The jihadist pretext of angry compassion for their oppressed Palestinian brothers, then, is a function of propaganda, a way to exploit the latent anti-Semitism still lurking in the Western soul in order to find support for the jihadist cause. No other explanation for hatred of Israel can account for the obsession with that country on the part of many Europeans, the irrational hatred that accompanies the ritualistic mantras of “never again” even as European countries pursue anti-Israel policies that aids those who in fact passionately want another genocide. Remember when France’s ambassador to England called Israel “that shitty little country” even as Palestinian terrorists were slaughtering Israeli women and children during the Intifada? That insult was just a new version of the old anti-Semitic tropes redolent of Der Sturmer that can be found everywhere in Europe. During the debate over the Iraq war, a British Labour M.P. said Tony Blair was “unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisors.” A German former defense minister said President Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein because of “a powerful––perhaps overly powerful––Jewish lobby.” A member of the European Parliament claimed that in the U.S. Defense Department “key positions are held by Jews; the Pentagon is today a Jewish institution.” And according to a recent Anti-Defamation League survey, such anti-Semitic attitudes are on the rise across Europe. Given these prejudices, blaming Israel as the global arch-villain comes easy to many Europeans, and puts in the hands of jihadists a powerful tool for rationalizing their terrorism and making it easier for Europeans to marginalize Israel.
Beyond European anti-Semitism, though, the “Israel made them do it” excuse bespeaks a remarkable arrogance on the part of Westerners, who can explain jihadist behavior only by the materialist and psychological categories with which Westerners are comfortable. Thus the jihadists have no motives of their own derived from their faith, but are merely reacting to Western sins like colonialism and imperialism, or to a lack of material prosperity and political freedom. No matter how often the jihadists quote chapter and verse of the Koran, hadiths, and Muslim theologians and jurisprudents, smug Westerners dismiss it all as the “distortions” of a fanatic fringe, and brand as “Islamophobes” those who call attention to these facts. When such rationalizations are impossible, then our pundits and academics simply ignore this ever-increasing evidence of mainstream Islamic intolerance. Thus we heard nothing in the mainstream press when Abdulaziz ibn Abdullah Al al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, recently said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula,” as the Freedom Center’s Shillman Fellow Raymond Ibrahim reported. Rather than take religion seriously and acknowledge the intolerant and violent theology of Islam that drives the jihad, Western intellectuals find it easier to blame Israel, which also allows them to indulge their irrational dislike of “Zionism,” the new face of the old anti-Semitism.
Western demonization and scapegoating of Israel have warped our foreign policy and our tactics for confronting jihadist terror and its state sponsors like Iran and Syria. We forget that Israel has been on the front-line of this war long before 9/11, and is our most important ally in this struggle. The more we compromise Israel’s security, the more we hearten our enemies and make them believe they can win.
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