British hypocrisy on Arab terror

February 17, 2016 by Stephen M.Flatow -
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The British government says Israel is being too harsh in giving prison sentences of 15 years each to five Palestinians who murdered a Jewish toddler. Yet when the British had to deal with Palestinian terrorists, they themselves were a lot harsher…writes Stephen M. Flatow/

Palestinian rioters hurl rocks and firebombs at Israeli security forces in El-Arrub, southwest of Bethlehem. Credit: Israel Defense Forces.

Palestinian rioters hurl rocks and firebombs at Israeli security forces in El-Arrub, southwest of Bethlehem. Credit: Israel Defense Forces.

The current controversy has to do with five Palestinian Arab teenagers from the village of Hares who ambushed an Israeli automobile near Ariel in March 2013.

Of course, Palestinians ambush Israeli traffic all the time. They throw rocks, they hurl firebombs, and they shoot rifles at Israeli motorists who are guilty of what we might call “driving while Jewish.” Very few of these attacks are reported in the overseas news media.

Except on the occasion when they are particularly “successful.” As in the March 2013 attack, when the ambushers caused the Biton family’s car to crash. Their 4-year-old daughter, Adele, was paralyzed and suffered additional injuries. After two years of countless surgeries and suffering, she died as a result of complications from the injuries.

The Palestinian killers should have been tried for murder. But the Israeli prosecutors in this case offered them a plea bargain of 15 years. The killers accepted what has to be one of the most lenient punishments on record for murdering a child.

Yet that wasn’t lenient enough for the British government. Last November, a British diplomat in Israel took the extraordinary step of personally confronting the Israeli prosecutor to “raise our concerns” about the punishment that the killers might receive.

After the murderers recently received the agreed-upon 15-year terms, the British government again expressed its “concern” about what it called “Israel’s child detention policy.” The British don’t seem too concerned about the Palestinians’ child-murder policy. For some reason, their interest is limited to the welfare of the killers, whom they dub “children” because they happen to have been 16 and 17 at the time of the attack.

British Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood is vowing to “continue to monitor developments in the case of the Hares boys and raise the issue with the Israeli authorities.”

Why in the world would the British government take such a special interest in Palestinian baby-killers? According to the British embassy in Tel Aviv, the issue is “of interest and concern to the British public.” I find that difficult to believe. I doubt the average Englishman has even heard of the Hares killers or Adele Biton.

It’s not just that the British government is displaying outrageous indifference to Jewish suffering and immoral sympathy for Arab killers. It’s also the hypocrisy of it all. Because when it was the British who were being targeted by Palestinian Arabs, they weren’t very sensitive about Arab feelings.

Just read Prof. Monty N. Penkower’s masterful new book, “Palestine in Turmoil: The Struggle for Sovereignty, 1933-1939,” and you’ll see what I mean. There he describes the response of the British when a Palestinian Arab from Jenin (in what is now called the West Bank) assassinated a British assistant district commissioner in 1938.

The main suspect in the assassination was taken into custody, and then shot dead “when he tried to escape.” Sure he did. According to the book, “The British military authorities decided that ‘a large portion’ of Jenin should be ‘blown up’ as well. A heavily armed convoy carrying 4,200 kilograms of gelignite carried out the demolition.”

Stephen M. Flatow

Stephen M. Flatow

The severe British response in Jenin was not some one-time occurrence. In numerous Palestinian Arab villages where there was rioting or terrorism in the 1930s, the British used Arab-driven “minesweeping taxis”—what we would call human shields—“to reduce British land mine casualties.”

The British also routinely “dynamited the houses of Arab villages” from which there had been attacks on British soldiers or police, the book says.

Was all this dynamiting and minesweeping the work of rogue forces? Hardly. It was advocated and defended by senior British government officials.

For example, Lord Dufferin, undersecretary of state for the colonies, said nobody had a right to complain about the minesweeping taxis because “British lives are being lost and I don’t think that we, from the security of Whitehall, can protest squeamishly about measures taken by the men in the frontline.”

Prof. Penkower also quotes a particularly striking remark by Sir John Shuckburgh, undersecretary in the Colonial Office. He said the British were confronted with “not a chivalrous opponent playing the game according to the rules, but with gangsters and murderers.”

“Gangsters and murderers.” That’s exactly whom Israel is facing right now. That’s exactly who killed little Adele Biton. So before any British officials today start lecturing Israel, maybe they ought to take a look in the mirror.

Stephen M. Flatow, an attorney in New Jersey, is the father of Alisa Flatow, who was murdered in an Iranian-sponsored Palestinian terrorist attack in 1995.


