Op-Ed: Jewish Terrorists are Not the Problem
Against the backdrop of news reports that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu agreed to release Palestinian terrorists with blood on their hands, I recently read a book “Jewish Terrorism in Israel” written by two Israeli academics, Ami Pedahzur and Arie Perliger.
For the sake of even-handedness, I tried to find a book written by Palestinian Arab academics about Palestinian terrorism against Israel, but could not. Like so many other books which painstakingly examine the handful of Jews who have committed terrorist acts, the Israeli book is biased.
The authors compare Jewish and Islamic terrorism, claiming that "religious terrorism is not a one-faith phenomenon." That indeed is true, but haven’t seen any Jews blowing up airplanes or engaging in mass, indiscriminate terror. And while Jewish terrorism is condemned across the political spectrum, it is championed and a way of life throughout the Muslim world.
As an example of their warped work, the authors feature an interview with a "settlement" leader discussing protests against the Sharon government withdrawal from Gaza: “As he saw it, the struggle against the Prime Minister’s plan was tantamount to kiddush hashem (literally sanctification of the Holy Name or Martyrdom.) At the sound of these words, our ears perked up. These two words attested to a person’s willingness to sacrifice his or her life for the sake of upholding God’s precepts.” The authors choose to define Kiddush Hashem as martyrdom, allowed halakhically under specific conditions such as forced conversion, rather than use its true definition, an act that is a Sanctification of God's Name. If these words deem one a terrorist, then every single religious Jew is a terrorist.
Pedahzur & Perliger, graduates of Haifa University, further state, “In the case of radical Jews, the obstacle is the Palestinians, whose striving for national liberation jeopardizes the redemption and creation of the Holy Kingdom of Israel. In the case of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Jews living in Palestine are the ones who preclude the creation of an Islamic political entity throughout the Middle East.”
Who says that these “radical Jews” don’t simply want peace and quiet, and for Jews to not be killed? Couldn’t one make the case that many of those who have committed acts of Jewish terrorism would never have done anything if there weren’t attacks against Jews? Could one really say the same about Hamas and Islamic Jihad?
Pedahzur and Perliger explain that Jewish radicals aren’t quite as radical as Osama Bin Laden because “…Jewish terrorism emerged from an ethnic group that is dominant in the territory where it is operative, and its community did not suffer from prolonged repression, which can often lead to feelings of hopelessness and a collective fear of elimination.”
Don’t Arabs (not Israelis) control the Middle East? And does Hizbullah not control Lebanon? Do not Arabs control many of the countries where Al-Qaeda operates? And yes, indeed Jews are at danger of elimination – only 65 years ago, the authors should be reminded, 6 Million of our people were wiped out. Many Arab leaders continue to proclaim a desire to destroy Israel.
They foolishly conclude the book by saying “..we must conclude in a pessimistic tone. Despite the fact that in recent decades an almost absolute correspondence is evident between Jewish terrorism and the territorial conflict with the Palestinians, this is not a guarantee that this dependency will go on forever. The potential for Jewish terrorism will remain even if the Israeli-Palestinian conflict finds some sort of resolution.”
No, Messers Pedahzur and Perliger, the Jews are not to blame for the fact that there is not peace. It isn’t because of Jews that the Arabs are today killing each other in Egypt, or Syria, or that the Hamas and Palestinian Authority can’t even keep up good relations.
Netanyahu says “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be no more Israel."
No one can say that Israel is perfect and indeed every group has its bad seeds. But there is an obsession with Jewish terrorism. Graffiti by Jews is labeled terrorism while Arab rock throwers are defined as non-violent protestors. The Arabs are the violent party in the Middle East – and if one deigned to write a book about every Palestinian Arab terror attack in Israel it would fill an entire library.
The great Zionist visionary Ze’ev Jabotinsky once wrote: “We [Jews] do not have to apologize for anything. We are a people as all other peoples; we do not have any intentions to be better than the rest. As one of the first conditions for equality we demand the right to have our own villains, exactly as other people have them.”
As Benjamin Netanyahu says “If the Arabs put down their weapons today, there would be no more violence. If the Jews put down their weapons today, there would be nomore Israel'.” Indeed, it is so true.
Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and author of "For Immediate Release: Shape Minds, Build Brands, and Deliver Results with Game-Changing Public Relations", which the Deputy Defense Minister of the State of Israel, Danny Danon has called “the best book ever on Israel public relations.”