Initial Responses


The Icon of Hatred

This section examines the responses to the Al Durah story as a result of the media’s initial coverage: Palestinian, Arab-Muslim, Western and Israeli.
The most prominent responses, world-wide, were incitement to hatred and violence. This image became an icon of hatred, a symbol of the brutality of the Israelis, worse, a proof that they, like the Nazis, targeted civilians and had genocidal intentions.The tsunami of Israel- and Jew-hatred that swept the global community in the early aughts (’00s) poured out through the breach that Al Durah icon of hatred made in the post-Holocaust dike holding back these emotions.

In the Palestinian world, the elites used the image to create a cult of death – Shahada – suicide bombings that killed both oneself and as many Israelis, preferably civilians, as possible. In the Arab world, it became a major image in recruiting for Global Jihad, the apocalyptic war against the Dajjal (Antichrist), Israel and the infidel (West), stepping up notably the repetition and elaboration of blood libels and hate speech, including constant repetition of the apocalyptic hadith of the “rocks and trees” that calls for killing every Jew on the planet.

In the West, the image found an astonishingly eager reception, permitting comparisons of the Israelis with the Nazis, and even in the most mainstream circles, a sense that this was a “get-out-of-Holocaust-guilt-free” card. “This picture erases, replaces that of the Jewish boy in the ghetto.” The moral disorientation that characterizes such statements attest to the power of this icon at the beginning of the new century.  Academia (Social Sciences/Humanities), journalism, “human rights” NGOs, UN committees, aggressively adopted a hegemonic lethal narrative promoted by pomo-pocos (post-modern post-colonials) that essentially intersected with the Muslim apocalyptic narrative that targeted them: Israel as the fundamental problem, and her elimination would change the world for the good.  The UN Conference at Durban against Hatred and Racism in August – September 2001, where hate speech spewed non-stop against Israel, represents the core moment of an alliance of elites around this theme. And Al Durah was the patron saint of the event.

One might call the Al Durah image an icon of hatred, the icon of hatred of the 21st century; and one might call Al Durah – through no fault of his own – the patron saint of hatred and incitement to violence.

Icon of Hatred: (Richard Landes, Second Draft, 2006)