With Israel, Against Terror

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The New York Times editorial board took a break this past week from its usual practice of blaming Israel for being the cause of assaults against her. On Wednesday, after the terror attack on Jews praying in a synagogue in Jerusalem, the Times editors ruminated:

There is no comprehending the murder of four men, including three rabbis, at a synagogue complex in a neighborhood of West Jerusalem on Tuesday. They were civilians, unarmed and at prayer in a religious sanctuary when two Palestinians, residents of East Jerusalem, went on a bloody rampage with a gun, knives and axes before being killed in a shootout.

We’re pleased the Times managed to refrain from blaming the victims of terror for the terrorist act. But we’re a bit befuddled by the Times’s profession of incomprehension. Really, what’s not to comprehend? The Palestinians wanted to kill Jews. They did so, brutally and savagely. This is not the first time this has happened in recent months, years, or decades. It is not exactly something new in the annals of the modern Middle East, or of the world.

And the particular incitement for this particular attack isn’t mysterious either. Palestinian officials have been falsely claiming that Israel plans to eject Muslims from the Temple Mount. Mahmoud Abbas, a man of peace according to President Obama, personally encouraged the violence three weeks ago by celebrating a would-be murderer as a “martyr” who would “go to heaven .  .  . defending the rights of our people.” Abbas’s “martyr” was killed in a firefight with the IDF after carrying out a drive-by shooting in Jerusalem. Abbas called it a “vicious assassination” by Israeli “terrorists.” From Abbas to Fatah leaders to PA officials, the airwaves and the Internet and the Palestinian street have been full of calls for bloody action. Bloody action is what ensued.

It’s not all that difficult to comprehend. And it shouldn’t be difficult to see that tout comprendre is not, and should not be, tout pardonner. Quite the contrary. In this case tout comprendre, c’est tout condamner.

The corruptions of modern liberalism are deep, though. For those educated by its votaries and living in its orbit, condemnation is difficult. But most Americans haven’t acquiesced in the atrophy of their moral sense that today’s liberalism demands.

They comprehend. They condemn. And they wonder why we can’t also act.

The latest terror attack took place in West Jerusalem, making clear—once again!—that the goal of many Palestinians is not to adjust borders but to eliminate Israel, getting Jews out of the one place in the Middle East they remain. Given that, Americans and the members of Congress who represent them should ask: What is the reason for further delaying the move of the American embassy to Jerusalem, the capital of Israel since 1948? What is the rationale for the State Department not recognizing Israel as the land of your birth if you’re born in West Jerusalem? Why shouldn’t at least some of the aid to Abbas’s Palestinian Authority be suspended and made contingent on their stopping incitement against Israelis and Jews? Why should U.S. taxpayers continue sending money to the Palestinian Authority as long as that entity continues to provide funds to support the families of terrorists? 

For that matter, why should any sanctions on Iran be lifted as long as that regime continues to arm and support terrorists? Why does the administration add fuel to a dangerous fire by denouncing Israel every time an apartment building is constructed in a neighborhood that everyone agrees would be part of Israel if there were to be a peace agreement? Why do statements come from the podium of the State Department that can be construed as incitement against Israel? When will Congress make clear that on this subject, the administration doesn’t speak for the American people?

Congress can’t bring about “peace” between Israel and its enemies. But it can help bring about relative quiet and stability. One way it can do so is to tell the administration to stop making things worse with the “peace process,” which has become a terror process. An obsession with the “peace process” encourages Palestinians and their backers around the world to think that with a little more pressure—ranging from terror to boycotts—Israel can be forced to make concessions. But having pulled out of Gaza, and having tried time and again to respect Palestinian wishes and demands (God forbid Jews should intone prayers themselves on the Temple Mount!), Israel is not now going to make further concessions under pressure. Nor should she.

America has the misfortune to have an anti-Israel president for two more years. America has the good fortune to have a pro-Israel Congress for that same period of time. It should be a priority for that Congress, through speech and deed, to signal unequivocally to Israel and its enemies that terror and pressure against Israel will not succeed, and that America stands with Israel in our common fight against terror and barbarism.


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