‘Terrorism = National Security’ as Policy: A Bad Idea

The savage attack on worshippers at a Jerusalem synagogue this week demonstrated in the most horrible and graphic manner the futility of America’s obsession with ‘peace talks’ between Israel and the so-called ‘Palestinians’. Although it has been demonstrated countless times before, in terrorist attack after terrorist attack, every American administration in recent years has adopted the flawed policies of previous administrations, creating a moral equivalence between the terrorism of non-state actors and a nation’s right to self-defense. America has built its foreign policy around it.

What they don’t seem to get is this: there is no moral equivalence between the Palestinians and the Israelis.There can be no moral equivalence between non-state terrorists who murders civilians in violent terror attacks and a sovereign state with the responsibility to provide security to it citizens. In just the last fourteen years, 1,246 Israelis, most of them civilians (including the elderly, women, and children) were killed at the hands of Palestinian terrorists. These attacks have been brutal and unprovoked. They have ranged from random attacks on individual Israelis to a mass murder at a Passover Seder in 2002, in which a suicide bomber killed 28 Israelis and injured 140 more.

Israel’s response was massive then, as it should be now, and America should be standing shoulder to shoulder with Israel, fighting the scourge of Islamist terrorism that threatens both countries.

Anti-Semitism is not new. But an attack on worshipers instead of soldiers points to a deep underlying hatred of Jews that cannot be separated from the nationalistic fervor that drives it. And it speaks to a larger issue that will soon be visiting the streets of America; an explosion of hate targeting Jews, Christians, and anyone who is not a Muslim.

President Obama’s response to the bloody attack in Jerusalem was considerably less than inspiring. In an insipid statement on the day of the attack, he said, “We condemn in the strongest terms these attacks” but then he went on to draw a parallel between Israel, a sovereign state that is facing a growing crisis of terrorist attacks against its civilians, and the Palestinians, people whose own leadership has encouraged attacks like this most recent barbarism and who celebrate when one results in the death of Jews.

The President’s statement illustrated the essence of a long history of American duplicity vis á vis Israel. For decades, America has been imposing on Israel a moral equivalency that equates Arab terrorism with Israel’s national security, and putting enormous pressure on Israel to “show restraint” even as Palestinians continue to murder Israeli civilians. In the 2006 war with Hezbollah, Israel was continually harassed by American diplomats, pressured to ‘show restraint’ and was even threatened with military intervention if they didn’t heed US directions.

Under US pressure, Israel also released thousands of Palestinian terrorists who had been involved in the murders of Israeli citizens. Many of these came back to murder again, such as Ziad Awad, freed from an Israeli jail in the 2011 prisoner swap that freed kidnapped Gilad Shalit in return for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners. Last April, on the eve of the Jewish festival of Passover, Awad ambushed a car in which Police Chief Superintendent Baruch Mizrahi was driving with his wife and four of his children. Ziad Awad stood in the road and fired his gun at their car, killing Mizrahi instantly, and wounding his wife and one of his children.

The US considers the Palestinian Authority a legitimate partner for peace with Israel. But the PA has a long history of incitement against Israel, even as they pretend to join the so-called ‘peace process’. Yassir Arafat was well known for speaking words of ‘peace’ (in English for his Western benefactors), and then rallying his people in Arabic, and calling for Palestinians to give up their children to be “a million martyrs” against Israel, to die in the war against the ‘Zionists’ (a frequently used code word for ‘Jews’). His rallying cry was, “In fire and blood we will redeem our homeland”. And the chanting of this mantra by crowds of his followers fueled visibly fueled their fury.

In 2012, the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, told Palestinians that the killing of Jews by Muslims is a religious Islamic goal.  Earlier this year, Fatah, which is led by PA President Mahmoud Abbas, boasted that it had joined Hamas in the September war in Gaza, and launched missiles towards several Israeli communities near the Gaza Strip, including Sderot, Ashkelon, and Netivot. Most recently Abbas referred to Jews wishing to visit Jerusalem’s Temple Mount (the holiest site in Judaism as well as a holy site for Muslims) as “herds of cattle” and “settlers.” He urged Palestinians to use “any means” to stop them.  Official Palestinian television continues to show anti-Israel, anti-Semitic programs that perpetuate old stereotypes and blood-libels and promote hatred and violence.

In the end, no peace initiative promoted by the US has ever been completed. In fact, every peace initiative has been sabotaged by Palestinian leaders. It’s an old story.

Abbas: A Terrorist in a Suit

Abbas is not the moderate leader Washington wants us to believe he is. Conveniently forgotten is that he was a founding member of Fatah, the PLO’s main faction; right hand to Yassir Arafat for many years; and that he helped fund the Munich Massacre in 1972. Over the years, despite many conciliatory statements (in English) to appease the West, he has proven beyond any doubt that he is not a partner in peace with Israel.  At heart, he is a terrorist in a suit as he continues to incite his people to hate and kill Jews.

Israel cannot ignore the reality which they face: their ‘partners in peace’ are determined to destroy them, so Israel’s first priority must be the security and safety of its citizens. It is difficult to conceive that a succession of American administrations have not been able to understand this reality. The myopia that afflicts President Obama now has been inherited from those who sat in the Oval Office before him. When he sweeps the atrocities of Muslim terrorists under the rug and re-imagines the terrorists as the victims, he is reliving the mistakes of the past and the cost for Israel is extremely high.

How have we gotten it so wrong for so long? Contrary to State Department culture and White House actions with regard to Israel, Israel is not the enemy. They are among America’s most loyal allies, and yet Obama continues to treat them with distrust, open dislike, and downright rudeness.

The crisis in Israel is growing rapidly and America stands by with a small dose of rhetoric. To be sure, this attitude does not seem to be characteristic of Congress, which has consistently supported the Jewish state, or our military, which has been working closely with the Israeli military for a long time. But President Obama acts unilaterally and treats both Congress and the military with disdain.

The hatred which radical Muslims nurture against Israel is based on myth and heavy indoctrination from early childhood. Israel is not their holy land (Mecca in Saudi Arabia is the holiest place in Islam). The fight against Israel is only a pretext for completing the Muslim crescent that wraps around the eastern and southern Mediterranean and fulfilling their dream of a Muslim Caliphate that will rule the world. The attacks on Israel are only a part of the much larger effort by Islamist groups like ISIS, al Qaeda, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, and a host of other groups to first wipe out Israel and then destroy the United States.

The President needs to (but, if recent history is any measure, he won’t) take a long realistic look at events now playing out in the Middle East, the horrendous massacres in Iraq and Syria at the hands of ISIS, the duplicitous Iranian negotiators outplaying the West in an effort to acquire a nuclear weapons capability, and the stealthy intrusion of jihadis into our own country across our southern border. It is only a matter of time before the terror attacks we are now seeing in Israel will be playing out in American cities.

The brutal murder of four Jews in Jerusalem will not go unpunished, but the failure of the Obama administration to understand both the significance of the attack and the difference between terrorism and self-defense is likely to create even further tensions between Israel and the US. Israel will be once again accused of an intemperate response and Washington will draw a moral equivalence between the victims and the terrorists.

This is not just a war against Israel, it is a religious war pitting radical Islam against the West, it is a clash of cultures and ideologies that are mutually exclusive.What happened in Jerusalem this week is a mirror image ISIS’ targeting Christians and non-Muslim minorities in Syria and Iraq. It is not a war of liberation, it is a war against the West, a battle for domination and the total destruction of Western values.

At a time when solidarity is critical, as we both face the same, growing terrorist threat, myopic policy in Washington will only broaden the divide between the US and Israel, and the danger to both our countries will continue to grow.



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