It's Time for Effective Action against Radical Islamists in Israel

Neil Snyder

If you follow events in Israel and the Middle East closely, no doubt you have noticed that Jewish people living in Israel are getting fed up with the senseless violence that they have endured for so many years at the hands of Islamist radicals.  A growing number of them are seeking retribution.

It's easy to understand why.  Hardly a day goes by without another provocation.  Be it rocket or mortar attacks from Gaza targeting innocent Israeli civilians, attacks on Jewish worshipers who dare to visit Abraham's tomb in Hebron or Joseph's tomb near Shechem (Nablus if you are an Arab), or whole families being slaughtered while they were "safely" sleeping in their beds, Israeli Jews are growing increasingly angry about having to play the role of piñata for Islamist thugs and murderers in order to placate global media hounds and world leaders who will never give them or their country a fair shake.

In the past few days alone,

  1. Jewish children from a religious school in Yokne'am were stoned by Israeli Arabs.  That may sound like simple mischief to some, but it's a form of capital punishment for Islamists.  And keep in mind that David killed Goliath with a rock.
  2. Muslim worshipers who were leaving Al Aqsa mosque sitting atop the Temple Mount ended their religious experience by throwing rocks and firebombs at security forces.  They have been known to heave stones on Jewish worshipers at the Kotel (the Western Wall) below the Temple Mount following an inspirational sermon.
  3. Leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad warned that if President Obama visits the Temple Mount during his upcoming trip to Israel, it will be "a declaration of war on the Arab and the Islamic world."  That was a friendly reminder that they have the capacity to provoke violence on the holiest site in world any time they choose.
  4. A Palestinian group known as Palestinian for Dignity announced that they plan to hold "huge demonstrations" to protest Obama's visit because of U.S. policies that they think support "the occupation."  Exactly what do you suppose those protesters will do?  If you are thinking rocks and firebombs, you are probably on the right track.  Since they won't be able to get close to the president, who do you think their targets will be?  Innocent Israeli civilians.  I can hear the chant now: "Obama is on the Temple Mount. Let's kill some Jews."  That's what passes for logic in the Islamist world.

In an op-ed article published yesterday by Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai titled "Shame on us", he said,

I can't recall how many times in my journalistic career I've quoted people saying, "His only crime was being Jewish." No doubt it's been hundreds of times, under painful circumstances. Thousands of victims of terrorism, hatred,and violence have provided all of us with countless opportunities to hear and voice this sad remark. Now, shamefully, Jewish ruffians are openly and publicly attacking citizens whose only crime is that they are Arab.

[...]

It is incumbent upon all of us, the Right and Left, religious and secular, to repeat over and over to ourselves, our children and our acquaintances, that just as murder is murder and violence is violence, racism is racism, whether it is perpetrated by Arabs or Jews. This phenomenon -- yes, unfortunately, it has already become a phenomenon, even if it is the exception rather than the rule -- is patently immoral and a terrible violation of human dignity. It is the desecration of God's name, the God who created all human beings in his image. It also makes Israel look bad among other nations.

Of course, Shragai is correct.  His view stems from the biblical principle that "Fathers must not be put to death on account of their children's sin; nor shall children die on account of their fathers' sin. Each person is to be put to death for his own sin." (Deuteronomy 24:16)  Even so, human nature being what it is, victims of senseless violence are willing to take only so much before they engage in indiscriminate vigilante justice.  It's not right; it's not biblical; but it is what happens when governments fail to do their most basic job which is to protect the safety and security of their citizens.

I'm not excusing random violence of any sort, but I am accusing government leaders in Israel, the United States, and other countries of ignoring the rights of Israeli citizens and kowtowing to Islamists.  If they want to quell the violence, they need to take a firmer stand against known radical Islamists be they high-profile politicians or common rabble-rousers and bring them to justice.  As they say, talk is cheap.  It's time for action.

 

Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.

