The response to terror: the victim matters?

All decent people mourn the death and destruction caused by the terrorists in Friday’s attacks in Paris.  French President Hollande has identified the attackers as ISIS.  These are truly evil people.

The Washington Post of Nov. 13 reports:  ‘According to reports, Hollande declared there that France was “going to lead a war,” presumably against Islamist militants. He said his country’s response would be “ruthless.”‘ President Obama and other world leaders are offering their full sympathy and support.

This is in sharp contrast to the response when Israelis and Jews are the victims of terror. I am waiting for the U.S. State Department, the UN, and the EU to call on all parties to “exercise restraint” to end “the cycle of violence,” to not use “excessive force” in responding, and to not use “disproportionate force.”

This is their usual mantra when Jews are killed in Israel and the territories due to terror. Are Jewish lives worth less than the lives lost in the terrible attack in France?  Does not the murder of Jews by terrorists deserve the same response that President Hollande now calls for?

When the Western world advocates a different response to terror by Palestinians because it somehow believes the Palestinians’ alleged grievances are credible, or because the victims are Israelis or Jews, it gives a green light to terror elsewhere. In ISIS’ thinking, its grievances are every bit as legitimate as those of the Palestinians, if not more so.

If terror is justified or excused, or if the victims are admonished to limit their response because of the alleged legitimacy of the attackers’ grievance, terror becomes a legitimate tool for any allegedly aggrieved party.

Trying to pick and choose when terror is a legitimate tool is counterproductive and self-defeating.  Excusing it or trying to mitigate the victims’ response when the victims are Jews but not in other instances demonstrates bigotry and immorality.

About the Author
Alan Edelstein was a lawyer and lobbyist in California for 30 years. He currently lives in Jerusalem and Sacramento, California and consults on governmental affairs, communications, politics, and business development. He blogs at Inquiries regarding speaking engagements:
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