Monday, August 08, 2005

# Posted 12:05 AM by Ariel David Adesnik  

JEWISH TERRORISM: On Thursday, an Israeli settler shot and killed four Arabs, two of them Muslim and all of them Israeli citizens. In the days before the attack, there had been an extended discussion on the Rhodes Scholarship e-mail list of the role that culture plays in promoting terrorism. A few minutes ago, I posted the following message to the list:

All those who would condemn the bombings that have wreaked so much havoc in London, Madrid, New York and numerous Israeli cities must also condemn in the strongest terms possible the vicious attack by an Israeli settler last Thursday that resulted in the murder of four Arab citizens in Israel. You can read more about this attack in the Observer and the Washington Post.

I fully endorse the statement by the Prime Minister's office in Jerusalem that this was "a reprehensible act by a bloodthirsty Jewish terrorist who sought to attack innocent Israeli citizens." The intentional slaughter of innocents is murder. The intentional slaughter of innocents in order to promote a political objective is terrorism and murder.

There is no excuse for such behavior. Period. No matter how much you or I suffers, we always have the choice to respect life and reject murder. But the condemnation of terrorism must go far beyond the condemnation of those who pull the trigger.

Thursday's murderer, Eden Natan Zada, belonged to a sick culture that glorifies murder in the name of religion and politics. This same culture helped produce Baruch Goldstein, the Jewish terrorist who murdered 29 Arabs more than a decade ago. And it helped produce Yigal Amir, the terrorist who shot and killed Yitzhak Rabin because of Rabin's committment to peace.

This culture draws its strength from rabbis such as the late Meir Kahane, who preached violence in the name of Judaism, and from terrorist organizations such as Kach, which promotes Kahane's ideas. This culture has its own educational institutions that instill hatred and contempt for Arabs and Muslims.

Rather than being ashamed of itself, this sick culture venerates terrorists such as Baruch Goldstein and transforms their graves into religious shrines. Eden Natan Zada sought to emulate Baruch Goldstein and now may find himself buried next to the elder terrorist.
Although individual terrorists have the choice to respect life and reject murder, cultures of hatred encourage them to make the wrong choice. And for as long as there are weak and selfish men and women, culture of hatred will help turn them into terrorists.

Thus we cannot fulfill our obligation to condemn terrorism simply by condemning individual acts of terror. Instead, we must make a constant effort necessary to expose and dismantle the organzations that provide terrorists with moral support and legitimation.


Although I stand by every word in my post, there was an ulterior motive that reinforced my decision to write it. All too often, the extraordinarily talented young men and women on the Rhodes list display a lack of interest in the culture of hatred and anti-Semitism that motivates Palestinian terrorists.

All too often, those Scholars who describe themselves as exponents of a reasonable and moderate approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict tend to frame Palestinian violence against Israeli civilians as a response, perhaps inevitable, to the Israeli occupation. This is not because those Scholars have a pro-Palestinian agenda, but rather because the intellectual culture of Oxford, England and Europe frames anti-Israeli terrorism (and often anti-American and anti-European terrorism as well) as a response to deprivation and oppression, rather than an expression of hatred.

Why don't I make this point explicitly in my post? Because experience suggests that when one who is Jewish and American must address a mostly non-Jewish and non-American audience, one must go to great lengths to demonstrate that one condemns Palestinian terrorism because it is terrorism and not because it is Palestinian.
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