Paul Gross

Fighting terror after Manchester

It has taken me some time to absorb the horror of what happened in Manchester last night. I’m sure part of the delay is due to my near ten-year non-residence in the UK; another part is that where I have been is a country where this kind of terrorism has been tragically more common.

Ultimately it was seeing the photo this evening of beautiful, 8-year old Saffie Rose Roussos that brought it all home to me. (Like those pictures of the little refugee boy washed up on the shore, or of the little Syrian kid looking dusty and bewildered in an ambulance, the image of a solitary child can be the post powerful jolt to our peace of mind.)

For the family of Saffie, and the other 21 victims of the attack, there will be no consolation or comfort I’m sure; not from knowing that the perpetrator is also dead – that is what he wanted after all; nor from whatever counter-terror measures are put in place as a result. But I do hope that they do not have to listen to the bleating of those great liberal consciences, filling the airwaves and column inches with explanations and excuses for just why someone would commit such an atrocity. (British support for Israel perhaps!)

I well remember the same masochists and morons, in the days following the slaughter of 52 people in London in 2005, claiming that the British-born suicide bombers responsible were ‘driven to it’ by Tony Blair’s involvement in the invasion of Iraq.

Last night, someone walked into a crowded concert venue with explosives and nails strapped to his body, intending to mass-murder innocent young people. He deserves no attempts to “understand” why he did it. He deserves nothing but our absolute and unequivocal contempt.

After 9/11, the likes of Noam Chomsky in the US and George Galloway in the UK, observed the wreckage of lower Manhattan, learned of the 2,996 lives lost and the families they left behind – and blamed American foreign policy: “well, this is what happens when the United States has bases in Saudi Arabia and gives Israel a free pass in the West Bank”. Like the misogynist argument that a woman who was raped ‘had it coming’ because she was dressed ‘provocatively’, this is nothing but puerile and offensive apologetics.

As it happens, Chomsky and his fellow travelers could have simply listened to Osama Bin Laden himself, giving his rationale after the attack:

“The values of this Western civilization under the leadership of America have been destroyed. Those awesome symbolic towers that speak of liberty, human rights and humanity have been destroyed. They have gone up in smoke.”

Indeed. How dare the West proclaim the values of “liberty, human rights and humanity”.

This is why they hate us.

The Manchester suicide bomber chose his target deliberately: Young men and women mixing together, no doubt reflecting the broad ethnic and religious diversity of one of the UK’s big cosmopolitan cities; listening to secular music; drinking alcohol; probably more than a few young couples doing what young couples do.

They hate our freedom. They hate our values.And so there can be no appeasing them. No compromising with them. No ‘meeting them halfway’.

Whether Al-Qaeda cells and ISIS-inspired ‘lone wolves’ in Europe and the US or Hamas and Hezbollah (and the Iranian regime that sponsors both) here in Israel, these are the primary ideological enemies of the liberal democraric world in our time. They threaten our way of life no less than did Nazism or Soviet communism and there is no alternative but to fight them; to fight them and to reject their contemptible western apologists.

About the Author
Before moving to Israel from the UK, Paul worked at the Embassy of Israel to the UK in the Public Affairs department, and as the Ambassador's speechwriter. He has a Masters degree in Middle East Politics from the University of London. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem - though he writes this blog in a personal capacity. He has lectured to a variety of groups on Israeli history and politics and his articles have been published in a variety of media outlets in Israel, the UK, the US and Canada.