I attended this week a four-day Tikva Fund seminar on God, Politics and the Future of Europe. From morning to night I absorbed George Weigel, Daniel Johnson and Yoram Hazony’s various views on the past and potential futures for Europe. I participated in intense discussions with the great academic minds of participants from the United States, Europe and Israel.
No one predicted that a few hours after the seminar ended Paris would experience their own version of 9-11. Even I, who was of the school of thought that another 9-11-type terror attack on European soil was imminent, was surprised when I learned of the attacks.
Every normal person throughout western society expressed to Paris that their heart goes out to all those affected by the terror. My fear is that if Europe fails to diagnosis the problem they will never reach a solution.
American celebrity Sarah Michelle Gellar pointed out on Twitter that it was supposed to be World Kindness Day. With over a hundred dead and hundreds injured it became clear that there are those in the world who do not believe in World Kindness Day. Instead the aftermath of the terror attack led to France closing its borders and Bono’s U2 cancelling their Paris concert. Belgium, the home of the European Union, promptly closed its borders as well.
President Obama, the leader of the west responded: “This is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share”. Obama offered French President Francois Hollande condolences and reaffirmed U.S. support in the investigation. Chess legend Gary Kasparov took a different approach: “It’s time to be more angry than sad. Thoughts & prayers won’t stop the next attack. This war against civilization must be fought or lost”.
Kasparov and many in Israel didn’t need an investigation to know who committed the synchronized series of attacks – Global Jihad. Did it really matter if it was the Islamic State or perhaps an affiliate of Iran? Did someone really think this was not an attack by those with a radical Muslim ideology? Why is it still not politically correct to say so? There is only one game in town that violates the humanity and the universal values that we share.
In Israel unfortunately we have our own politicians who are oblivious to what is happening. Labor MK Mickey Rosenthal said that “instead of getting addicted to the stupid talk of TV channels on the attack in Paris Israelis should go out to demonstrations against the (Israeli) gas deal”. I fear what will happen if western politicians take the Rosenthal position that this was a one-off thing and we should just shift our focus back to domestic politics.
There is, of course, a different approach by some Israeli politicians. Bayit Yehudi Party Leader Naftali Bennett stressed that “crying, condolence messages and tweets of solidarity by celebrities will not be enough this time”. He said what we all know, that “from Jerusalem to Paris, from New York to Madrid, the free world is under the attack of radical Islam”. He suggested that “this is the time for an uncompromising war against them”. Bennett proposed that “we must go on the offensive, take it to their territory, and not cease until we achieve victory”. He warned “there is no other option”.
At the close of the Tikva Fund seminar George Weigel answered the question “Does Europe have a future” with an updated look at the four scenarios he outlined in his book “The Cube and the Cathedral,” now a decade old. Weigel refers to the worst of the four scenarios as “1683 Reversed”, where the grand project of Europe collapses, reversing the defeat of the Ottomans at the gates of Vienna in 1683.
I have a feeling that the leaders of Europe did not read his book, and as a result Europe inches closer to the disastrous 1683 scenario each year. There are clear ways to avoid this, and there are better options – if Europe recognizes the elephant in the room.
What I read in Foreign Policy today proves our current strategy isn’t working. As Jihad gradually increases its influence global deaths from terrorism have increased from 725 in 2002 to 13,186 in 2010 and up to 32,727 in 2014. Our western leaders need to recognize that the other side has long ago declared a fight, and we need to start fighting back.
If western civilization is not willing to be as fanatic about our freedom as Radical Islam is about their Global Jihad, we will never defeat them.