 

If you follow events in Israel and the Middle East closely, no doubt you have noticed that Jewish people living in Israel are getting fed up with the senseless violence that they have endured for so many years at the hands of Islamist radicals.  A growing number of them are seeking retribution.

It's easy to understand why.  Hardly a day goes by without another provocation.  Be it rocket or mortar attacks from Gaza targeting innocent Israeli civilians, attacks on Jewish worshipers who dare to visit Abraham's tomb in Hebron or Joseph's tomb near Shechem (Nablus if you are an Arab), or whole families being slaughtered while they were "safely" sleeping in their beds, Israeli Jews are growing increasingly angry about having to play the role of piñata for Islamist thugs and murderers in order to placate global media hounds and world leaders who will never give them or their country a fair shake.

In the past few days alone,

  1. Jewish children from a religious school in Yokne'am were stoned by Israeli Arabs.  That may sound like simple mischief to some, but it's a form of capital punishment for Islamists.  And keep in mind that David killed Goliath with a rock.
  2. Muslim worshipers who were leaving Al Aqsa mosque sitting atop the Temple Mount ended their religious experience by throwing rocks and firebombs at security forces.  They have been known to heave stones on Jewish worshipers at the Kotel (the Western Wall) below the Temple Mount following an inspirational sermon.
  3. Leaders from Hamas and Islamic Jihad warned that if President Obama visits the Temple Mount during his upcoming trip to Israel, it will be "a declaration of war on the Arab and the Islamic world."  That was a friendly reminder that they have the capacity to provoke violence on the holiest site in world any time they choose.
  4. A Palestinian group known as Palestinian for Dignity announced that they plan to hold "huge demonstrations" to protest Obama's visit because of U.S. policies that they think support "the occupation."  Exactly what do you suppose those protesters will do?  If you are thinking rocks and firebombs, you are probably on the right track.  Since they won't be able to get close to the president, who do you think their targets will be?  Innocent Israeli civilians.  I can hear the chant now: "Obama is on the Temple Mount. Let's kill some Jews."  That's what passes for logic in the Islamist world.

In an op-ed article published yesterday by Israeli journalist Nadav Shragai titled "Shame on us", he said,

I can't recall how many times in my journalistic career I've quoted people saying, "His only crime was being Jewish." No doubt it's been hundreds of times, under painful circumstances. Thousands of victims of terrorism, hatred,and violence have provided all of us with countless opportunities to hear and voice this sad remark. Now, shamefully, Jewish ruffians are openly and publicly attacking citizens whose only crime is that they are Arab.

[...]

It is incumbent upon all of us, the Right and Left, religious and secular, to repeat over and over to ourselves, our children and our acquaintances, that just as murder is murder and violence is violence, racism is racism, whether it is perpetrated by Arabs or Jews. This phenomenon -- yes, unfortunately, it has already become a phenomenon, even if it is the exception rather than the rule -- is patently immoral and a terrible violation of human dignity. It is the desecration of God's name, the God who created all human beings in his image. It also makes Israel look bad among other nations.

Of course, Shragai is correct.  His view stems from the biblical principle that "Fathers must not be put to death on account of their children's sin; nor shall children die on account of their fathers' sin. Each person is to be put to death for his own sin." (Deuteronomy 24:16)  Even so, human nature being what it is, victims of senseless violence are willing to take only so much before they engage in indiscriminate vigilante justice.  It's not right; it's not biblical; but it is what happens when governments fail to do their most basic job which is to protect the safety and security of their citizens.

I'm not excusing random violence of any sort, but I am accusing government leaders in Israel, the United States, and other countries of ignoring the rights of Israeli citizens and kowtowing to Islamists.  If they want to quell the violence, they need to take a firmer stand against known radical Islamists be they high-profile politicians or common rabble-rousers and bring them to justice.  As they say, talk is cheap.  It's time for action.

 

Neil Snyder is the Ralph A. Beeton Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia.  His blog, SnyderTalk.com, is posted daily.