Paul Alster
Israel-based print and broadcast journalist
Featured Post

Boston’s naive triumphalism

The hunt for the Tzarnaev brothers may have ended but assessing and confronting the threat to US security has only just begun

The events of last week in Boston, Massachusetts, may finally have given a proper wake-up call to those who still believe there is no agenda on the part of radical Islamists in the U.S. to undermine mainstream society.

Although investigations are ongoing and no concrete facts have yet been presented as to the definitive inspiration behind the awful double bombing of the Boston marathon, there appears sufficient circumstantial information to indicate that a degree of Islamist ideology and anti-American sentiment was a significant contributing factor to the actions of the Tsarnaev brothers.

More than 11 years on from the 9/11 atrocities the U.S. was gripped with the hunt for the two men. The death of the older brother in a shootout with police – which cost the life of a Boston police officer – quickly followed by the apprehension of the younger brother, sparked hysterical scenes of jubilation from the mainly young folk of the city, an outburst of relief that the siege of the city that had been on total lockdown was finally over.

Youthful ebullience and enthusiasm aside, such scenes of cheering and raising a beer at the capture of the suspect, combined with communal chants of “U.S.A, U.S.A” demonstrate a distinct lack of understanding of what had occurred in the previous days in the city. Instead of this being the end of the threat to their society, the actions of the Tsarnaev brothers – who quite likely received guidance or physical support from within America – should be a clear alarm call that this is just the tip of the iceberg and there are plenty of other would-be terrorists “sleeping” across the length and breadth of the country.

In Israel, where the pursuit and apprehension of terror suspects is an ongoing part of everyday life (although we thankfully don’t receive every detail in the mainstream media), you will not see triumphalist whooping and hollering every time a terror suspect is apprehended.

Israelis know that each instance of a foiled terrorist attack is just another battle in the war against those seeking to undermine their society. It is not a cause for celebration, more a pause to draw breath, to reconsider, and to learn a little more about the enemy.

The relief of Bostonians in being able to return to normal everyday life is understandable, but their collective experience should surely make them pause to think hard about the safety of their society and maybe appreciate a little more the tribulations of far away Israel, where such threats and occurrences are, sadly, all too familiar.

About the Author
Paul Alster is an Israel-based broadcast journalist with a special interest in the Israel/Palestinian conflict and Middle East politics. He is a regular contributor to a variety of international news websites including The Jerusalem Report, and was formerly's main Middle East correspondent. He can be followed on Twitter @paul_alster or at