Monday, August 01, 2005

Terror Is Terror Is...Terror?

While I'm on the subject of disgusting responses to terrorism, I can add Judy Shalom, wife of the Israeli Foreign Minister, who had this message for London terror victims:
Judy [Shalom, wife of the Israeli foreign minister], speaking on a television show about the recent bombings in London: "As long as I hold no official position, I can say it's not all bad for the English to find out what it's like."

Your "official" position at the moment, Ms. Shalom, is that of human being. A position which you apparently are utterly unqualified for. While I suppose in theory there are "benefits," per se, of having other people experience the death and destruction Israel has to deal with on a daily basis, it defies any basic moral standard to ask other people to under go death and mutilation to increase one's geopolitical status. I condemn this in the fullest of terms.

While I'm on the subject of condemnations (and risking the charge that I won't condemn an Israeli without an accompanying condemnation of anti-Israeli forces--a charge I admit this opens me to and can only say is, at least in this case, a pure coincidence of what I happened to be reading), I also think that this Guardian article is textbook in its anti-Israel bias. This is the passage that really gets my ire up:
Israel has repeatedly demanded that other governments recognise Palestinian attacks as part of an international Islamist campaign against western democracy, therefore implicitly not connected to its own actions in the occupied territories.

Man oh man, where to begin? Of the myriad problems I could find in this statement, I can distill it down to a simple observation that appears to elude Guardian writers: Israel is asking for moral equivalency between acts of terrorism against itself, and acts of terrorism against other western democracy--and correspondingly, that commentators not equate the defense of its national sovereignty against these acts with the acts themselves. This divides the issue from its actions in the territories, of course, but not in the sense of making them "not connected." Rather, it means that we evaluate the actions on similar moral scales. To assert that acts of terrorism against Israel are "not connected" to the happenings in the territories is asinine and, to my knowledge, has never been asserted by anyone. Similarly, even an Iraq war supporter such as myself (and indeed, anyone with half a brain) would agree that acts of terror against American troops in Iraq are "connected" to the invasion. Some of us (myself included) might also agree that some of these attacks are related to moral and strategic failings of the US in the region--for example, tepid support of true democratization, failure to stabilize the country in the aftermath of the invasion, or torture at Abu Gharib (and some Israelis would make similar concessions that missteps in the territories have at least partial blame for some terrorist attacks). At the same time, I'm skeptical that if we left Iraq, all terror against the US would end (after all, 9/11 happened with nary a US foot on Iraqi soil), and similarly, a basic glance at Palestinian terror organizations demonstrates that they will continue their assault on Israel regardless of whether or not Jews continue to live in "their" lands. Furthermore, even though I do feel that these "connections" between our(/Israeli) actions and terror against us(/Israel) are real, what I reject is that this in any way establishes the moral framework by which our mistakes, missteps, and moral failings are rendering equal to their policy of deliberate murder. It is that framework, adopted by the Vatican in it's vile response to anti-Israel terror and often taken by anti-Israel forces in the media (such as the Guardian) that I find unconscionable.


Terror is terror, regardless of where it happens. And terror is terror, not whatever military action we feel like objecting to on a given day. There is equal wrong in treating unlikes alike as in treating likes unalike.

1 comment:

Isaac said...

I wrote about this here.

If you are an Israeli and thus frequently experience terrorism, it might be a bit of a relief to know that others have now experienced the same thing. It's the solidarity of victims. Sure you don't wish they'd also felt the pain, but now that they have, it's nice to have other members of the club. Not that she's not saying that she wishes England had been attacked, simply that now that they have there is something sort of good (not all bad) to pull out from the experience.

The other subtext is that Israeli counter-terrorism policy is harshly criticized, no place more than in England (trust me, being a Jew in England ain't a pleasant experience, or so my parents report, I was too young to find out). And so Mrs. Shalom is expressing a half pleasure that England might now vaguely understand how Israel feels and why it has the policies it does (though this is odd, given the history with the IRA).

And see comments for more...