Prophesy , they say, is the resort of the unbalanced or fools. But like a broken watch, which is correct twice every 24 hours, Europe ignored the warning of a bereaved Israeli mother and is now paying the price in blood.
Some ten years ago the BBC ran a documentary about the rash of suicide bombings which brought death and mayhem to the streets of Israel’s major towns and cities before the barrier which snaked in and around the Green Line was built. The programme ended with the tearful mother, who had lost her daughter in one of the outrages, staring directly at the camera and calmly saying “Europe unless you help us to beat this believe me you are next. They will come after you.”
Now as they count the bodies in the streets and cafes of Paris politicians and commentators are claiming this attack as a ” game changer.” The words “game changer” are the new “in” words . Rather like “even playing field,” or “if truth be told,” before them.
But if truth be told, to use this overworked phrase, this is not a game but a matter of life and death, and if it is a game, it is one we are losing. Terrorism is terrorism no matter who its directed against and who ever the victims are. For years, Europe in particular and the West in general have been giving terrorism a free pass.
Blowing up and murdering innocent people and butchering children and stabbing the elderly and infirm going about their business is not always viewed as terrorism when directed against Israelis. Its the work of freedom fighters. When we spend more time trying to analyse the actions of murderers rather than sympathizing with the victims, it simply emboldens the killers to pick more and varied targets and find justifications for so doing.
How often have we heard so called disenfranchised Muslim youths blaming Western foreign policy for the actions of terrorists and watch journalists and character profilers nod sagely and flagellate themselves and expect the general public to join with them and understand these killers.To quote a line from a song from the musical West Side Story, “Officer Krupke,” referring to an offender the refrain goes ” Deep inside him, he is no good.”
These double standards are unfortunately not new.During the 1973 Arab-Israeli war, British Prime Minister Edward Heath reneged on contractual promises to supply spare parts for Israel’s British Centurion tanks while the Jewish state fought for its very existence.
Though attacked in the press by the great and the good of the Jewish community, Heath never needed personal protection or went in fear of his life. Despite Jews being disgusted by his actions, it never went further than letters to the press. In fact, a year later he lost a general election to the Labour Party led by Harold Wilson a fiercely pro-Israel politician. During the last five years, Jews in Britain were the target of vicious anti-Semitic attacks from the Liberal party politician Andrew Ward, while the Respect Party MP George Galloway declared his constituency an “Israel-free zone.”
Ward never got more than a slap on the wrists from the party hierarchy and Galloway, the leader of Respect, could say what he liked. Both lost their seats at the last election, but during 5 years, their utterances about Jews and Israel would in all probability have seen them prosecuted in Germany. Their personal safety was never under threat from the Jewish community, and that is the way it has to be in a democracy.
The Western Democratic powers must make it clear to the Arab states in general and the Palestinians in particular that they will not be accepted as partners for peace as long as they name streets after suicide bombers and the murderers of Israeli children. That they will not be seen as partners for peace as long as hate preachers are allowed to call Jews devils who must be killed and banished from the face of the earth, let alone the Middle East. The democracies must make it clear there is no equivalence between Palestinians attacking Israelis with knives and being shot before they can finish off their targets.
Not until Palestinians can summon up the same openness as Anwar Sadat will the West expect the only democracy in the Middle East to treat peace negotiations with its neighbours seriously.
Finally, when Israel defends its people against thousands of unguided missiles fired by Hamas purposely at civilians the world will force the terrorists to stop and not castigate Israel for defending its population. Is this a dream? Probably, which means slaughter on the streets of Europe is likely to continue. The truth is if you can rationalise attacking Israeli civilians any place, any where,any time then you can take such rationalisation a step further and include all those who do not share the narrow beliefs of the Neanderthal Islamofascists.
Game changer or game, it’s one that can only be won when all terrorism is viewed through the same prism. Undoubtedly, until then, further deaths will occur on Europe’s streets and more children will be orphaned. Brave politicians could make a difference. It does not have to continue this way.