Opinion: October 12th—A Day of Infamy
Do you remember where you were ten years ago on October 12th? That was the day that al-Qaeda bombed the USS Cole in Yemen. Seventeen sailors died in the attack.
But also on the very same day—two Israeli reservists, Vadim Norzich z”l, and Josef Avrahami, z”l, were lynched in the most barbaric fashion when they lost their way in Ramallah, which was the late Yasir Arafat’s headquarters.
I will never forget that day. That was the precise moment—and it preceded 9/11 by eleven months—that I knew, really knew, that the bloody beast was back, that we had entered an era of unending bloodshed. Over and over again, the footage was shown of the murderers who tortured, mutilated, and disemboweled the two Israelis, smiling like madmen, proudly displaying their hands smeared with Jewish blood. And how the Palestinian crowds cheered for them.
I watched them all, dancing in the blood of my people, partying like ghouls. No broadcaster, no well coiffed Talking Head drew back in horror. They showed these scenes but did not condemn them. International human rights activists and intellectuals remained silent, as did the entire United Nations.
I wept—that was the only time—because I understood that Jewish history was, once more, repeating itself. How foolish I’d been to think that we had finally escaped it. I wondered whether six million more would have to die before the bloodletting would stop.
And, I committed myself to the struggle.
Of course, whatever happens to the Jews—happens to others, eventually to everyone else, sooner or later. When the world does not stop the evil against Jews, it lives to reap the whirlwind.
At the time, I was more focused on the breathtaking barbarism of the lynching but, soon enough, I began to focus on the clever jihadic attack against a large American ship which was merely refueling. This was not the first attack against American civilians, personnel, or armed forces in the world and in the Middle East—in 1983, Hezbollah bombed the Marine Barracks in Beirut; in 1998, Libya bombed Pam Am flight #103 which exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland; in 1993, Islamists attempted to bomb the World Trade Center in NYC; in 1996, an Iranian truck-bomb killed nineteen U.S. servicemen and wounded hundreds at the Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia; in 1998, Al Qaeda detonated two car bombs at the American Embassies in Nairobi and Dar-es-Salaam, killing 224 and wounding thousands.
No international organization or collection of do-gooders really condemned these attacks either. In each instance, western intellectuals muttered that American imperialism and militarism had gone far enough, that the attack might be justified. However, they maintained their rigorous silence about Islamic imperialism, Islamic jihad, and Islamic gender and religious apartheid.
The Big Satan had gotten its well deserved comeuppance. 9/11 was yet to come, as was 3/11, 7/7, and the Mumbai massacre, not to mention countless Islamist bombings of mosques and worshippers, a practice which continues today. Europe is on high alert in terms of a possible terrorist attack. And now, both Europeans and Americans have been arresting home grown and foreign trained terrorists by the bushel.
As to the lynching in Ramallah: Reservist Vadim's wife was pregnant and his little girl, bless her, will soon be ten years old.
My friend and colleague, Carol Gould, asks that we:
“Please spare a moment to light a candle or say a prayer in memory of these two men, who symbolized the courage and determination of the Jewish people and the people of Israel to lead decent lives amid turmoil and hatred.”
May only good things prevail over the state of Israel, over the USA, over the Jewish people in this New Year and to all people of the world of all faiths who value peaceful coexistence.”