I will add my voice to the near universal condemnation of the violence perpetrated by Islamists, Jihadists, and extremists in the name of God in the grossest perversion of religion. Yet I am a Jew and as such I will do what Jews have done from time immemorial when tragedy strikes: I will look inward. No, I do not believe that we have brought this violence on ourselves. Like you, I see evil for what it is and know that it must be eradicated and wiped off the face of the earth. War it seems is here now. Perhaps not in the traditional, territorial, historical version we heretofore have come to understand, but war nonetheless.
My self-introspection does not lead me to question whether these animals have even a slight modicum of justifiable grievance. John Kerry’s ill-advised and intellectually dishonest statement about “rationale” for the Charlie Hebdo attacks aside, there is no room in this world for the barbarity of Daesh and their ilk and one way or another they will be destroyed.
Just make no mistake: while we are justified in eliminating this evil from the world we have no right to decry their extremism while we tolerate our own. We have no right to condemn the backwards nature of our enemy while our own religious leaders will write off as heretics half of our people. We have no right to condemn violence by our enemies while violence by our own is explained away as a rare occurrence. We have no right to demand an end to incitement while we foment hatred and fear against 1.6 billion Muslims. We have no right to rue the humanitarian crisis caused by our enemies while denying refugees a safe haven all in the name of our security. We have no right to denounce as anti West a whole group of people while we call for a clash of civilizations. We have no right to blame this whole crisis on an impotent Obama while not acknowledging Bush’s ill-conceived war in Iraq that precipitated this. We have no right to identify with France and Israel while ignoring massacres in Kenya and Nigeria. We have no right to point at the ills of other societies while we tolerate over incarceration of men of color and an income inequality that favors the few over the many.
I acknowledge that after the violent criminals of Daesh the biggest humanitarian offenders are the countless Muslim nations who turn away their own and look away while leaving the West to clean up their own messes and save their people. When we are done eradicating the barbarians of the so called Caliphate we would be irresponsible not to pressure the kingdoms that still stone female adulterers, behead homosexuals and amputate the limbs of petty thieves. And we will be similarly capricious if in our own homes we still lock up African refugees or don’t accept that black lives matter as much as any others.
Not since the rise of Nazism has the world had such an easily identifiable evil villain that must be stopped. And we will beat them into submission. We will never succeed in eradicating all evil. I’m guessing once we rid ourselves of the Daesh cancer it is likely to reappear in a new incarnation of its old self. However, we must do our part prevent that. We have to stop coddling oppressive dictatorships and fanatical regimes. We have to acknowledge our own shortcomings, failures and sins. Finally, we have to stop tolerating our own inciting, fanatic extremists. Somehow, we wait for words to translate into violence before we show indignation and push back. The time has come to call out all the crazies for what they are so that maybe we can finally live in some peace.