David Metzler
David Metzler
Entrepreneur・Nonprofit Pro

Justifying Paris

The Foreign Minister of Sweden has offered an explanation to the terrorist attacks in Paris and in doing so she justifies and inadvertently plays into the hands of the killers.

Six coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris. More dead in a single act of violence than France has seen since World War II.

ISIS has claimed responsibility. Survivors of the attacks have testified to hearing their murderous attackers shouting “Allah Akbar” as they slaughtered their victims. One of the suicide bombers in Friday’s attacks has been identified as Ismael Omar Mostefai. To once again ignore the obvious will have continued disastrous results. This has everything to do with radical Islam. It needs to be said. It needs to be understood. No longer can any of us, especially our friends in Europe, go beating around the bush not even daring to speak of ‘he-who-must-not-be-named’, let alone mentioning ‘Voldemort’.

Yet, with stunning blindness, there are people, leaders in fact, who manage to explain attacks such as the terror unleashed on Paris, with a mind-boggling approach. Take Swedens Minister of Foreign Affiars, Margot Wallström, appearing on Swedish television SVT2 no less than 12 hours after the Paris massacres.

To counteract the radicalization we must go back to the situation such as the one in the Middle East in which not at the least the Palestinians sees that there is no future; we must either accept a desperate situation or resort to violence.

– Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström in response to the terrorist attacks in Paris on 13 November 2015

And there you have it. A Foreign Minister within the European Union who has managed to internalize the analysis of the situation as seen by the Islamists themselves and consequently turning it into a Swedish foreign policy approach.

This statement is severe, and it demands to be taken with utmost seriousness. Wallström identifies the cause, as she perceives it, which motivated the attackers, hence she has honed in on the problem. And the problem as Wallström sees it is the desperate situation of the Palestinians. Now translate this into Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs logic and there is only one deduction that can me made; Israel is at fault as the sole source for Palestinian desperation, hence also the root for the radicalization of Muslims. Voilà!

Additionally, the Swedish Foreign Minister made an official statement issued through her ministry; “Sweden condemns yesterday’s despicable terrorist attacks in Paris… We also need to tackle the underlying causes of terrorism, taking a long-term approach, and to strengthen our efforts against extremism and fanaticism…

The frightening part about this seemingly appropriate statement is that she in her television interview explained and justified where she believes the underlying cause lay. Let’s put my argument to the test.

Here we have jihadist terrorists murdering people in Paris. Why would they be doing that? A possible explanation is that the attackers have a murderous hatred for democracy because they believe it is evil, and thus wish to destroy it. They have been persuaded to believe the superstitious falsehood that the most efficient way to destroy democracy is to attack innocent civilians and slaughter them. And this is what they did Friday night.

We ask what reasons, if any, there are for the radical Islamists to act as they did? The most natural answer is that there are no reasons for them to be doing so. There is no story to be told to make good normative sense of what they did in France; because what they did makes no normative sense whatsoever. Moreover, it has absolutely nothing – nada, zero, zilch – to do with the plight of the Palestinians. The terrorists were, quite evidently, engaged in a wholly pointless activity which they mistakenly saw as an effective means to their indefensible ends.

We might say then, that there were no reasons that justify what the Paris terrorists did. We have explained it by giving the reasons they took themselves to have, but this was no good as a justification as it was based on false beliefs and crazy desires. So we can explain the Muslim extremists actions by adducing their reasons for doing it, the reasons that furnish their motivation, but, if we look for reasons that would justify what they did, we can find none.

Astonishingly though, Margot Wallström offers a reason which justifies what the ISIS attackers in France did. She does so by rationalizing their acts, as per her statement quoted above.

Wallströms rationalization, like all rationalization, is a defense mechanism in which controversial behaviors are justified and explained in a seemingly rational or logical manner to avoid the true explanation, and are made consciously tolerable — or even admirable and superior – by plausible means. Rationalization encourages irrational or unacceptable behavior, motives, or feelings.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during the inauguration of the Embassy of Palestine in central Stockholm on Feb. 10, 2015. (Photo by EPA/Jan-Erik Henriksson)
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas during the inauguration of the Embassy of Palestine in central Stockholm on Feb. 10, 2015. (Photo by EPA/Jan-Erik Henriksson)

Of course, the double standards applied by Sweden and much of the world vis-a-vis Israel become painfully illuminated in the aftermath of the Paris terror as well. In reflection to French president Francois Holland statement following the horrific attacks in Paris yesterday — “This is an act of war. Our response will be merciless” — a friend of mine posted the following poignant words on Facebook:

“I can’t have heard that right… What I should have heard was: ‘Our response will be measured’, or ‘Our response will be proportionate’, or ‘Our response will show restraint and show regard for innocent Caliphate lives while at the same time acknowledging that the Islamic State may have some legitimate concerns that will need to be addressed’. But I didn’t hear that… I didn’t hear John Kerry calling for both France and ISIS to lay down their weapons and go to the negotiating table — as if they are equals. I didn’t hear the UN Security Council calling for an emergency session to pass a resolution condemning France for its planned ‘merciless’ response. And the reason I did not hear any of that is because such a scenario would be absurd and irrational.” [Full post].

Wallströms comment on SVT2 is foolish and irresponsible at best. At worst it lets the terrorists off the hook as she completely fails to identify the driving source of the perpetrators and their continued and increased threat to Western society. To quote myself from my previous post: We must not hesitate to clearly acknowledge the evil force currently faced by Israel, and the rest of the world for that matter. This is the force of Islamic fundamentalism; be it in the shape of Hamas, ISIS, Hezbollah or others. This force is a fanatic and determined danger to democracy… It resembles Nazism as it longs for global rule and the destruction of our value system…

About the Author
David Metzler is the manager of AppleBay Media, which he founded in 2012, and has a burning passion for the nonprofit sector. He previously held senior positions for major Israeli and Jewish Diaspora institutions before embarking on his current entrepreneurial endeavors. David has lived in California, Sweden and Australia, and has called Israel 'home' since 2001.
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