The War against Terror’s Attempts at Legitimacy

In the face of the 103 bullets that took lives of more than 50 and injured dozens of others, the world seems confused and unable to define the terrible violent act that has left us in shock. The blood has yet to dry on the streets of Orlando and already there is a debate about the nature of the crime: is it a hate crime or a crime of terrorism? Such questions are dragging the world into a worthless argument, with little understanding of the disaster that has befallen humanity in the 21st century.

Goebbels’ disciples have learned their craft well. Nazi Germany established the use of various types of terrorism, which has today been adopted by radical Islam: urban terrorism, international terrorism, terror of individuals and ethnic groups. Nazi Germany taught the world to accept terrorism as part of its defense against hidden enemies, which, it argued, threatened the motherland. It argued that its war of terror was somehow legitimate, as it was using force to eradicate real threats upon society. Thus, it is no coincidence that German soldiers were not ashamed to be photographed next to piles of dead bodies, and they had no fear of being prosecuted for war crimes; they had convinced themselves through unbending propaganda, based on Goebels’ machine, that their acts were not criminal, but a source of pride, as they were eradicating blemishes on the motherland. Thus, they felt that they had no need to hide their identities in shame in the face of crimes against humanity.

Theories of blood libel against Jews were perfected by Goebbels and his Nazi command during the years leading up to World War II. These methods were adopted by the Soviet Union, the NKVD and later, the KGB’s propaganda machine, which argued that its victims were a collection of criminals who harmed the revolution, claiming that their deportation or execution were acts of historic justice.

These were the teachers of Islamic terrorism, a generation of fascists whose methods were adopted by the most extremist elements in Islam today. The same methods of propaganda are being used to kill and maim infidels, sinners, Buddhists, Jews and Christians, claiming that such a war is a legitimate method to remove evil from our midst. Such propaganda methods utilize lies which slowly infiltrate the public sphere, and create partners in crime within the free world.

Indeed, the shock of acts of terror is quickly replaced by an insubstantial debate about the kind of terror experienced, the motivations of the terrorist, and an examination of who stands behind the acts of violence. The world has become apathetic to such acts, due to the shear frequency of the events. Half a million people have been murdered in Syria, while the world busies itself arguing about who is to blame for the chaos. Each week, suicide bombers explode in Shia or Sunni mosques, and the world becomes all the more indifferent.

Terrorist organizations are committed to the extermination of another people glorify suicide bombers and educate the younger generation on the acts of heroism of such shahids — and the world remains indifferent. When aircraft explode at the hands of terrorist bombers, the only response of the world is to make air travel a terribly uncomfortable experience due to cumbersome security checks, while terrorists are able to travel freely from state to state.

Terrorism has long ago began a takeover of the various media outlets and social media. Many terror organizations have their own media networks and public relations mechanisms. Terror organizations have immense financial support to create a sense of legitimacy to their activities through widespread media campaigns.

Naive human rights organizations serve terrorist organizations by providing them with a guise of legitimacy by giving them a protective umbrella which defends them against collective punishment, often accusing the victim of terror of human rights abuses.

Indeed, the world is facing a wave of terror, which is supported by organizations and media which grant them legitimacy. Fifth columns around the world are granting them such legitimacy through a propaganda war run through radical organizations, media outlets, and social media. These networks are designed to weaken resilience, blunt reactions to their heinous acts, to convince the masses of the rightness of their cause, and damage the unity of the civilized world.

The world must turn over a new leaf in its understanding of terrorism. It must come to an understanding that conventional wars are phenomena of the past, and that the way we deal with the terror war will define the character of our world. We have no other way except to join forces, to define threats, and hit the enemy everywhere and in every possible way. Terrorism is much more than a disturbance, but it threatens to dislodge our existence as individuals and as societies, and we need to understand the depth of this phenomenon for the sake of humanity.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center
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