11 Responses to “British hypocrisy on Arab terror”
  1. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    I have already been critical of Britain’s hypocrisy in the issue at hand regarding the sentencing of minors with my first posting. I’ve also voiced myriad other acts they’ve committed that are reprehensible. What I’m against here is the complete black and white lambasting in general terms that follows, because it misrepresents and is merely an expression of easy hatred. Even if only one good act on Britain’s part in its whole history was ignored, it would still misrepresent. General impassioned attacks never hit the mark.

    As to the Queen, it would be far more significant if heads of British government refused to visit Israel. I don’t think the Queen matters in that context at all. She is, as you would know, apolitical, or should be. Religion is another matter. She might be technically and formally Head of the Church of England (due to Henry VIII’s personal necessities altering the course of things), but who really knows her personal religious inclinations. Do we really care if we have representatives of various branches of Christianity visiting Israel, approving of us or not? I say no. I include the Pope in that statement.

  2. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    I think we’re perhaps going a bit overboard on the British despite their poor record in Israel during the British Mandate period and their expulsion of the Jews from England in the 1200s, not to mention their horrific behaviour with Jews seeking resettlement in Palestine as an aftermath of war.

    In considering the present, is it not so that the current Conservative government is moving to ban municipal councils from BDS programs against Israel? A different issue, yes, but requiring airing if we are going to come down like a ton of bricks and resist seeing any glimmer of light that emerges, or any positive aspect that might exist.

    Anti-Semitism has been rife for two thousand years and commonplace leading up to the Second World War, and that was everywhere, including USA. It’s true that the plight of Europe’s Jews was ignored during Second World War; it’s also true that it was not only Britain who chose this path, but the other powers deciding on war tactics at the time as well. Those Britons who were most like the Nazis in their attitudes were the Aristocrats of England, as has been well documented, to an extent that made them perhaps dangerous to England’s war effort. Jewish European children were, however, brought into England during that war and cared for, albeit probably in a relatively non-nurturing environment, although it needs to be recognised that at that time the English treated their own children in such a way that was distanced, with many of the young going off to boarding schools and others having to find their own way psychologically and emotionally in what was largely the framework of an adult world.
    As to colonialism, I think that irrelevant to the issue at hand. There will always be the country with the most power invading the territory of others, and in all sorts of ways. That has been the way of it throughout history. Britain’s colonialism was not as barbaric in effect as many before it and left behind some tangible good things (I am not for colonialism, not at all, but we need to discuss such a big issue with more attention to detail).The US as a power has done things a bit differently, under cover as it were, as it influenced the politics and leaderships of various Latin American countries, has done so in South East Asia and the Middle East while bombing them to pieces – it even sought to do so in Australia during the Evatt and Whitlam years. The powerhouse that China is becoming will see a different type of acquisition – they won’t need to invade physically or negotiate puppet governments to do their will, they’ll simply buy agricultural land, 99 year leases on Ports, dairies, commercial real estate, etc. etc., as is happening in Australia, theirs will be an economic takeover that will succeed due to the greed and short vision of the sellers.

    So, let’s stick to the issue instead of having a hate fest.

  3. Henry Herzog says:

    Yeah, so what’s new! The British have hated Jews for many centuries. Their crusades, blood libels, expulsions; it goes on and on. Nor this coming from a conservative government is a surprise. The Tory blue-bloods have always seem themselves as superior and considered Jews as low life. That’s way they were comfortable with the Nazis persecuting and murdering us.

  4. Erica Edelman says:

    Can’t imagine why everyone is surprised – this is,
    After all, a media story about Israel

    So many double standards. So many two-faced
    Antisemites. So much hypocrisy. Maybe when more
    British lives are lost – in this manner – maybe they will stop
    And think. Maybe. And maybe they won’t.

  5. tsvia shapir says:

    and that from a nation who conquered most of the world!

    check out British historian Stuart Laycock:”…of nearly 200 countries world wide, Britain had invaded 90 percent of them either by colonization, war or an armed presence of some sort…”

  6. Liat Kirby-Nagar says:

    Well, the British themselves confined two eleven year old English children to an appropriate institution for twenty years (considering release now) after they were found guilty of murdering toddler James Bulgen in Liverpool in 1993. ??

  7. David Singer says:

    I wonder if the British Embassy in Australia is of the opinion that an 11 year old boy charged with murder in Perth is of “interest and concern to the British public”?

    Could Britain’s Foreign Minister please make a public statement that Britain will continue to monitor developments in the case of the 11 year old boy and raise the issue with the Australian authorities?

    Over to you for a response Brits.

    • Fiona Sweet Formiatti says:

      If the average Briton were asked whether a 15-year sentence for 16 and 17-year olds were too harsh for the murder of a small child (and said child took 2 years to die after suffering horribly), what do you think the response would be?

      Oh, stupid me. Palestinian murderers. Israeli child. Three years with a suspended sentence because of mitigating factors such as frustration caused by “occupation”.

      Getting very tired of blatant double standards.

    • Fiona Sweet Formiatti says:


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