completely against the narrative the BDS movement would have you believe.

I had wondered yesterday, as the footage of this attack played over and over on my computer screen, what these people who protested against Max Brenner would say about a Palestinian terrorist attack in that very café chain. Having read Fatah’s response, I think they would be very much aligned with those views. They described the operation as “a natural response to the ‘occupation’ and violations against our people everywhere”.

The problem these days is that too many people look to find a way to justify the cold-blooded murder of innocent people going about their normal lives.

When it comes to Israel, there are always those who simply cannot just say “it was a terrible attack”. There always has to be a “but” or a “let’s just put the attack in context”.

That “but” suggests that when it happens to Israelis or Jews, terror is somehow different and a natural reaction. This form of discrimination is despicable and racist.

Even worse, is the issue of “context”. One example yesterday came from MSNBC reporter Ayman Mohyeldin, who already has form when it comes to shoddy journalism when Israel is concerned – last year on a live cross to Jerusalem he repeatedly lied that a terrorist who had attempted to stab a border policeman and was subsequently shot was unarmed even when the pictures broadcasting over the report showed the terrorist clearly holding a knife.  Of Wednesday’s attack he said, “in terms of the context of what has been happening in the occupied Palestinian territories, the occupation, the shift of Israeli politics, including now the current government, more to the right, to what has been described by Israelis as even more of an extreme right-wing government, some of the measures that have taken place in the West Bank, the siege that continues in Gaza, all of those continue to fester.” Never mind that those who govern in Gaza and Ramallah are so far to the right that the needle tips off the scale.

Meanwhile in Gaza and in parts of the West Bank, people handed out candies and celebrated, and Hamas came out with a number of tweets not only praising the attacks but promising that the month of Ramadan will be a disaster for Israeli leaders with more attacks.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is generally never in any hurry to condemn Palestinian terror, issues a statement not only condemning the attack, but expressed his shock that “leaders of Hamas have chosen to welcome this attack and some have chosen to celebrate it”.

Meanwhile, some politicians and many in the media have been in all sorts of a spin while discussing or reporting on the issue without straying from their “Israel are the bad guys” narrative.

A few simply chose to ignore the story altogether while some like Al Jazeera and the NZ Herald provided their own forms of justification for the murders. The Age and Sky News made sure to highlight that the Sarona markets area is in close proximity to military base, as if where the Defence Minister sits in his office has anything to do with terrorists opening fire on innocent civilians in a nearby café. Or that the location in some way justifies the attack.

Other media sources confused themselves (and their readers) so much that it was unclear as to who was doing the killing and who was being killed as if it was somehow Israel’s fault for getting in the way of terrorists.

This is the problem. By expunging the terrorism and its subsequent celebration and demonstrations of Jew-hatred by many Palestinians and their leaderships, the attempt is thereby made to isolate the conflict into one of the occupation.

The absurdity of that is the fact that Hamas wants to end the occupation by killing Jews and destroying Israel, while the PA simply wants to avoid ending it peacefully for the time being (if at all), has resisted all resisted all past Israeli peace efforts and refuses outright to engage in the diplomacy necessary to bring about peace.

Perhaps it is time for those in politics and the media to understand that murders such as the ones we saw this week in Tel Aviv are no different to those experienced in recent times by citizens in Paris, Brussels, California, Sydney, Nigeria, Pakistan and last week in Jordan?

Surely it is time for them to wake up and smell the coffee?