With the recent horrific deaths of those who worked for the French satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo, as well as of the four Jews who were murdered at the Parisian kosher market simply for the fact that they were Jews, the Western world might finally be beginning to wake up to the reality of the horror of radical Islam. Not only is Islamism, (i.e. radical Islam), a closed system that requires submission, (which is literally what “Islam” means), rather than the enlightenment values of free inquiry and critical thinking. It also is threatened by our values and is obviously prepared to wage war on innocents throughout the globe whose sin is that they are not Muslims. And there is no way of escaping that there is a strong element of anti-Semitism underpinning its foundations.
I have met many brave dissident friends from the Muslim and Arab world. Some have made remarks to me, such as, “In Saudi Arabia, you were considered lower than a dog. I could not talk to you in Saudi Arabia”; or “When I first met a Jew, shortly after arrived in the United States from Syria, I was petrified. I had never met a Jew before, and I was convinced that you were all monsters.”
If one looks at history over the last two centuries, it becomes difficult to escape the realization that every time there has appeared an enemy sworn to destroy Western civilization, whether it be Nazism, Communism or Islamism, that enemy harbors a particular animus towards the Jewish people. Why this occurs is something I could never quite understand, and will have to leave to the rabbis, theologians, and philosophers to figure out.
It is this very hatred of the Jewish people culminating in the gas chambers of Auschwitz, that led to Zionism, the Jewish national liberation movement. The difficult lessons of 2,000 years of exile resulted in the return to our ancient homeland and the modern rebirth of the Jewish state.
When my father was a young boy, he left his little village of Burschav , Poland, to try out for the synagogue choir in Krakow. It was there, in the “big city” of Krakow, that he first saw the signs, “Jews, Out of Poland. Go back to Palestine.”
And now, throughout the capitals of Europe and on university campuses, there are signs “Jews out of Palestine.”
The logical deduction is inescapable: There are some who do not really want us to live anywhere. Many would prefer that we simply disappear. Perhaps the enormity of the Holocaust has given our people a 50 year respite from anti-Semitism, but now all of the anti-Semitic cockroaches are crawling out of the woodwork at once.
One way in which this has manifested is the egregious double standard that Israel, the state of the Jews is subjected to in the international community.
When civilians are murdered in the name of Islam in France, Australia, England, or America, we call it “terrorism”, and we are sympathetic to their losses. However, when civilians are murdered in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, on buses, waiting for trains, dancing at discotheques, eating pizza in restaurants, or bent in prayer in a synagogue, the administration, and countless ones before it, says we must get back to the “peace process”.
There have been 71 attacks on Americans of whom 63 were killed by Palestinian terrorists since the signing of the Oslo Accords. According to the 1991 Anti-terrorism Act, anytime an American is killed anywhere, we have the right to retrieve the suspect, indict him and prosecute him on American soil. In 2004, Congress passed the Koby Mandell Act, which opened up an office in the Department of Justice to be an advocacy group for justice for all Americans who have been injured or murdered abroad. It was opened in April of 2005, and in the ten years that it has been opened it has not prosecuted a single Palestinian that was implicated in the murder or injury of an American citizen. It did manage to prosecute the murderer of a Christian missionary in Indonesia.
By neglecting to do so the United States government has sent out a terrible message to Islamists around the globe, that certain American lives are less valuable than others. As Vicki Eisenfeld, whose son, a graduate of Yale University, was killed when he took the number 18 bus in February 1996, once said to me, “It makes me feel like my son’s blood is less American.”
Israel because of where it is located, sits on the seam lines between the world of enlightened, Western democracy and the world of radical Islam. When Hamas, a known terrorist group, lobs rockets into Israeli communities, and builds tunnels underneath neighborhoods in order to abduct soldiers or civilians, and Israel is forced to respond, as any nation has the responsibility to under article 51 of the United nations charter, there are demonstrations, burning the Israeli flag, throughout Europe and on university campuses across the globe, and scores of resolutions condemning Israel in the United nations.
Israel, the state of the Jews, has been subjected to an egregious double standard that one would never apply of his own nation, if attacked. This is modern day anti-Semitism.
America and the world has got to wake up and understand that the state of Israel is doing a valiant job defending not only its citizens, but all of Western civilization, from the world of radical Islam. Far from American support for Israel being a liability, Israel is our Eastern outpost of Western democracy, and is the greatest strategic asset the United States has in an increasingly radicalized Middle East.
Sarah N. Stern is founder and president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, EMET, a think tank and policy institute in Washington, D.C.