Why We Are All Israel Now
The first month of the year is behind us, and so is the season for predictions. But if there’s one thing we can be sure of as this year unfolds, it’s this: 2016 will be the year of the Islamists.
It doesn’t take a Las Vegas handicapper to know it. The State Department’s annual report on terrorism revealed that the number of people killed by terror attacks rose by 80 percent, to nearly 33,000, in 2014. Things weren’t any better in 2015.
This will be the year of the Islamists because they’re facing no competing force. No opponents with the will to fight them — or their ideas. And it’s not just the people of Middle East and Africa who will suffer in this year of the Islamists. It will be Europeans and Americans.
It happened late last year in San Bernardino. And the month before in Paris. And earlier the year before in Paris, when Islamic radicals targeted the creatives at Charlie Hebdo and the patrons and workers at a nearby kosher deli.
These weren’t spectacular mass murders of the 9/11 variety, but they were, in some ways, worse — because they were carried out by lone Islamist wolves, part of a loose network of international killers who report to no one.
The western world is on edge because these monsters know no allegiance to anything but their brand of Islam. And because these monsters are willing to commit their crimes up close and personal, not by flying planes into buildings but by turning the most ordinary pleasures of life — eating at a restaurant, attending a concert, celebrating an office Christmas party — into macabre nightmares. These monsters want to steal the life from our lives before taking their own.
No country understands these threats better than Israel. Last year was a gruesome one for its people, as Islamists took their attacks to an unrivaled level of grotesqueness, choosing as their weapon of choice the knife. They are stabbing innocent Israelis to death. One by one. Cut by merciless cut.
“Two Israeli Jews fatally stabbed by Palestinians in Jerusalem,” read a New York Times headline reporting on the latest in a rash of recent stabbings. It happened in December of 2015 near the entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem, which contains important Christian, Jewish, and Muslim holy sites. A third Israeli civilian was killed accidentally by police fire. One of the stabbing victims was a 45-year-old father of seven.
Palestinian officials and human-rights groups wasted little time in accusing Israeli security forces of using excessive force against Palestinian assailants, and less time in blaming the Israeli government itself as the real cause of unrest in the area. But these claims are losing their moral power.
Just days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press asked the chief editor of Charlie Hebdo, Gerard Biard, what role the cartoonists might have played in their own deaths. It was a roundabout question, but Todd got a direct answer.
“We must stop conflating the murderers and the victims,” Biard said.
Todd then explained NBC’s decision not to show the cover of the magazine. Biard fired back at the NBCs of the world. “When you refuse to publish this cartoon, when you blur it out, you blur out democracy, secularism, freedom of conscience, and you insult citizenship.”
While America’s leading journalists and intellectuals were cowering before Islamists, President Obama tried his best to straddle the moral fence, denouncing the acts of terror but also indirectly blaming the people of Europe for the attacks. “Europe must do more to better integrate its Muslim communities,” President Obama lectured France in the wake of its grief. Poverty and racism were integrated into the media narrative by the usual suspects, but those claims, too, fell flat.
After 9/11, a small group of anti-American leftists denounced the attacks and made the simultaneous claim that we had brought the attacks on ourselves — that, as President Obama’s pastor in Chicago cried out from the pulpit not long after that massacre, “the chickens had come home to roost.”
But no one — not even Pastor Jeremiah Wright — can claim that the San Bernardino attacks were a by-product of America’s foreign policy. Critics of American power can’t blame the attacks of Islamist lone wolves at restaurants and theaters in France last year, and the Charlie Hebdo massacre the year before, on France’s foreign or domestic policies.
The problem is Islam itself. And not just the Islamists.