Shimon Apisdorf

True or False: Obama Understands ISIS

Knowledge is the key to victory. And overwhelming force helps.  –Me

Every society has axiomatic ideas, beliefs and perspectives that create the lense through which people view themselves, others and the world at large. These ideas are the unquestioned norms that shape how people not only cognitively understand, but emotionally relate to, everything in their lives.

In his groundbreaking work, Hitler’s Willing Executioners Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust, Daniel Goldhagen explains how it was that so many normal, intelligent, ordinary people willingly participated in the brutal slaughter of millions of innocent German, Polish, Ukranian, Russian, and Hungarian fellow citizens, all of whom happened to be Jewish men, women and children. He clearly explains that the thinking and the emotions required for the perpetration of the Holocaust did not just spring out of a new ideology called Nazism. Rather, all of the perceptions and beliefs that were the underpinning of Nazism had been axiomatic in Christian European and German Jew hatred for over a thousand years. The Holocaust may have been a ghastly, unprecedented weed in the European garden, but the soil had been well fertilized for many centuries.

The same is true for ISIS. Like Nazism, it is not an abberation that is totally at odds with the religious and cultural beliefs and assumptions of the Islamic world. Rather, it too is a vile weed that is growing because it finds plenty of well fertilized ground in the minds and hearts of huge numbers of average, intelligent, ordinary people.

Which brings me to President Obama, Secretary of State Kerry and their inability, or unwillingness to grasp the reality that is literally threatening to chop their heads off.

To help clarify things, let’s play a little game of true or false.

Okay, here goes. Five statements, true or false?

1) President Obama says that ISIS is ideologically bankrupt and speaks for no religion.

Is what the President said true, or false?

Answer: False.

The ideology and religious ideas and values that ISIS is guided by were not invented by ISIS, Al Qaida, Hamas or Ayatollah Khomeini. Islam’s ideas about Jews, Christians and other religions like that of the Yazdi’s, are nothing new. Muslims have thought this way for a thousand years. ISIS may be a new and particularly grotesque expression of fundamental, underlying axioms, but it’s not a surprising expression of a world view held by over a billion ordinary folks.

2) Secretary of State Kerry says that ISIS is ugly and savage. True or false?

Answer: True.

When the heads of Jewish babies were splattered against brick walls in Europe, that was ugly and savage. When Hamas shoots innocent Jewish teenagers at point blank range, and attempts to do the same to kindergarten children, that is ugly and savage.  When IS cuts off heads and sells truck loads of women as sex slaves, that too qualifies as ugly and savage.

3) Kerry says that ISIS is incomprehensible and valueless. True of false?

Answer: False.

See question #1. ISIS, and it’s myriad cousins like Hezbollah and the Muslim Brotherhood, all share common core ideas and values. Mr. Kerry may not like those ideas and values, but they are certainly comprehensible. Many, many millions of ordinary, average, intelligent people comprehend them just fine.

4) Obama says that ISIS is a cancer infecting the world. True or false?

Answer: False.

Cancer, like Ebola, is a mindless, biological phenomena. ISIS is not.

Cancer cells don’t have an ideological agenda, and they don’t appeal to the thinking and outlook of their fellow cells. ISIS sees the world through a well-established ideology and is able to appeal to people’s minds because there is a shared language and common points of reference.

Cancer is a disease. ISIS is both an ideology and a way of life.

5) Obama says ISIS must be stopped. True or false?

Answer: True. (Finally he got one right)

The Nazis had to be stopped, and they were. The price that was paid to stop Hitler was beyond awful, yet there was no choice other than to stop him.

While Nazism was stopped, the underlying axioms that enabled countless ordinary, educated Europeans to partake in the ugly, savage slaughter of their friends, business associates and neighbors, has not vanished. Jew Hatred (also known as anti-semitism) is alive and well. Of this, the Jews of France, England and Israel are quite sure.

ISIS, a Jihad driven Iran, Hamas, Al Qaida and the rest, can and must be stopped. Without a doubt, the price will be large and terrible. Large and terrible today, far larger and far more devastating if America and Europe tarry, again. The ideology will surely remain, of that we can be sure, but at least we can cripple it’s ability to express itself for a long time to come.

One last true or false statement.

We need to blow their heads off, before they chop off ours.

Answer: True.

About the Author
Shimon Apisdorf is the founder of Operation Home Again, the first organization solely devoted to community-based Aliyah. He has also authored ten books that have sold over a quarter million copies and have won two Benjamin Franklin awards. The Apisdorf's made Aliyah in the summer of 2012.