Last week, the equal-opportunity offenders at South Park, the Comedy Central series, gently (for them) satirized the Prophet Muhammad by disguising him in a bear suit.
Soon after, a group calling itself Revolution Muslim warned that the show’s creators might suffer the same fate as a prominent Dutch filmmaker who was gunned down for his criticism of Islam. A member of the group, according to The New York Times, linked its “complaints about South Park to larger frustrations about American support for Israel and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
To quote a character from South Park: “Wha-wha-WHAT?” How did we get from a puerile cable cartoon to Israel? Apparently, some pro-Muslim activists see Israel as the grand unifying theory of all their grievances.
This tempest in a teapot relates to a larger discussion over whether U.S. military leaders think America’s close relationship with Israel has become a security issue abroad. In truth, as we noted in this space previously, Gen. David Petraeus listed Arab frustration over the Palestinian issue as only one of many factors complicating America’s military strategy in the Middle East. Nevertheless, leftists trumpeted this linkage as a reason for Washington to sever its ties with Jerusalem, while hawkish Jewish groups insisted that even were Israel and the Palestinians to make peace tomorrow, it wouldn’t soften the heart of a single Taliban or Al Qaida fighter.
In truth, the Arab street is angry about Israel and its relationship with America. And here’s another truth: The Muslims face much more daunting enemies — namely, other Muslims. Where are the mass rallies and ominous warnings directed at the Muslims who kill fellow Muslims in the streets of Baghdad and in the mountains of Afghanistan?
Most Jews dream of a resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict, not to appease Muslim anger but because both sides deserve to live in peace and security. But most Jews also suspect that so long as Muslim activists remain obsessed by Israel and petty provocations like South Park, such peace will remain elusive.